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Mon, Apr 07, 2014
Urban, The Straits Times
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Designer Marc Jacobs' make-up line debuts
by Gladys Chung

Marc Jacobs is not one to do things in a small, discreet fashion.

Think of his colourful, shiny creations for both his eponymous label and Louis Vuitton, and the elaborate sets he created for his shows for the French luxury house.

So it is not a surprise that he has chosen to go big with his debut beauty collection.

While other designers such as Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Derek Lam also launched make-up collections recently, they merely dipped their toes in the beauty market with a handful of products.

Jacobs' collection has a whopping 147 products spread across 17 categories. They range from a simple lip balm to nail lacquer that comes in 24 shades, seven-pot eyeshadow palettes in four variations, and lipsticks that are available in 16 shades.

Prices start from $32 for a bottle of nail lacquer to $85 for a tub of mousse foundation.

The complete Marc Jacobs Beauty line will be available exclusively at Sephora stores here from April 17.

The make-up line, which he worked on together with Sephora, is timely. Last year, Jacobs left Louis Vuitton where he was creative director for 16 years to focus on building his eponymous label and taking it public.

In an e-mail interview with Urban, the 51-year-old designer says: "Marc Jacobs Beauty is a natural evolution of the Marc Jacobs brand and really illustrates how I feel about beauty.

"I think make-up is as much of an accessory as a shoe or a bag. With my beauty line, I want to encourage women to indulge in the process of exploring a different spirit of sensibility each day."

To illustrate this, Jacobs skipped Hollywood's fresh faces altogether and picked 64-year-old American actress Jessica Lange to front the brand. In the ads, the American Horror Story star channelled a film noir mood with smoky eyes and sexy hair.

Jacobs told Vogue why he chose Lange: "Part of what I find so appealing is not one specific mood, one specific demographic, one specific age, but the idea of women that inspire me for different reasons and on different levels. Jessica is a woman that I've always been interested in.

"I wanted to set a kind of precedent that, like with our shows, there's always a surprise element-there's something unexpected."


The designer tells Urban it was all hands on deck for him when it came to the colours and packaging.

For instance, the black, shiny and hefty packaging of the products was inspired by his own lacquered art deco Jean Dunand Coffee Table.

"I think it's always appealing, glamorous and mesmerising to look at something that shines with lacquer."

That was also how the Blacquer shade - a play on the words black and lacquer - a deep shiny black that is found in the Lash Lifter mascara ($40), Magic Mac'er liquid eyeliner ($39) and Highliner gel liner ($36), came about.

When it came to choosing the colours, it was second nature for the designer. Looking at the harmony of shades in the eyshadow palettes, it is easy to imagine them on a Marc Jacobs dress.

"The colour choices were very personal for me. I like the idea of unexpected colour; of mixing brights and neutrals.

"I like a palette that's almost something you know, but there's something just a bit off about it."

Just like how he gets inspirations for his fashion designs, Jacobs looked to pop culture icons to name the shades of his make-up. "A lot of them are references to my favourite movies, songs and things that are amusing to me."

Case in point: The Gatsby shade of the Enamored Hi-Shine Lacquer ($32) is the perfect rose gold shade that he "equates with Mia Farrow's Daisy Buchanan" in the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby. The Boom Boom electric pink of the Lust For Lacquer liquid lipstick ($39) is inspired by Nicki Minaj's pink wig.

"I want my products to transmit an energy or mood," he adds.

Jacobs also had the help of British make-up artist Diane Kendal, who serves as a beauty and product consultant for Marc Jacobs Beauty. Kendal is best known for helping Calvin Klein create a complete make-up line and her collaborations with M.A.C and Nars.

"She has been a terrific partner. She has great fashion taste and really understands the spirit of the brand," he says.

When it came to the formula of all the products, Jacobs admitted that he had to rely heavily on Sephora's expertise, "just as I rely on the patternmakers and the cutters I work with to create my fashion collections".

"It has been a truly collaborative process and we perfectly combine fashion understanding, creativity and beauty product expertise to create the beauty line."

As for his personal daily must-haves from the collection, he names the Lip Lock Moisture Balm SPF 18 ($32) which has "a nice minty flavour", the Brow Tamer Grooming Gel ($32) "that goes on very smoothly without feeling sticky", and the Remedy Concealer Pen ($44) which has "a wonderful palladium tip that feels very cooling".

"They're boy-tested, girls approved."

This article was published on April 4 in Urban, The Straits Times.

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