Is there anyone cooler than Zoë Kravitz? As an actress, she's long gravitated towards playing underestimated, strong women, including Bonnie Carlson on Big Little Lies and Toast in Mad Max: Fury Road.
In real life, she's openly passionate about women's rights, and always surprising us with her look, from pixie cuts to braids and more than 50 dainty tattoos. The woman even wore a see-through crystal dress over bike shorts to her wedding rehearsal dinner in Paris — a boss move if we've ever seen one.
This month, Kravitz is finally able to direct all that cool-girl energy to the historically stuffy beauty industry, teaming up with YSL Beauté to launch a collection of six lipsticks that go beyond just pretty tubes.
"Makeup in general can be seen as warpaint," Kravitz, curled up in a green cardigan while lounging in a suite in New York City's The Plaza Hotel, tells me. "We have to go out into the world and try to feel ourselves and sometimes we need a little boost to feel sexy and confident and strong. Lipstick is a beautifully strong statement."
Unlike many celebrity launches, this is not a case of Kravitz slapping her name onto six tubes of the brand's Rouge Pur Couture formula. She had a hand in everything, from the packaging to the colours and shade names. To differentiate her lipstick tubes from the general collection, she took inspiration from her favourite matte black Saint Laurent purse, the Niki, for the matte logo. Then, she splashed glitter over the case as an ode to a bottle of Black Opium, the fragrance she was named the face of last year. "I was trying to find inspiration in things that I look at on a daily basis," she says.
Then there was the question of what colours Kravitz's lipsticks should be. As someone who wears, and pulls off, pretty much anything, she ultimately decided to stick to the basics. "I wanted to start with a simple group of nudes and reds to be your everyday collection," Kravitz says. "When I go for a lipstick, it’s usually something in that category unless I'm feeling very adventurous."
To make sure the reds and nudes were truly universal, she tested them on her friends and family, and even named some of the shades after those she admires most. There's Arlene’s Nude, a mauve shade that's named after her grandmother, and Maris' Nude, a warm brown that honours her godmother, actress Marisa Tomei. Honey's Nude, a light pink, is taken from "Honey Brown," the nickname for her other godmother, actress and singer Cree Summer.
Kravitz's stepbrother, Nakoa-Wolf, gets his own Wolf's Red lipstick, and the standout shade of the collection, an orange-red called Scout's Red, is named after her dog, Scout, who always wears a red bandana. Of course, her mother, Lisa Bonet, makes an appearance, with her nickname "Lale" appearing on an oxblood red tube. To Kravitz, her mother played the biggest role in her approach to makeup, so honouring her in the collection was a given. "My mom definitely taught me about beauty coming from the inside first," Kravitz says. "It’s really hard to cover up an unhappy body, physically, emotionally, all of it."
Now Kravitz hopes that beauty ethos can be passed on to the people who wear her lipsticks, too. "I don’t want to use makeup to cover myself up," Kravitz says. "I want to use it to enhance the things that I love about myself. I hope other people are encouraged to do the same."
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