Giorgio Armani Joins Alphabet Race With Lipstick Line

The designer is planning to show the prestige market some lip this fall, with a new technological slant.

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Giorgio Armani is planning to show the prestige market some lip this fall, with a new technological slant.

This story first appeared in the August 16, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In September, the brand will roll out its 36-stockkeeping-unit lipstick line, Rouge Ecstasy, which it is calling the first “triple c” lipstick — that is, color, comfort and care — and one that is intended to bridge color and skin-care benefits.

“This new, innovative hybrid product marks the start of a new era in lipstick,” said Véronique Gautier, international general manager for Giorgio Armani Beauty. “It is a solid, melting lip balm with the color intensity of a lipstick, 12-hour hydration and reparative actions. It also has a higher viscosity than a balm would, so the formula doesn’t migrate on the lips.”

The centerpiece of the technology is a proprietary ingredient called the Melting Cream Complex, which is said to deliver skin-care benefits along with high-impact color. “Regular lipsticks are chiefly comprised of liquid oils solidified by waxes, while a low proportion of melting moisturizing pastes ensure comfort,” explained Alexandre Choueiri, general manager of Giorgio Armani Beauty. “Inspired by the formulation of a lip-care product, the oily phase has been decreased and replaced by the highest concentration of moisturizing pastes ever reached in a lipstick, while solid waxes were decreased to preserve the comfort of lightness. The formula also continuously feeds the lips with the Armani regenerative 3R serum complex for moisturization, and the moisturizing paste also contains a water magnet agent that captures external moist and fixes it in the lip cellular tissues.” The 3R serum complex contains linseed, Pro-Xylane and vitamin C.

Another proprietary technology, called Kaleidoscope Pearls, features a mix of translucent and multifaceted pearlizers that are said to diffuse color brightly. Multidimensional refraction allows light on the surface of the lips to change the colors’ appearance, said Linda Cantello, international makeup artist for Giorgio Armani Beauty. “Rouge Ecstasy does not sparkle, but it keeps diffusing a colored light that makes color more vibrant,” she said.

The 36 shades are broken down into three groupings. Incognito is a selection of second-skin beiges and browns; Fatal offers bold reds and purples, and Eccentrico features corals and pinks from the most pastel to the most eye-catching.

“The Armani philosophy is the right color in the right texture,” said Gautier. “Each of the 36 colors can suit any woman in any mood of the day, because they each have a different recipe, playing with different levels of pigment, pearl and brightening fillers. The reds are true reds but not overpowering; the beiges are soft and luminous but never too white, yellow or chalky. The corals are fresh and never look painted on, the bois de rose and brick colors are muted but sophisticated, the darks never look dull.”

The lipsticks each retail for $34, and each color has a name that evokes a particular memory or association for Armani, Gautier added. Inspirations include Italy, Milan and Hollywood stars.

In the U.S., Rouge Ecstasy will be sold in about 180 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora and select Bloomingdale’s and Armani boutiques, noted Choueiri.

While all executives declined comment on sales projections, industry sources estimated that Rouge Ecstasy could do $5 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter. Globally, sources estimate it could do $10 million at retail in its first year.

The brand also plans its first digital campaign for the launch, a beatbox — a music form which involves making rhythmical sounds with the voice in imitation of the rhythms of rap music — with music created for the brand with the help of Finnish beatboxer Felix Zenger. The clip showcases all 36 of the shades in the range and is slated to go live on YouTube in mid-September.

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