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Guerlain Enters Prestige Mascara Category

Launching in January, Noir G de Guerlain is packaged in a refillable compact with a pop-up mirror.

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Guerlain is back in black with a new mascara which takes its design cues from the brand’s Rouge G de Guerlain lipstick line and its formula from proprietary new technology.

This story first appeared in the October 21, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Launching in January, Noir G de Guerlain is, like Rouge G de Guerlain, packaged in a refillable compact with a pop-up mirror. Noir G’s packaging — which was, like Rouge G, designed by Lorenz Bäumer — is black.

Bäumer explained they chose to make the mascara’s packaging black — specifically, it’s made of Zamac with black lacquer — since it reflects the color of the product it contains. Its design is similar to the form of the Rouge G de Guerlain lipstick, which was inspired by a gold ingot but “we tried to push the idea yet further,” he said.

Some commonalities of the two products’ packaging are that they have mirrors and are refillable. With the mascara, the liquid formula and brush are changeable together. Bäumer called the manipulation needed to open the mascara packaging “excessively simple.”

“There are two products for which you absolutely need a mirror: lipstick and mascara,” said Olivier Echaudemaison, global creative director for Guerlain. “We have now solved both.”

The formula, noted Echaudemaison, is also unique. A blend of waxes coat the lashes to extend and add volume, and are set in position by film-forming polymers. The blend of waxes allows the formula to be supple during application and then firm up to set the lashes. A proprietary polymer is added in the water portion of the formula, and when the mascara dries and water evaporates, the particles of this polymer create a protective and setting film, he explained.

Its cornerstone is the proprietary new-generation Ultra Black pigments, which are intended to amplify the intensity and depth of the black. The formula is also designed to lengthen and curl lashes, as well as deliver lash regeneration with artemia salina, said to be a cell revitalizer and intended to stimulate the production of keratin. The mascara is scented with notes of peach, rose, jasmine and white musk.

The brush, noted Linda Maiocco, senior vice president of marketing and public relations for Guerlain in the U.S., was inspired by hairstyling tools. It is round, easily maneuverable and made of flexible fibers to catch and style the lashes, she said.

The mascara will be available in one shade: black. “Mascaras in colors like purple and blue are an accessory,” said Echaudemaison. “Black is a basic that is used all over the world.”

The mascara and compact together retail for $49, while refills are $26. In the U.S., it will bow Dec. 26 at Saks Fifth Avenue and roll out in early January to about 150 department and specialty stores, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora and Bergdorf Goodman.

While executives declined to comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Noir G de Guerlain could do upwards of $3 million at retail in its first year on counter in the U.S.

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