What was your philosophy behind the MAC collection? What did you want to accomplish with it?
Backstage at every Chromat runway show we tell the models: walk strong, fast and powerful: you’re a woman taking over the world! We emphasize direct eye contact and a strong stomp.
For the collection with MAC, we wanted to channel that unapologetic power and energy from the catwalk with a collection that emphasizes strong eyes and bold lips.
What is the Chromat credo and approach?
At Chromat we design garments for strong, powerful women. I studied architecture, and a lot of our garments are an extension of that structural foundation. We are always looking for new ways to empower the body to perform at optimum levels- through our collaborations in fashion technology and through our obsession with fit, performance and new materials.
The Chromat SS16: Momentum Collection with makeup by Dominique
How do cosmetics empower women?
Makeup is a chance to be whoever you want to be, immediately, and then be a different person tomorrow.
Makeup is transformative; it’s a personal revolution in a compact case.
Juliana Huxtable at the Chromat AW16: Lumina Collection shot by Eli Schmidt for the New York Times
Who do you see as the customer for it?
#ChromatBABES are bold, unique, fearless and creative in their lives and in their makeup routine.
#ChromatBABES will try anything once, and have the confidence to pull off any look. We design for a highly creative, unapologetic woman. Someone who isn’t scared by color or bold lines. The collection’s goal is to be bold, architectural and empowering.
Many of the pieces in the collection are homages to the #ChromatBABES who inspire us:
The author, DJ and artist Juliana Huxtable inspired the cyan blue lipstick and we named it after her legendary nightlife event #SHOCKVALUE. The cyan glitter was inspired by the makeup that artist Kerrie Ann Bearcat Murphy did for musician RAHEL's #ChromatBABE feature. The orange eyeshadow "Sabina Sangre" was named after model Sabina Karlsson and the duachrome brown/green eyeshadow "DuaBandita" was named after artist Lolita Bandita.
Do you have any makeup tips? What’s your favorite item from the collection?
I like to experiment with new things. Makeup is so quick and malleable, why not?
I shrieked when I saw the blue mascara (Metropolis Blue Zoom Lash) come back from the lab and I haven’t taken it off since. It’s my favorite color- it's a bright blue that you can see from across the room. I need a lifetime supply.
Favorite thing about working on the MAC x Chromat collection?
That’s a tough one- everything was such a thrill! I’d have to say my favorite part was testing all the products and getting my hands dirty with the product development team to design new colors, textures and finishes.
What is the most iconic makeup look? What is your favorite makeup design for one of your shows?
Anything Bjork does. She’s fearless and experimental- a true #ChromatBABE.
Favorite makeup design from one of Chromat’s shows- probably Frances Hathaway and the MAC PRO Team for the SS15 Formula 15 Collection- it was a simple colored dot on the inner eye corner, but it really popped.
The Chromat SS15: Formula 15 Collection with makeup by Frances Hathaway and hair by Chuck Amos. Photos by Christine Hahn.
How do you define beauty or what is beautiful? What, in your opinion, is the relationship between fashion and beauty and how does makeup impact your overall vision for a collection?
At Chromat, we don't subscribe to traditional notions of beauty. We DO, however, focus on highlighting individuality and each body’s structure. When women feel empowered and choose to celebrate themselves and their bodies, that is beautiful.
Makeup is essential to telling the story and inspiration of each collection. Each season is a different mood and color pallet, so the makeup reflects that. Sometimes the makeup is the beginning of the collection and sometimes it’s the conclusion.
The Chromat AW16: Lumina Collection. Makeup by Angelina Chen, photo by Angelina Garcia.
What was your initial reaction at finding out that M∙A∙C has chosen your brand to be one of five CFDA alumni designers for this unique project?
I was so excited! I love makeup. I’m fearless with makeup. I love the feeling of spending hours getting ready, trying different ideas, taking bathroom selfies, and then going out and showing my new look to the world.
That incubation time, when I’m by myself, creating who I want to be in the mirror is so important to my sense of self. I need that experimental time with color and lines to reinforce who I am and who I want to be.
Looking back at the past 6 seasons of Chromat runway shows, a strong eye has been something we have never wavered from. And to work with the leaders in makeup as art to bring this vision to life is a dream come true!
Sabina Karlsson for the Chromat AW16: Lumina Collection. Makeup by Angelina Chen, photo by Angelina Garcia.
What inspired the packaging for the MAC Collection?
The linework featured on the packaging is from a dress we designed for the AW13: Superstructures collection- we used an image of the dress for our invite and it became a signature structure for us. The Superstructures collection was inspired by the Italian Futurist movement of the 1960s and the architectural collection Archigram. They envisioned uniform grid structures as a dissolution of hierarchy and a future utopia of equality. So we wanted to take that one step further and apply grids to the body.
The AW13: Superstructures Collection. Shot by PAMU, makeup by Yinna Wang.
The AW13: Superstructures Collection. Makeup by Lizzie Arneson, shot for Fab Ego.
How has your brand evolved since being the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund? Where do you see it in the next 5 years?
Being a part of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund has been a completely transformative experience. In the next 5 years, I hope to see Chromat open up a storefront where we can have custom body scanning and 3D printing clothing to create fully customizable, fully accessible garments to fit every size.
The Momentum Sports Bra backstage at SS16. Makeup by Dominique inspired by Lolita Bandita.
You've changed to clothes from architecture. Do you ever miss your original discipline?
I still love architecture! The structural language I developed while working in architecture is the foundation of each Chromat garment. But what I love about fashion is the speed and scale. I love that you can design a dress in a few hours, vs buildings which take years, sometimes decades to truly realize your vision. I love that in fashion, you have to come up with an entire new set of ideas every 6 months for each new collection. It keeps it exciting!
The Chromat SS17: Hyperwave Collection. Makeup by Fatima Thomas, shot for Ponyboy Magazine
How does the runway make-up reflect the architectural structure of the garments?
At Chromat, we are very drawn to structured, high precision and fluid lines both in makeup, fashion and architecture.
The Chromat AW15: Mindfiles Collection with makeup by Yadim, hair by Amy Farid
At fashion week in New York, you showed your collection on plus size models. What do you think about diversity in fashion? Is it just a trend or can it last and change the industry?
When you don’t see yourself reflected in the runway shows, it can be really damaging. Who determines what is “in fashion” and what is considered beautiful? It’s amazing that when you feel like you are recognized, when you see people who look like you in these realms it opens up a whole new possibility in your mind.
As fashion designers, we have the power to highlight and celebrate beauty in all different forms. For me personally, Chromat women are doing amazing things in all different fields and come from all different places. Every fashion week is an opportunity to celebrate those women and have these incredible women reflected in our runway show. It’s not a trend- it’s our life.
MAC x Chromat launches June 29 (North America) and July 1 (international) maccosmetics.com