"My grandmother Zehava was a blond bombshell who looked like she could have been on the silver screen. She always had her hair set ‘just so’ and wore red lipstick. She definitely provided insight into the world of glamour as I was growing up. I’ve always loved black-and-white movies—Rita Hayworth is my favourite redhead, Lauren Bacall is my favourite brunette and Marilyn Monroe is my favourite blonde. I thought of the three of them as I was making these lipsticks because they’re all different in personality, so the lipsticks have different attitudes.
READ MORE: 12 beauty products that sound good enough to eat
“I always like to say ‘Dress from the feet up.’ Old Hollywood was an era of rich accessories: Women wouldn’t leave the house without their hat, gloves, shoes, matching stockings and lipstick. When I started designing clothes, I always created the shoes, hats and bags to go with each outfit—I was very accessories focused. At the time, I didn’t know that you could study to be a shoe designer; it had always been about creating a head-to-toe look. For me, makeup is also an accessory that can change an outfit—wearing red lips or a smoky eye matters.
“The essence of my brand always comes from a classic bygone era. My accessories tend to be a bit more embellished, but when it comes to dressing and makeup, it’s about having balance. My makeup collection had to be classic and timeless. Your shoes can change, but the makeup stays the same.”
The M.A.C Cosmetics Charlotte Olympia collection includes 21 pieces essential for capturing the quirky vibe of the Brit designer. Clockwise, from top left: Zoom Lash Mascara in Lofty Brown ($21.50); Pigment in Overdressed ($27.50); Cream Colour Base in Sepia and Golden Age ($27.50 each); Lipstick in Leading Lady Red, Retro Rouge and Scarlet Starlet ($22.50 each); Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in He Said, She Said ($25.50), at maccosmetics.com.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter