Text by: Sandra Bardin
The lively creativity of Kat Von D becomes a work of design thanks to the vision of Another Space: an iconic installation to celebrate the interaction between beauty, art, design and technology personally inaugurated by the mythical American tattoo artist.
During Design Week in Milan, a work inspired by the enthusiasm and energy of Kat Von D, interpreted by the London-based studio Another Space, will be on view in the evocative setting of the Università degli Studi, in the famous courtyard, throughout the event “Material Immaterial” from 4th to 15th April 2017.
A creation of great visual impact, an idea that is an homage to the visionary work of Kat Von D, to the passion and versatile personality of this artist and entrepreneur who has raised tattoos to the status of a true art form. Kaleido Studded Kiss reflects the unconventional design of the Studded Kiss Lipstick, which has become a cult item in the United States thanks to the studded pattern of its packaging – based on Kat’s favorite bracelet – and to the 39 colors from which to choose, for matte, satin and glitter effects.
The London-based studio Another Space has taken the distinctive features of the symbol of the Kat Von D collection, developing them in an ambitious installation on a large scale, associating the forms of lipstick packaging with those of a work of contemporary architecture. The studs of the original design are thus transformed into elegant rustication, referencing Italian palaces, while the two caps placed on the ground like monoliths suggest the fallen columns of an ancient temple.
Studded Kiss thus becomes a true design tower, invented to create a contrast of great visual impact with the classical architecture of the courtyard of the University, capturing the gaze of visitors.
The sculpture is joined by interactive devices to generate a dialogue between audience and installation. An experience that begins with contact with the material nature of the work, and gradually transforms into an immaterial itinerary.
The structure of the tower is material, also suggested by the choice of the components and the decorative rustication, while the immaterial dimension is that of the virtual experience, elements that urge reflection on the true meaning of make-up as a tool (material, texture, color) and a form of artistic expression (immaterial production of the spirit, of wishes and desires).
This thinking is also crucial for the philosophy of Sephora, which has always investigated the affinities and possible interactions between the world of beauty and the universe of art and design, in an innovative and original approach that seeks new creative suggestions and unconventional languages to convey these links.
Do you have tattoos and choose your makeup to match them? Or do you just love a certain look made of nocturnal colors and sophisticated touches, halfway between Fifties nostalgia and an indie-rock spirit? Either way, the right make-up for you has been created by Kat Von D, the worldwide beauty icon who rose to fame on American television, in programs like Miami Ink and LA Ink, reality shows on body painting and tattoos. Truly a makeup line “like no other”: due to the incredible range of shades, the high concentration of pigments, the long-lasting formulas that keep your look impeccable all day long, or all night long, with rave-proof style. Kat did the presentation herself, at an event for the press. We were there.
The b&w invitation with a red flash displays a brunette beauty with a magnetic gaze and crimson lips, a spattering of tats on a body you can tell is supersexy through the chinks of a total black outfit. There you have it: the tantalizing brunette, the one on the invitation and at the gallery of the website, with ever more astonishingly refined makeup, is not the model or the celeb of the moment. It is her, Kat, creator since 2008 of the beauty brand of the same name, in partnership with Kendo. Full name Katherine Von Drachenberg, a versatile art star, musician, tattoo artist and TV personality, a life in the spotlight, that of a true socialite, surrounded by the glittering world of bands and metal/goth/rock atmospheres, in a vortex of stories, gossip, exhibitions, soirées, red carpets…
Her charisma was immediately revealed by a single detail: a cluster of independent photographers and cameramen, a/k/a paparazzi, the infallible symptoms of stardom. At the reception we saw an entire staff of PR folks, hostesses, assistants, in full-dress uniform: total black leather with studs, very dark makeup, stars “tattooed” around the eyes, just like her.
In theory this was a press presentation, but given the crowd of thrilled fans it seemed more like a rock concert. Digital fans, followers, bloggers, influencers, already dressed up and made up to match the look of the star they love to idolize, especially on Instagram. They knew she was coming before the journalists ever found out. More than a debut, it all felt like a homecoming.
In the space, music blasts out of speakers, a few seconds of pure woofer jolt, when they announce the entry of the star with the ritual formula “are you ready for Kat?” The room explodes with a single shout: YEEEEEAHHHH! Kat doesn’t wait for the questions of the journalist moderating the event, but gets straight to the heart of the audience – or, we should say, of her beauty community. She adjusts her red dress: “There was no iron in the hotel room, the dress is a bit rumpled, how embarrassing…” Everyone laughs. They worship her. Kat’s magic is flowing, that inexplicable something possessed by people the camera loves, people who look great on a mobile phone screen, while others don’t. She flirts, reminisces, like screening a film of her life: childhood in Mexico, a talent for drawing, the move to the States, the attraction to makeup since she was a teen, the debut in tattooing: “They are both decorative arts for the body, why set limits?” Her passion for music (her tats include logos of historic bands like Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC), architecture, graphic design: the logo and font in floral gothic are of her own creation. And for animals, underlined as follows: “Only cruelty-free testing, I couldn’t stand to know a creature suffered to make a cosmetic.” If she says that – she posed nude for the PETA campaign – you’d better believe it. Obviously she also talks about beauty, revealing little secrets, encouraging people to be daring: “The transformation you can make with different eye makeup is incredible… you just have to let yourself do it!” she says, and “draw your own eyebrows, the way you always wanted them.” But her words go beyond make-up: “I want to create things that make people happy.” Who knows? Maybe this is why the quotes of Kat Von D have become a bible for her followers.
So if you were wondering why her, instead of the other cute/talented/popular tattoo artists that certainly must exist all over the world… now you have your answer.