Shop Talk: Wooed by Jason Wu
Last night, I sat down with Jason Wu to chat about his new 15-piece collection for Lancôme. There were rumors of a collaboration backstage at his Fall 2013 show, but now the designer finally divulges all the deets:
Out of all the beauty brands to choose from, why partner with Lancôme?
Lancôme makes some of the most luxurious and beautiful products in the world. I’ve made it no secret that I’m a beauty junkie and I love makeup. It’s always been such an important part of my shows, and I felt like this was a really natural progression for me.
The eye-shadow palettes are completely customized and the shades were chosen by you and are exclusive to your collection. Where did your inspiration for the colors come from?
My inspiration came from, literally, my career. I’ve always loved to use color in many different ways—sometimes subtle, sometimes really bold. I took a collection of my favorite colors and put them into makeup in a way that was wearable, sophisticated, and a statement all at the same time.
There’s a bit of a beauty backstory to the final look from your Fall 2013 show. Let’s talk about that.
We were still in development with the makeup during the last show, and the purple [now available in the Violet Streak palette] was one of the first colors [I chose]. It actually inspired the colors for my [Fall] collection, because we were thinking about using it on every girl’s eyelids. And I said: “Why don’t we put a purple dress at the end?” It just felt so right. Actually, incorporating the makeup colors into the palette of the collection was really interesting to me.
Why did you choose navy mascara over black?
Who doesn’t want navy mascara? Navy is a color that looks good on everyone, and I use it all the time [for my runway collections]. To me, it’s the chicer cousin to black. It just felt like something women would want and all the girls I work with will want. It’s a really interesting twist on a classic.
I noticed there are a lot of variations of red in the line—three crimson-colored lipsticks and three nail polishes.
For my first collection—my first of many collections—with Lancôme, I decided that I wanted to do the three basic reds that every woman should have in her arsenal: a bright red, a medium red, and a burgundy. [Red] is something that’s so glamorous, I had to make it for my collection.
When should you ideally wear each shade? Is it seasonal? Or is it more of a day-to-night concept?
Bright red is really good for spring/summer because…it’s just chic. And burgundy is a great wine color, so why wouldn’t you want it for fall/winter?
What about the shade in the middle?
There’s always a place for red lips! For that mood, and that mood, and every mood in between [points his finger three separate times] there’s a red. Wouldn’t you agree?
Definitely. Are you for wearing a bold lip and eye together?
I like to play up one feature, but I think it’s always about the balance. When you accentuate the lip, it’s about a more subtle eye. And when it’s a major eye, it’s about a subtle lip. I think balance is quite modern.
Which piece in the line are you most proud of?
That’s a hard one, but the navy mascara. I think it’s so special and Lancôme doesn’t [carry it in its existing range], so they dug it out of their archives to make it available for this collection.
I heard you designed two gorgeous lace makeup bags to hold all of your new cosmetics.
Oh, my God, it’s going to be so chic. We had a transparent lace raincoat in the Fall collection, and I thought it would be the perfect beauty bag, so it became one.
Will customers receive one when they buy your products?
Yes, and we vow for it to be the chicest gift-with-purchase you’ll ever see!
Who was your muse for the line?
Martha Hunt. She opened my show for Fall. She’s the only girl I asked to come with me tonight for this event. I felt like the second I met her she [became] one of my muses. She just wears makeup so incredibly well. In fact, she did the hair and makeup test for this collection and looked good in everything. I felt so comfortable with [Hunt] that we finalized the collection on her.
From all of your shows, do you have a favorite beauty look?
Yes, Spring 2013: the dual-toned red lip with a defined brow on Carolyn Murphy. Best thing ever. It’s so glamorous you can’t stand it. Who could resist that?
Where do you find the time between designing for your own label and acting as artistic director for Hugo Boss womenswear to create an entire range of makeup?
I try to sleep as little as possible. That’s the secret. I just really love what I do. I’m really passionate about it. I need to do things. I need to create all the time. That’s what keeps me going.
But there must be some caffeine in the mix. What’s your Starbucks order?
Iced black coffee. Nothing else. Very simple.
You always have a true look at your shows—it’s never a bare face. Do you know what you’re doing for Spring 2014?
I absolutely do and it involves this collection, but I’m not going to tell you what it is! But it’s going to be a statement. Expect another look.
I can’t wait.
Jason Wu for Lancôme launches in September exclusively at Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman.—Amber Kallor
Photo: Courtesy of Lancôme