After months of hype, the countdown on marking the official launch of Marc Jacobs Beauty has finally hit zero. The beloved New York designer's first foray into the world of color cosmetics, a collaboration with Sephora, arrives in the beauty brand's stores and online today. If you haven't been able to get your own piece of the collection on the Web site just yet, we imagine it's because the server has crashed from an overload of activity; the in-shop crowds are likely no better. Everyone wants a piece of Marc—be it via a mirror-sequined slipdress or a powder blush.

"I love the entire ritual of getting dressed. When we do a fashion show, we try to send out a message; we couldn't do that without the hair and makeup. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts," says Jacobs, who already has a successful line of fragrances with Coty Prestige. The new range covers sixteen different categories—from foundation, powder, bronzer, and lipstick to twenty-four shades of plasticized nail lacquers, including the high-gloss Jezebel (oxblood) and Shiny (clear) that debuted on Jacobs' Fall runway.

What makes these nail polishes—and the eye liners and concealers that are displayed beside them—different from all the others, of course, is Jacobs himself. "The passion does come through," he insists of the very active role he played in the creative process. "You're left with something appealing and seductive because there's heart in it." Here, Jacobs reveals a few of his own favorite pieces, as well as his firmly held belief that when it comes to real beauty, "perfection is just boring."

CE: Why makeup? Why now?

MJ: It felt like another wonderful opportunity to design, to allow people to be the stars of their own movie—to express themselves.

And…why Sephora?

The opportunity just presented itself. I don't really do corporate well, [but] Sephora didn't want me to put my name on something they'd created. They wanted my participation. They'd only need [me] for two hours, and five hours later, I'd still be there—and I don't sit in a five-hour meeting if I'm not having a great time! Sephora is a mecca for cosmetics, and it supports what I enjoy: You go into the store, and touch it, and try it, and love it. I've never bought anything on the Internet. I like experience.

Speaking of experience, how did this one compare, creatively, to designing a collection?

It was exactly like doing a collection. Design is a series of creative choices—it's a collaborative effort, an evolutionary process. You choose your fabrics depending upon what you want to say, then you work with mills to get those fabrics. Through the process, you realize what you want it to be.

I heard that a coffee table in your apartment that had been varnished 30 times over actually provided the inspiration for the intense shine that's present in your nail lacquers—and in the glossiness of the aptly named Blacquer mascara as well. True?

I could look at that coffee table for hours! It's like a lava lamp for me. It's the luxury of that craft [that I like].

What else informed the colors and look of the collection?

I wanted it to be modern and simple, but not cold and minimal. I like round, but not so exaggerated [that it's] not functional. We really just went back to what inspires me—pop culture, art, film, music, iconic characters in my life. It could be SpongeBob and Ellsworth Kelly—the parallel is only clear to me. The blush in Shameless was inspired by one of my thirty-four tattoos and is what I aspire to be. "Should" is something I don't like.

It's interesting that you mention the iconic characters in your life, as there are a noteworthy few that immediately come to mind at the mere mention of your name. Has anyone in particular helped shape your views on beauty?

I asked Sofia Coppola to do our handbag ad more than ten years ago, and I still think she is one of the most beautiful women I know. [Makeup artist] Diane Kendal did her makeup for the Met Gala, and that was actually the first "outing" of Marc Jacobs Beauty. Personally, I think she was the best-looking woman there. I don't love Photoshop; I like imperfection. It doesn't mean ugly. I love a girl with a gap between her teeth, versus perfect white veneers. Perfection is just…boring. Perfect is what's natural or real; that is beauty.

With all of this newfound access to cosmetics that you personally had a hand in designing, has the size of your makeup bag doubled? What are some of your own beauty essentials—from Marc Jacobs Beauty or otherwise?

Well, I am definitely not low maintenance. I have a routine and I am faithful to it. I like to feel good when I leave the house—even if I am just going to the gym, so I think people would probably classify that as high maintenance, which I am totally OK with. I use Joëlle Ciocco Creme Riche Body Cream and Serum Firming Complex; Rembrandt Toothpaste and Mouthwash; Philip B Shampoo and Conditioner; Rene Furterer Gloss Spray; Barbasol Shaving Cream; Mitchum Deodorant; and then my Marc Jacobs Remedy Concealer Pen, Brow Tamer Grooming Gel, and Lip Lock Moisture Balm. Dr. [Fredric] Brandt thinks I have amazing lips—and I told him it's not my lips, it's my lip balm!

Photos: Courtesy of Marc Jacobs
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