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Dior Adds Pizzazz To Counter Design

NEW YORK — Christian Dior Perfumes intends to inject some fashion zip into its U.S. makeup business.<BR><BR>The venerable French brand has just unveiled a sleek new counter design at Macy’s Herald Square, and at an event last week...

NEW YORK — Christian Dior Perfumes intends to inject some fashion zip into its U.S. makeup business.

The venerable French brand has just unveiled a sleek new counter design at Macy’s Herald Square, and at an event last week introduced its new national celebrity makeup artist, Pati Dubroff, and her team of 10 national makeup artists to the public.

“We felt that Dior had all this backstage heritage, both with its runway makeup and its credibility as a fashion brand,” said Terry Darland, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Dior. “We asked ourselves how we could bring all of that to the counters across the U.S. and establish Dior as a credible destination for color. Enter Pati — what we loved about her is that she can easily take fashion looks and translate them to the consumer level very quickly.”

The new Macy’s counter — a design dubbed “Cosmotics” by Dior management — features a large, runway-esque installation with large tables, as one might see in a backstage situation. Interactive sampling units are incorporated in abundance on the design. The installation is the first of its type in the U.S., and one of only six of its kind in the world, Darland said.

While the installation will be rolled out to only a handful of doors worldwide — with a maximum of 10 U.S. doors slated to get it — most U.S. doors can expect to be freshened up in the next year, noted Darland. Counters there will be redesigned, beginning in January, to accommodate updated end cases featuring black-blue, silver and reflective surfaces, as well as revamped product testers, said Darland. The brand currently has about 500 full-line beauty counters in U.S. department and specialty stores, and an additional 1,400 fragrance-only doors.

The design and the new makeup team are expected to underline goals that Darland and Pamela Baxter, president and chief executive officer of the Perfumes and Cosmetics Group of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the U.S., have for Dior: to revive the brand’s fates in U.S. department stores. Although neither would discuss sales figures, industry sources said that the counter design at Macy’s, for instance, could easily double the $1 million in retail sales that the brand is said to do at Herald Square yearly.

This story first appeared in the November 5, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Makeup artist Dubroff was especially enthusiastic about Dior’s new counter at Macy’s, noting that its position by the 34th Street windows on the store’s main floor provides the most coveted variable at counter: natural light. “You’re always told to judge cosmetics colors in natural light, yet in most stores the only way to do it is to go outside and look in a mirror,” said Dubroff. “Here at Macy’s, we’re able to see immediately if colors work for consumers in natural light.”

The brand also introduced Dior’s new makeup artist team, dubbed the Dior Show Stoppers, to the public at the Herald Square counter unveiling. Dubroff and Dior’s senior executives handpicked the 10 artists, who each will travel within specific U.S. regions. The artists will support Dubroff on her visits to the stores, but are also intended to add excitement to day-to-day business at the counters, said Dubroff. “They’re on the road five days a week,” said Dubroff of her artists. “I’m amazed at their schedules. They’re going to be living in hotels.”

Not that Dubroff is a slouch when it comes to crazy schedules. In addition to her role at Dior — which also includes input on upcoming Dior products — Dubroff is herself an in-demand celebrity and editorial makeup artist who regularly creates red-carpet looks for actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler and Naomi Watts.

As well, Dubroff has filmed a training video that will be distributed to Dior’s beauty consultants across the U.S. as an educational tool. Topics include how to adapt red-carpet looks to consumers at counter and how to use products in unconventional ways — for instance, using lip gloss as a cheek color.

“I’m so excited to be working on this brand,” said Dubroff. “It’s as chic as the people I work on.”

— Julie Naughton