Sam Fine Talks Fashion Fair

Sam Fine Talks Fashion Fair

The makeup guru talks about his work with the iconic cosmetic brand and why Black women still need their own beauty counter

Melanie Yvette

by Melanie Yvette, February 07, 2013

Sam Fine Talks Fashion Fair

and Nicki Minaj; I mean these girls are wearing color in a way that I haven’t seen color shown before. When I came up working with Brandy and Tyra and Naomi Campbell, nude was all the rage. I don’t think that nude will ever leave us because it’s such a subtle statement, but when you have Rihanna and Nicki Minaj and other celebrities wearing strong colors, I think that does give us permission, in a way, to wear it. There’re also more cosmetic lines that are showing our faces. So I think that helps us to dream a little more, to find a different vision for ourselves. We’re able to see ourselves in a myriad of who we are.

EBONY: I believe that makeup also allows you to become the person you want to be that day. I can feel punk rock; I can feel glamorous. You once said, “Makeup is a personality, and everybody’s personality is going to be a bit different.” How do you feel your signature line is speaking to the various personalities of Black women?

SF: We’ve got eight lipsticks and two quads. This is a small collection to begin with, so instantly I had to think about the dark lipsticks, the brown lipsticks, the nudes, the reds, the colors, and the vibrants. I had to think about matte shadows, shimmer shadows, iridescent shadows. I had to put all of that into one thing. It’s not actually average to see a quad with three different formulas inside. It speaks to versatility. Even the brown lipstick, the Cognac [shade], has flecks of gold in it that none of the other lipsticks possess. Each woman who would want to wear the red would want to wear it without any shimmer. But the brown, to me, is so flat; I wouldn’t want a woman to wear it that way. So I infused it with golden flecks. So there are a lot of little personal tweaks in here that speak to individuality.  Which color do you wear, Melanie?

EBONY: I wear the Moroccan Spice and Pink Parfait.

SF: Oh nice! Moroccan Spice and Pink Parfait, to me, are indicative of the newness of the collection. It’s not that Fashion Fair doesn’t have vibrant colors, but every era has kind of “it” colors. I feel like those are two of the strongest trend colors in the collection, so it’s interesting that you gravitate towards the two of those: Moroccan Spice, the vibrant orange and then the Pink Parfait.

EBONY: It’s funny because I grew up watching my mother wear bright orange lipstick. She never really wore makeup, but she did not leave the house without her bright orange lipstick. So I think I kind of inherited that from her. 

SF: We also have to remember that our mothers didn’t have foundation offerings and powder offerings in the way that we have them today. When we looked at our moms, it was always about a brow, or it was about a lip. They were participating in the best way that they could. That’s why Fashion Fair was really a beacon of hope for them, because they could go to a line that would embrace their beauty.

EBONY: It’s crazy to think that recent generations have been spoiled a bit when it comes to makeup.

SF: That’s part of our cosmetic history, we were raised getting perms in the kitchen; we know what burnt hair smells like. But with makeup, I don’t think our moms and grandmothers could pass that information down because they didn’t really feel armed with that kind of information.

EBONY: Where do you hope Fashion Fair will move forward to from this moment of re-invigoration?

SF: You know, it’s a legacy brand, so you look at where they’ve come from and where they have to go. Clarissa [Wilson], our president, often says that this is a brand that’s been asleep for a minute. The beauty of re-invigorating a brand this way is that everything’s new. Fashion Fair has more opportunity today to show you this and it leaves so much opportunity for bronzers, and color packages and technology that weren’t available before. So I look at Fashion Fair continuing its growth and stepping into its newness...It’s a wonderful opportunity for me. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the consumer who enjoys newness and feels that they are being spoken to with the colors that they can wear. It’s crazy because when you’re rushing hard to meet a deadline or working to create a new collection in no time, it’s easy to forget that you’re a part of a very special moment. And I’m just so grateful for that every day. 

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