NARS and Shu Uemura: The Artist Editions-------
Art begets art. And two beauty giants’ most recent makeup collections—NARS + Guy Bourdin and Shu Uemura + Takashi Murakami—prove just that. But much like the artists whose work inspired them, they couldn’t be more different. Photographer/provocateur Guy Bourdin was actually one of François Nars’ early inspirations to pursue a beauty career, and it’s easy to understand why: makeup—severe makeup, at that—figures large in his images. Bourdin’s studies of dangerously beautiful women usually in various states of undress, and always in compromising positions, may not win any feminist accolades, but photographically speaking, they are stunning, and his signature dramatic, color-saturated style translates easily to cosmetics. The NARS collection is chock-full of the same intense hues as Bourdin’s image—particularly striking are the nail polish in Follow Me and blush in Coeur Battant (both, a vivid fuchsia), the Cinematic eye shadow in Wishful Thinking (a deep cobalt), and the Cinematic lipstick in Short Circuit (a bright, orangey red). At the opposite end of the artistic inspiration spectrum is the Shu Uemura/Takashi Murakami mash-up. The eighteenth collaboration between the Japanese beauty brand and neo-Pop artist extraordinaire takes its cues from Murakami’s forthcoming 6 Heart Princess animation series, and the graphics and colors of Uemura’s interpretive makeup are fittingly lighthearted and whimsical—think pretty pinks, iridescent pastels, and quietly shimmery grays. My favorite: the Lip & Cheek Fun-tasy in Magical Red, a perfect crimson with a velvety finish. Both collections are, in this critic’s estimation, affordable art at its finest.