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In an interview with HighSnobiety, artist Laurie Simmons discusses luxury lipstick, coming fresh into her second collaborative effort in the fashion medium, launching a line with Edward Bess.


When asked about her level of research into the history of lipstick and the depths to which she went, Simmons said, "I lived the history of lipstick because of having a mother who never went out of the house without putting on lipstick. I was one of those kids that went through her stuff all the time, so I knew that she had three color lipsticks, as most women did: a true red, a pink, and a coral."


When asked about her often use of ventriloquist dolls in her work, Simmons said, "The ventriloquist dummies I found at VentHaven, the ventriloquist museum where I went to shoot, all seemed to have red lips. I figured that was left over from some vaudeville ideals of beauty and stage makeup. I photographed the dummies I found there as they were and when I designed my own dummies I gave them red lips to match that tradition. One of the surprising things I found at the museum was how many female ventriloquists and female dummies there actually were who performed in the forties, fifties and sixties. I made an artwork out of all the female press shots on the walls there called “Girl Vent Press Shoots,” a grid of 24 rephotographed press shots. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. There are only a handful of ventriloquists that ever become well known so it was great to see how many women exist in this subculture."


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When asked about the current state of gender fluidity, Simmons said, "It’s what I'm focused on right now in my work — that’s it. There's no question that I was focused on the binary because it was drilled so deep and so hard into my life that boys were boys and girls were girls and that was the primary binary in my life. I feel like the 21st century is bringing me everything I need in terms of subject matter. I remember when Lena was born, talking to my husband about what the surprise would be — because every generation surprises the generation before. My parents were so shocked by my anti-American stance, my protesting the war, my boyfriends having long hair, the way I dressed, the Woodstock generation, all of that. This was particularly felt being the child of first-generation Americans. My father felt, as many children of immigrants do, that this country had provided a home for him and his family, so to turn against the United States was painful for him to see me do. Our rebellion is well-chronicled, well-documented. The sexual revolution--whatever, that's all old news. But I didn't know what our children's generation would bring — and now I know what it is. It's a gift having a trans child. It's a gift for me personally and subject matter wise because it takes what was already my subject and allows me to really break it open and drill deep into it."

Information originally sourced from HighSnobiety.