The make-up rev­o­lu­tion starts here

ELLE (UK) - - Contents - Words Natalie Lukaitis

Natalie Lukatis ex­plains the clos­ing gap be­tween runway and re­tail

Imag­ine a fash­ion house’s mind­set chang­ing so fan­tas­ti­cally that the big­gest shows are be­ing used as a stage not just for their newsea­son col­lec­tions, but as a chance to show­case their beauty

of­fer­ings, too. In­stead of merely com­ple­ment­ing the de­sign as­pect of fash­ion week, beauty is now tak­ing a front-row seat.

Lead­ing the way is cre­ative and im­age di­rec­tor of Chris­tian Dior make-up Peter Phillips, who has been a key player in fos­ter­ing the brand’s mod­ern aes­thetic since 2014. He launches his lat­est make-up cre­ations on the faces of mod­els who walk the runway. We see the make-up, want the make-up, and then we can buy the make-up. And why is this rel­a­tively sim­ple strat­egy so dis­rup­tive? Be­cause for the first time in a long time, it puts us – the peo­ple who buy make-up – first.

‘I cre­ate prod­ucts that will give the same re­sult in re­al­ity as they do on the runway,’ says Peter. ‘Now, the big­gest trend on the cat­walk is make-up it­self. It’s not a spe­cific colour or look, but it’s the prod­uct and how you use it to ex­press your­self.’

In terms of in­vites, it’s one of the most ex­clu­sive shows, but if you’re a beauty ed­i­tor lucky enough to find your­self back­stage at Dior, then you’ll be im­mersed in a frenzy of su­per­mod­els In­sta­gram­ming new prod­ucts as ev­ery­one scram­bles to see Peter’s lat­est make-up genius. This is where the trends are cre­ated and the lat­est in­no­va­tions take the limelight.

‘Of course, hav­ing ex­per­tise in back­stage make-up for the past 20 years has had an im­pact on what I cre­ate as prod­ucts – the now-iconic first Dior­show Mas­cara was born back­stage – but quite of­ten my vi­sion is led by what peo­ple need,’ he ex­plains. ‘For ex­am­ple, the new Dior­show Pump’N’Vol­ume Mas­cara was cre­ated so that I could quickly do a lay­ered-lash look and it could be recre­ated at home.’ (We’ve tried it: you squeeze the rub­ber in­dents at the bot­tom of the tube to evenly coat the mas­cara’s spoolie in the for­mula. Run it through your lashes once for a dense, full look. It works.)

But why are fash­ion houses now cre­at­ing con­sumer-friendly prod­ucts first and let­ting the trends fol­low suit? In an era of live stream­ing and so­cial me­dia, our con­sump­tion of fash­ion shows and beauty looks is rapidly de­vel­op­ing. We now have im­me­di­ate ac­cess to new trends and we don’t want to wait six months for them to per­co­late into a spe­cific, us­able prod­uct. This has forced brands to evolve and con­sider how they can make their beauty of­fer­ings com­mer­cially ac­ces­si­ble, faster. Both Burberry and Tom Ford im­me­di­ately made their new SS17 make-up col­lec­tions read­ily avail­able on e-com­merce sites and in shops fol­low­ing their shows. Sim­i­larly, Top­shop al­lowed con­sumers to buy its lat­est beauty of­fer­ings via a cu­rated pop-up stall at Old Spi­tal­fields Mar­ket dur­ing Lon­don Fash­ion Week.

Artists are find­ing a voice, too. Nail artist Mar­ian New­man launched a cap­sule col­lec­tion of nail shades called First Looks, which were seen on the cat­walks and could be pur­chased straight af­ter Paris Fash­ion Week. Then there’s Pat McGrath, an in­flu­en­tial make-up artist with her own range of prod­ucts, who cre­ates the trends that push her mer­chan­dise. It’s no co­in­ci­dence that glit­ter – the hero of her first col­lec­tion – be­came the big­gest make-up trend of SS17, a sea­son that Pat cre­ated sev­eral key looks for.

Nat­u­rally, sales of a prod­uct rise when it’s made avail­able for pur­chase dur­ing the hype sur­round­ing it (and not af­ter). When Ken­dall Jen­ner wore Rouge Dior lip­stick in Poi­son Matte (pic­tured, above left) dur­ing the Dior AW16 show, it was an in­stant suc­cess. No one could get their hands on it. When we see inspirational beauty, we want to recre­ate it, and if the ex­act prod­uct is for sale, then we’re go­ing to buy it – this could be why Dior plans to sell the beauty looks from its shows at its coun­ters in stores na­tion­wide.

The gap be­tween runway and re­tail is clos­ing. Make-up is be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant side of the fash­ion busi­ness, which means be­ing a quick-off-the-mark early adopter is more im­por­tant than ever be­fore. For some brands, this will in­evitably mean a change to the pro­duc­tion cal­en­dar – but if you can see some­thing, fall in love with it and buy it straight away, then surely that’s a win-win for ev­ery­one.

Top: Dior­show Iconic Over­curl Mas­cara in Over Black, £25.50. Diorskin For­ever in Per­fect Cush­ion, £35. Dior Ad­dict Lac­quer Stick in Tease, £27.50.

Above: Dior Diorlisse Abri­cot in 27, £20. Bot­tom

right: Dior 4 Colours Eye­shadow Pal­ette in Coral Gra­da­tion, £42.50

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