By  on October 19, 2007

The always-surprising Thierry Mugler is about to step into the combative arena of makeup marketing with a cosmetics and fragrance line called Dare the Metamorphosis, which is based on the designer's belief that people can sculpt new identities with makeup and scent. The line will launch in December in extremely limited distribution.

PARIS — Thierry Mugler will segue into makeup this winter.

"It was a dream of Thierry Mugler's," said Joel Palix, president of Groupe Clarins-owned Thierry Mugler Parfums.

Mugler, whose artistic vision already has been parlayed into fashion, photography, directing and costume design, helped create a color cosmetics collection, called The Art of Metamorphosis, and five fragrances, grouped under the Miroir, Miroir name. They all fall under the brand Dare the Metamorphosis.

"The whole concept is based on the idea of playing in front of the mirror," said Palix, adding it also stems from Mugler's belief that people can sculpt their personalities and sublimate their presence with makeup and fragrance.

Palix added that the project resulted from consumer demand, too, and the fact that the Thierry Mugler fragrance business has reached a critical mass, thanks to its Angel and Alien scents' revenues. Just two years after its launch, Alien's business is about half that of Angel, a perennial bestseller.

Thierry Mugler Parfums' net sales are 170 million euros, or $242.8 million at current exchange.

"We feel strong enough to venture into a project like this," said Palix.

With a nod to Mugler's passion for photography, the makeup products are meant to play on light (with the Artifices of Light line) and shadow (with the Artifices of Shade collection).

"The Art of Shadow prepares and smooths skin to hide any imperfections," said Palix, explaining that three products' formulas — Bleu Luminescent Radiant Fluid Makeup Base, Bleu Glacis Cooling-Effect Concealer and Visible & Invisible Camouflaging Palette — include a blue pigment made of titanium mica and ultramarine that was created specifically for Thierry Mugler makeup and is billed to manipulate light to help conceal lines.

Also part of Art of Shadow are Teint Glacis Cooling-Effect Compact Foundation in six shades, Perfect Face Instant Wrinkle Eraser, Teint Elementaire Silky Compact Foundation in six hues and Nuit Divine Face-Plumping Mask.Prices in Europe run from 35 euros, or $50, for the 12-g. Teint Glacis refill, to 120 euros, or $171.40, for the 100-ml. Nuit Divine product.

"The Art of Light really reveals your beauty," continued Palix of the collection, which includes Cils Vinyle Vinyl Gloss for eyelashes, Regard Stellaire Eye Shadow in three color combinations, Eye Sculpt Eyeliner Cream in three shades, Plexi Gloss Lip Lacquer in three colors, Flash Lips Lip Foundation in two hues, Lip Color Lip Pen in three colors, Face Sculpt Blush in two tint combinations and Hyper Tension Tightening Face Cream.

Prices in Europe range from 25 euros, or $35.70, for a 1.5-ml. Lip Color pen to 80 euros, or $114.30, for a 50-ml. Hyper Tension cream.

"We gave carte blanche to perfumers to interpret the Thierry Mugler brand," said Palix, who said the company was looking for high-end, avant-garde concepts with innovative ingredients, when it came to the Miroir, Miroir scent project.

"In all five fragrances, there is a very strong contrast, a kind of tension," said Palix.

The fragrances include:

- A Travers Le Miroir (Through the Looking Glass, in English), an aromatic floral by Mane's Alexis Dadier.

- Miroir des Secrets (Mirror of Secrets), a bittersweet aldehydic scent by International Flavors & Fragrances' Domitille Bertier.

- Dis-Moi, Miroir (Mirror Image), a "nurturing" floral by Mane's Fabrice Pellegrin.

- Miroir des Vanités (Mirror of Vanities), an effervescent woody by Mane's Dadier.

- Miroir des Envies (Mirror of Desires), an "addictive" floral by Givaudan's Christine Nagel.

Each 50-ml. eau de parfum spray is to sell for 130 euros, or $185.70, in Europe.

During an earlier interview in New York, Palix estimated U.S. prices at $150 for a 50-ml. fragrance, a mascara for $49 and a lip pencil for $30.

The fragrances will be launched in Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Sephora's flagship in Paris in December. At the end of January, the makeup also will be introduced in Sephora's Paris flagship. The scents and color cosmetics then are to be launched in select Bloomingdale's locations in March. In all, the makeup will be in 30 doors, and the fragrance in 300. A further rollout of the entire line is expected to be gradual.While Palix would not discuss sales forecasts for Dare the Metamorphosis, industry sources estimate it will generate $30 million in retail revenues annually in the two to three years following launch.

Dare the Metamorphosis will be backed by an ad campaign shot by Mugler's ex-assistant, Ali Madhavi. It includes single and double pages and features a model in four guises — or metamorphosing.

In a beauty market already chockablock with makeup products, color cosmetics remains a segment where designer brands have long had trouble breaking in. But Palix believes the new Mugler line has numerous points of difference. He said not only is Dare the Metamorphosis in highly selective distribution, but it's backed by a well-thought-out approach that is full of innovation.

Palix highlighted the products' packaging, which was created with Mugler and takes a cue from the original Art Deco-inspired Angel bottle. He discussed the product applications, such as the Perfect Face wrinkle eraser, which can be used over a foundation. Palix added the product formulas are novel, such as Plexi Gloss' that contains soft liquid crystals to give a hologram effect, as are the textures, such as the "cooling-effect" concealer.

"More products are always in the pipeline," he continued.

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