I HAVE a ready answer for those who keep asking why people hoard enough Hermès crocodile Birkins to fill a zoo. Repeat after me, all ye accused: We purchase the skins we think we deserve.
Exotic leather adds an extra layer of sophistication to us 9-to-9, high-heeled style hustlers. Slap them on shoes and bags, and you’ve got stuff that just keeps on giving.
But now it’s time we give back.
It’s important to remember that skins are more fragile than the usual leather. Unless you’re Ariel and your zip code’s underwater, we’re expected to store crocodile leather items in a cool, dry environment.
Handbag connoisseur Steve Dumain of Be & D even suggests coating natural or untreated skins with some waterproof spray.
In the likely event that water comes into contact with your crocodile shoes and bags, simply rub the area with a soft, dry towel or cloth to absorb excess moisture.
But let it dry indoors. Sunlight is not that kind to them, either.
A good place to keep your goods is a roomy shoe closet. Don’t ever make the mistake of folding your crocs the way you would your Yosi Samras. This can cause unsightly cracks and crease marks.
Here’s where a leather conditioner comes in handy. This helps protect the skin and keeps it looking new. Just make sure to apply as instructed. You wouldn’t want oily skins now, would you? Then again, don’t strip it of its much-needed oils by using detergents. Just keep the cleaning plain, simple and gentle.
Please go through this a second time to make sure you’re caring for your crocs right. Or have your trusty helper know this, too. In any case, genuine leather care is a lesson for us who buy them in the first place.
New MAC collaboration
I always look forward to MAC Cosmetics’ collaborations, and this one is something to be excited about. Of course MAC is known for its high pigments, but the packaging is so vibrant and colorful just looking at it will make you happy.
Designer Chris Chang likes to weave history, culture, nature and color in her clothing. The vibrancy of this collection (and packaging) is something worth checking out.
How did the collaboration with MAC come about? How do you think this collaboration is different than others that MAC has done?
MAC has been known for collaborating with designers and artists for years so you can imagine I was thrilled when they approached me. The idea sparked three years ago after they saw my work and studio decorated with my bespoke illustrations. We share the same joyful, color-enriched spirit and had an instant connection from the start.
The whole process was wonderful. MAC gave me free rein from creating the colors on the graphics to the overall presentation. The printed designs on the compacts and lipsticks were my idea, and they created it flawlessly true to my vision. This is the first time MAC created printed artwork like this on the packaging—each piece has a different print on it.
For a creative person like me, MAC is the perfect brand to partner with—we share the same drive for innovation and breakthroughs.
Collaborating with MAC is a dream come true. I have been a fan of MAC makeup from my early college days, my first ever lipstick was MAC!
What is your first experience wearing makeup, and how has that affected your career as a designer and now MAC collaborator?
I was born with full lips, which is not common for Chinese people, so I was teased for it growing up. I think being unique was always in the back of my head. Once I reached my 20s and got into Parsons School of Design, I was able to embrace being different. Lipstick is now my favorite makeup accessory. Everything I do, everything I design, is about individualism and bringing out my own personality. My collection with MAC is about being genuine to one’s self.
How did you come up with the packaging? Does your design conform to your illustration?
The inspiration came to me in two seconds that it’s going to be Kunqu-based (traditional Chinese opera). Everything just flowed. This collection is the Chinese element mixed with the Western one.
The packaging is one of my original illustrations. It is based on all of my past illustrations and all of the icons that I have worked with over the years. This artwork is a collage of everything that I have done in the past, and the idea of having printed components was the starting point.
What were the defining factors when deciding product shades?
I wanted to incorporate every single color from the spectrum. In the end, these five lipsticks and the four eye shadows were all a variation of the spectrum colors—red, yellow, blue, purple and orange in its simplicity.
What is one makeup product you cannot live without, and what product in your collection will be a new staple?
I can’t live without lipstick! From the collection, I will be wearing the yellow hues more. Yellow to me is the new nude. When you wear it, it’s not a pasty color, but it’s dewy, glossy and transparent.
Describe the collection for MAC in five words or less.
Daring. Innovative. Happy. Poetic. Kaleidoscope.
Who is the girl wearing your makeup collection?
My makeup collection is for a girl who is very confident and wants to be unique. A girl who doesn’t dress or get made up to appeal to men.
There is a Chinese saying that means women get dressed to be beautiful for men; I am really against this. Women should be dressing to be beautiful for themselves. This collection is an invite for maximalists from around the world to be daring and to do what makes them feel good.
Where did the inspiration for this collection come from?
I got to know Kunqu when I moved to Shanghai. Kunqu originated from Suzhou (the city right next to Shanghai) and has developed a distinctive look with exaggerated and colorful yet poetic costumes.
My aesthetic is very similar to this mentality. In my design, I use a lot of colors; however, there is always white color to give my designs breathing space and make it less strong. That’s why I included the Transparent Finishing Powder in my collection.
How do you combine history and future?
I take the best of what’s in history and reinterpret it. When you have a different view of interpreting things then you have something new. I was able to give this makeup a new interpretation by saying these colors can be worn differently. They can be worn as art in geometric shapes instead of just eye shadow on the lids and lipstick on the lips.
What’s your favorite moment of the design process?
I’m happiest when I have sorted out all of my inspirations and have a direction, because the inspirations come from everywhere and it’s always a mixture. So my favorite is when I know where that direction is going. It’s always about reorganizing, sorting, doing tons and tons of quick sketches before I am settled in one direction.
What’s the hardest part of a design process?
Deciding what I like and also being commercial—that’s the hardest part. I am not your average office lady, housewife or socialite. Staying true to myself yet at the same time being commercial is most difficult for me.
How about the Chinese makeup traditions?
Chinese tradition is in my blood. Chinese women have always used eyeliner and rouge. Eyeliner is crucial to brighten up the eyes. I think all Chinese women should line their eyes.
The perfect woman in your opinion and her makeup.
A daring woman with class and taste is the perfect woman. She doesn’t care about what others think without being vulgar. I admire women that are daring and aspire to become daring.