No conversation about goth queens is complete without mentioning Kat Von D.
As the founder of Kat Von D Beauty, Kat has brought her all-black, edgy style to Sephora stores around the world — and looked damn fine doing it.
But Kat isn't just the queen of your makeup-loving life, she's also an animal rights activist, outspoken vegan, shoe designer, fine artist, musician, tattoo artist, AND fashion icon. What must it be like, I asked myself, to be that talented?
So I decided to embrace the ~dark glamour~ that Kat embodies, and find out firsthand.
Here's what it's like to live like Kat Von D for a week.
Kat is so famous for her high-voltage beauty look that she launched an entire makeup brand.
And even though Kat and I have VERY different goth beauty aesthetics, that didn't stop me from going balls-to-the-wall to try to recreate her most well-known beauty look using ALL vegan and cruelty-free products.
And honestly, I think I nailed the signature Kat Von D beauty look.
On my face, I used Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Foundation in shade 130 ($34, Sephora), then defined my cheekbones with Fenty Beauty Matte Skin Stix in Amber ($25, Sephora) and blended it with a Kat Von D Beauty Lock-It foundation brush ($34, Sephora). I concealed and color-corrected my under-eye circles with KVD Beauty Lock-It concealer in shade 13 ($26, Sephora), then mattified my entire face with Kat Von D Powder Foundation in shade Light 45 ($35, Sephora).
I skipped blush because Kat does, opting instead to highlight the hell out of my cheekbones with the Kat Von D Beauty Metal Crush highlighter in shade Helix ($35, Sephora). I tied everything together with a generous coat of KVD Beauty Studded Kiss lipstick in Underage Red ($19, Sephora).
Kat switches up her eye makeup a LOT, but I was able to get her classic look down cold.
I used the KVD Beauty Metal Crush highlighter in Helix ($35, Sephora) all over my eyelid, then subtly defined the crease and lash line with shade lcarus from the KVD Beauty Shade and Light palette ($48, Sephora), and used shade Shax to softly fill my brows. Naturally, I used KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner in Trooper ($20, Sephora) to create my cat eye, and to (attempt) to darken my waterline. I used Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara ($23, Sephora) — which I do not love — on my top and bottom lashes. Then I took a breath and prepared to freehand the stars.
I used KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner in Trooper to draw in all of these stars, but then "faded" the fake tattoos along my temple with a layer of powder. It made them look so realistic that a lot of people on the subway wanted to talk to me about my face tattoos, which is perhaps the biggest reason I'd never get them done for real.
There was just one element of Kat's makeup routine that I DID NOT LIKE.
Kat LIVES for a dark waterline — that's the inner part of the eye closest to the ball, if you'll excuse the term — and is supposedly designing a new eyeliner specifically for that area.
I *hate* putting eyeliner on my waterline. No matter what product I use, I tear up like crazy and it waters away. I can't help that I have the sensitive eyeballs of a baby angel. I cried away KVD's Tattoo Liner from my waterline with a quickness, but Basket Case stuck a little better.
Maybe Kat's new waterliner will convert me to this look — but I was happy to take this liner off.
Kat is known for her all-black wardrobe. And like, I can do that with my eyes closed.
The REAL trick? Dressing like Kat for a week in not only all black, but all vegan as well.
While I strive to spend my money with as many ethical brands as possible, making sure that my clothing is vegan and cruelty-free has never really entered into the equation.
For reference, this is my usual style. I could never be a style blogger, because I wear some variation on this look every day of my life.
My cold weather jackets? Yeah, one contains down and one is leather shearling (both are from The Arrivals, btw).
My cold weather shoes? Definitely all leather.
My sweaters? Cashmere and wool.
My wardrobe could definitely stand to be more vegan-friendly — and more Von D-esque.
This is the Roselle dress from Deandri's Cult collection.
The Roselle dress ($65, Deandri) is a full-skirted, high-neck black dress. It has shallow pockets in the skirt, and hits me (I'm 5'10") just above my kneecaps. This dress, like many others Deandri makes, is available in sizes 2XS through 5XL. I'm wearing a size small, which fit perfectly.
The style name of these rose gold glasses is "A Dead Coffin Club" ($240, Valley Eyewear) and I love them, but they're big and they're heavy. Unlike Kat, I couldn't wear my shades all day — they were fine to shoot, but I had to take them off after about an hour.
The lipcolor is KVD Beauty's Studded Kiss lipstick in Lolita ($19, Sephora).
Outfit #3: Knee-high socks and a black bishop's collar.
Monochrome! Just how I like it! I wore my Roselle black dress ($65, Deandri) with this black bishop's collar ($15, Deandri) and knee-high socks. I honestly prefer thigh-highs over tights and knee-highs but hey, this is about being KAT — when she decides to live like Alle, noted internet dumb-dumb, she knows she needs to pull her socks up.
Outfit #4: Bare legs, goth flats, and a ruffled white collar.
I thought I'd like this collar ($15, Deandri) the best — but I actually felt really awkward in it!
Additionally, after washing and air drying my Roselle dress, it fit a little tighter around the boobs than I would prefer. Luckily, it stretched back to normal mid-way through the day.
My sunglasses are the Depotism from Valley Eyewear ($199, Valley Eyewear). Again, I love how these look, but they are high quality and heavy. I couldn't wear them all day.
Outfit #5: Bondage Wednesday Addams.
For my final Von D-inspired look, I took Deandri's classic white collar ($15, Deandri) and wore it with this REALLY cute vegan leather belt ($51, Deandri). I'm generally not a belt person — too uncomfortable — but since this one laces up the back with elastics, it wasn't uncomfortable.
During the weekend, I embraced my inner off-duty Kat. Even glam queens need downtime.
Kat says this is the real her: "No makeup, no nails, no bra, no filter — just me. The real me."
I also spend weekends skipping makeup and not wearing a bra, so this was very heartening for me. Because I live in New York and it's cold as balls, I did wear some leggings — but of course, I kept them black.
By the end of the week, I learned that getting dressed is really easy when you have a uniform. I don't know if I felt more like Kat by wearing her clothes, but I did feel good that I was supporting an indie label that's size-inclusive. Plus, who doesn't love a knee-length black dress with POCKETS?!
Kat says that having good skin starts “from the inside,” and her great skin is thanks to her vegan lifestyle.
This was a problem for me, because there's no diet on Earth that can keep my skin clear.
I’ve struggled with acne my entire adult life. No dietary changes or over-the-counter potions had any effect on my chronic breakouts, which are currently under control thanks to multiple prescription medications. None of those are cruelty-free — they can't be. The FDA requires that all drugs be put through animal testing.
So what to do, short of calling Kat and asking her what SHE'D do?
Instead of relying on a lifestyle change to control my acne, I decided to compromise. I'd switch out elements of my skin care routine with vegan products and brands that Kat has said she uses, but also stay on all of my skin medications.
After applying my (non-vegan) acne topicals, I moisturized with Drunk Elephant's B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel ($52).
I have no idea if this fancy-ass vegan moisturizer ($52, Sephora) is the one that Kat uses — but I decided that, since she is a noted luxurybitch, of COURSE she uses Drunk Elephant! It's the bougiest brand at Sephora!
This gel moisturizer is lovely — very light and hydrating. But if you're like me, and it's the middle of winter, and your face is cracking off... you might want to layer this under a thicker moisturizer.
Taking care of my skin the way Kat does encouraged me to try out new products — and woke me up to several huge flaws in the vegan market.
First, it was DIFFICULT to find vegan and cruelty-free skin care at a drugstore price point. It exists, but you generally have to special order it.
Next, shopping for vegan and cruelty-free skin care is an annoying experience. While big retailers like Ulta and Sephora allow you to filter product search results by almost every other criteria, there's no way to shop ONLY vegan or cruelty-free products.
Finally, the only cruelty-free skin care products that wouldn't irritate my skin or break me out were EXPENSIVE. Not everyone can afford $52 moisturizer!
Eating vegan turned out to be pretty easy — but that’s mostly because I have easy access to a lot of non-animal food alternatives (hi, Brooklyn), and really, really like routines. I figured I’d get a few vegan recipes under my belt, then just eat more or less the same thing all week.
Boring? Perhaps. But I’m a boring person, and this is how I eat.
Next, I embraced my inner Woman laughing Alone With Salad and made a veggie lunch that required a few tweaks before I properly liked it.
The salads I usually eat have chicken or some sort of protein in them, so I eventually figured out that dumping a can of drained chickpeas into a tub of spinach with some tomatoes and celery made for a good substitution.
OH, but let me tell you about the dressing I made! A vegan friend told me about it and it made my lunches like 900% better. Start with hummus in a small container, then add apple cider OR rice vinegar. Shake. Pour all over your food. DELICIOUSNESS.
I admit, this was a bit boring to eat every day — I'm sure Kat's vegan lunches are way more interesting. But I work in Midtown, and it was much, MUCH easier to prepare this salad in the morning than to scour menus for ingredients like honey, whey, or casein. If I made a lifelong commitment to veganism, I imagine I’d get better at meal prep with time.
For dinner, I ate one of two things. Sautéed vegetables and turmeric tofu was one of them.
I'm honestly not much of an at-home chef, so my first meal was beyond basic. Here's my recipe, which I lovingly called "Alle's veggie trashpile":
Chop any vegetables you like, sautée the fuck out of them in oil, and set aside. Chop half a brick of tofu, toss the cubes in turmeric, salt, and pepper, and fry in more olive oil. Serve in a big bowl. Filling, tasty, easy. On nights when I didn't feel like cooking, I turned to Screamer's Pizza. It's vegan, it's nearby, and it is GOOD AS HELL.
Eating vegan like Kat wasn't hard; the real challenge of this diet was my relationship.
My boyfriend did not join me in living like Kat for 7 days, so this meant we were either eating different meals at totally different times, or trying to prepare two different meals in our pocket handkerchief-size kitchen.
This was fine for a week, but would be challenging longterm. I can definitely see why Kat has dated so many vegans!
Based on what this couple shows to the world, theirs has been an intense goth romance filled with poems written in blood and grand gestures.
My boyfriend and I also love each other, but are a little more private about it.
I can't really emulate Kat's apparent goth romance dream for a week, because relationships are personal. I can't make mine and Lindsey's private life look like Kat and Leafar's public life, because it just doesn't work that way.
That said, I did want to know what it would take for Lindsey to express his love for me in a permanent fashion.
Leafar's face tattoo was a gift for Kat's birthday, and she loved it. It is a very sweet gesture, and very THEM.
My boyfriend A) has a beard, and B) doesn't have any tattoos, so I don't *think* he'd get my name tattooed on his face at any point.
I also asked him if he'd write me mushy love poems in my Instagram comments, but alas, that was a bridge too far.
Oh well. I guess I'll have to settle for having a kind, handsome, loving, supportive partner in my life, instead of a social media poet. WHAT A HARDSHIP.
I, on the other hand, swatched some lipsticks and needed to take a nap.
We all play to our strengths, and mine is definitely researching and writing about products. I'll stay in my lane.
Von D is also a world famous tattoo artist, renowned for her detailed portraits and gorgeous black and gray work.
And of course, Kat is a fine artist, whose original artwork should seriously hang in museums.
This is a portrait of Kat's BFF and Artistry Collective member, Tara Buenrostro.
It's not enough to be ~strange and unusual~ by yourself. Every dark-hearted babe knows that you need a full complement of goth superfriends to round out your squad.
That's why Von D created the KVD Beauty Artistry Collective, tapping four of the most talented makeup artists in the world to join her beauty adventures.
I'm lucky enough to head up the VERY talented style and beauty team here at Revelist, so I invited my colleagues — and friends — to wear their finest monochrome looks and get on my Von D level.
Kat has three hairless cats — Piaf, Poe, and Nietzsche. I have a diabetic dog named Oliver, who is currently shedding so much that I WISH he was hairless.
Kat's kitty friends are famous for clambering up up onto her shoulders, or posing while standing on her back. Oliver required two treats and my boyfriend to hold him up on my shoulders, and I still don't think he's forgiven me.
So after living like Kat Von D for a week, what did I learn?
Mostly I learned that Kat MUST have magical powers. Between the art, the makeup, and the living an extremely aesthetic lifestyle, I was exhausted by the end of the week.
I learned that, while I won't be taking up a fully vegan lifestyle, thinking more about what I eat and wear — and taking steps to make sure those things are as sustainable as possible — is definitely a good idea. I tend to go on autopilot when it comes to what I consume; being more mindful is a KVD-inspired change that I can put into effect immediately.
I learned that, even though there's no shortage of vegan and cruelty-free beauty brands out there, retailers need to make it easier for shoppers to make those choices. Beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora should carry more brands that put compassion front and center, and also make sure their websites and stores allow us to *find* those brands. At the very least, allow online shoppers to filter by "vegan" and "cruelty-free." That's a no-brainer.
I learned that, while I'm not a naturally gifted artist, I could probably improve if I put in the time and energy. Art is a creative outlet for Kat; I could probably use one of those, too.
I learned that a fashion wardrobe is great, but that having a squad of bad babes in your life is even better.
Finally, I learned that when you REALLY know who you are and what you stand for, all of that other stuff is easy. I will never be Kat Von D — but I *am* Alle. And that's the best magic of all.
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