Red! Rouge! Rosso! No matter how you say it – it evokes a bit of passion and power, particularly when worn on the lips. This week at NYFW, there were more interactive events than ever before, and Shiseido’s Marché Rouge Rouge may have been the most beautiful of them all!
The world of Shisiedo is rich with history – 140 years old, it was Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy before their foray into cosmetics. So the Japanese style bazaar curated by our friend Laila Gohar was a perfect fit into the brand’s DNA. A truly a beautiful atmosphere and a different way to create a special moment amidst all the chaos to get people talking about the brand’s lipstick launch! People were shopping for all kinds of goodies – from fresh fruit on a stick dusted in colorful pigments, to limited edition lip lapel pins made just for the event, it was a fun environment we wanted to share with you!
Oh, we asked Laila to tell us a bit about her process, and asked Dick Page (Shiseido’s Artistic Director and legendary makeup artist!) about all things red too…
As a chef, the sensory affect food has on people is part of the experience. How did the idea of the senses play a role in creating the food for the Shiseido Marche Rouge Rouge?
I’ve sort of moved away from the traditional culinary sense and now more focused on creating multi-sensory experiences around food. For example, right now I’m developing a project where you can see, hear, and taste a potato ! Using technology to create electricity circuits, boost fruit frequency and remix sound etc. When sheseido approached me about a food concept, I thought creating a unique Japanese inspired market was the way to go. From there, I came up with the different food installations. They wanted to focus on the color red since it’s so synonymous with the brand. So I thought within that framework and came up with different market stands / stalls that engaged all the senses through food.
Red is meant to be a color that encourages appetite – getting to pair the color with food seems like both a dream and a challenge. How did you manage to compliment the food with the color red, while maintaining the allure of each?
When thinking about any project I consider the difference principles and elements of design. What it means to cook a form. A color. Or a reaction to a color. Here we explored red. Since there is so much emotion and association to the color it was really fun to think of the different ways to build around that.
The pigment powders are amazing! Where did that idea come from and…how did you actually make them??
I grew up in Egypt. There at tourist sights you have these guys with dyed sand that create little landscapes inside the bottles. So they’ll use different colored sands to “draw” a pyramid with a few camels inside or something. This probably has a name but I don’t know it in English. That was the inspiration. Dick Page who’s the creative director at Shiseido and also a great cook asked me to incorporate the different natural ingredients used in the product. So we thought about dehydrating and sometimes fermenting different foods to make the powder. There was a fermented beet and sumac, hibiscus, turmeric bee pollen and coconut sugar, and Aleppo chili and lime powder. We paired them with different fruits so guests could sift and sprinkle the powders onto the fruit.
Those edible pigments really played into, and resembled, a form of cosmetic – do you believe in any overlap between food and beauty?
I do think there’s an overlap in food and beauty, absolutely. Things that are good for your insides show up on your outsides. And the opposite is true too. Try eating cheeseburgers for a week and see what that does to your face. Water for example is the most important thing when it comes to beauty. I have this problem where I don’t get thirsty often enough so I have to remind myself to keep drinking water, especially when I’m working. Aside from that, I think that food that looks together, for example vegetables in complementary colors, often have complimentary tastes as well. There are no coincidences. Nature is incredible.
What is the ultimate red dish?
Hmmmm. How about a reaction to a red dish? That would be some sort of Mexican mole. Fiery, intense and satisfying!
How has the relationship between beauty and fashion changed since you’ve started in the industry?
Beauty and fashion have always gone hand in hand. I mean, I started doing this in the 80s. Things were a bit looser, a bit organic, and now things feel much tighter and in control. Everything is punched in and connected to each other in a way that I don’t always think is necessary or healthy, but in a way the kind of collision of ideas is interesting. The fact that things come along and they are super attractive and forced to adapt to it and react to it. So rather someone have it handed down from someone higher or someone saying “do this,” now people can make their minds up. Which is sort of cooler in a way. It’s like a global peer pressure (laughs).
Are you nostalgic for the 90s London at all?
No. I mean, I love all that stuff, but I did all that stuff. I mean, my shirt here – this is one of my original t-shirts from 1981, which is Vivienne Westwood from the Pirate Collection. I like the idea that time is a continual thing, and stuff just pops into your time frame. Which is why I don’t believe in trends, it doesn’t make any difference. You either like a thing or you don’t like a thing. You shouldn’t like a thing just because everyone else likes a thing. So I think a fondness and affection for things are different than nostalgia.
Okay, last question. Why is a red lip so powerful?
Because it’s a media. We’re all red inside. I mean, its arousal, its brightness, its dynamic, it makes people look at your mouth – which is kind of freaky. That’s my theory, which no one else has really picked up on. Because a lot of women who say they aren’t comfortable with red lips is because they can’t… which means they won’t. To have someone look at your mouth is a very personal thing, it’s weird. Everyone is used to being looked in the eyes, so sometimes the thing about red is that it draws the eye to the mouth. That’s a shift in the dynamic. I like that it can mean anything. It can mean corny love, it can mean Marilyn Monroe, or all the slobs in between.