Electropop artist Halsey, nee Ashley Frangipane, debuted the second of MAC Cosmetics’ Future Forward Collaborations, the matte grey Halsey lipstick, which goes on sale today, at the company’s Hollywood and Highland store. The 21-year-old singer sat down with WWD to discuss her makeup inspiration, ever-changing style and upcoming Coachella debut.
WWD: How did you first connect with MAC?
Halsey: They approached me last year at South by Southwest. I’m pretty obsessed with MAC as a company, so I walked in and halfway through the meeting pretty much started schooling everyone in the room on the products. I know an absurd amount. I can name some of the lipsticks on sight and I know some of their limited collections dating back to 1998. So I went home and started mixing paints on a color board that I sent them.
WWD: How did you decide upon a gray lipstick?
Halsey: I wanted to do something kind of androgynous. In 2016 makeup has become an incredible passion and hobby for men and women but it hasn’t become mainstream. Doing the bluish gunmetal thing was because blues and grays have been a really common theme in my music and my stage lighting and visuals. I wanted to do something that was daring enough that anyone could feel like they could try it. I would wear this to the grocery store and I would wear it onstage. It’s unconventional without being too overpowering on your face.
WWD: What’s the best perk of being a lipstick designer?
Halsey: The coolest thing about it is that somewhere one of my fans who bought this or someone who just loves color, could be having their first kiss or going to prom and there’s a little tube of me going around in their purse, and that’s sick. To think that they are going to have some memory that involves this lipstick, is really cool. It’s the same thing with music. You want your music to be the soundtrack to some of the most important parts of people’s lives and this is another way of getting to infiltrate their lives.
WWD: What’s next for your music?
Halsey: I’m just trying to take my time. The hardest thing about writing my second album is that I had 20 years to write my first album [“Badlands”]. I had so many experiences and I ripped through them all looking for the best parts and the best pieces to put on my first record. Then I spent the past year on a tour bus. There’s nothing to write about. So I’m trying to take the next few months to let myself experience life and open up my eyes.
WWD: What are you looking to for inspiration now?
Halsey: I just got back from South America, which is a very hard place to keep your eyes closed. It’s very vibrant and lively. I spent a lot of time with local musicians going to places where fashion and music is such a vital part of culture. Nobody cared that I was a singer from America. The most important person in the room was the 16-year-old DJ that made the song we were dancing to in a club and these girls wearing crazy outfits in vibrant colors. I came away from that feeling really inspired.
WWD: Tell us about your upcoming Coachella show.
Halsey: It’s my first time and I have a really beautiful time slot playing around sunset on Saturday. We’ve built a massive show, huge stage, huge lights, huge storylines, crazy costumes. I’m really excited for everyone to finally see it but I can’t imagine performing to thousands of people at sunset in the desert and not feeling inspired. The best song better come out of that, you know what I mean? I’m also playing out some major surprises, maybe guests. Hopefully second weekend at Coachella is one of the best weekends of my career, for now.
WWD: What do you plan to do after your tour wraps at Madison Square Garden August 13?
Halsey: I just got my first house in L.A. like two months ago and I just spent my third night in it a few days ago. I have a really nice view of the city and the hills and all I do is look around and go, “Holy S—t, I can’t believe I live here.” ‘Cause coming from the East Coast the idea of palm trees and the hills, all that is a cinematic thing for me that symbolized glamour and success. As soon as I see palm trees I’m like, “Wow, I’m exactly where I wanted to be since I was a kid.”
WWD: Do you plan on evolving your fashion or beauty style with your next album?
Halsey: I consider myself someone who takes a lot of beauty risks and I’ve realized what I liar I am. I change my hair a lot, from blue to blonde to bald, but I’m trying to branch out a little more with makeup. Maybe a smoky eye will be in the books for me in the next few months. I remember in freshman year penciling in my eyebrows and everyone going, “What are you doing?” and flash forward a couple of years and Cara Delevigne and Lily Collins and big eyebrows is this massive thing. That was such a vindicating moment. Now I can wear something crazy and people are like, “Oh, cool.”