Primping with Prabal Gurung

Getting glossy with the designer and his new super luxe collection for M.A.C. at his NYC studio.

Around here, we’ve gotten into the habit of requesting the odd beauty product that strikes our interest be sent to Cov HQ. You know, when we hear about something (like Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream, Frank’s Body Scrub or just a pile of dry shampoo), it kind of becomes something we’ve got to experience ourselves. But when we got the call about Prabal Gurung’s collection for M.A.C., it was the first time we actually got on a plane ourselves for a set of makeup—and of course, the sit down with the designer himself didn't hurt.

At this point, Gurung isn’t just one of our favorite designers and a biannual highlight of New York Fashion Week, but instead, catching up with him is kind of its own pleasure. And one that we take pretty seriously around here when we get the chance. So there was zero hesitation when the M.A.C. team alerted us to a little event (and a viewing of the all-important collection) in Gurung’s honor.

When we arrived at the designer’s studio, it all kind of came together in one big picture. The gold packaging was a glamorous, glossy and totally modern as Gurung’s ready-to-wear and looked totally at home once we got to styling lipsticks and palettes next to some seriously covetable stilettos. The designer worked on the collection for a full two years, so we guess it kind of makes sense that it should fit so seamlessly into his ouvre (one which we are very much behind). Just like adding one of his painterly printed frocks to your wardrobe, the luxe lip glosses (that somewhat crazy looking purple shade might just be the perfect, slightly more subtle way to imitate Joan Small’s notorious Met look) and weighty brushes are the perfect proverbial cherry on top of your beauty arsenal. And one which we most definitely used when the time came to get glam for the designer’s party that night at the Boom Boom Room. While we’ve chatted with Gurung about fashion before, it was a bit of a breath of fresh air to get the designers thoughts on beauty and how one really special product really just changes the game (or at least your 10-minute morning routine).

On the genesis of the of the collection and that oh-so-luxurious packaging…

“M.A.C. has been supporting me from day one, since my first collection. Even before they knew who I was, ultimately. I talked to them and they were like 'We’re on board,' because they saw something [in me]. So two years back they asked me if I would be interested in doing a collaboration with them. I looked back to what they’ve done in the past and asked if there was any way we could change the packaging, because all they’ve done before, I feel, is a variation of their black. My only request was that. Initially, they were a little hesitant, but after that, they were like 'alright, let’s go for it' and that’s why it took a little bit longer than normal.”

 

On first discovering the world of beauty…

“My first fall into beauty was my mother, back home in Nepal. I would be fascinated by the little packages from the little makeup kits that she would have that would transform [her]. CHANEL, Dior... all that makeup and perfume, I didn’t even understand what those were. I have a very personal and emotional connection with makeup so what I wanted to create was something [where] the product in itself had that kind of staying power.”

 

On how two very special artists inspired the collection….

“I always thought that makeup was something girls take for granted. You dump it in your bag or whatever, and throughout [creating] my whole collection I looked at artists and I was like, who does this kind of stuff where they turn everyday objects into something desirable? The inspiration behind it was Damien Hirst and Sylvie Fleury—their work around everyday objects and how they treat them as an art object.”

 

On the all-important red lip…

“In terms of the color, I wanted to start with a red lip. They asked, 'what's the one key item that is important to you?' and I said, if there’s just one thing that I think is extremely important, if I was to do makeup and it was the only thing I could do, that would be a red lip. From there, it started the whole conversation."

 

On the whole package…

“I’ve been able to just do clothes and apparel, but if you see my runway shows and everything that I do, the women that I dress, it’s always been women who don’t downplay. It’s beautiful clothes and makeup. It’s a full look. These women have incredible substance and who are unafraid of being feminine.”

 

On embracing your femininity…

“That’s one aspect of femininity, or [even] feminism, that hasn’t been celebrated, is the strength that comes from embracing your femininity. It’s always been this old cliché of what is to be empowered, but I think there’s such a strength in just really celebrating [femininity]. I’ve always loved that.”

 

On the Prabal beauty look…

“[My favorite beauty look is] two things: for me, it’s a good red lip or like a really beautifully done, light, top eyeliner.”

 

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