Once upon a time, purple-tinged lips were a sign of hypothermia, now they are a symptom of the “Lorde effect”.
“There were about 5000 people at each of her shows in the US and at least half of them were wearing a dark lip," Lorde’s personal make-up artist Amber D says. "There was just a sea of plum and deep tones so we started calling it the ‘Lorde effect’. It was just amazing to see how many people were, and are now, wearing dark lips, she’s definitely made an impact.”
It’s a condition cosmetics company MAC have now bottled and plan to infect Australian customers with via the limited edition MAC Lorde collection which has been developed by the 17-year-old Grammy award winning, Billboard chart topping songstress from New Zealand and Kiwi-born Amber.
Glossy grape lips and dark matte tones have been on fashion’s radar since early 2009, coincidentally around the same time vampires like Edward Cullen and Sookie Stackhouse’s crew began sucking the blood out of the zeitgeist.
Five years later and dark lipstick has become one of the most stubborn beauty trends. A trend which laid the foundation for MAC Lorde, a capsule collection of what Lorde, who was born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, wears on stage.
Contrary to popular belief, the Royals singer didn’t wear black lipstick to the Grammys. As well as performing after Beyonce and collecting two awards, she was actually conducting R&D for her own lipstick hue – aptly called Pure Heroine – which is a deeper, darker and moodier version of MAC’s popular purple shade, Heroine.
Black is the colour of her Rapidblack Penultimate Eye Liner – something Amber has been using to frame the wunderkind’s piercing blue eyes since they met on the eve of the launch of Pure Heroine – the album – in September 2013.
“It’s really good to have someone who’s not trying to bronze me up or put lip gloss on me. She’s knows what’s cool and how young people want to look,” Lorde says of Amber while hinting at an infamous Teen Vogue cover and fashion spread from earlier this year where her nose was Photoshopped and her face was caked in bronzer – a product she never wears.
“We don’t do bronzer. What teen goth wears bronzer?” Amber jokes, “We use a sculpting cream instead.”
Out of the two products in the collection, it’s the Pure Heroine lipstick that Lorde feels most comfortable with.
“It [dark lipstick] definitely feels like a pretty lasting part of my image right now and I wear, pretty much exclusively, black and white on stage and it’s nice to just have a subtle bright pop of colour,” she says.
“The finish was really important to me because not everyone has an Amber to put their make-up on and I wanted people to be able to apply the lipstick by patting it on like a stain, which is versatile and you can wear it all day or do a liner underneath and have it as a heavier, more lasting look.
“It’s really easy, it’s not dry so you can put it on quite simply and if you make a mistake you can just rub it off, so I reckon put it on straight from the tube or put some on your finger and pat it on,” she shrugs with a nonchalance that has endeared her to the world.
While she loves labels like The Row by the Olsen twins and has worn Tom Ford to the Brits and Celine and Stella McCartney on stage at Coachella, when it comes to beauty, low maintenance is how you could best describe her.
She forgoes the luxury of a having a hair stylist on call, preferring to wash her hair with shampoo and conditioner by Pantene, Tresemme or whatever her Mum buys from the supermarket, scrunches in some Potion 9 by Sebastian and gets on stage.
“The thing with the expensive ones [shampoo and conditioner] is that they’re so small, you know? I need a big pump job. I wash it once a week, but I need a lot of product,” she says.
Washing her hair is something Amber has to remind her to do while touring, something the pair are gearing up for again in the US and Australia in the coming weeks.
“She’s a teenager so we have some challenges like remembering to wash our hair, break outs and ensuring that it only takes about 10 minutes to apply her make-up,” Amber says.
i am a adult baby alien who has descended to earth and my eyebrow and baby hair game is going something like this pic.twitter.com/mDhxGJdTGe— Lorde (@lordemusic) April 29, 2014
“But we never do celebrity make-up. There are two camps in make-up at the moment, we’re seeing this celebrity make-up which involves reshaping the entire face, adding lashes, contouring, a smoky eye and then a lipstick. What I think I bring to Ella’s make-up is the tricks that I’ve learned from Fashion Weeks, which is making the skin look glowing but without a lot on the skin, it’s all about working highlights. Very rarely in celebrity make-up would you see shine and glow, it’s usually just super matte, but that is something we are trying to do a lot of.”
The writer travelled to Auckland as a guest of MAC Cosmetics.