The Wu-Tang Clan has branched into make-up, with the launch of a lipstick collection.
The 1990s hip-hop band from New York is best known for the albums Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), The W and Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, as well as for the bizarre names of its group members: RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah and U-God. (FYI: the band's official website features a name-generator function, which assigns a Wu-tang-worthy moniker. So far we've had a Respected Wizard, Tough Tiger Fist and Quiet Wolf.)
The group is famous for decidedly off-the-wall behaviour (case in point, the notorious and unprintable antics of now deceased member ODB). With a clothing line already under its belt, Wu-Tang has launched the new range of lipstick colours in collaboration with Milk Makeup, with an aim to empower women.
As band member RZA explains: “In previous generations, the feminine energy has been dampened by the world. But now, women’s strength, beauty and wisdom is finally being celebrated. Warriors come in all forms, but right now women are the modern warriors, unapologetic in their strength and speaking out about things they’ve held in or feared they’d be shunned for on, both a personal and political level.”
The band is obsessed with martial arts and Shaolin, in particular – the WTC bat signal-esque symbol is based on a throwing star. The design of the new lipsticks, too, is firmly linked to this thinking.
A promotional video shows singer-actress Teyana Taylor, dressed in an zip-up jumpsuit similar to Uma Thurman's look in Kill Bill (for which RZA did the soundtrack), swinging a samurai sword and juggling lipsticks.
The casing for the lipstick is a coiled, gilt dragon, while a separate mirror is in the form of a throwing star in 24K gold. Eight shades are on offer, with names taken from the I Ching - the ancient book of Chinese teachings. Choose from Intentions Flow Through All Dimensions (inspired by the notion of a sacred heaven), Liquid Swords (that refers to the cypher), and Third Eye (based on the element of thunder).
The interactive website urges you to “consult the I Ching to select your shade”.
“Bruce Lee said it best: ‘Martial arts are an elevated level of self-expression,’” says RZA. “To me, when a person wakes up, looks in the mirror, and puts on their individual armour, that’s a form of martial arts. And in that sense, lipstick is a weapon.”
And the best news? In keeping with Milk Makeup’s policy, the new range of lipsticks are cruelty-free, paraben-free and 100 per cent vegan.