The artist, filmmaker and Hollywood heir talks about her love of red lips, vintage compacts and sexy underthings

“A hamburger is really easy to eat wearing lipstick,” says writer, film director and fashion authority Liz Goldwyn. “What’s really difficult is salad, because of the oil in the dressing.” She ought to know. Rarely seen without a perfectly applied red pout, Goldwyn is never without three different shades in her bag (current faves include MAC Absolute Power, Dior Diorific Lipstick in Dolce Vita and OCC Lip Tar in Stalker), and she relies on vintage Estée Lauder compacts for chic re-applications throughout the day.

Goldwyn also knows a good burger when she tastes one. “I used to be partial to the ones at Corner Bistro,” she says, but those were eclipsed by the patty melts at Burger Joint, the tiny dive in the lobby of New York’s Le Parker Meridien Hotel. She discovered it after the Times Square premiere of Underwater Ballet, a short film she did in 2009. “It was hilarious,” she says, laughing. “I was wearing this crazy dress, sky-high heels and a $7,000,000 Van Cleef & Arpel necklace, and there was a bodyguard following me all around this little burger place, making sure the jewels were safe.”

Liz Goldwyn
Liz Goldwyn
Liz Goldwyn
Liz Goldwyn


High and low – that’s how Goldwyn rolls. One minute, she’s front-row center at Givenchy Haute Couture, the next, she’s covered in black smudges thanks to a tussle with a tube of liquid eyeliner. “I have really stylish friends who tell me that I always look pulled-together, but I don’t feel that way at all,” she says. Perfect pucker aside, she’s a minimalist when it comes to makeup. “I’m actually pretty klutzy with the stuff,” she confesses. “For example, I love false lashes, “I’m curvy, and not complaining. My grandmother used to say, ‘You have to choose between your face and your ass.’”

Luckily, she’s picked up a few tips over the years, thanks in part to projects like Pretty Things, a documentary about burlesque, and her latest film, The Painted Lady, which stars Jena Malone as a young girl who dreamily recalls an encounter with a rouged and perfumed prostitute. Dita Von Teese, a close friend, taught Goldwyn how to draw a cat eye and curl her hair. “She gave me a set of hot rollers and made me sign a contract that I would practice two times a week for a month. I love it when my hair is curly. But usually I don’t even have time to brush it.” One thing she does make time for is a good manicure. And like her lips, her nails are always painted a vivid crimson. “I love it when I catch a glimpse of my red nails during downward dog in yoga class,” she says.

"I love it when I catch a glimpse of my red nails during downward dog in yoga class."

Besides yoga, Goldwyn stays in shape by doing Ballet Beautiful classes two or three times a week. While careful about what she puts in and on her body, Goldwyn doesn’t diet. “I’m curvy and not complaining. As long as I can fit into my corset (when the occasion or the dress calls for it) and my lingerie, I’m okay. My grandmother used to say, ‘You have to choose between your face and your ass.’ She was right. If I lose too much weight, I look gaunt.”

Skinny may not be Goldwyn’s Grail, but she will travel to the ends of the earth for a fabulous pair of knickers. “Lingerie makes me feel beautiful and in touch with my sexuality,” she says. “I love waking up in a peachy cream or pale blue 1920s or ’30s nightgown. Even if I have shadows under my eyes or my skin looks sallow, I have a Snow White moment, complete with blue sky and chirping birds.”

The director even wears her sexy underpinnings to meetings. “I like knowing I have on a pink marabou feather bra under my business suit,” she laughs. “I buy good lingerie for my own pleasure. It’s the one thing I don’t mind spending a lot of money on.” Her favorite places to splurge on unmentionables: Faire Frou Frou in Los Angeles and Marlies Dekkers in Amsterdam, a label she learned of from her friends, the fashion designers Viktor Horsting & Rolf Snoeren.


The pair also introduced her to another Dutch treat – fresh truffles from Puccini Bomboni in Amsterdam. “I’m obsessed with dark chocolate,” she admits. Case in point: Goldwyn’s gold-leaf-layered lip in our photo was inspired by a limited-edition, gold-leaf covered chocolate casting of Marina Abramović’s lips – the party favor at a dinner celebrating the end of the artist’s infamous 2010 MoMA performance. Goldwyn still has hers in her fridge.

She balances her bon-bon intake with plenty of organic fruits and vegetables and daily doses of probiotics and primrose oil. She also (naturally) makes her own green juice for breakfast. “I use one of Kimberly Snyder’s beauty detox recipes,” she says. “You blend organic romaine, spinach and filtered water, and then add apple, ginger and parsley. Lastly, blend in some banana and lemon. It’s delicious.”

Goldwyn likes things that smell delicious, too, and carries around little vials of lavender and sandalwood oils. She also loves to give herself a honey and full-fat Greek yogurt facial before a big night out. This past November, to complement The Painted Lady, she created a theatrical reconstruction of a 19th-century brothel with nine performers who staged sultry vignettes in the rooms of a private Los Angeles home. She asked the San Francisco-based natural perfume guru Mandy Aftel to scent the installation. The effect was seductive, to say the least. Kind of like Goldwyn, who, for the record, wears Tom Ford Amber Absolute perfume – because, as any holistically minded glamour girl will tell you, essential oils can only get you so far.


Hair: Joshua Ristaino
Makeup: Ricky Wilson