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Prescriptives’ Runway Bow

NEW YORK -- The connection between cosmetics and fashion is often more assumed than realized. But Prescriptives has been working backstage during the just-concluded New York collections to prove that beauty has a place on the...

NEW YORK — The connection between cosmetics and fashion is often more assumed than realized. But Prescriptives has been working backstage during the just-concluded New York collections to prove that beauty has a place on the runway.

Prescriptives, the only color cosmetics house among the sponsors of the 7th on Sixth tent shows in Bryant Park, has been collaborating with makeup artists — many of them flown in by the company — and 17 designers in coming up with makeup looks to set off the fashion.

“It finishes the dress,” said Bradley Bayou, as he stood backstage early last Friday morning watching half a dozen makeup artists, including lead artist Brigitte Reiss Anderson, working on his models. “It’s like an accessory, like putting on a piece of jewelry.”

In working with designers like Bayou, Prescriptives used colors from its fall palette, called Color 95, that will hit the stores in July. The company furnished a makeup bag full of the new products to every makeup artist and assistant.

“We’re launching this through the makeup artists,” said James Bunn, president of Prescriptives, a division of EstÄe Lauder.

Bunn also said he sees a larger purpose in his firm’s participation. “It’s to reinforce our fashion authority,” he said, noting that collections week is also market week, with the fashion tents full of retailing’s chief executive officers.

“We are having the biggest summer shipping season ever,” Bunn added. He declined to elaborate, but sources estimate that Prescriptives’ fall color business could soar to $25 million, compared with $15 million last year.

The company’s sponsorship effort adds up to a sizable commitment: Although Bunn would not discuss figures, sources said sponsorship fees totaled $100,000. The figure includes this season’s shows as well as those held last November, when Prescriptives also participated.

In addition, costs for using makeup artists, other personnel and the makeup itself push the involvement to $250,000 for each of the spring and fall collections.

“The cosmetics people tried for a long time to tie in with fashion and it never happened,” said Sylvie Chantecaille, senior executive of creative marketing at Prescriptives. “The fashion people don’t often focus on makeup, while the cosmetics people frequently lack the patience to work hand in hand with the apparel people.”

Chantecaille’s approach was to let the designers know that the cosmetics firm was ready to be of help. She met with Bayou and a half dozen other designers about two weeks ago to see what kind of makeup looks they had in mind.

As for how the designers use the cosmetics, Chantecaille singled out some trends, such as an emphasis on pronounced red lips as well as pale, soft, iridescent lips. Another touch is the application of silver gloss around the eyes in addition to the mouth. Due to the growing use of the material in the eye area, Prescriptives does not call its product “lip” gloss. It is called Glossy Silver.

Bayou, who said, “When I design, I have a look in my mind,” apparently knew what he wanted — and he found it in Prescriptives’ color box.

“Nineties glamour” is how he described the makeup look he chose to accent his short, sexy fashion silhouettes.

Although it includes pronounced eyes with very long eyelashes and “big red lips,” he stated.

“Women are tired of looking like dogs,” he added. “The no-makeup look with stringy hair is dead, dead, dead.”

After a month on the job, Bud Hamilton is settling in as the new president of Eurocos USA. It’s no small task, since Hamilton has a culture gap to bridge. He spent the last two years based in Caracas, Venezuela, as head of South American sales for all the brands marketed by parent Procter & Gamble.

Hamilton has gone from an environment with few department stores to one that is dominated by them. Traveling with former Eurocos president Werner Hofmann, Hamilton has been to Macy’s East and Federated Merchandising in New York and Filene’s in Boston. He’s also been to Dillard Department Stores in Little Rock, Ark., a couple of times.

Hofmann, who is due to return to parent Eurocos in Frankfurt in June, had been in the process of relaunching Hugo Boss Sport.

The men’s fragrance, which had been launched under Revlon’s ownership before P&G bought Eurocos in 1991, is now in 150 doors, compared with 1,500 for the original Hugo Boss.

“We need to get the foundation right,” said Hamilton, who has been with P&G since 1966. He added that he simply wants to make sure the system is sound and smoothly functioning, from the factory all the way to the consumer. This ease is necessary to capitalize on the stream of new fragrances coming out of the parent company in Germany.

So far, Hamilton says, he’s liked what’s he’s seen.

“I’ve been very pleased with the feedback from retailers. Laura Biagiotti’s Venezia, which was launched last year, is considered a success by retailers and continues to expand,” he said.

“The Hugo Boss brand has had a significant turnaround,” he added, noting that some retailers had been on the verge of throwing it out. He said stores have given the brand a second chance, now that it is under new ownership.