By  on October 2, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Too Faced co-founder Jerrod Blandino believes women are beginning to opt for a bolder lip — whether shiny or matte.

And he's putting his money where the tinted mouth is: Too Faced is reintroducing lipsticks into its spring cosmetics lineup after a six-year hiatus. The Irvine, Calif.-based brand's eight-unit lipstick collection is dubbed Lip of Luxury and it features champagne- and shea butter-infused formulas with pink-brushed metal cases that are topped with a stone mimicking a 17-carat diamond.

"For a long time, makeup went into a shimmery phase. Gloss started to dominate the planet and lipsticks faded back," said Blandino. "But there is a resurgence of retro glam. We are going back into that more seriously made-up look."

Too Faced dug into its archives of lip stains to create the color palette. A deep blue-red called Drop Dead Red is derived from a shade Too Faced crafted for Madonna in 1999. A fire engine red labeled Runway Red is a take on a hue made for Gwen Stefani, and a certain newsworthy pop icon whom Blandino declined to name inspired Celebrity Meltdown, a gold-tinged rose.

"I definitely think that darker lipsticks are significant, but I don't think we should discount the basics like nude or pink," he said. "It is going to be about color-drenched lipsticks. Even if they are nude, they are going to make a statement."

The price of lipstick — $18 at retail — remains unchanged since the product was in the early repertoire of Too Faced, which will turn 10 years old next year. "I am hoping to gain on volume," said Jeremy Johnson, Blandino's founding partner. "It is really important for us not to overprice because we feel it should be affordable to everybody."

Too Faced projects the lipsticks will generate $1.5 million to $2 million in their first year and plans to add about four shades (two are likely to be seasonal) for the fall. In total, the company generated $52 million in sales last year and estimates that sales will increase by 30 percent this year.

By resurrecting lipsticks, Too Faced is gambling that lip gloss' momentum is ebbing — and there's some evidence in the brand's favor. Katherine Heigl, Heidi Klum and Kate Walsh all sported bright red puckers at the recent Emmy Awards. And although Kline & Co. reported that lipsticks' total sales in the U.S. declined by 3.8 percent during 2006, the market research firm forecasts that they will experience a 2.8 percent bounce through 2011.To help support the lipstick launch, Too Faced is boosting its 2008 advertising budget by some 35 to 45 percent from this year to more than $3 million. The campaign has yet to be fully developed, but the company is considering a lipstick sample program and will be placing in-store visual displays in its key accounts. Too Faced is available in 550 doors in the United States, including Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom.

But Too Faced isn't betting the house on lipsticks. The company has entered into a 50-50 partnership with Fuze Beverages, which was bought by the Coca-Cola Co. earlier this year, on three lip glosses that will be released for December and January. The lip glosses — in blueberry raspberry, dragon fruit lime and strawberry melon flavors — cost $18.50 each and contain carnitine, Super Citrimax, chromium and vitamin C. They are meant to suppress appetites like Fuze's Slenderize drinks. Their tag line: "Always on the lips, never on the hips."

"We will definitely look at what lip glosses work for us and won't work for us," said Johnson. "We are never going to walk away from it [lip gloss] because there is going to be a customer for both lip gloss and lipstick. There is just going to be a bigger variety for the consumer."

Changes at Hermès

PARIS — Hermès announced Friday two executive changes here.

Catherine Fulconis, formerly managing director of Hermès Parfums, has become chairman of its board.

Veronique Gautier, who has been managing director of Hermès since April 2006, also takes on the title of chairman of Hermès Parfums' supervisory board.

Both executives report directly to Patrick Thomas, Hermès' chief executive officer.

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