Bobbi Brown’s entrepreneurial spirit is kicking into high gear.
The makeup artist, who serves as founder and creative officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, inked an eyewear deal with Safilo Group, marking the first time a major figure in the beauty industry has launched an eyewear collection.
Although the deal is with Brown, the individual, and not with the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., the owner of Brown’s namesake firm, the partnership signifies a broadening of the lifestyle brand.
“Anything I do outside of the company, I naturally get the support of Estée Lauder. They know I wouldn’t do anything if it didn’t better the brand,” Brown told WWD, explaining that the jump into eyewear was a “natural extension” from beauty.
“Over the years, people have asked me to design jeans or shoes. That didn’t make sense for me. This made sense for me,” she said. “Being a beauty expert and makeup artist, I’ve always been aware of how glasses can transform a face. I want to take the mystery out of how to choose the right glasses for your face.”
The idea of transformation via beauty or eyewear carries the same empowering message to women. For this optical and sunglass collection, Brown is hoping to take her inspirational message to men as well.
The premium eyewear line is unisex, which is another first for Brown, who relishes the opportunity to reach a broader audience.
“This is a way for me to prove I can have success in something else,” she offered.
Although the glasses can be worn by men, the focus is really on women, according to Safilo’s chief executive officer, Roberto Vedovotto, who noted that each collection will be inspired by Brown’s seasonal makeup offering.
In essence the color of the frames will mirror Brown’s beauty color palette for the season.
“We wanted to bring a new approach to eyewear for women,” Vedovotto said, explaining that Brown’s line will complement a customer’s eye color, as well as her face shape and makeup choice. The collection will range from $130 to $180 for sunglasses and from $160 to $200 for optical. Sunglasses will hit stores in January and optical will be available in spring 2014, the ceo said.
The collection will be available first in the U.S. and then worldwide in Bobbi Brown doors, optical chains and department stores.
“We are always interested in finding important brands,” the Safilo executive said. “Bobbi is very good at what she does and very successful.”
Although both Safilo and Brown are still in the early stages of product development, expect a classic yet fashionable product, said Maureen Case, president of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Jo Malone London.
According to Case, a Brown eyewear line will likely take cues from the brand’s Tortoise eye shadow campaign, as well as the makeup artist’s own personal eyewear collection.
Known for her penchant for dark-rimmed, preppy optical looks, Brown launched a set of eye shadows in 2011 inspired by a vintage pair of tortoiseshell frames. The makeup, dubbed the Tortoise collection, was featured in an advertising campaign that included a model who sported a smart pair of optical frames. That experience planted a seed in Brown to create eyewear.
“I saw it materialize in front of me,” Case said, who explained that she’s watched her friend’s brand grow into a lifestyle concept. “I told her now is a really great time not to take your eye off the ball.”
Case said Brown’s gift, to “help guide women” find their “most flattering look,” is a talent she’ll be able to bring to the eyewear space. Just as with her makeup line, Brown will include manuals that help consumers find the best frames.
According to Estée Lauder group president John Demsey, this product extension likely won’t be the last for Brown, who is passionate about wellness and health as well.
“This is really the first time we’ve done something like this with one of our brands,” Demsey said, explaining the “unique” nature of the deal with Brown.
Calling the partnership a “win-win” for all parties, Demsey noted that should Brown depart Lauder, she would still have a stake in the eyewear business.
“Bobbi has for a long time wanted to expand her brand into a lifestyle concept. This is a great opportunity for her to test the waters to see how great her bandwidth is,” he offered. “It’s in concert with Bobbi as an entrepreneur and a businesswoman.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast