Never mind the backdrop of gray skies that cast a dreary spell over this Monday during New York Fashion Week. Proenza Schouler had its own agenda, setting loose a proverbial rainbow by way of its new color-drenched makeup collaboration with Lancôme. It has been an auspicious day for Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez's 16-year-old label, which made a return to the NYFW schedule this afternoon after two seasons in Paris. If they considered their spring collection "more wardrobe-y focused," as Hernandez put it to Vogue.com—as seen in sidewalk-friendly denim dresses, oversize vests, and cowboy-style shirts—a similar cover-all-bases philosophy applied to the cosmetics as well. To which everyone in search of a makeup-bag upgrade said: Amen.
"It's like art supplies for your face," McCollough said of their playful approach to the Lancôme collection, developed with guidance from the brand's global creative director, Lisa Eldridge. He and Hernandez, seated on one of the forest-green benches set up for the show, were talking about the abstract painters who served as inspiration for the cosmetics, including the late Ellsworth Kelly and Carmen Herrera (still alive at 103; the Whitney celebrated her work in a retrospective two years ago). It's no wonder the designers take a liking to those artists, whose knack for color mashups on canvas mirrors what Proenza Schouler has mastered in clothes.
The art allusions are immediately apparent in the two-tone packaging: Swoops of electric violet and plum decorate one of the 10-shade eye shadow palettes; hot pink and orange top the cushion-compact highlighter. There is nail polish, a wine-tinted mascara, plus a handful of lipsticks: two matte and two sheer, including a seemingly blackish eggplant that goes on as a featherweight berry. But it's safe to say the most covetable launches are the versatile riffs on kajal: four neutral tones for the eye, and four brighter ones (with accompanying glosses) for the mouth. Wardrobe-y focused, indeed.
Proenza Schouler's New Art-Inspired Makeup Collaboration Is Your New Color Crush
But then what is a wardrobe without some understated basics? That was the beauty mandate backstage today, where Eldridge was busy tending to a very Proenza Schouler cast: a mix of iconic models (Karen Elson, Amber Valletta), young phenoms (Kaia Gerber, Kris Grikaite), and hometown artists (Olympia Scarry, Bunny Rogers). "It really is about that New York cool girl," Eldridge said, explaining that the designers were "anti-foundation," preferring the look of raw skin. (It was a fitting match for the downtown show venue: a hulking shell of concrete that signaled a stripped-back beginning for the label.) Eldridge's hand was barely visible, apart from the deft touches of concealer, the occasional enhanced brow, and a dab of the palest pink gloss from the new Lancôme capsule.
"They don't want to distract from the woman's individual beauty," Elson affirmed of the designers' less-is-more look this season, something that she finds refreshing at a time when "everybody on Instagram is FaceTuned. Can't we all for one minute just look like ourselves and be unafraid of letting even what we might think of as a flaw shine through?" Sure, Elson has tricks for coaxing the best out of her complexion: a Triad facial at Dr. Colbert's office ("you look sort of dewy and glowy afterwards"), plus a stock of her beloved Vintner's Daughter face oil and Augustinus Bader Rich Cream. "As far as good skin-care rules, it's the tried and true stuff: Go to bed early, which I didn't do last night; don't drink, which I didn't do last night," she said with a laugh. "I also think it's about living well!" Perfection is overrated, but experimentation—in true New York spirit—is always welcome, whether that's with a blank canvas or an exuberantly painted one.
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