Over the past decade, Kim Kardashian West‘s makeup looks have transformed the beauty industry, thanks to her close collaboration with makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. From creating the perfect dark, smoky eye to the pro’s go-to “baking” technique, Dedivanovic’s secrets have become so in-demand that he travels the world sharing them. But until now, there’s been one thing the expert has never revealed: how to achieve his famous client’s signature nude lip. So in honor of their 10-year anniversary, they’re finally sharing the iconic shade with the world, in their 4-piece KKW x Mario collection, which launches Thursday.
We spoke with Dedivanovic about the makeup dream team’s brand new products, what it was like collaborating with Kardashian West, and the real inspiration behind the nude lip color that trumps all nude lip colors.
This collaboration is a long time coming. What’s the inspiration behind the products?
We met on April 5th, 2008, so the collab will be launching exactly ten years to the day on April 5th 2018. It will consist of a palette with ten shades in it. Four of them are matte — the four classic matte shades we have used over a decade. We also have six shimmer shades, which are the classic bronzes and golds that she loves, and a couple of more colorful ones as well. We also did this one classic Kim nude lipstick; it’s a beautiful satin texture that’s really creamy on the lips, but long-lasting, and then we made two lip glosses.
Does this mean you’re finally sharing the secret for Kim’s signature nude lip?
Well, I’ve always had these nude lip palettes and I would mix a bunch of colors by hand to create her lip shade. It always turns out to be a similar color that she really loves and that I really love on her. So we recreated that color that I have been mixing for so many years into the “Classic K” lipstick. It’s definitely going to become the staple lipstick for whoever buys it and loves the Kim K nude lip.
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Kim has millions of fans who have been dying to wear this shade. Will this lipstick work on any skin tone?The lipstick blends with literally any lip color. I saw that especially with a shoot that we did recently. I had four makeup artists on set and sixteen models that were literally from the palest of pales to the darkest of dark and I said everyone has to use this one lipstick but use it with any lip pencil that you want and literally it just somehow looked amazing on every single model.
Kim rarely wears color when it comes to her makeup. What made you add a blue shade to the palette?
A few of our favorite looks that we have done over the years have been with blue eye shadows, and she never kind of wanted that, but I always kind of convinced her. After we did it, they turned out to be some of her favorites. So I made this gorgeous beautiful shimmery blue that could work really well with all the colors in the palette and also by itself as a smoky eye. I wanted a young person to be able to use it and love it, but I also wanted a more mature woman to be able to use it as well. I think the blue, in particular, will be a huge trend in 2018.
How did you choose what products you’d create?
Kim wanted her first collab to be with me. When she told me that, that’s when I started going through the vault and pulling all these images and saving them, because I started thinking about what the hell could this be and how many products it would be. I would go through and pull some images and then I would start narrowing them down and picking my favorites and just really think about what all of her fans and all my followers would love most? What products are the key products they can use to really recreate all these looks that they’ve loved?
You take your eye shadow formulas very seriously. What makes this one pass the Mario test?
I took into account Kim’s fan base, and of the hundreds of millions of them, a huge majority of them aren’t makeup artists. I also took into account what my followers like and what the makeup community likes, and I tried to make something that’s kind of different. There’s a huge trend of these makeup companies coming out with extremely pigmented shadows, but they are so hard for a non-makeup-artist to work with. So I made each of the shadows so you can build them up or you can just use a little bit and it’s going to blend beautifully, and you don’t have to have an expert hand.
How much freedom did Kim give you to create the shades you wanted?
She pretty much let’s me do whatever I want when it comes to makeup. She sometimes doesn’t even look in the mirror when I do her makeup; she really has complete trust in me. I obviously had her approve every single shade; she was extremely involved in the aesthetic of the collections, meaning the packaging. I let her design everything, but she did take my favorite color — grey — and work around that.
You’ve known Kim for 10 years, but have never created anything with her. Did you learn anything new about her through this process?It really just confirmed what I already know. She’s just so easy to work with, and so humble and supportive. I really trust her vision; I didn’t get involved with the packaging aspect of it. She really enjoys that stuff and then the same way she didn’t really question what I wanted for formulas. She trusts me. And she also gets back to you in literally 30 seconds. Anything I need advice on, she’s there. She was truly so helpful and so easy to work with.
Your last palette with Anastasia Beverly Hills had all really meaningful names. What did you and Kim come up with this time?
The shadow names are more reflective of her and I. Some of them are places that we have been, or have our favorite looks from, and then some of them are our cultures. One of them is Albanian, and another is Armenian. And then some of them are words that we have used a lot in the past then years. One of them is “glam” and one is called “bronze-y,” because we use that word pretty much every other day. She wants this “bronze-y,” she wants that “bronze-y.” Every single makeup session we have, she’s like, “Can we do bronze-y?” That’s like her word.
How long did the collection take to create?
We are originally going to launch it this past October, because it’s our birthday month — we are both Libras — and I wasn’t ready at that time. The formulas weren’t ready at that time. I kept sending them back. It’s probably been like nine months since we have started working on it. It’s a long process, they send lipsticks or the glosses and I have to test them out and see how they work and I send them back. It’s an ongoing back and forth, back and forth.
How is this collection a representation of your relationship with Kim?
The whole process was like a very emotional process; I’m a very emotional person. I was going through the vault of all the images, and I literally remember everything and every image I see brings back memories of what we were doing, where we were, what she wore, what we talked about, just like silly things I think about in the past.