Givenchy had Audrey Hepburn. Warhol had Edie Sedgwick. Mapplethorpe had Patti Smith. Behind nearly every great artist—designer, painter, musician—there is a woman with a certain je ne sais quoi inspiring them to aim higher and create boundary-breaking, indelible work. To celebrate the launch of Estée Lauder’s first major fragrance in over a decade—the equally feminine (hello, jasmine…) and masculine (greetings, patchouli!) Modern Muse—we asked one of our personal-style heroes, stylist and makeup artist Stacey Nishimoto, to get into character. Well, actually, we asked her to play dress up and embody three of her all-time favorite muses via images and text, to which she replied, “So…what I do every day?” Some background on Ms. Nishimoto: an hour spent with the Los Angeleno, whether in person or through her Instagram feed, is like sitting in on a lecture at FIT—girl knows her fashion history. She also knows her way around a vintage store, is a bona fide beauty guru, and is a single, working mom to boot. When we think ‘modern,’ when we think ‘duality,’ we think Stacey, with two-year-old Gus in one arm and an iPhone in the other, snapping magazine-worthy selfies before heading to the office in a 1980s leather bustier. Take a page from her playbook: dress up, even for the grocery store. Flag a reference picture. Go for it with the liquid eyeliner. Use what you have! Oh, but— maybe pick up a new scent. This one is really, really good. Trust us.
Who : Sade, the “Smooth Operator”
Why : A statuesque singer with one of the world's most recognizable profiles—and a voice that always leaves me dreaming of love—she’s a woman who knows how to adorn. I mean, she singlehandedly made the hoop earring and the calf-length evening dress (in white) classics—well, in my closet at least. Throughout the years, her style’s hardly changed, and it hasn’t needed to; she’s timeless. Never too revealing, her outfits hide sections of skin to keep you mystified, yet still emphasize curves to keep you utterly intoxicated. Minimalism has the tendency to skew masculine, but somehow Sade makes simple lines and bold accessories feel downright sexy.
How I Do Sade : A low, long pony, a pair of hoops, and a perfectly fitted dress, topped off with deep, sin-colored lips. Sade's beauty sense is about strength, whether she’s sporting a blood-red mouth, a nearly-invisible matte nude lip, or something more plummy (Mirrored Orchid Lipstick with a pop of Hot Cherry Lip Lacquer right in the center). Perfectly groomed brows frame her long, almond-shaped eyes, which are smudged just so with a little Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil in Onyx. I trace Wild Truffle Pure Color Matte Eye Shadow right below my orbital bone—it’s my favorite ‘80s style way of applying shadow, but I make it modern by using a color that disappears into the skin. Her complexion always has a creamy matte finish, which I achieve (sorta!) with a little Double Wear Light smoothed evenly over freshly moisturized skin. Modern Muse is the fragrance I spritz on my wrists when I wear white like Sade, which is almost every day.
— Stacey Nishimoto