Alessandro Michele Debuts a Fetching New Collection of Lipsticks for Gucci
Harkening Hollywood's Golden Age, this new lipstick collection makes for more than just a statement.
"Perfection is boring." I feel like this is something Bette Davis might have said, defiantly, and it applies here.
Evocative of that statement, imperfection never looked so good, because all is perfect with the new Gucci Lipstick campaign. And in signifying that authentic beauty lies in imperfection, no one embraces and celebrates individuality like Alessandro Michele, whose work is unapologetically provocative, eccentric, and defiant. A visionary, an iconoclast, Michele brings so much liberation and freedom with his debuting Gucci Makeup collection and campaign—starting with the lips—that one can't help but squeal with joy, if only out of sheer delight and surprise!
"The idea of the campaign is to create a representation that is close to reality with a humanized point of view, however seemingly strange,” Michele says. “The strangeness is human, so it's beautiful. The shots by Martin Parr are like bullets. They are direct, dry, and then they are inclusive, because these women are wearing makeup in a very liberating way.”
Michele harkened Hollywood's glamorous Golden Age, from the Roaring 20s to the 50s, evoking famous "characters" portrayed by screen stars of yesteryear along with their films. Agatha Orange, inspired by the 1951 movie Goodbye, My Fancy, starring Joan Crawford, is part of the satin assemblage, and Eadie Scarlet, from 1934’s The Girl from Missouri, with Jean Harlow, in the sheer category, just to cite two examples.
"I thought back to the lipsticks I saw in my life, when I was little, my mum's lipstick, who was always inspired by the 50s, and I wanted to give it the most powerful meaning, that of the Hollywood divas and the mythology of cinema, which first put the lips in the spotlight," shares Michele.
Gucci Lipstick still-life, click right to see all three pillars.
The Lipstick collection comprises an impressive 58 shades and comes in three different textures: Satin finish (36), which is highly pigmented, and of which nine can also be used on the eyes as well (but only three are available Stateside); Sheer finish (16), which is perfectly tinted and lucid; and Balm (4), which is moisturizing and lightly blushed with a translucent finish. All are priced at $38.00 and went nationwide this week.
Then, there are the lipstick casings, which are so fetching, feeling vintage not just in looks but in size as well as weight. The Satin lipstick casing is hand-designed by Michele himself, who etched a filigree pattern onto gold vessels—convincingly vintage-style. Showcasing the sheer category is a rose-floral pattern, like wallpaper from the 50s aesthetic. And the balm is in a stunning turquoise sheath lifted from the shiny, automobile-color-scheme generation. It's evident that no detail, even the tiniest, was overlooked, and that they had to have Michele's stamp of approval. Gucci global makeup artist Thomas de Kluyver can attest to that.
A young and über-talented makeup artist who was hand-picked by Michele, de Kluyver acted as the creative executioner and translator of sorts, and the melding of their creative minds flourished into some kind of magical realization of the lipstick campaign’s look. They managed to bring about the classic world of beauty into the modern without losing the integrity of both generations.
As de Kluyver said while addressing a roomful of beauty aficionados, “My makeup vision is form individuality. Alessandro's individuality is a form of self-expression. His vision for Gucci is the same, and the commonality of its basic understanding makes up a great working relationship. We also have a similar way of working together in terms of references ... something from the past, something from now, and then merge them. That's my taste.” And the two seem to do it with much humor and romance—the outcome is authentic and real.
De Kluyver also shared that working on the campaign shoot was very much like classic times, back when movie starlets did screen tests. "We do makeup-test day like the old days, before the actual shoot date. The beauty of it all is that we can try things, without having a time limit, in a way. What luxury! We have a day to play…. We are given the time to create and explore," explained de Kluyver, who debuted his work for Gucci on the runway for Fall 2019.
Ingrid Bergman once said, "Be yourself. The world worships the original." And that applies to Alessandro Michele and his world indeed.