Angel Merino On The Story Behind Artist Couture's New Caliente Collection

Courtesy of Artist Couture
Eye palette, lip gloss, and lipstick from Artist Couture Caliente collection.

For founder Angel Merino, the Artist Couture Caliente collection is more than just a summer drop. It's more than a birthday collection, as well — though the Instagram star and beauty mogul did just turn 30. "This has been such a passion project for me, because I felt like I’ve never done anything with my brand to really tell my story of my culture, and my background, and where I come from," Merino tells The Zoe Report over Zoom. "I really felt like this was such a great opportunity to really shine a light onto my culture and my heritage, and just like everything that’s inspired me over the years — especially in beauty."

Available as of July 17 on ArtistCouture.com, the beauty brand's newest collection shares a peek into Merino's Latinx background, featuring the never-before-seen Caliente Mini Eyeshadow & Pressed Pigment Palette ($30) and Caliente Silk Cream Lipstick ($18). Two previously released $18 lip gloss shades — the Peepshow Diamond Lip Tease and Le Freak Diamond Lip Tease — join the collection, rounding out a color story that ranges from glitzy neutrals to vibrant fire tones.

"When I first conceptualized this collection I was trying to think of, like, what colors do I want? What I want this color story to be, what I want the packaging to feel like. And I really, really was stuck on the idea of playing with red, orange, and yellow, and just having those colors be the focus of the collection," notes Merino. "And in my mind, whenever I think of the Latin culture, my brain just kind of automatically goes to red — even when I think of the little dancing girl emoji. The red dress! I was like, we need to have a red moment."

Courtesy of Artist Couture

These shades are incorporated into the eye palette, which spans from the fuchsia pink shade Vibras to the metallic orange Rumba. ("'Rumba' basically means like a party in Spanish. I just remember growing up, like my family, any excuse to have a party, any excuse to have a celebration, they were all about it," says Merino.) Regarding the eyeshadow shades, Merino says he knows that they might "seem a little bright and out there" but that you can manipulate the intensity with the tools you use. "You can soften up the colors with a fluffy brush to kind of get a softer wash, or you’re really able to kick them up and layer them to really build that pigment and get that nice bold pop," he explains.

Courtesy of Artist Couture

The new lipstick shade — a rich, bold red — features a creamy formula that only needs to be swiped on once to pay off. Like the palette's shade names, it tells a story for Merino, as well. "I remember growing up, my mom would always take me with her to department stores to shop for makeup and skin care. I’d always go with her to the beauty salons, every time she would go get her hair done and stuff like that. And the one thing that I really remember about all of those moments in my life is that she always wore a red lip. It was always her thing, it was like her staple," says Merino. "So I wanted to create what, in my mind, would be like a modern version of the red lip that she would wear now."

Courtesy of Artist Couture

For now, you can shop the Caliente collection on Artist Couture's website, or on Sephora.com July 21. Ahead, each product from the dynamic, fiery launch.

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