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Is the colour cosmetic industry the next step for designers and celebrities?

By Vivian Hendriksz

Apr 18, 2016


London - The cosmetics industry has always been seen as the natural extenstion of the fashion industry as the two go hand in hand. However, over the years more and more fashion brands have begun to encroach on the beauty market with the launch of their own in-house cosmetic ranges, which in turn has led to colour comestic brands seeking out innovative ways to stand out - namely through designer and celebrity collaborations.

Last week saw designer Victoria Beckham announce the launch of her upcoming debut make-up range with Estee Lauder, LVMH sign a deal with artist Rihanna to develop a full make-up collection as well as singer Katy Perry reveal her upcoming colour cosmetic range with Covergirl, raising the question: is the colour cosmetic industry the next extremity for the fashion industry?

Get excited fashion bunnies! My #VBxEsteeLauder collection launches autumn winter 2016 x vb

A photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

The colour cosmetic industry embraces designer and celebrity collaborations

Although the colour cosmetic partnerships will not be the celebrities first forays into the world of beauty - with Beckham previously launching two nail polished with Nails Inc in 2014 and Rihanna teaming up with MAC Cosmetics to launch a make-up line - the collaborations highlight the continuous shift occurring with the beauty industry - namely working with a celebrity or designer. Over the years numerous fashion brands teamed up with famous singers, designers and models to create capsule collections, tapping into their fame and desirability as a person of interest.

Now the colour cosmetic market seems to tapping into this avenue as interest in celebrity fragrance continues to wane. Elizabeth Arden, the company known for producing fragrances for Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj, reported a decrease of 4 percent of its non-Elizabeth Arden branded fragrances for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2016, whilst figures from NPD Group show the celebrity fragrance category declined to less than 2 percent of fragrance market in 2014.

""Makeup is the one category that’s hotter than fragrances and/or skin care"

"Makeup is the one category that’s hotter than fragrances and/or skin care, and...at the high-end there aren’t many makeup artist or celebrity products," said industry consultant Allan Mottus to WWD. "What’s going to happen now is we’re going to see a rush of this stuff. It’s going to be like 2002 with celebrity fragrances."

Considering that colour cosmetics enjoyed of its best years in 2014 due to increasing consumer confidence and the influence of digital and social media, according to Euromonitor International, it seems likely that more designers and celebrities will be dipping their toes into the premium end of the industry. Considering premium cosmetics is a rapidly growing category - growing 13 percent in 2015 according to NPD Group - it seems more likely that a prestige brand will embark on a celebrity or designer collaboration, rather than a mass-market brand.

However, in order to ensure that the make-up collection is a true success, colour cosmetic brands should aim to work with a person of interest who has a "lifestyle following," believes Mottus. "Either they need to have some credible experience in the industry, like Drew Barrymore, who started as a spokesperson for CoverGirl...or have some sort of life-changing event or some sort of personal ethos that they’re able to bring into the market," added Martin Okner, managing director at SHM Corporate Navigators.

This is evident in the latest collaborations - Rihanna is known for her unique look and LVMH's Kendo incubator has signed an agreement with the artist to create a full make-up range known as Fenty Beauty, which is set to launch next year autumn. Considering that Kendo is also behind tattoo artist Kat Von D and designer Marc Jacobs highly successful make-up lines, it is likely that Rihanna's range will be a runaway hit.

Beckham's collaboration with Estee Lauder, schedule to launch this September at selected retailers and online, is also likely to appeal to a wide audience, something the cosmetic company has taken into consideration as it aims to ensure the range offers both everyday wearability and quality, whilst reflecting Beckham's own view on make-up. "The whole process has been both inspiring and eye-opening - from going back and revisiting the Estée Lauder archives through to working on the product with the Estée team, this feels like the perfect make-up partnership for me and my brand," said the designer on the collaboration.

"I had long admired Estée Lauder the woman, and the powerful brand that she created, so I am excited to offer both of our customers this make-up range and play a small part in her vision for women." Jane Hertzmark Hudis, group president for Estée Lauder, added: "Victoria is an entrepreneur in the true spirit of our founder, Estée Lauder, with a real understanding of what women want, and a commitment to making women look and feel their most beautiful. Victoria has a passion for beauty and we are delighted to welcome her into our brand."

colour cosmetics
Elizabeth Arden
Katy Perry
NPD Group
Victoria Beckham