It's no secret that the fashion and beauty worlds have historically favored exclusivity over inclusivity. Which, sadly, is why a designer casting a show with a majority of models of color is considered a historic move. Zac Posen's fall 2016 show did just that: He debuted his new line with a model lineup that was one of the truest representations of diversity we've seen on the runway.
“Like clothing, it starts with quality product...you have great fabric or [for beauty] great material, then building a color story and a mood within the season that you’re launching, where you have to predict trends and [be] timeless. I wanted [the collection] to work on all skin [tones]; that was really essential to me with color, something that worked color-wise globally."
“Absolutely! At the end of the day, it can work on pretty much any skin tone. Where it came into play is that I kept asking questions: Would this work on x, y, and z? Because it has to! I believe that the world is beautiful because of diversity... I represent that for fashion, kind of globally.
"Creating a warm [lipstick] and a hot [lipstick], in terms of the color element, kind of works differently on [different skin tones]... The eyeshadow palette certainly has that [ability to work on anyone], the HD powder is totally transparent, and the contour can work on a lot of different skin [tones]."
In some ways, our casting message has much larger, longer ramifications than the clothing.
“I read everything, and I found it later, and it made me so proud and happy. You know, this is not something that, when I entered fashion, I thought [about]...[but] I love that I am able to represent different beauty types and pioneer and push our beauty and fashion industry to think globally.
“What’s different and exciting is that makeup puts the process of creation in the wearer’s hands; makeup has the ability to ignite the imagination... I am all about women embracing their creativity, and I think makeup has a great application for that... And for me, this is a launching pad for us to enter the beauty market now, and to enter into the fragrance world in the future.”
Wait, are you working on a fragrance?
“I can’t say yet (laughs), but that’s a tease to fragrance. I love beauty and perfume — the whole sensual experience of getting ready and representing yourself — how you look, how you smell, how you feel, it all goes together.”
Makeup has the ability to ignite the imagination.
“There’s a little Biba in here, a little Liza [Minnelli]... I would look at Art Deco represented in the early '70s. Things that can blend together and colors that seduce you to play... The contour and this really luxe brush, it took the most time in the process to get them to do. I wanted something square, because, as opposed to a round brush, it gives you more mobility. My dad’s a painter, so I grew up with brushes and know how you use them and control them. If it’s square, it gives you more angles to hold it and contour it.
What on the collection wish list didn’t make the cut?
“You know, I was tempted to think up a limited-edition fragrance that went here.”
This is a launching pad for us to enter the beauty market now, and to enter into the fragrance world in the future.
“I do have fragrance on my mind. (laughs) I love it, I develop my own fragrances, and I love the process, just on my own…”
What are your beauty essentials?
“A great moisturizer, an oil, [and] my invisible powder, which I started using on Project Runway myself! A great light foundation, for a clean palette, especially if you’re going to be photographed. I take salt baths — epsom and sea salt is really good; you can also try apple cider in [a bath]. I do a face oil at night. I have had to learn on the 'Zac the performer' side how to take care of your skin and that process, and I have learned a lot of empathy and understanding for women that do wear makeup.”