Paint your world

MAC Cosmetics latest collection is a limited-edition line with the creative street-artist eL-Seed. Art imitates life in this collaboration, as soulful Arabic design and street art, meet warm neutral shades of makeup. This collection is set to launch exclusively in the Middle East, before dropping to the rest of the world. Emirates Woman got the opportunity to preview the collection before its release, and interview eL-Seed and MAC’s Senior Artist Mariam Khairallah to know more about the creative process and what went into brining this line to life.

Mariam started by talking us through the collection and how it was “makeup artistry meets street artistry.” This is the first time in the makeup brand’s history that a collaboration with a regional artist will be available globally and not just in the Middle East. The pop-up colour in the collection’s eyeshadow palette is the pink shade, the painter’s signature colour. “The collection has face and eyes palettes, which means that the eyeshadow palettes could be used for the eyes and as blush.”

The collaboration includes four lipsticks: two cinnamon inspired shades, a pink lipstick and an orange one. “The there is the highlighter, which is my favourite. It is called Dima’s Glow, inspired by his [eL-Seed] wife. It is a golden highlighter,” Mariam continued. The pink coated makeup brushes are inspired by eL-Seed’s own painting brushes, a first for MAC who are known for the sleek black brushes.

After Mariam introduced us to the products in the collection, we got to sit with the man himself, eL-Seed to know more about how this process was for him.


MAC eL-Seed

This collaboration is so different and unheard off, how did MAC approach you? What made you want to do it?

They approached me around four years ago, it started as a discussion with a possibility of a collaboration. To be honest with you, I am not a cosmetics expert, so I listened to my wife’s advice and researched more about MAC and then met with them. It was not just a collaboration, but a conversation and they really wanted to make something that I was pleased with, which is why I think it took sometime.

What was the process like? How would you describe the collaboration in term of products?

For me, it was making sure that we are telling a story and you know I always write messages, not just letters. I really wanted to speak about perception, you can empower people, you can get empowered with makeup. That is what I wanted with this collaboration. Also, I wanted to put my stamp as an artist – pink is the colour that I love the most and people recognise me with my pink painting, and I wanted this to pop-out from other MAC collections, which are mostly black.

It is also an intimate door into my life and my studio, like I named some of my products after my wife and daughter. One of the shades is named after my little town in Tunisia. This is my second collaboration with a brand as an artist, so it was really important for me that I am careful about what the product will be.

MAC eL-Seed

What was the hardest or most challenging part for you?

For me, it was working in a field that I am new too. I thought I could add colours like yellow and orange, and then I was told no, you don’t put yellow and orange. It was about finding a good compromise of who I am and what MAC is about, and I think we met halfway. I am really happy with the outcome.

What was it like working on your first beauty project?

I guess this collaboration is an extension of my practice in a certain way. Makeup is art and we use the same tools like brushes and colour palettes. The thing is we want people to feel like they are making art when they do their makeup.

What similarities do you see between your work and MAC’s aesthetic?

I think MAC in general as a makeup brand is about perception – how makeup can empower people and as an artist I try to do the same thing.

MAC eL-Seed

What is your favourite product from the collaboration?

I would say the brush. Or the glow [highlighter] because it has my wife’s name, or the lipstick which is named after my daughter. The brush I will definitely use.

What was the main thing that you wanted to highlight through the collection?

I try to celebrate my Arabic heritage by using Arabic calligraphy. I think it is avant-gardist from MAC, a world-wide brand to put Arabic script on their products. It is not a Middle East collaboration, it is a Global one, so it is breaking stereotypes with everything that is going on in the world and what Arabic script could evoke in some people. I guess MAC believe that Arabic script has universal beauty, that you don’t need to translate. We are celebrating this, and celebrating people’s differences.

How do you feel about this being a Global collaboration?

I wouldn’t have done it if it was just Middle Eastern. I recieve a lot of requests from people and this is the condition, I won’t do something if it is not global. I don’t do Arab work for Arab people, I doesn’t make any sense to me. I think what is important is showing the world that there is beauty in the script.

MAC eL-Seed

Is there anything that you learned through this collaboration that you would implement in your work going forward.

Doing this showed me that sometimes I should take risks with my colours. I should get out of my comfort zone of the blue and the pink.

Did you have a preconceived notion about makeup before this?

I never thought that it was this complicated and difficult. I didn’t know that it had this notion of layers and mixing colours. I didn’t use to understand why they called it “Makeup artist.” It opened my eyes to a different practice, a different word of artist.

MAC eL-Seed

You can shop the MAC Cosmetics x eL Seed limited-edition collection starting March 20 at and select MAC Cosmetics stores.

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Media: Supplied