Love Letters to New York: Upper East Side
As told by Michelle Violy Harper. In Collaboration with Make Up For Ever.
For some people, a swipe of lipstick is as integral to their daily routine as brushing their teeth or washing their hair. They feel almost naked, incomplete without it—if you didn’t know better, you’d swear they practically came out of the womb wearing perfectly applied lip color. Michelle Violy Harper is definitely one of those women.
Harper’s look is an ever-evolving, almost revolving door-like rotation of personas and characters—a full flapper look complete with authentic 1920s wiggle dress and powdered wig one day, an elaborate updo (her love of wigs is very real) with shaved sides and some avant garde gown the next. The one unwavering consistency? You guessed it—a statement lip.
As Harper herself told us, “I'll always have a full face of makeup. And always a bold lipstick. You'll never see me walking down the street wearing just lip balm or something. That would be like me walking down the street wearing khakis. That's the thing about New York—I can be whoever I want here.”
In our series exploring the daily routines of New York women, the neighborhoods they call home and the beauty and fashion staples that define their style, there was no better name to represent the Upper East Side—a classically New York neighborhood that’s name alone is synonymous with uptown refinement, yet is quickly becoming home to a brand new class of young creatives—than Harper.
“I love my apartment—especially the proximity to the Upper East Side, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods. I always tell people it's the new downtown. I've only been here for one year, and it's changed so quickly. It's not the uptown of days past, it's a lot of young people and entrepreneurs with chutzpah doing cool things, which I really like.
“I'm a self-professed beauty junkie. I must have sixty red lipsticks—I love starting my day with a red.”
“I'm a self-professed beauty junkie. I must have sixty red lipsticks—I love starting my day with a red. If I could profess my love forever, I'd never stop. I have an obsession with geishas, so it comes from there. I'll change my look completely from day-to-day, in really bold and dramatic ways. It's the one area where I really play, and play hard.
“I love to start the day with the matcha at Lady M. It’s so impeccable, with everyone hanging out and eating tiny Japanese desserts. It's kind of my secret place—I won't take just anyone there.”
“That's the thing about New York—I can be whoever I want here.”
“I have no rules about what to wear for day, or night—I think that's all nonsense. If it looks good, it looks good! I'm loving a slightly grey lip—it looks really chic, you just have to have flush cheeks to pull it off and still look good. I'll pair it with beige or taupe eyeshadow, and super long, girly lashes. You wouldn't think of it, but it looks beautiful. Even in the daytime!
“Sometimes I'll take a midday trip to the Assouline shop at The Mark Hotel, just because. With places like this, you can't replicate them anywhere on the planet. It's so inspiring, and so gorgeous. It really feels like classic New York. I try to pop in every once in awhile—it's super magical.
“But even if I'm just shopping for the day, I'll always have a full face of makeup. And always a bold lipstick. You'll never see me walking down the street wearing just lip balm or something. That would be like me walking down the street wearing khakis. That's the thing about New York—I can be whoever I want here.”
Michelle is wearing Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in C304 Orange, C405 Stage Red, and M500 Wine Violet.Pretty, right? Find your shade (and then some) at Sephora.com (where else?).