For the past two years, Aaron De Mey has exercised his creative flair as Artistic Director of Lancôme, which he pronounces with a distinct New Zealand accent, ‘Lan-cômb’.
The brand’s spring 2011 collection has personality and pizzazz; it has Aaron De Mey written all over it. Its mystic title Ultra Lavande is inspired by a contemporary of Andy Warhol, who, as Aaron explains, would famously carry a beetroot in her bag and rub it on her lips and cheeks when she was out, earning her the nickname Ultra Violet from Warhol. “It’s a French house”, Aaron says, “so I can enjoy French femininity”, which he has done – in abundance. Ultra Lavande is created from sugar-sweet corals, pinks, purples and dramatic violets. The range features lipsticks resembling disco balls, one variant of which was produced from the precise colour of a ballet shoe; blends of cream and powder eyeshadows in violet, silver and gold, glitter nail varnishes, purple eyeliners and mascaras, and blusher palettes imprinted with pink and purple metallic butterflies, referencing the work of Damien Hirst.
Collating his inspirations in hardback scrapbooks, Aaron references Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, John Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt, the bustling city of Marrakesh, Nan Goldin, Isabella Rossellini and her daughter Elletra, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld (the face of the campaign), Alexey Brodovitch, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger and Studio 54 – and that’s just what we managed to scribble down as he was reeling them off. Working with Japanese technologies, Aaron has experimented with glitter, sparkle and shine, holding up a mirror to the 70s disco scene. Aaron also references the late photographer Corinne Day, paying homage to her “unpretentious style…I like things that aren’t perfect, because nothing in nature is perfect”. Ironically, Aaron’s fondness for imperfection is what accounts for his wild streak – the exact ingredient pushing his editorial work and product designs to perfection. Following the preview at the Haymarket Hotel in a suite full of Ultra Lavande-coloured flowers and products to play with, i-D Online nabbed a few minutes with Aaron to talk future beauty trends, top tips and his first cover for i-D!
Ultra Lavande launches globally in mid-January 2011.