Before I met the designers behind womenswear brand Proenza Schouler, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, at a hotel in New York City back in May, someone told me they weren’t “beauty boys.” They don’t know exactly how to use the makeup they created for Lancôme’s latest designer-approved collection, which made its official debut on the runway at the Proenza Schouler spring/summer 2019 show during New York Fashion Week on Monday.
I had a feeling someone would give me this warning, but it completely altered the way I usually approach interviews about beauty collaborations. When YouTube stars like Shayla Mitchell and Nicole Guerriero or celebrities like Jennifer Lopez team up with a cosmetics company on products, they’re usually creating products that reflect their signature look or making their dream beauty products happen.
With this in mind, the first thing I’ll ask them is how they personally like to use the products. McCollough and Hernandez don’t use their new Lancôme products, though. Instead, they tested them on their hands and arms, becoming pro swatchers in the process. “I’ve painted my nails, like, five times today,” Hernandez says, showing me the four polishes in the collection. “They’re like art supplies to us,” McCollough adds. “They take us back to art school. The Lip Kajal Duo Chromas feel like oil pastels and take us back to that whole world.”
McCollough and Hernandez followed what they know — like art, their runway shows, and places — when coming up with the 23-piece collection. With its eye shadow palettes, a liquid highlighter, kajal eyeliners, lipsticks, and an eggplant mascara, it’s a colorful follow-up to their first-ever fragrance Arizona, which launched in January. “That was very much an out-west kind of world, and we wanted to take this back to a very kind of New York moment,” Hernandez explains. “Our last New York show before we went to Paris was a celebration of our New York.” With this idea in their heads, they became interested in the works of graphic yet minimalist painters Ellsworth Kelly and Carmen Herrera that they saw at the Whitney. “We were really influenced by that color block,” Hernandez adds. “We weren’t quite sure what kind of shapes we wanted to use in that formal element.” Enter the iconic rose from Lancôme’s logo. They decided to zoom in on it, and the result became the basis for the graphics used on the packaging for the collection.
New York also played a part in the inclusivity of the collection. “We wanted to keep the product offer pretty broad, lots of color, lots of variation,” Hernandez says. “If New York is sort of the starting point for this whole thing, it should be really diverse. There should be something for everyone. It should be fun and inclusive. It should be light and fun and not so serious.”
Like Arizona, the makeup collection allows more people to have a bit of Proenza Schouler in lives. “It’s been cool to work on products that are still these luxury products but more accessible to a broader audience,” McCollough says. “A brand like Lancôme has such a broad reach, and it can reach so many more people, so many different kinds of people than what we can do with just the ready-to-wear and the accessories and shoes.” He adds that lipstick or a fragrance from a high-end brand can help introduce people to other facets of it, recalling, “I remember when I was in high school, I bought CK One before I ever bought a piece of Calvin Klein clothing. I couldn’t afford it, but that was my first introduction to that brand.”
Even though they aren’t smoky-eye or winged-liner pros, McCollough and Hernandez are fully aware of the power of makeup. “We wanted to create something that people can take these colors and use them in their own way,” Hernandez says. “It’s such a personal thing — makeup. What we love about it is that with the same tools you can create a million different kinds of looks. Everyone has different things they want to accentuate or different things they want to play with, so it’s nice to pick what’s best suited for yourself.”
They point out that the new eye shadow palette can help you stick with a no-makeup makeup routine with the neutral hues or experiment with the popular pink eye makeup look. McCollough and Hernandez, however, are quick to admit that they know nothing about beauty trends. The addition of on-trend shades in the collection was purely coincidental. “We just kind of went with our instincts and what felt cool and right to us,” McCollough says. He points out the tomato-red lipstick called Graphic Orange, in particular. “We’ve done that a number of times in many previous shows,” he adds. “That’s a color we’ve always come back to.”
The highlighter included in the collection, which comes in a cushion compact, also pays homage to past runway shows. “When you think of Proenza Schouler makeup on the runway and what not, it’s very much about perfect, flawless skin and a shot of color like a lip or an eye,” Hernandez says. “Whatever it is, the foundation is always perfect skin.” McCollough adds that the highlighter helps you achieve just that, complete with a dewy finish and a hint of shimmer. At $39, it’s a simple way to have high-fashion skin.
You can shop everything from the Lancôme x Proenza Schouler collab now on lancome.com.
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