With her cloak of curls and aubergine dark lips, international chart-topping singer Lorde is garnering rave reviews for her look as well as her music. The 17-year-old from Devonport has started popping up on the beauty pages of American publications, ranging from Teen Vogue to Nylon magazine, for championing an individual style.
As with so much else about Ella Yelich-O'Connor's career to date, a carefully managed approach has ensured the alternative is made accessible. "Fashion" edge rather than celebrity sparkle is what helps Lorde's look stand out.
"The purple lip, she just really suits it," says makeup artist Amber D, who has been on tour with her in Britain and the US over the past few months, taking Lorde from vivid violet at the VH1 Awards to edgy eggplant for her appearance dressed by Chanel at MoMa. Her latest even darker lip can be seen in Lorde's new video for Team from her Pure Heroine album, which was shot in New York. It is a further evolution in a collaboration that has to keep in mind both Lorde's age and preferences.
"She's very confident, she knows what she likes, says Amber D, M.A.C senior artist for Oceania. "I'm so in awe of her really ... when I was her age I was a bumbling fool, awkward, full of acne and whatnot."
Watching with mother Sonja Yelich as Lorde performed a set on the Letterman show, Amber D says: "I got a little bit choked up because I felt so proud of her." Travelling with the tight Lorde team has been one of the best trips of her life. which includes regular work at the world's biggest fashion weeks. "I need to be really aware of, in the long-term, what her signature look is, how do we manipulate it as we go along without changing it too much. At this point we need to keep her looking like Ella, not to make her look different every time.
"There's a really fine line between not making her look older ... I want to make her look gorgeous and not super done-up." To counteract the now recognised strong lip, skin was kept fresh with matte finishes avoided.
"The gothy thing is certainly not intentional ... she has really pale skin and really dark hair."
Sydney-based Amber D got her Lorde look down to a record 17 minutes for one American appearance and says her speed is one reason the pair hit it off. She remembers their first meeting on a magazine cover shoot. "I walked into the studios and there was no-one else there yet, but her. She looked like a really pretty teenage girl, she wasn't wearing makeup ... as a makeup artist I noticed her eyes - amazing eyes, really wide-set."
Trust came quickly, but Amber D does her homework, "reading" and adapting various makeups by studying clips and live performances to see how Lorde's face moves when she performs. Strong straight eyeliner complements her way of looking down. A lighter look works best for interviews and shoots than on stage. Then there is dealing with the inevitable trials of the teenager. "She's a real person ... if there's a breakout or a spot you just conceal it, not cover the whole face."
On that first shoot together Amber D jokes that it was Lorde who was "fangirling" about getting her makeup done. Now the roles are reversed. "You don't have to necessarily fit the mould to be successful, she's very different ... for young girls and for all women, that's inspiring."
Watch Lorde's brand new video for Team (with makeup by Amber D) here: