I had an unusually busy August and September, so I missed the announcement of Estée Lauder’s fall color collection, a limited edition range of eye shadows and eyeliner, lipsticks and glosses, and nail polishes called Violet Underground.
Yes, Violet Underground. Because of all the purple shades.
Oh, you thought I said Velvet Underground. As in: the profoundly influential proto-punk, art-rock, New York-based band of the late 1960s. “Venus in Furs.” “Heroin.” “Sister Ray.”
I’m sure you already knew that they appropriated their band’s name from a book about non-traditional sexual practices.
What does Lauder actually say about this collection’s raison d’être? Here’s Tom Pecheux, the brand’s celebrity makeup artist:
“We created a dramatic fashion look with a touch of fantasy. Inspired by glam rock, women can play dress up with color and become a character that encompasses mystery, opulence, sex and confidence. It can transform her world.”
Oh, glam rock. That’s more early-1970s. The New York Dolls, right?
Sex and confidence…with a side of androgyny and a dash of decadence! Very Estée Lauder, right?
“Personality Crisis.” Exactly.
Come to think of it, most of glam rock’s major player were men, weren’t they? I think so. Well, at least the colors in the Violet Underground collection seem loosely inspired by glam’s costumes and visuals. (Just don’t ask me what Gary Glitter is doing these days. Really, don’t.)
Let’s take a closer look at Violet Underground’s Pure Color Five Color Eye Shadow Palette. This is the star of the collection and the piece that bloggers seem most excited about.
The shadows are embossed with a zig-zag, lightning-bolt motif.
Ah! Very clever, Lauder. I see what you did there.
Now I’m the mood to re-watch Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Do you think the average Estée Lauder customer is fan of Bowie’s classic early-70s work?
Sure! Why not?
Or maybe she just wants an eyeshadow palette with bright, bold colors from her favorite makeup brand and she isn’t too worried about the pop culture references.
I know, I know. Every brand is free to revamp its image from time to time. Why shouldn’t Estée Lauder borrow a few ideas from her younger sister MAC or that weird little kid named Illamasqua who lives down the street?
“It can transform her world.”