A Visit with the Lipstick Queen
By Angie W and Jessica M
Poppy King, the creator of the Lipstick Queen cosmetics line, appeared at Barneys New York on Madison Avenue this past weekend, and we two lipstick addicts had the opportunity to chat with her about Lipstick Queen and other lipstick-related topics. At Annie’s invitation, we’re here to tell you all about it!
Both of us admired Poppy’s stylish attire, which mixed feminine elements with unexpected details: her vintage dress of wine velvet was cinched with a tough-yet-elegant leather belt, and she combined a feminine, antique purple ring and a delicate, vintage bracelet with a chunky, oversized men's watch.
The influences that Poppy brings to Lipstick Queen are similarly romantic and eclectic. Her packaging, for example, blends artistic styles from all her favorite periods and sources. She has reinterpreted Art Nouveau floral motifs (including her namesake flower!) for the Saints and Sinners lines, Aubrey Beardsley drawings and Tarot cards for the Oxymoron glosses, black lace reminiscent of vintage stockings for the Black Tie Optional products, and the intricate religious-moral symbolism of the Middle Ages for her Medieval lipstick. All the products are unified by bold Arts and Crafts lettering; basically, this is not the stereotypical swirly, pink, pin-up ornamentation that many companies would have automatically chosen for a lipstick line.
As for the lipsticks themselves, their colors and textures are inspired by classic Hollywood glamour and European standards of chic beauty. In recommending products to us, Poppy emphasized that her own makeup preference is to wear very little eye makeup or any other makeup besides lipstick. Lip color definitely plays the starring role in her beauty aesthetic.
Angie’s “lip reading’: Poppy recommended a rich wine shade for fall. Wine Sinner and Saint Wine were tested, and Angie ultimately chose the Saint. (The Sinner was gorgeous, but it’s a stronger lip than she’s accustomed to.) Poppy's advice for trying an intense new color is to wear it around the house until it feels second nature, so that you are comfortable wearing it out. Poppy said that Saint Wine was very “Ophelia” on Angie, and since John Everett Millais’s Ophelia (see image) is one of Angie’s favorite Victorian Pre-Raphaelite paintings, she had to cave! Poppy also suggested Saint Rouge for a subtle pop of red, since Angie already owns and enjoys Saint Red and Medieval. Angie loved both new lipsticks because their texture is so moist and sheer, and both colors are wearable, neither too bright nor too dramatic for a pale brunette to wear in daytime.
Jessica’s “lip reading”: Jessica had brought along her mini-collection of brochures from the original Poppy cosmetics line (see photo), dating back to its launch at Barneys in the early 1990s. Poppy reminisced about past products and designs for a bit, and then she approved Jessica’s current love for Saint Natural lipstick and recommended a few other items. Jessica ended up joining Angie (and Annie!) in the Medieval fan club, since it’s the only sheer red lipstick she’s ever tried that’s sufficiently pigmented yet doesn’t overwhelm her round face. Then she was smitten with Oxymoron Matte Gloss in Minor Crisis, a soft, dusty rose. Poppy also dabbed Minor Crisis on Jessica’s cheeks as cream blush for a fresh-faced “Jane Austen” look (and Jessica couldn’t resist that concept, since Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet is one of her beauty icons!).
Jessica and Angie were both eager to hear about future Lipstick Queen products, and Poppy indulged them by mentioning special talc-free blotting papers for lips, accessories including a Lipstick Queen mirror, and Big Bang Theory lip gloss, which will have subtle “fish scale” iridescence and a lip-plumping effect. A second book, on the subject of lipstick (of course!), is also in the works.
Overall, Poppy was wonderfully engaged in our conversation and seemed so pleasantly excited to speak with some of her customers. If you have the opportunity to meet her at a Lipstick Queen counter, don’t miss it!
Credit: Angie and Jessica for Blogdorf Goodman
Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this review were purchased by the reviewer.