Marc Jacobs Beauty: The designer and the girl

  • Style
  • Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014

Coming up with a beauty line was a natural progression for Marc Jacobs.

IT WAS just a question of time before Marc Jacobs moved on to the Next Big Thing. Beauty was a natural evolution of his fashion brand.

Hence, it hardly came as a surprise when the famed designer launched Marc Jacobs Beauty last August.

He firmly believes that beauty products are “accessories”, much like shoes and bags, and another medium for him to illustrate how he feels about beauty.

As with his fashion, Jacobs’ amazing creativity forms the heart of his make-up vision. Marc Jacobs Beauty is an assortment of 16 innovative complexion and colour cosmetics, and four chic and luxurious make-up brushes.

What grabs you from the very start about the collection is the attention to detail, seen in the sleek, clean lines of the shiny black packaging.

The gorgeous eye palette Style Eye-Con No. 7

In an exclusive e-mail interview with the designer, Jacobs shares that this was inspired by a shiny black coffee table which he owned, made by Jean Dunand – a beautiful black piece of furniture covered with several layers of lacquer.

This same coffee table gave him and Kendo (a division that develops beauty brands for Sephora) the idea to create a shade name called Blacquer (a combination of blacquer and lacquer, regarded the shiniest and “blackest black” available in the market).

This hue is seen in Magic Marc’er, Highliner and Lash Lifter.

For the most part, Jacobs worked together with Kendo for the shade names.

However, inspiration for a few particularly interesting ones such as Lovemarc, Lust for Lacquer and Enamored came from his

favourite movie lines, characters and songs. Surrender Dorothy Lovemarc Lip Gel, for example, refers to the iconic poppy red seen on Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard Of Oz.

Paint It Lust for Lacquer is a dusty coral from the cover of one of The Rolling Stones record.

The fashion genius is deeply involved in all the steps of the product development process of the beauty line.

He meets with the Kendo senior team at least once a month to brainstorm, create and approve packaging design, colour choices, and shade and collection names.

Generally, Jacobs trusted Sephora and Kendo to determine the brand’s assortment of beauty products, and they worked together in developing a product line that would offer women all the tools necessary for celebrating the “getting dressed ritual”, since that was his vision for his beauty line.

Even if you don't normally paint your nails, you can't help but be attracted to the packaging of Enamored Blue Velvet.

It’s all about the spirit of youth, confidence and experimentation.

Women are encouraged to “indulge in the transformative process of exploring a different spirit or sensibility each day”.

He redefines beauty as “imperfectly perfect”.

“I see beauty in many things, and I’m attracted to all sorts of imperfection, style, confidence and experimentation. It’s unexpected and it surprises you,” he says.

He loves the idea of creating something unexpected and seeing women leverage their confidence as they experiment with products in their own way.

“For instance, when choosing colours for the Style Eye-con eye shadow palettes, I chose seven shades that mixed brights and neutrals, like a palette that’s almost something you know, but there’s something just a bit off about it,” explains Jacobs.

The collection spiel is said to mirror the “spirit of the girl”.

But, says Jacobs, it’s not about targeting a younger set of clients, but rather, his vision of a youthful, irreverent and fun way of using beauty products.

Women should take chances and rely more on their own confidence rather than hard rules about what does and doesn’t go together, he explains.

Jacobs uses his favourite products – Lip Lock, Remedy Concealer and Brow Tamer – every day. These are all unisex products and are from a group of Marc Jacobs Beauty items called Boy Tested. Girl Approved.

“Not all colours are necessarily in sync with my fashion shows, but my approach to choosing colours is exactly the same as for my fashion collections: I want colours to tell a story or set a mood.”

Given the huge plethora of beauty products out in the market, it can be a challenge trying to stand out.

Marc Jacobs Beauty touts to be different, not just in the packaging design, and shade assortment and unique names, but also in the formulation, claimed to be the “best-of-the-best with the newest ingredients from around the world, the most saturated colours, and a look that invites you to touch and play”.

Clearly, Jacobs is his own Pied Piper as the decision to make 64-year-old actress Jessica Lange the new face of Marc Jacobs Beauty in February emphasises his affinity for being different. But there probably isn’t a real need to market the brand as the eponymous name speaks volumes and will surely sell by itself!

Available at Sephora outlets.

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