“I’m not an anime freak or anything,” Simone Legno insisted over ear-drum popping bass beats at Arena nightclub last night as we sat in a corner as far away from the speakers as possible, craning our neck to hear the Italian artist speak. The man behind Tokidoki, the Japanese-inspired brand that features bubbly illustrations plastered across everything from wallpaper, clothing, and accessories to zip drives, iPhone cases, and now makeup, sure could’ve fooled us. “My work is my life,” he continued, “so whatever I experience, I draw inspiration from.” Growing up in Italy during the eighties, Legno was bombarded by Japanese animation, which infiltrated popular Italian culture at the time. His unique fusion of classic Japanese art, cute icons, and Italian stereotypes “like Vespas and pizza” eventually caught the eye of Pooneh Mohajer-Arnold and Ivan Arnold of Hard Candy Cosmetics. The couple convinced Legno to move to L.A. six years ago, and his brand was born—with the addition of a newfound SoCal vibe that has added traces of “bling-bling, celebrities, and positive energy” into the mix (so that’s why there was an indoor half pipe equipped with skateboarders on the club’s dance floor).
Legno’s colorful cast of hand-drawn characters ultimately attracted Sephora as well, and over the course of the next few weeks, the beauty giant will roll out the latest Tokidoki brand extension: a full line of cosmetics decked out in Legno’s playful packaging. “It’s made for an everyday lifestyle,” the newly minted makeup maestro says of his collection, referring, we presume, to the range’s tamer, multi-use offerings, like its truly exceptional Perfetto Eyeliner—a felt-tip liquid liner pen that comes in a glorious array of colors—and the Fantastico Lip Stain, a chunky marker that can double as a cheek stain or eye wash. “On the weekends, you can become a different person, though, so there are playful elements, too,” Legno added with a smirk—hence the Prisma Lip Gloss, which has a separate compartment of sequins in shapes like skulls, stars, and diamonds. In essence, it’s a collision of Tokyo and L.A. street style, in beauty form.