PARIS — Shiseido has pulled the plug on its Stephane Marais beauty line, it was learned.
According to reports circulating in the market, most of the brand's employees have been given a pink slip, and many retailers carrying the celebrity makeup artist's collection have already been contacted with news that the line is to be discontinued by November.
However, the Japanese beauty giant that owns the three-year-old brand maintains it's business as usual.
Said a Shiseido spokesman: "As a usual business process, we are reviewing the performance of the SMB brand [referring to Surprising My Beauty, Shiseido's Paris-based subsidiary that launched the Stephane Marais line in 2002] and taking necessary management steps, which we always do in every business. All we can say at this stage is that business of the SMB brand keeps going for the moment, and business considerations prevent us from commenting in any more detail."
Meanwhile, numerous retailers have confirmed that they have received official word of the brand's demise. "It's a pity; they're great products and very fun," said Didier Pinier, owner of the Taizo perfumery in Cannes, France.
Another retailer, who requested anonymity, asserted the line had "great potential."
Indeed, the 260-stockkeeping-unit Stephane Marais collection has built up a steady — albeit niche — following. Consumers are drawn to the brand's highly graphic, funky packaging decorated with offbeat phrasing, drawings and photographs, as well as the products themselves. Even professional makeup artists frequently use the Stephane Marais-branded color cosmetics to paint faces of models backstage at fashion shows.
So what went wrong?
Industry sources say the brand — whose wholesale volume in 2003 was an estimated 6.5 million euros, or $7.9 million at current exchange rates — has been steadily losing money.
Retailers also lament it didn't bring out any new products since the fall's color collection. Such a move could easily put a brand in jeopardy in today's fast-moving beauty market, which is increasingly driven by launches and newness.
Frank Schnitzler, owner of the two Schnitzler perfumeries in Dusseldorf, believes the Stephane Marais brand's main downfall was lack of support.
"They thought they could just run the business out of Paris, that a visit to Germany once a year was sufficient. But it doesn't work without customer support," he said. "You need POS materials, training for the personnel, communication on a regular basis and press work to get the name known."He added Stephane Marais never really reached the right level of distribution, and that the brand's prices were high, particularly in today's price-conscious Germany.
Signs of trouble at Stephane Marais surfaced when its flagship on Paris' Rue Saint-Honore was shuttered last March. At that time, industry sources said it was a money-losing venture not core to the brand's expansion plans.
More recently, industry sources say Shiseido tried to sell the Stephane Marais brand, but there were no takers; then, a management buyout was considered, although that, too, failed.
Given the woes of the Stephane Marais line, executives question whether Iunx — a beauty collection and minimalist boutique by that name that Shiseido has been backing in Paris for two years — will carry on for the long term.
The makeup artist Stephane Marais could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He remains a mainstay at Shiseido, where he is also the color creator of its Cle de Peau brand.
— With contributions from Pete Born, New York, Brid Costello and Melissa Drier, Berlin
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)