Taylor Chang-Babaian’s mother was petrified her daughter would be a permanent ugly duckling and suggested whatever would be possible — plastic surgery for Korean-American Chang-Babaian’s eyelids, radical haircuts and assorted diets — to spark a swanlike transformation.
By no means a shrinking violet, Chang-Babaian took her appearance into her own hands. She tried out different eye shadow techniques in high school (one led to a male classmate to wonder if she had a black eye) and eventually perfected her makeup skills enough to beautify herself and others as a celebrity makeup artist working with an array of clients, including Yoko Ono, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey and Michelle Rodriguez.
“Especially being Asian, you are very aware if you are not cute — and I’m not cute. I was always a little chubby and I was more masculine than my sisters,” said Chang-Babaian. “When I say I want to make women feel more beautiful, it is because I understand it can be empowering. I can take over the world when I’m dolled up.”
Based on her experience, 36-year-old Chang-Babaian wants to give all women the tools to turn themselves into swans with Kre-at Beauty, a brand that entered Barneys New York flagships last week. “I really, truly believe that every woman is beautiful — they just don’t know it and they have to create it,” she said.
Chang-Babaian started the brand with the eye category — false eyelashes are the launch products, but it will eventually expand to lash curlers, mascara and more — because the majority of beauty questions she’s asked by women are about the eye. “They would say, ‘Why don’t my eyes look like they do on the red carpet?’” she recounted. “Ninety-five percent of the time makeup artists are using lashes, whether it be for movies or events. It completely changes the shape of the eyes.”
For women who don’t regularly stroll the red carpet, the big worry is that false eyelashes don’t seem natural. Kre-at’s trick is to offer lashes that aren’t one length, and to provide a range of products to fit the contours of different eyes. “I wanted eyelashes that can be worn everyday,” said Chang-Babaian. “Everything made you look like you are from the Sixties. You can tell you are wearing eyelashes.”
Available in long and short, half lashes for $15 can be placed on the end of lashes for “a little more sexiness,” explained Chang-Babaian. She said individual lashes — which in Kre-at Beauty’s $18 Sweet Individuals product come in short, medium and long varieties — help “make an eye open.” In total, Kre-at Beauty has 15 products priced from $8 for glue to $42 for an applicator.
In its first year in stores, she anticipates sales of less than $1 million for Kre-at, and she plans to stick to prestige distribution as the brand grows.
Kre-at is being launched as “Style Eyes,” Chang-Babaian’s second book published by the Penguin Group, hits the market to supply women with eye makeup tips. Her first book, “Asian Faces: The Essential Beauty and Makeup Guide for Asian Women,” was released in 2007. Shiseido will host a cocktail party to fete “Style Eyes” at Home Studies Inc. in Manhattan on Tuesday.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia