When he made a splash in the U.S. in 2005 with his heralded prints, Duro Olowu didn’t know that a cosmetics marriage was in his future. When he originally teamed up with cosmetics giant Estée Lauder on a packaging design project, he couldn’t have imagined that it would have morphed into an entire collection with this creative stamp. A joint venture with Estée Lauder was organic, he says, because he has always loved the brand and its product range.
“I was thinking about all women and the ways they might want to present themselves that have not been available to them before. You can be fun, you can have really glamorous makeup, but you sort of keep it real,” he says.
Casting Anok Yai for this partnership was easy. In 2018 she became the newest face of Estée Lauder, and the Egyptian-born Sudanese model shares Olowu’s experience growing up immersed in different cultures. “Anok is a strong Black woman who represents all women as they are. She looks confident in the best way,” he continues.
“I really want you to be able to look at my collection and have it bring you much joy. Women should always feel confident and cosmopolitan in the makeup they wear.”
The Nigerian-Jamaican designer, who is based in London, developed a new appreciation for the makeup needs of women as he created his exciting collection.
“These are necessities. Clothes are necessary, but, as I’ve come to learn, makeup is a very essential part of how you present yourself,” Olowu says.
“If you’re a man, you really can’t quite imagine what it takes to decide on the right shade for your skin, especially in this world we live in with women of different ages, ethnicities and skin shades. I really thought long and hard about that and tried to bring that into the mix. It was a really great learning experience for me.”
The Estée Lauder x Duro Olowu collection launched in July on nordstrom.com and Estée Lauder online. It includes two Pure Color Envy Lipsticks, two eyeliners and two eye shadow palettes packaged in the beautifully designed color prints we’ve come to associate with Olowu.