It’s got to be the most top secret beauty launch I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to a few). Last week at a secret location, only revealed to the press moments beforehand, I attended the most anticipated makeup launch since, NARS. I’m not even supposed to be writing about this, but it seems our friends across the pond have broken the news and as we speak it’s causing a ripple on blogs everywhere.
Topshop makeup, launching in May, is a colourful, spirited collection of fashion brights, in luxe professional finishes, that, if the internet buzz is anything to go by, will be in such high demand we expect stampedes the day it hits shops. Why? In short, it’s the biggest news for the fashion chain since they hired the eponymous Kate Moss to front a range of clothing.
If, like me, you’re old enough to remember Topshop’s first attempt at makeup in the mid nineties – before it became the Topshop it is today - then you may have reservations. First time round, it was a bit of a jumble sale of unrefined eye shadows and few waxy lipsticks. but put all that to one side. Because, this time around, they’ve thrown everything at it. ‘We’ve completely started from scratch’, says Topshop Managing Director, Mary Homer.
Designed by Topshop designer, Lizzie Dawson, whose day job is whipping up to-die-for blouses and lingerie, the range plays on the experimental nature of the Topshop customer, who’ll think nothing of throwing hair up into a grungy bun and sticking a giant flower in it, wearing a belt as a headband, a scarf around a handbag, and so on.
Expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to colour. Shades like The Big Smoke – a putty-coloured nail polish, not dissimilar to Chanel’s sell-out Particuliere, and Thistle – a pretty purple kohl pencil, are inspired by fashion, not makeup trends. And whilst the makeup finish on all products is professional standard, there’s not a huge focus on foundations. Skin Tint, a second-skin tinted moisturiser and Skin Glow, a face brightener (amazing under Skin Tint) are the only bases in the range. ‘We want girls to look real and their makeup to look lived-in,’ says makeup artist Hannah Murray.
In fact, unlike many beauty ranges, there’s no prescribed Topshop look. Murray, the makeup artist behind the Topshop fashion campaigns, wants girls to mix and match. ‘There are no rules anymore. We would expect and encourage our customers to play and experiment with this range, and make it their own,’ she says. Hmm…a slick of gloss on lids, cream blush and a dot of glitter on lips. I can see it already.
But that’s not all. Seasonal trend ranges, the first of which is festival inspired, will come and go to keep the buzz alive. Lizzie Dawson travelled from Paris to Tokyo to research how girls get ready for festivals. ‘Usually you’ve got to go to specialist shops to find the kind of makeup girls wear at festivals,’ she says. Like glitter, face art crayons and false lashes for starters. ‘We wanted to offer fun, adventurous products on the high street at an affordable price,’ she adds.
Want to see the makeup at work? Then check out Topshop’s Unique fashion show, where Murray created a ‘woodland Brownies’ look on models. She used Skin Tint to warm skin and Tint on cheeks for a weathered effect, and applied gold paint on the inner corner of the eye and down the bridge of the nose, she told fashion industry bible WWD.
I could go on and on, but I’ll save the best bits for our exclusive shoot with Hannah Murray, out in April. It’s a while to wait, we know, but we couldn’t resist telling you about it now even if it means a long wait. Things this good don’t stay secret for long….circle May in you diary now!
- Annabel Jones