By and and and  on September 19, 2003

New York — Beautycompanies have long realized the sizzle factor of being involved with runway shows. These days, they’re also using them for an even more pragmatic reason — to give a real-life road test to products in development. Fashion has become beauty’s backstage laboratory.

“The backstage environment offers a critical audience — the models and artists there have seen just about everything,” said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, group president at The Estée Lauder Cos., who oversees the company’s eponymous flagship brand as well as its backstage mainstay, MAC Cosmetics. “We can get a read right away on products —whether they’re legitimate or need more work,” he added. “Especially for color-driven brands, its a very valuable test.” In fact, in several cases, brands have been born backstage — including MAC, Stila and Bobbi Brown.

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