When I first heard that Ken Downing, the fashion director at Neiman Marcus, developed a color collection in collaboration with Le Métier de Beauté, I said, “Huh?” Then I really thought about it and it started to seem like a good idea. Then I talked to him about it, and it suddenly made utter and perfect sense. Think about it–this man is around clothes and makeup and women constantly. He lives and dies by trends. It’s a no-brainer.
Ken was hanging around backstage at the Marchesa show and hit it off with the Le Métier de Beauté people, who were doing the beauty. They said, “You should do a line with us” and he said, “Good idea!” (I paraphrased there.)
His first kollection–yes, he adopted the Kardashian style of substituting K’s for C’s–is called Ken’s Korals and konsists of Ken’s Kissable Koral (a lipstick) and and Ken’s Kontagious Koral (nail lacquer). They’re available now at Neiman Marcus, and they retail for $32 and $18, respectively. The collection will grow a bit in the fall, consisting of three lip shades and three nails shades, in dark bordeaux and purples. He’s hoping to add eye shadows for spring.
Ken has an infectious personality and you want to tell him all your secrets. He calls the women that shop at Neiman his “girls” and this does not come off as sexist at all–it makes you want to be one of his girls.
He fell in love with the orange all over the spring runways, which is why his first offering is in that family. And he loves the idea of a matchy-matchy beauty look. “As we go into fall and a ladylike, chic moment, the idea of a lipstick and a nail lacquer that match seems so appropriate. Shoes are matching handbags again,” Ken told me.
I had to ask about the frequency of Ken’s personal makeup use. Turns out that he’s a bit of a pro. He told me, “I spend a lot of time in front of a camera doing video work or having my photo taken, and time is not my friend. I know the joy of having makeup applied and all the sins go away.” He also loves Kiehl’s lip balm. But no, he doesn’t wear color makeup–that’s where his girls come in.
Beauty is supposed to be about fun and Ken certainly gets that.