If the successes of Nasty Gal and #Girlboss are any indication, Sophia Amoruso is a force to be reckoned with. She has firmly established herself as a cutting-edge CEO — someone who's defied the odds by turning a small eBay vintage-clothing business into one of fashion’s most closely watched empires. So, when rumors of a beauty collection started bubbling up earlier this year, it seemed like a no-brainer.
But, she knew she'd have to start small. “Beauty is not an easy thing to get into,” Amoruso admits, adding that her focus is still mainly on fashion. So, for her first venture into Makeup Land, the self-made woman weighed her options, got inventive, and decided (as many fashion execs do) on a collaboration.
“MAC is like the Apple of makeup,” she explains. “[It] is an institution, but also a brand that’s made for real professionals. It’s also a really great product. We’re just dipping our toes [into beauty] right now, and they were the perfect partner.”
For her debut, Amoruso put out a tightly edited line: three lipsticks and a nail lacquer. “The lip has always been a part of the Nasty Gal look,” she says. “We sell everything we shoot, clothing-wise, but since the beginning of the company, people have always asked about the lipstick [the models are] wearing.”
Now, they can finally get it — with a glossy, red nail polish, called Flaming Rose, to match. “It’s one color I’ve always defaulted back to,” she says. The lipsticks, which come in MAC’s iconic matte finish, are available in Stunner, a classic blue-red; Runner, a moody burgundy; and Gunner, a deep violet.
Naturally, Amoruso conceptualized the hues in terms of clothing. “Stunner is wearing high-waisted jeans, a vintage tee, and a moto jacket. She lives in this color. Runner is pulled out at night, with a clean eye and her hair back. It’s for when she’s feeling slightly sinister. I’ve worn it with all black. And, Gunner, I’ve just never seen something like this. It’s cool with all white, and I have this, like, heavy-metal, silver-chain necklace…just super simple, bold, and a strong accessory.”
Such standout shades may fit the Nasty Gal aesthetic, but they are pretty over-the-top, especially coming from someone who’s been in the spotlight for giving practical, no-BS career advice. “If you show up [for an interview] and look professional enough, I don’t think your lip color should matter,” Amoruso insists. “It’s all about the combination of things.”
The key to pulling off that #Girlboss look, she explains, has little to do with looking perfectly polished. “There’s a slightly disheveled nature to everything Nasty Gal,” she explains. “A lot of people take makeup very literally…they’re like pros when they get ready. But, if your eyebrows are done, and your skin is perfect, and there’s blush, and you’ve got gradient eyeshadow…it just doesn’t look as cool. Stand next to a fan for a second, or blot your lip.”
This is funny, given that Amoruso isn’t exactly low-maintenance: She’s a Brazilian Blowout regular, a client of legendary colorist Tracey Cunningham, a devotee of celebrity dermatologist Dr. Lancer’s famous (and stringent) skin-care “Method,” and rarely seen without makeup.
Beauty has been an integral part of her evolution from struggling entrepreneur to a member of the Forbes Ones to Watch list (with a net worth of $250 million, she's likely to make its list of 400 richest Americans). “When I was working by myself, I didn’t put makeup on,” she says. “My hygiene went way downhill. So [now], getting ready in the morning is good for me personally.” Perhaps, that explains why the collection is so focused — it's an immediate way to make a statement for those short on time. Regardless, it's perfect for the young, modern woman who embodies Amoruso’s very current aesthetic.
Most importantly, this endeavor is symbolic of her return to the company she's founded. "I’ve doubled, and tripled, down on the business," she explains. "The book was amazing, but I was away from the office, and we’re still a young company." In the next chapter of her career, it’s inevitable that Nasty Gal and #Girlboss become even more intertwined. “People tweet at me about #Girlboss conferences… They’re taking the book and doing what they want with it, and I hope that this collaboration is the same thing.”
Amoruso clearly knows the transformative power of both style and beauty. That's what makes this alliance so epic: While many makeup companies have done collaborations with fashion’s influencers (MAC has Prabal Gurung lined up for later this fall, and NARS has a nail-polish line with 3.1 Phillip Lim), Amoruso stands out for being more than just a brand or another celebrity — she's also a female CEO, an author, and the head of a multi-million dollar empire.
“It’s an interesting time for women, and I feel lucky to be a part of that conversation,” she says. “And, I’m no women’s historian…but I am about people making decisions for themselves and breaking the rules.”
So, even if we can’t upend fashion e-commerce like she has, we can show up to work wearing a decidedly unconventional violet lipstick. Today, makeup. Tomorrow: Who knows?
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