The New York drag queen Ru Paul and the singer kd Lang might seem polar opposites but they have one thing in common: they are both the most unlikely candidates to head a beauty campaign. But MAC, the Canadian cosmetics company, held an opening of its second New York shop in Soho last week with the two spokespeople (as they are called) making star appearances. They were promoting Viva Glam lipstick, sales of which are donated to Aids home care support services, education and prevention.
So far, sales of Viva Glam have contributed $5m to the MAC Aids fund.
While Ru Paul is rarely seen in public without a good few inches of foundation, lipstick and false eye-lashes, kd Lang is rarely seen without much more than freshly scrubbed skin. And that is why she is an inspired choice for a cosmetics company. She is the archetypal "no make-up" woman who will appeal to all those women that wear next to nothing on their faces. When asked what her favourite MAC product was she admitted to knowing little about cosmetics. In the advertising campaign she wears bright red Viva Glam lipstick, not on her lips, but as a kiss mark on her cheek. She will be promoting MAC on her forthcoming All You Can Eat tour.
The celebrity count at the New York shows has been higher than the Supermodel count. Gianni and Donatella Versace's younger line, Versus, boasted a front row that was more interesting than the show itself, with photographers falling over themselves to snap Mike Tyson, Lisa Marie Presley, Woody Allen, Soon-Yi, Bianca Jagger and Deborah Harry (in pattern and blond wig and gold baco-foil coat), while Ivana Trump and Uma Thurman turned up for Todd Oldham's show.
Fashion labels need celebrities as the latest round of advertising campaigns shows. It is not enough to be a model and a household name. The lucrative campaign for Calvin Klein has gone to Seven actress and girlfriend of Brad Pitt - Gwyneth Paltrow. Previous Calvin favourites have included Christy Turlington and Kate Moss.
Ms Paltrow is not the only actress to have beaten professional models to the ad campaigns. The new face of Revlon, the actress Hallie Berry, was at the New York shows last week; Chloe Sevigny, star of Larry Clark's film Kids, features in the ads for Miu Miu, and the 14-year-old actress Natalie Portman, star of Leon and the forthcoming movie Beautiful Girls, has been photographed for the spring campaign for Isaac Mizrahi's new diffusion line, Isaac. Alongside each picture runs the words "Inside every woman is a star."
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