When jewelry designer Yaz Bukey was a child, she’d steal her mother’s red Chanel lipstick—but not to wear it. Rather, she’d grab the black and gold tube, pull off the cap, and scribble all over a wall behind the couch. “One day, [my parents] decided to move the couch, and all they saw was destruction,” laughed Bukey by phone from Paris.
Since she began wearing it at the age of 16, pairing it with dyed black hair and white powder (“I wanted to be like Siouxsie and the Banshees,” she explained) red lipstick has played a role in Bukey’s life beyond vandalism. In fact, when she launched Yazbukey, her line of cheeky, tromp l’oeil plexiglass accessories, back in 2000, a rouge-painted, gasping mouth was one of the first pieces she created. Dubbed the “C’est Ahh” mouth (after a line in Sebastien Tellier’s song, “Roche”), the motif is, as Bukey put it, “orgasm lips.” That is, it’s meant to mimic a mouth in utter ecstasy. In recent years, the titillating lips have been transformed into everything from handbags, hats, earrings, sunglasses, and even embellishments on lingerie (for Fall 2016), to a table for Bukey’s new surrealist furniture range. In whatever form they appear, they always command attention, and inspire intrigue.