By  on October 29, 2010

Clarins Group USA showed new spring colors Tuesday, but kicked up the luster a notch with the official debut at the press luncheon in Manhattan of makeup artist Pati Dubroff, the firm’s newly signed “celebrity beauty artist.”

The U.S. arm of Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France-based Groupe Clarins is strong in skin care, which accounts for about 47 percent of the firm’s roughly $210 million to $280 million in U.S. sales volume, according to market sources.

While the idea of a Pati Dubroff for Clarins makeup collection may be just a distant theory, Jonathan Zrihen, president and chief executive officer of North America at Clarins Group USA, said the partnership with Dubroff signifies that “we want to get seriously into makeup.”

After an accelerated push behind makeup that began in earnest about five years ago, Clarins Group USA is aiming to build makeup from the present 18 to 20 percent of its U.S. business to 30 percent over the next several years, Zrihen surmised — while still building the skin care business.

“We’re expecting growth in makeup to be faster than in skin care,” he said.

Dubroff, wearing a black Alexander Wang dress and strappy silver Alexander McQueen heels for the presentation at Columbus Circle’s Museum of Arts & Design, described her role along with Zrihen and Maria Dempsey, executive vice president of marketing for the Clarins brand.

She’ll be extending existing shade ranges and working with makeup education and training for the Clarins sales force. She’s to also develop new colors and formulas and select shades and textures.

Zrihen, who noted that 80 percent of Groupe Clarins’ business is generated outside of France, added, “Pati is important for our international business.” In the U.S., Clarins skin care and makeup is carried in about 1,000 stores.

When asked how long the collaboration with Dubroff might last, Zrihen diplomatically said, “As long as there’s interest on both sides, I don’t see any reason why we don’t just move along. The challenge is [to] bridge skin care and makeup.”

Dubroff, who grew up in New Jersey and is now bicoastal, began doing her own makeup in front of her mother’s mirror at age 10. She got her first paid makeup gig at Bergdorf Goodman when she was 17.

She’s catapulted herself to working with the likes of Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, Megan Fox, Katherine Heigl, Sofia Coppola, Emma Watson and Drew Barrymore. She said she’s rung up three or four cover credits on October issues.

“The only other possible career choice was massage therapy. I really wanted to be a healer.” But, “This was my calling, makeup was it.”

Some 17 new items ($30 to $90), including sun care, were presented at the lunch.

Highlighted were UV Plus HP SPF 40 Day Screen, Skin Illusion Natural Radiance Light Reflecting Foundation SPF 10 and a Neo Pastels Colour Collection.

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