Closet Couture is so pleased to introduce you all to Purple Lab cosmetics, founded by the adorable Karen Robinovitz. When we met Karen and tried her line, we thought you all would love the product – and the price point. Usually makeup can rocket up in price quickly, but Purple Lab is a great value and has amazingly fun packaging and branding to boot. For more info and to buy, click here to go to HSN. And watch this space for our Purple Lab styling contest – starting tomorrow!
Karen is a NYC lady about town with fabulous personal style. We took a few minutes from her busy schedule to investigate her style and how she started Purple Lab.
How would you describe your personal style? Which designers rule your closet, besides your own?
My style ranges depending on the day – downtown rocker chic one day, bohemian and flowy with a 70s spin the next, streamlined and sleek with wide leg pants, the perfect white button down and a fedora if the mood strikes, out-and-out bold glamour (talking blue animal print Lanvin with red sky scraper heels).
The designers that reign my wardrobe: Rick Owens, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Alexander Wang, and a fair share of Proenza for good measure. If you gave me $1,000, I’d rather buy one thing than many!
Whom or what do you look to for design inspiration?
I’m always inspired by contemporary art – the moods it evokes, so I often find myself in and out of galleries in Chelsea. Kate Moss is a constant inspiration and I have a collage of her in my closet. She’s like my Magic Eight Ball when I have nothing to wear!
How did you come up with the idea for Purple Lab?
I always dreamed of having a brand. I just didn’t know what it would be about or when it would happen. I was at a cocktail party with my husband about three years ago. After over-indulging on the carbs, I told Todd I had to go home. I had ring-around-the-waist. You know, when your pants suddenly feel one size too small!
He was so disappointed. We were only there for a short time. As I was putting my lip gloss on, I jokingly said, “if this gloss could plump my lips, not my hips, I wouldn’t be in this mess.”
That’s when it hit me. OMG! Lip gloss with plumper AND Hoodia! It would be my dream product. I’d call it “Huge Lips Skinny Hips!” Todd encouraged me to make it and that was the start of a brand, which is fashion inspired and all about double duty beauty.
Since then, we launched six new products with more on the way. We run the company together.
How do you design the line and colors? What is your process?
I really just think about what I want my makeup to do and how it will fit into my life. While it’s a beauty brand, it’s very much inspired by fashion and a stylish life of a busy woman who wants multi-tasking products with a hit of humor and whimsy. I look at it the way I do my clothes – serious and fun at once.
Every shade is meant to be universally flattering, not trend driven, so it’s your go-to color for any time, day, and night. And the names are very fashion-y – There’s a red shade of Huge Lips Skinny Hips called Red Sole, an homage to Louboutin.
Tell us about your first fashion memory – how did you get hooked?
I was four years old and walking down the street in Palm Beach, Florida, with my parents. All of a sudden, I saw something that lit me up inside and I yelled, “Look, Mommy! G! U! C! C! I! Gucci!” It was the first word I read. My parents knew they were headed for trouble!
What is your fashion skeleton in your closet? Something that you just cannot part with no matter how out of date, etc….
I don’t have a hard time parting with the skeletons that I know I would never, ever, ever wear again. So right now, none are in there! All clean!
Favorite Accessory that you have?
My engagement ring and a red, black and white striped python knuckle-duster Alexander McQueen clutch. I die over it.
How do you like to shop? Do you prefer going with friends or alone or having things sent to you?
I like to go alone. I really become friends with the staff at many of the stores where I shop so when I’m there, it’s play time. I love to try on everything, the most extreme items and be the guinea pig to see how things fit if they haven’t been tried yet. And I love it when a store will send me photos of what they get in, the minute they get it in!
What is your favorite city to shop in and what are your favorite stores / haunts there?
New York City and Paris.
In NYC: Kirna Zabete, Curve, Resurrection, Barneys, Jeffrey, Alexander McQueen. Who could ask for anything more?
In Paris: Colette, Onward, Didier Ludot for vintage, the flea markets, and all the flagships (Balenciaga, Lanvin, etc.).
Who are your personal style icons?
My mom in the 70s and 80s – I wish she saved all of her pieces. They were amazing. I do have all of her honeymoon dresses, though!
Kate Moss, Talitha Getty, Carine Roitfeld, Lou Doillon, Bianca Jagger circa Studio 54, Coco Chanel, Diana Vreeland.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
It doesn’t matter what’s going on outside if you don’t feel good inside.
What is your favorite kind of event to get dressed for?
Black tie especially if I can borrow diaomonds. But I don’t like to be in the box about it. I will wear a gown with a motorcycle jacket and fingerless gloves or take it the extreme and find a way to make denim dressed-up and sophisticated. Linda Evangelista wore Notify black denim to the Costume Institute Gala once – a heavenly fashion moment.
What’s the usual Purple Lab outfit for casual dinner with friends?
Current/Elliot jeans, Alexander Wang Tshirt, Rick Owens leather jacket in metallic copper, McQueen snake-print scarf, six inch heels, oversized hoop earrings, an arm full of bangles.
What do you love about Closet Couture?
I love how we can play dress up, create looks, share with others and inspire one another. Fashion should be a girl’s club!
What is the best piece of advice about makeup you ever received?
Like an outfit, make one thing stand out. If it’s the eyes, go nude on the lips. If it’s heavy lips, go nude on the eyes. And always feel confident or nothing else matters.
What advice would you give to our members about makeup?
Don’t be afraid to take risks and try something new – if you don’t do smoky eyes, try it; if you’re afraid of red lips, put them on! Have fun with it! Don’t take it all so seriously.