After high profile fashion pairings such as Lanvin for H&M and Valentino for Gap, perhaps it was only natural that beauty companies too should want a piece of the collaborative action. Cult and cultured Aussie beauty brand Aesop were one of the first – teaming up with clothing brand A.P.C to create a special hand washing detergent earlier in 2010. Then came Marchesa and Le Metier De Beaute who produced a capsule collection of palettes and lipglosses; subtle and subliminal, the perfect accompaniment to a Marchesa evening gown.
Now, there’s Marcel Wanders for MAC, a capsule collection, only available online (maccosmetics.co.uk) that takes make up packaging design to the next level. The beautiful baroque curvilinear packaging stands in marked contrast to the minimalist Nineties design of regular MAC products. These items look like glossy black chess pieces rather than an aesthetes’ make up arsenal.
Wanders claims he was inspired by Vermeer and, Girl With a Pearl Earring and as a result some of the colours are curiously naturalistic. For example there are light gold and golden nude lipglosses that add very lucent party season sparkle to your face. “Designing beauty packaging immediately made me think of the painterly connection,” says Wanders of his work. Indeed the suitably artistic brush roll (£60) is one of the standout items.
Whilst we love Wanders for MAC – it’s doing something truly innovative with product design, more collaborations are on their way. February 1st sees Milly for Clinique hit counters (a palette designed by the cutesy floral NYC brand), and later in spring there’s Tibi for Bobbi Brown, another niche fashion brand allied to a beauty monolith. For now, December, it’s all about Marcel Wanders for us.
Words by Bethan Cole