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Lauder Signs Beauty Deal with Tom Ford

The unbuttoned white shirt could become the de rigueur fashion statement in the beauty industry this November.

NEW YORK — The unbuttoned white shirt could become the de rigueur fashion statement in the beauty industry this November, as the marriage of Tom Ford and Estée Lauder — arguably one of the most anticipated pairings in beauty in years — is consummated with the launch of the Tom Ford for Estée Lauder collection of color cosmetics.

And, while specifics (beyond specialty store distribution, a spring 2006 expansion and a freestanding Tom Ford brand) remain under wraps, Ford is said to be developing his own holiday collection for the company, taking inspiration from packaging and products from the Lauder archives, according to reps. Indeed, the Ford collaboration represents a new era at the venerable beauty giant. Announcing the deal last April, Estée Lauder Cos. chief executive officer William Lauder was the first to admit he hopes Ford can boost not only the business, but the overall image of the brand. “Tom Ford is one of the early 21st-century’s stylemakers,” he said. “He represents an ideal — he has a taste level, and the association between our two brands represents the next phase in the evolution of the Estée Lauder lifestyle and its aspirational image.”

John Demsey, global president of the Estée Lauder brand, added that the Ford deal is not about “shock value,” but more in line with various changes currently going on at the brand. “This is one of many moves that you’ll begin to see taking place against the Lauder brand to continue its evolution,” he said. “We’re making moves here … We’re making moves relative to products, we’re making moves toward category, to the executive structure of the brand.”

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.