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Jenny Shimizu & Michelle Violy Harper in Helmut Red

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When I heard that Jenny Shimizu had teamed up with “online concept boutique' House of Exposure and lipstick guru Poppy King to create the perfect red—Helmut Red, an homage to Helmut Newton heroines—I wondered if the poster child of Nineties androgyny (Ck One, remember?) had gone femme. The answer, it turned out, was no. Dressed in a crisp men’s button-down from +J and cuffed linen shorts (also swiped from the men’s section at Uniqlo), Shimizu confirmed my sneaking suspicion about her beauty routine—or lack thereof. “Honestly?” she said, “I don’t wear much makeup…or really any makeup.” On the opposite end of the spectrum is Michelle Violy Harper, fresh off a plane from Paris couture and at Shimizu’s side, who has never met a compact she didn’t like. On this particular afternoon, she’d dipped into a mint-green eye shadow by Shiseido (from the Silky Eye Shadow Quad in Ocean Shimmer) complemented—of course—by a hearty helping of the lipstick du jour. “That’s the thing that I love about this red,” she said. “You can do a weird green eye shadow with a strange teal-black eyeliner… You can pretty much do anything with it because of the blue base underneath. Creating a universal red is really a challenge, but this one looks good on so many different people.” Harper used Shimizu to prove her point, applying several coats of the “glossy, incredibly emollient” formula to her makeup-free companion.

Starting this week, the entire city can glimpse Shimizu in all her made-up glory: posters featuring the occasional model in the buff, and wielding a baseball-bat-sized lipstick tube, are being plastered across downtown Manhattan as part of a guerilla ad campaign dreamt up by House of Exposure founder Periel Aschenbrand. “I’m not so into the way beauty products are marketed and how women are presented,” Aschenbrand chimed in. “To me, Jenny was the obvious choice to be a new sort of ‘beauty queen.’ She’s my muse, though she’ll probably punch me for saying that.”

Michelle Violy Harper, wearing a Jen Kao top and skirt, Karen Walker belt, and House of Lavande Made In Italy jewelry, and Jenny Shimizu photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on July 6th 2012. The limited-edition lipstick is available at House of Exposure.