Wende Zomnir's love of Prince goes back to when she was a child in the '80s. Like millions of devoted fans, Prince was "everything" to the Urban Decay founder. "My sister and I were completely obsessed with Prince," Zomnir tells Refinery29. "His music, the way he dresses, the way he did his makeup — we tried to copy him in every way."
Fans and observers would concur: Prince was legendary, and the impact that artists like him leave behind stay with fans forever. A makeup collection honoring the late performer has always been on Zomnir's wishlist. Today, that dream is a reality: The Urban Decay x Prince limited collection is here, and features two palettes, kajal eyeliner, a highlighter, powder, and a multitasker brush, all outfitted in Prince's "love" symbol. Fans can sign up to pre-order the collection on May 21 before the full vault is available on on May 27 at UrbanDecay.com. All items in the line will be available at all online retailers on June 6.
The collection is where eclectic meets everyday wear: Each palette is decked out with pans of purple, Prince's signature shade, and other shimmery colors so you can get funky. You'll also get to pick from a multi-purpose illuminator that goes on smooth so that you can layer it under or over makeup. Kohl eyeliner might make it into your daily makeup routine, or you can smoke it out like Prince did on stage if you're feeling extra. There's room for experimenting with looks or hanging onto each item as a collectible.
In today's world, celebrity beauty collaborations can feel like fast fashion. Zomnir knew that precise attention to detail would be critical in delivering a collection, two years in the making, in Prince's honour. "This wasn't a situation of slapping assets on products," she says. "We were able to work with his friends who helped us bring something beautiful to life." The brand got direct support from Prince's Estate to craft and curate every detail in the collection, down to its stunning campaign imagery starting Prince's muse Damaris Lewis as the face. "We have been talking about this with the Estate for a long time, and it became a matter of finding the right timing," Zomnir explains. "It's been an ongoing conversation because it always felt so right.
While Prince's Estate remains unsettled following the star's death five years ago, the team played a significant role in making sure he was celebrated in every facet of the collection. "The coolest part of working with the Prince Estate is that we got to tap into his artistic camp," Zomnir says. "We got to work with his creative director Trevor Guy and his muse and dancer Demaris Lewis, and his photographer Randee Saint Nicholas shot everything for the campaign." Prince's legacy is also present throughout each product name, with hues named after his biggest hits like "When Doves Cry" (reflective ivory) and "Raspberry Beret" (a shimmery Bordeaux).
For Urban Decay, makeup is just one component of why this collaboration is important. Zomnir hopes that beauty enthusiasts come for the pigmented colors and blendable formulas, but stay for the gifts from Prince's decades-long career. "People are going to go back to the music and back to the photos and appreciate how he dressed, how he did his makeup, and how he was all about owning who you are," she says. "Back then, that was a crazy ideal, and now in 2021, it's considered standard. Prince really opened that door for self-expression."
It's a full-circle moment for Urban Decay, a brand that has been championing self-expression through makeup since the mid-'90s. "When we [Urban Decay] came on the scene, it was no longer about aspiring to look like this perfect blonde-haired, blue-eyed white woman," Zomnir says. "We helped people aspire to be like themselves, and Prince did that for me and generations of people."
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