Thursday, July 19, 2012

An encounter with a Lipstick Queen



I think it would be almost impossible to grow up as a young woman in Australia in the 80s and 90s and not know the name Poppy King.

I have raved about my adoration of Poppy's lipsticks before here on the blog. , so it should be no surprise that when we were given the opportunity to meet the Lipstick Queen herself - well, there was a bit of excitement here at Fashion Adjacent HQ, I can tell you. There might have even been some squealing.

I am delighted to report that meeting Her Royal Highness of Lipstick was every bit as exciting as we were hoping.  Here's what happened:
She very graciously listened to my story of how much I loved her lipsticks - and the day her "Lust" lipstick helped me face one of the most difficult times in my life - when my (now teenage) daughter was born, both her and I were very ill - but I was the only woman in intensive care with bright red lips, thanks to Poppy's lipstick. Some days, if you can get a brush through your hair and get the right lipstick on your lips, you can face anything!

I think I could have chatted to Poppy all day, but we were there on official business and so I asked her some questions I thought you might like to hear the answers to. I've shared with you my notes rather than attempting an exact transcription, so that I don't misquote Poppy:

Q: After the glittering lights of New York City, does being back in Melbourne make you homesick or does it seem a bit provincial now?

Poppy said:
  • That she thinks Melbourne is not provincial and is very European - more European than New York in some ways!
  • That she's been in New York ten years now and while it is home, at heart she will always be a Melbourne girl.
  • Even though Melbourne's changed a lot since she was last here she still knows her way around!
Q: To me the Poppy King story is one that says age isn't a barrier to big dreams, and that getting back up again after being knocked down is really the key to long term success. What do you think has made you so resilient?

Poppy said:
  • When you do something you really love, and something you believe in you're less vulnerable to outside criticism.
  • Sharing the intimate relationship that women have with their lipstick inspires her and keeps her motivated.
  • If your self worth and your measure of success is not based on receiving outside praise, but instead comes from within, then critics can only ever cause you surface wounds, not deep wounds. 
Q: It seems to me that you might be a bit of a history nut, like me. We've seen art deco and even medieval influences in your collections before - what's your current obsession? 

Poppy said:
  • She loves history, but is more of an art nut, and not necessarily "High Art" either. She has always been influenced by artists.
  • The original Poppy range was very Art Deco and Chinese influenced, and highly decorated. The new Lipstick Queen range has a more simple aesthetic, more Art Nouveau.
  • Her brands is one of the few that has never used models or celebrities to promote itself, it's always been art. She doesn't think that celebrities are really that relevant, that this is more pused by the media rather than what the public wants. 
Q: I really enjoyed reading your book. Do you plan to write more? 

Poppy said:
  • She is in the process of putting together another book - A book about unconventional beauty and how to do "beauty" differently.
  • There's lots of "how tos" but they are quite homongous. The book will be very frank about Poppy's own struggles in that area and what its like when you don't match the conventional idea of beauty.
  • There's a lot of capacity out there for imagination than women are given credit for in tems of being able to see many different facets of beauty.
  • She's been told that she needs to get a fake tan. She thinks that women who make a truly lasting impression on the world don't tend to be orange.
Poppy was in town to celebrate the launch of the Liptropolis collection here in Australia. 

It's the first in a series of lipstick "Books", (the next two, Poppy told us, are likely to be around the themes of Chemisty and Aviation)

It's nod to the famous 20s film Metropolis gives it a stylish edge, with three silver lipsticks encased in a little book, which holds cards talking about each shade as well. 

Swatched on the hand of Poppy King Herself!
There's three gorgeous colours in the set, 

Central Park - A modern take on "Granny Coral"
Soho - A cherry red
Upper East - A nude with OOMPH

All three are in a new formulation, a midpoint between opaque and sheer. 


These are highly wearable shades, I think they're going to be very popular indeed.

These are going to be available from Kit Cosmetics very soon.

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