Beauty

Stroke of genius: The new NARS and Andy Warhol makeup collection

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Geoffrey Ross Image by: Geoffrey Ross Author: Elle Canada

Beauty

Stroke of genius: The new NARS and Andy Warhol makeup collection

By:
The idea of owning a piece of Andy Warhol’s work has always been a fantasy of mine—one usually conjured up while I’m buying a lottery ticket. But as I admire the artist’s iconic Flowers series of paintings (valued at nearly $2 million) at the Martin Lawrence Gallery in SoHo, New York, I’m actually just minutes away from popping a mini­ature set into my purse. No, I’m not about to pull off an elaborate heist; I’m in the city for the launch of the new limited-edition NARS Andy Warhol Holiday Collection, which includes a makeup palette that is an exact likeness of one of Warhol’s Flowers paintings.

“People say that Andy wasn’t conscious of what he was doing,” says R. L. Sparks, senior consultant for the Martin Lawrence Galleries, as we tour Warhol’s pop-art series, a permanent collection at the gallery. “But I think every move was calculated; he knew exactly where he was in history and the effect he would have on culture. He had an ability to keep up with public demand and argu­ably a better business acumen than the majority of his peers.” The same thing may be said of François Nars, whose overtly glamorous style and unique approach to beauty earned him notoriety and helped define him as an industry rule-breaker in the late ’80s. Nars—who is no stranger to collaborations and recently created a line of nail polishes inspired by Thakoon’s spring/summer 2012 collection—says that this is the brand’s most intensive collaboration to date. He and his team consulted directly with the (no­toriously selective) Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to make it happen. “I’ve always loved Andy, both his work and what I’ve learned about him as a person, which is why I think the foundation was open to the project,” says Nars when we meet later that afternoon. “I wanted it to reflect his spirit and make sure it was about having fun.”

Warhol’s persona wasn’t Nars’ only source of inspiration—so was the artist’s frenetic party lifestyle. “I just love the idea of The Factory and what it must have been like to be there with so many different people,” he says, referring to the infamous silver-painted studio that served as a crash pad and creative hub for artists in the ’60s. With friends like Marc Jacobs and Steven Meisel, Nars is also familiar with the celebrity circle, and, much like Warhol, he surrounds himself with “superstars,” including idiosyncratic beauties like Isabella Rossellini and Daphne Guinness (who was, coincidentally, a staple at The Factory).

Fittingly, the new collection is meant to be “worn out to a crazy club party that lasts all night,” says Nars, smearing a bright lipgloss across the back of my hand. The bold, shimmering strawberry-pink shade was inspired by Candy Darling (the transsexual actress who starred in Warhol’s film Women in Revolt). In fact, Warhol’s image-rich, character-laden world is reflected in every product in the collection, including Debbie Harry (an eye and cheek palette inspired by Warhol’s use of “diamond dust”) and Edie Sedgwick (black liner, naturally). The challenges of interpreting the vivid colours, eclectic social scene and irreverent charm synonymous with the pop-art movement took more than a year to get right. “I wanted to create a line that had edge but didn’t go too far,” explains Nars. “Even though I may want to create something crazy, it can’t be unwearable.”

Creating makeup that appeals to the masses doesn’t mean that Nars isn’t pushing limits. With his impeccably groomed beard, thick horn-rimmed glasses and tailored suit, he is physically Andy Warhol’s opposite, but he certainly mirrors the artist’s boundary- pushing mindset. “You cannot separate art from rebellion,” he says. “Only work that breaks down barriers and has something to say inspires me. People who are conservative and just want to make something ‘pretty’ are boring.”

Nars credits his innate curiosity and “childlike need to play” with keeping him inspired. “I think that’s what I admire most about Andy,” muses Nars at the end of our conversation. “I have several friends who knew Andy. They all say that he was a kid at heart and would have gone crazy for this collection. I’m very proud of what we created, and it means a lot to know that Andy would have loved it too.”

To read more information on the NARS and Andy Warhol collection, read on to the next page... 00-350x500ANDY-6-EC1012edit.jpgWarhol’s persona wasn’t Nars’ only source of inspiration—so was the artist’s frenetic party lifestyle. “I just love the idea of The Factory and what it must have been like to be there with so many different people,” he says, referring to the infamous silver-painted studio that served as a crash pad and creative hub for artists in the ’60s. With friends like Marc Jacobs and Steven Meisel, Nars is also familiar with the celebrity circle, and, much like Warhol, he surrounds himself with “superstars,” including idiosyncratic beauties like Isabella Rossellini and Daphne Guinness (who was, coincidentally, a staple at The Factory).

Fittingly, the new collection is meant to be “worn out to a crazy club party that lasts all night,” says Nars, smearing a bright lipgloss across the back of my hand. The bold, shimmering strawberry-pink shade was inspired by Candy Darling (the transsexual actress who starred in Warhol’s film Women in Revolt). In fact, Warhol’s image-rich, character-laden world is reflected in every product in the collection, including Debbie Harry (an eye and cheek palette inspired by Warhol’s use of “diamond dust”) and Edie Sedgwick (black liner, naturally). The challenges of interpreting the vivid colours, eclectic social scene and irreverent charm synonymous with the pop-art movement took more than a year to get right. “I wanted to create a line that had edge but didn’t go too far,” explains Nars. “Even though I may want to create something crazy, it can’t be unwearable.”

Creating makeup that appeals to the masses doesn’t mean that Nars isn’t pushing limits. With his impeccably groomed beard, thick horn-rimmed glasses and tailored suit, he is physically Andy Warhol’s opposite, but he certainly mirrors the artist’s boundary- pushing mindset. “You cannot separate art from rebellion,” he says. “Only work that breaks down barriers and has something to say inspires me. People who are conservative and just want to make something ‘pretty’ are boring.”

Nars credits his innate curiosity and “childlike need to play” with keeping him inspired. “I think that’s what I admire most about Andy,” muses Nars at the end of our conversation. “I have several friends who knew Andy. They all say that he was a kid at heart and would have gone crazy for this collection. I’m very proud of what we created, and it means a lot to know that Andy would have loved it too.”

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Stroke of genius: The new NARS and Andy Warhol makeup collection