Nars Enters the World of Warhol
by vishaka robinson
Just three years ago, the sale of Andy Warhol’s 12-foot-long Eight Elvises broke records when an anonymous buyer purchased the silkscreen print for $100 million. Now beauties can own a piece of Pop Art at a fraction of the price as Nars Cosmetics releases its Warhol-inspired makeup (starting at $18 for a lemon yellow “15 minutes” nail polish).
Sephora exclusively launched a portion of the line in October with palettes stamped with the likeness of Warhol’s 1965 Flowers, a Campbell’s Soup Can gloss set, and Debbie Harry shimmer-flecked palettes laced with micronized diamonds. The remaining section of the collaboration, Silver Factory— which features standout pieces like eye-shadow palettes printed with the artist’s own silhouette—will arrive in department stores this month.
It’s pitch-perfect timing: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s raved about “Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” has been reminding audiences of the artist’s enduring influence. But for François Nars, the creative force behind his namesake beauty brand, the chance to devote a collection to Warhol was years in the making. “My parents had art books at home, and I looked through those when I was maybe 12 or 13,” says Nars. “I remember being drawn to the colors. But I think coming to New York was a way I connected even more with Warhol. Andy’s sense of color, the madness of his paintings, and the way he reinterpreted classic images—that whole concept to me is incredibly modern. I’ve translated that rebellious attitude into my work even before this collaboration.”
Getting the green light from the often coy Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Nars admits, was tricky because they had previously shied away from collaborating with other beauty brands. “We were the first to look forward and think, ‘What would Andy Warhol do today?’” says Nars. “I wanted the collection to be a modern interpretation of Andy and his world.” Other brands missed the mark, but Nars felt reimagining Warhol’s work for a 21st-century face was simple. “The colors Andy used in his paintings have never gone out of style,” says Nars, who believes if Warhol were alive today, his muse would be someone “outrageous” such as Lady Gaga or even Lindsay Lohan. “I love the saturated colors Andy used in his work—reds, blues, yellows. He was unafraid to be bold. In the same way, I believe the shades of this collection will appeal to a modern-day woman, someone who’s looking to make a statement.”
photography courtesy of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. (art); The Andy Warhol Museum (empire state building)
Cover shoot: May/June 2014 issue of Gotham magazine.