On May 5th, Topshop’s makeup range will have been with us for a whole year. And what a year. I now see the products being used alongside the big cosmetic houses by make-up artists and editors alike. The cream blush is a total hero product, and the kohls – just soft enough without being too greasy – are storming the market. It’s not just appearing in magazines either – I’ve spotted them in several editor’s makeup bags too.
The makeup collection’s designer, Lizzie Dawson has actually worked for Topshop since she graduated over 7 years ago, but designing blouses. She came to the makeup launch with a fashion head on, as Topshop really wanted the brand to reflect their founding tenants of success, originality, fun and that newness that has girls and women all over the country queueing up the latest editions week in and week out.
“They wanted something that was easy to use and really conducive to play,” says Lizzie, “It’s not about precision and time-consuming grooming, they’re as playful, fast and cool as the clothing we go to Topshop for. It’s about experimentation and having fun with colour, mixing it up to make statements about your personality, like you do with the clothes. In fact that’s why trend-led pieces like the eye mousses and nail polishes are small – it’s an affordable way to try something out for a season before moving onto the next. It’s for those girls who go into Topshop once a week to see what’s new – little things they can mess around with.”
Lizzie’s not only a Topshop thoroughbred, and a loyal customer and most importantly a makeup obsessive, so she knew what the Topshop girl would want to buy and how good it would have to be to satisfy other cosmetic junkies too.
“The nail polishes alone went to and from the manufacturers in Italy 10 times before I was fully satisfied,” she remembers. “I wanted the best formulas, things my friends would use. High street makeup can be really bad – I was aware we needed to be sure of the quality before it went out there!”
So she had the 350 girls on the shopfloor trial the products, as well as the designers and directors, to make sure it passed Topshop standards at every level. “These people are fashion-forward and right at the heart of Topshop, which made them the ultimate judges really.”
And I think it’s Lizzie’s obsessive attention to detail that has seen the collections blow a lot of other high street brands out of the water, and really exceed everyone’s expectations.
In a great coup for the beauty world, the makeup is actually designed and produced before the clothing collections, so Lizzie’s makeup actually inspires a lot of the clothes. So for once we’re actually starting fashion trends rather than complementing them! “I do use a lot of fabrics like satin, silk and cotton as swatches for the make-up too though,” Lizzie says, “Mainly to ensure the manufacturers get the textures spot on – the silver polish from the Sandstorm collection was actually based on a piece of metallic leather I found, and the spearmint colour came from a vintage dress I found in Austin.”
So what will the Topshop makeup guru wear for the range’s 1st birthday on May 5th?
“A bright lip – nothing screams sophisticated charm more than a ‘look at me’ statement lip. I’ll go for Infrared, the new vivid orange. If you want to tone it down at all then just pat with your finger and it’ll take the punch out of the colour. Or the birthday nail colours we’ve released to celebrate – precious metals for your nails.”