2 posts tagged "James Gager"
When it comes to her new makeup collection for MAC, Daphne Guinness isn’t ashamed to admit that she made it for herself. “Lots of things that I do, I’ll do it because that’s the one I want to have, or want to see. It’s not because I think everybody else should have it,” Guinness says of the 25-piece line that’s due out on December 26. It’s preferable to “trying to just please an audience,” Guinness continues of her creative process, which may sound risky to business types, but when you’ve got as much evidence as she does that what pleases you inspires others, it just might be a stroke of genius.
Dubbed a “socialite” by journalists on tight word counts and by those who don’t know any better, Guinness is, in fact, a devoted student and practitioner of the visual arts. “I try to keep away from the fashion world because it’s not my world,” she says—a somewhat surprising revelation considering the ease with which she pulls off tricky pieces of vintage McQueen and an even trickier selection of ensembles from Gareth Pugh. “My references are paintings,” Guinness insists. “She’s an artist, she’s a colorist,” says Estée Lauder senior vice president and group creative director James Gager. “A lot of people pull tear sheets and hang them up on a board and say, ‘I want to do a collection that looks like this.’ That absolutely isn’t the way that Daphne is. The mood board is in her head,” says Gager. “I don’t know where it’s coming from, or what influences are happening; it just suddenly comes out,” Guinness confirms. “People may love it or hate it. But if you start thinking about how people are going to receive it, then you get confused.” Here, on the heels of a celebratory dinner to fête her collaborative launch at Miami Art Basel, Guinness talks to Style.com about the beauty of northern light, the colors of clouds in the Alps, and the “civilizing aspect” of imagination.
The fashion world tends to celebrate you for the clothes you wear. Have you ever thought that distracts from the fact that you often experiment with a similarly artistic approach to makeup?
I don’t think it distracts from anything, really. I think it’s all part of the same thing. [Makeup] is not something that’s an add-on. It’s never-ending—it just rolls from one thing to the next. And I’m not really conscious of being part of fashion and such. It’s part of the arts to me. I’m not really someone that follows fashion, because I’m not a journalist. I don’t need to know what’s going on. I just intuit, sort of, things.
But I get the impression your relationships with designers have meant a lot to you. Were you ever concerned that doing a cosmetics line wouldn’t be the same sort of collaboration?
I was nervous and I shouldn’t have been, because it’s exactly the same thing. You either gel with people or you don’t, and I’m very happy to admire people for what they do. I was really honored to do it because I like mixing stuff. But [the fashion world] is really not my world. If you take it back 20 years, fashion was not what it is now. It wasn’t about collections, or whatever. It was about finding your gang in a night club, and they’d dress a certain way. I think it’s a human thing. You know, very primitive tribes would make themselves up or dress a certain way in order to differentiate themselves from other tribes. I think that the landscape has become a little more muddied lately. I don’t like looking at what’s out there; it actually makes me depressed to see it. It gives me anxiety to see too much. My references are paintings. I know that sounds weird…
When James Gager went from Estée Lauder senior vice president and creative director at MAC to its group creative director overseeing MAC as well as La Mer and Jo Malone, we had a feeling the innovator would shake things up. This, after all, was the man who masterminded MAC’s über-successful Hello Kitty collection circa 2009 (and the truly weird yet undeniably artful video that accompanied it). His debut offering for Jo Malone doesn’t disappoint. “It’s great to bring a little bit of the eccentric into fragrance. It makes it more modern and accessible,” Gager said of Wild Bluebell, the quintessentially British brand’s latest eau, at a launch event a few months back. And he wasn’t kidding. To properly debut the lily of the valley, persimmon, and lemon scent, Gager enlisted a lavender-haired, doe-eyed model to frolic around a set of bluebells and white bunnies, playing a character he had created to embody the enchanted flacon. Wild Bluebell has plenty of newfound whimsy in the form of the campaign images the creative director dreamt up with visual artist Tim Walker, but in-house perfumer Christine Nagel’s ability to pair notes for surprisingly original scents has gone unchanged. Her latest effort is dewy, light and true to Jo Malone’s fragrance combining tradition, it can be easily paired with its White Jasmine & Mint or Nectarine Blossom & Honey colognes for an entirely different—yet complementary—olfactory experience.