The Faye Toogood Collection at We See Beauty

When we first heard that Faye Toogood, one of our all-time favorite furniture designers and stylists, had been trysting with the make-up industry, creating a concept collection for the recently launched beauty brand MAKE — well, we weren’t one bit surprised. After all, Toogood has made a career of never quite doing what you’d expect her to do. What’s surprising, actually, is why more designers haven’t tried their hand at beauty. To dabble in a new discipline like fashion or ceramics would involve acquiring a rigorous new skill set. But to devise a collection for an existing makeup brand, as Toogood has, requires only a preternatural sense of materiality and color, both of which the designer has in spades.

The collection, called “New Medieval,” was created in collaboration with make-up artist Ayami Nishimura and launched this fall (a new collaboration called Alchemy is forthcoming this month). To create the palette, the two swapped references. “Faye was into hard, colorless nature,” says Nishimura. “Volcano ash, smoke, sheet ice. I’m normally into more colorful things, like flowers and birds and animal patterns.” The resulting collection takes inspiration from happy, fuzzy landscapes (starry skies, stormy seas, waterfalls) as well as more apocalyptic visions and textures. The names, like all of MAKE’s hues, are evocative of the same: Ultramarine, Reykjavik, Rust, Magma, Putty, Woad. And the products, says Toogood, are meant to be applied by hand in a more painterly fashion, which is made easier by the fact that all of MAKE’s hues translate exactly from the container to your complexion, with no real blending required.

As a brand, MAKE has only existed for a few short months, but it’s the brainchild of Nikos Mouyaris, a longtime beauty-manufacturing veteran, who’s been toying with the idea of creating his own line for years. At his facilities in Long Island City, Queens, Mouyaris had the means to invent MAKE’s ultra-usable formulas; he also had, in daughter Ariana, a built-in creative director (Ariana, a former studio manager at Toogood, broke off to form her own creative pursuits in 2010, and she’s the one responsible for the look and feel of MAKE’s packaging and photography). MAKE is the beauty arm of a new company and online shop called We See Beauty, which aims to create a new mode of socially minded commerce. In addition to MAKE, a for-benefit brand, the site sells design items, publications, and other objects from like-minded individuals dedicated to social benefit. Thirty-three percent of all sales will go to fund and build a woman-led cooperative in Brooklyn, set to be the first of many. Says the brand: “By selling beautiful ideas and products, we can empower local economies and strengthen communities, starting with our own in New York.”

MAKE Faye_Toogood_Group_v2 - final 2012 0615 Faye_Toogood_Palette MKE-9911 Skin Illuminating Primer MKE-9913 Magma