Alt-queen Kat Von D’s latest collaboration is the best of the beauty and punk worlds colliding. The makeup mogul and tattoo artist teamed up with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day to offer fans a new tool to achieve his iconic smudged eyeliner look. Today, Kat Von D Beauty launches Basket Case Anti-Precision Eyeliner, named after the famous 1994 Dookie track.
“This is not an eyeliner for your grandma for sure,” Von D explains in an exclusive interview with Billboard. “It has a lot of versatility; you can use it in different ways. But, I wanted to create a long-wear, high-pigmented, really easy to use eyeliner that would create something as messy and anti-precision as the way Billie Joe wears it on stage, or if you just want to do smoked out black eyes.”
“Whenever I develop any makeup product, first and foremost it’s always about the formula,” Von D notes. “The formula has to be amazing. You don’t have to like me or Billie Joe to want to use this and I’m really proud of that.” The retractable pencil (complete with a built-in sharpener) provides the ideal smudge-able line without getting smeary, meaning you won’t have to worry about your eyeliner being anywhere other than where you applied it after a sweaty night at a concert.
“I just wanted something that was very user friendly,” Von D adds. “Most of the products I create are obviously for the masses but also for pros, and I feel like this is also something that falls into that category. It can be used in everyone’s makeup kits or if it’s just for personal wear.”
Fans got their first taste of the collection when Von D and Armstrong teased the visuals for the collab on their Instagram accounts. The photos showed the two icons handcuffed to each other and pulling goofy faces, reminiscent of a photograph of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
“I pitched the idea of shooting the campaign paying homage to this poster I used to have up on my wall, and it was this old photograph of Sid and Nancy and they were handcuffed together, and I just remember staring at that as a teenager; Nancy had this blown out black eye look and I was like, ‘Oh, this totally makes sense.’ I could totally see that image being translated with myself and Billie Joe.”
“One thing that we both kind of laughed about [is] this is a great idea, we could relate to that image aside from the drug part. Both Billie Joe and I are sober and we probably won’t kill each other [laughs].”
This isn’t the first time the two worked together: as a part of a campaign for Project Chimps, a chimp sanctuary Armstrong and his wife are deeply involved with, the duo also launched a limited-edition lipstick line. This time, Armstrong opted for something much more familiar to his own aesthetic. “I remember we were texting one night,” Von D explains, “and he was just like, ‘I always wear eyeliner onstage and I feel like I should have my own eyeliner, and I would love to create something with you.’”
For Von D, music has always been a main source of inspiration. “If you look at my entire collection from day one, everything from shade names to shade collections have always been inspired by music, whether it’s bands or lyrics or composers.”
The beauty mogul has long been in touch with her musical side, explaining, “I guess it would start with Beethoven first because I started playing classical music when I was five years old, and he was the original punk rocker in my eyes. Punk rock music was really my window into everything from animal rights to personal aesthetics, and listening to bands like Craft and Conflict was my first influence into the animal rights movement. Then later on as I got into The Cure and Depeche Mode, a lot of stuff translated into my personal sense of style.”
Will there be more to this collaboration than just a single eyeliner? “I hope so,” Von D offers. “I think the fans are definitely interested in something more. One thing that I really was excited about and I think that no makeup brand has really done is, I think boys get really forgotten when it comes to makeup. I just know so many guys that do wear eyeliner, and I just feel like this is a really cool of introducing the aspect of boys being able to rock eyeliner just as good as women.”
In the visuals and beyond, Von D pointed to the unifying element between punk music and beauty: individuality. “As a kid I was always an outsider and music was the one thing that gave me a sense of belonging. I think that’s really powerful, and you can see that in the audience that attends every Green Day show, and you can see it in the faces of makeup enthusiasts and my followers. So I knew this collaboration would speak to people on a lot of different levels, and also, I just hope that it inspires people to think outside the box.”