NEW YORK -- "What makes a woman beautiful?" Norma Kamali asked a young mother who was holding her infant son on her lap. "How do you plan to influence him about that?"
"It's not as superficial as it seems to always be portrayed nowadays," said the woman, with a hint of Texas twang. "Even if there's a beautiful exterior, there has to be a beautiful interior as well. I want him to realize that a woman isn't just a sex object."
The conversation took place on the pristine white set here of the infomercial for the Norma Kamali Beauty line, which, ironically, is all about eliminating makeup, particularly foundation.
"This product is about taking everything off and being comfortable in your own skin," Kamali said.
Kamali's anti-makeup approach to cosmetics isn't the only way she plans to break ground. While most designers enter the beauty business with a fragrance, she is aiming straight for the heart of the industry with a line of treatment and makeup products. And rather than opting for a traditional retail introduction, Kamali is using the infomercial to launch the line, a joint venture between the designer and Infomercial Retail Management.
Roy Benjamin, who is a partner in IRM, said the company eventually will distribute the line to stores. It is launching the line with an infomercial so it can build an initial consumer base that understands the concept behind the products, he said.
The infomercial, produced by Crossroads Communications, is scheduled to be tested in 12 to 20 markets in June, Benjamin said. It will be rolled out nationally in September or October. The kit, which will come with an instructional video, will be tested at different price points, such as $99, $95 and $89.95.
Benjamin projected first-year sales of $20 million to $25 million.
He said he expects to go retail with the line in 1995, distributing to a few department stores and perfumeries and possibly to top hair salons, fitness centers and specialty stores that carry Kamali's apparel.
"We're probably talking about the infomercial having a life of six to nine months," he said. "We won't go retail until we are successful."The basis of the line is three treatment products: Day Moisturizer and Night Replenisher, both of which are oil-free and can be used around the eyes, and Self-Enhancer, a moisturizer for use two or three times a week that is designed to replace foundation by evening out skin tone and adding a glow.
The moisturizers contain Pentavitin, a naturally derived carbohydrate complex that the company says helps skin retain water. The other key ingredient is Apt, which is derived from Hawaiian red algae and is said to increase cell turnover, thus improving texture and elasticity while diminishing the appearance of fine lines without the irritation that alpha-hydroxy acids sometimes cause.
The infomercial will offer the skin care products in a kit with a few basic color cosmetics items: light powder in one of three shades; blush in one of two shades; clear mascara for eyelashes or eyebrows; brown mascara; dual-end eye pencil in two shades of brown; lip pencil in a neutral color; lip gloss, and lipsticks in Sheer Blush, Sheer Nude and Tinted Berry.
Future products could include a facial cleanser and various body items, Kamali said.
Kamali arrived at the concept from her personal experience. As a young woman, Kamali said, she loved wearing makeup and was something of a cosmetics junkie.
"I believe I started wearing makeup because I didn't feel as beautiful as the blue-eyed blondes I grew up with," she said.
The designer began to think about developing a cosmetics line about 10 years ago, when she was in her late 30s. She realized that years of wearing heavy foundation had enlarged her pores. The makeup, she said, made the lines in her face more visible and her complexion overall appear less healthy.
Kamali abandoned the layers of makeup for a treatment-oriented regimen.
"A lot of women are presenting this Barbie image and distracting everyone from who they really are," she said.
When the time came to produce the infomercial, Kamali said she decided on a format of women sharing their thoughts on beauty, makeup and men. Kamali, who co-directed the show with Tarquin Cardona, selected women of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds.The interviews were unscripted, and the 20 women wore almost no makeup while being taped. Kamali had given the women the skin care products to try for several days before the shoot, and a makeup artist was on hand to touch up their skin, apply a little blush or groom their hair.
Several of the interviews sounded like MTV-generation testaments about more than one ideal of beauty.
"I believe there is a stereotype of what's beautiful," Ariane, a model, told Kamali as the cameras rolled. "I'm Asian -- you can tell -- and I traveled to Japan, and what's beautiful there is blonde. I was just really shocked."
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion
@carmeloanthony is upping his fashion game once again, introducing a hat collection with @goorinbros. Called Fresh Greens by Melo x Goorin, the line consists of five unisex models, all of which are made in America from 100 percent wool. Each hat is lined with Anthony’s signature and the inscription “Knowledge of self, wisdom and understanding.” You can purchase the collection line at Goorin’s website as well as three off its stores in San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas #wwdaccessories
“I am of tradition, but that doesn’t mean I have an old outlook on life,” Hubert de Givenchy told WWD in an interview in 1978. The legendary designer, who died last week at the age of 91, achieved wide success soon after launching his own couture boutique in the early ’50s, but he refused to pine for that time. For the first time since its original publication, read our interview with Givenchy on his awe for Audrey Hepburn and looking forward. Link in bio. #wwdarchives #fbf (📷: Pierre Schermann)
About last night: @alexachung and @supergausa toasted the launch of their capsule collection. “It’s the shape that I love, so rather than amend the last and make the sole crazy or do anything wild, we just did really subtle additions that I think make it look really luxe-y,” said Chung. #wwdfashion (📷: Marc Patrick)
Exclusive: @off____white’s @virgilabloh is launching an exclusive eyewear capsule collection @sunglasshut. The unisex collection, which is made up of three styles, first made its debut on the brand’s fall runway show in Paris. Get all the details on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion