Interview with Liz Goldwyn: MAC Collaboration

By  November 02, 2012

We have some exclusive news for you all to get excited about in time for Christmas…. MAC Cosmetics has joined forces with fashion consultant Liz Goldwyn (who among other things has been the New York Editor of French Vogue and has worked with the likes of Shiseido, Sotheby’s and Sonia Rykiel) to create some fabulous make-up brush kits that offer us professional quality with a fashion forward design. We caught up with Liz to find out more about the collaboration…

Q: You have some history with M·A·C. How did this particular collaboration come about?

A: I’ve had a longstanding relationship with John Demsey and M·A·C was very supportive of my documentary Pretty Things. He and I were in L.A. during Oscar Week and we were speaking about cosmetic bags. I asked him why M·A·C wasn’t making any at the time, to which he replied, “Why don’t you do it?” Later, he put me in touch with M·A·C‘s wonderful Creative Director James Gager. He was familiar with my work and I presented him my ideas. The rest is history!

Q: What was the creative process like?

A: I began by going through my own collection of lingerie to find the right blend of nets and laces. I had to source modern fabrics but wanted to capture that vintage feeling. I located a pair of treasured 1950s leopard print panties to reference and I sent them to M∙A∙C to have the pattern updated. It was quite funny because I originally bought them on Ebay when I was 17 or 18—they probably cost $6! They are important to my work and collection so I sent them with the condition that they would be returned.

I made pen and ink sketches with watercolour because I wanted the M·A·C bags  to have a very specific pastel, lingerie-like quality with underlays of silk and overlays of the net and lace. As I was working on the sketches, I drew all the makeup inside the bags in order to envision how it would look. It was quite arts and crafts style.
Once we created prototypes, I used the bags myself in order to road test them. I travel a lot and wanted to carry them around to get a sense of what worked and what didn’t. I also have lots of lovely girlfriends whose opinions I value. I knew I was doing something right when people made comments like, “I want those! Where can I get them!?”

Fabulousness Primped Out Perfectly Plush Brush Kit

Fabulousness Primped Out Perfectly Plush Brush Kit

Q: Obviously, you’re one of the world’s leading experts on vintage lingerie and burlesque costumes. How did this passion and expertise translate when it came to this project?

A: I’ve been a collector since I was very young, so naturally, this coloured my designs. I have these vintage lingerie bags that I stow all my bras and stockings in when I travel, but of course, life was different 50 or 60 years ago.
Essentially, it came down to thinking about how to update yet retain this 1950s vintage boudoir sensibility—an Ava Gardner type of woman who’s voluptuous and confident. Personally, that’s the era of lingerie and clothing I find fits my body and aesthetic. And of course, I kept in mind the attributes that burlesque and pin-up girls embodied when they put on their atomic bullet bras. Their undergarments were almost weapon-like and the “bad girl” sensibility emerged. I wanted the bags to have a good girl/bad girl duality with the outside being soft and feminine and the inside being tough. They look delicate, but they’re very durable.
Q: Can you talk about your signature look? We’re obsessed with your red lipstick!

A: Thanks! Red lipstick has been my beauty staple for years. For example, I have my grandmother’s old 1920s jewellery vanities that still have her powders, fragrance and red lipstick in them.

I show up to Pilates or yoga at 8am wearing my red lipstick. . I don’t wear foundation and I suppose I really should curl my eyelashes before I go out. The truth is, unless I have a meeting or an event, I can be a bit lazy about makeup, but I feel like a slick of red lipstick is enough to hide my under-eye circles. My beauty routine tends to be on the minimal side.

Q: So what is in your M·A·C bags?

A: In the brush bag I have mineral powder, three different kinds of mascara, an eyelash curler, a mascara brush and several eye pencils. For the hanging bag, it’s sunscreen, a sewing kit, essential oils and my hair brush. I try to keep the clutch fairly streamlined: my cell phone, credit card, cash, lipstick. I firmly believe a lady should switch her bag at night!

Fabulousness Primped Out Lip Look Bag in Lavish Coral

Fabulousness Primped Out Lip Look Bag in Lavish Coral

Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I recently wrote and directed a new short film called “Painted Lady” with Jena Malone that will premiere in an art installation in November. I’m also working on a new documentary that I can’t talk about yet but I’ll give you a hint: It’s a biography. I’m collaborating with skateboard company Altamont on a collection of pin-up inspired T-shirts and hoodies coming out in the fall. I’m really excited about it because I grew up around skaters and appreciate their aesthetic. I have 12 nieces and nephews, so I’m thrilled to be reaching a larger audience with affordable pieces and prove that glamour doesn’t necessarily have to be inaccessible. A simple lipstick has amazing transformational power. You just feel a little more empowered with a slick of colour making your face shine brighter.