EXCLUSIVE: A First Look at Jason Wu’s New Makeup Line for Lancôme
Little-known fact: Jason Wu started out sketching costumes and accessories for dolls. While he now designs for fashionable female figures in action, he thinks of makeup like a toy—the overall presentation being just as important as what is inside. “Before you even try the product, [you see] what it looks like first, right?” he noted. “It’s kind of like candy.” And his latest cosmetics line (click here to preview the entire range) and sophomore effort for Lancôme (launching tomorrow) is certainly a feast for the eyes. Printed with a floral pattern straight off Wu’s Pre-Fall ’14 runway, the range comprised of two lipsticks, two blushes, a scaled-down brush, three eyeshadow palettes, a liner, nail polish, and a mascara all channel the same “dark glamour” as the clothes in the collection. Here, Wu divulges his thoughts on his latest beauty endeavor, his own skincare regimen, and why cosmetics are the ultimate transformative “treat.”—Amber Kallor
What inspired your Pre-Fall collection?
It really revolved around the midnight floral motif. For Pre-Fall, I was feeling sort of saturated, earthier tones, and that felt really interesting because those weren’t colors that I’ve used so much before. I’m known for using either pastels or brighter, jewel-toned colors, and this time was really much more autumnal-looking. I thought it was a really nice palette to serve as inspiration for beauty because earth tones always make for a great beauty look.
The makeup at your Fall 2014 show also seemed to go in a different, more masculine direction in comparison with the over-the-top feminine glamour we’re used to seeing backstage. Why the switch?
I thought it was a different kind of beauty because I’ve really concentrated on the eyes for the past few seasons. I thought it was interesting to [focus] on the brow for once and do something a little scaled back. It was almost like going in the opposite direction, and [the makeup] felt like it wasn’t something I’ve done before. The clothing was so dressed up that the juxtaposition with the more boyish look was interesting and felt modern.
Is there a product you’re particularly proud of in this range?
I always love the compacts because they [contain] all of the colors I love. They mix all of the [shades] I’m really inspired by right now. It puts them into a palette that really gives you a statement look that can be highly versatile depending on how you use them and put them together.
What do the women you’re surrounded with think of the new line?
I think it’s great to always have all these girls around—it’s really inspirational. I think Diane Kruger is a very good example. She does her own makeup for all the things that we do together, and so I think she’s always a great [source] for figuring out what the newest lip color is, or what feels really fresh for us. And also the girls around the office, every time we have some new samples come in, I disperse them throughout the studio. They’re all kind of my test subjects!
Can you give me a sneak peek of what you have in store for your next Lancôme collection?
Well, there’s always something! For Fall I used glitter on the eyes and we literally just used craft store glitter. It would be nice to develop something that gives you texture. I’d love to explore that [idea], but maybe not glitter. I do love the idea of developing some sort of a texture or a new kind of shine that we can play with.
What is the best beauty secret that you’ve ever learned—maybe from your mom or Diane Kruger?
Always moisturize…In Asia, a skincare regimen is super-important, so I think I just grew up with that. I’m always very good at moisturizing and exfoliating and things of that nature.
So what is your daily skincare routine like?
You’re going to laugh—it’s super-simple. I just exfoliate a little bit and use Neutrogena.
I take it you don’t have time for the twenty-six-plus steps many Asian women have in their beauty regimen. What are your go-to products?
I really like the exfoliating face wash from the Remède Spa. I always love that and I use it all the time. And then Neutrogena’s moisturizer for combination skin—the stuff you get at Duane Reade. It’s surprisingly simple, but sometimes I think the simplest things are the best.
Very true. Do you ever switch up your routine before bed?
No, I use the same [moisturizer]. I think in the true style of a designer: I put all of my efforts into the women that I dress and design for, and for me it’s always a sweater and jeans at the end of the show. It’s kind of like that for my skincare regimen. I keep it simple and keep the concentration on the girls.
Is there a beauty product you particularly love for summer?
There’s a good oil eliminator from Kiehl’s that I really like. It’s a shine-control toner, and I think it’s really nice for summer. I love a little mist.
I love that you think of beauty products like candy—I definitely can’t stop at just one.
It’s like a treat, you know? And I think women really have fun with it. I certainly have fun playing with the beauty [look] for my collections because I think it [helps realize] this idea of transformation and being able to change. One season you can be ultra-glamorous and the next season go boyish.
So who will the Jason Wu woman be for Resort?
I think you’ll see something that’s really fresh and pastel-inspired.
I can’t wait.