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Becca’s Basic Approach

<CS:BOLD>NEW YORK -- According to Australian makeup artist Rebecca Morrice Williams, makeup is nothing without the proper foundation. And with the U.S. launch of her foundation line, Becca, she hopes to convince American cosmetics consumers that skin...

NEW YORK — According to Australian makeup artist Rebecca Morrice Williams, makeup is nothing without the proper foundation. And with the U.S. launch of her foundation line, Becca, she hopes to convince American cosmetics consumers that skin is in.

“You can experiment with color all you want, but if your skin doesn’t look good, the effect is spoiled,” said Williams, who began developing the Becca concept with partner Steven Schapera in 1996. The two are now joint managing directors in the publicly held company based in Perth, Australia. Williams handles the creative side, while Schapera is the business mind. The first products launched at London’s Space NK last October and will enter Bergdorf Goodman this month; Bergdorf’s has a six-month exclusive in the U.S. By yearend, Schapera aims to have the line in about 50 doors worldwide, mostly in the U.S. and the U.K.

Williams’s focus on foundation actually started much earlier than 1996 — it all began in her teen years, when her primary focus was perfect skin. “I used to get so disillusioned — I’d look at pictures in magazines and expect my skin to look like that, not realizing that the pictures were airbrushed,” she said. In fact, she now feels so strongly about airbrushing that she doesn’t allow it in her promotional and advertising materials.

While Williams is a makeup artist, she is quick to point out that Becca is not a traditional makeup artist line. “The whole point of this line is a no-makeup look,” she said. “Yes, it was designed by a makeup artist, but it is aimed at real-life situations, not studio conditions.”

The Becca line includes 21 shades of concealer, ranging from Nougat, a very light peachy-cream shade, to Espresso, a deep brown, each retailing for $27 for a 0.1-oz. compact; four shades of tinted moisturizer with SPF 20, $33 for 1.7 ounces; 11 shades of Luminous Skin Colour, a sheer foundation, $35 for 1.7 ounces; Shimmering Skin Perfector, a shimmering untinted moisturizer, $33 for 1.7 ounces; Translucent Bronzing Gel, $33 for 1.7 ounces; 18 colors of Stick Foundation with SPF 30, $36 for a 0.34-oz. stick; 10 shades of fine, loose finishing powder, 1.41 ounces for $35; 10 shades of compact pressed powder, 0.34 ounces for $35; three shades of pressed powder bronzer, $27 for a 0.34-oz. compact; seven shades of pressed shimmer powder, $27 for 0.34 ounces; seven shades of loose shimmer powder, $27 for a 0.53-oz. container, and clear shine eye gloss, $18 for a 0.17-oz. jar. Seventeen brushes are also available, ranging from $18 to $60. “Due to the micronized pigment particles we use, the makeup gives great coverage and travels well over the skin,” said Schapera. “That technology is pivotal to the line. It allows the makeup to wear well for 12 hours or more without reapplication.”

Despite the pair’s focus on the skin, there is a bit of color in the collection. There are three shades of cream blush, each retailing for $23 for a 0.1-oz. compact; two shades of cream eye color that double as cream bronzers for the face, $20 for a 0.1-oz. compact; a translucent cheek tint, $18 for a 0.17-oz. jar; three shades of transparent lip tint, $18 for 0.2 ounces, and two shades of water-resistant mascara, $16 for a 0.2-oz. tube.

While neither Williams nor Schapera would comment on the line’s projected sales, industry sources estimated that Becca would do about $1 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year, and about $20 million at retail globally in that same period.