By  on August 29, 2008

Combine a Gourmet editor, a fashion designer, a stylist and MAC Cosmetics, and what do you have? Cult of Cherry, a limited edition makeup line that the brand will launch next week.

“Jennifer [Balbier, senior vice president of product development] and I were seeing deep reds and dark browns on the runways, so we came up with a collection based on chocolate and cherries,” said James Gager, senior vice president and creative director of MAC Worldwide.

Added Balbier: “The whole idea of Cult of Cherry from a product development point of view was to have these dark, sensuous lips, juxtaposed with a smoky eye, punctuated with this acid chartreuse color. When James and I were backstage, we saw a return of this beautiful chartreuse. So I tried to create a color with a satin finish, little pearl, with a tremendous color payoff.”

But MAC being MAC, an idea was hatched to bring the collection to a new level — with a video featuring Maggie Ruggiero, an editor for Gourmet magazine; designer Erin Fetherston, and stylist Jeffrey Miller. The video is intended to be a cheeky spin on reality TV, explained Gager, a self-described reality show aficionado (“Top Chef,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “Project Runway” are all on his TiVo.)

“We began with the idea of a woman who lives in a white world and suddenly she feels it is lacking sensuality and wants to break free from its monotony,” Gager said. “She craves color, dimension and flavor, so she goes to the experts to help make over every aspect of her life from beauty, fashion, interior decorating and cooking.”

The model starts out in a plain white room, wearing white from head to toe. By the end of the video, she’s sporting a cherry-bedecked couture Erin Fetherston frock, living in a brown-and-white designer room put together by Miller and eating a cherry pie baked by Ruggiero. All are featured in the video, which will be shown at select MAC counters and online at maccosmetics.com.

“The whole concept James developed worked perfectly with this look: an edible, pleasurable concept,” said Balbier. “The look embodies a girl who is slightly Goth punk, but with a sophisticated edge. She’s both sweet and shocking at the same time.”

The Cult of Cherry color collection includes five lipsticks, each $14; five Lipglass lip glosses, each $14; four Mattene lip colors, each $14.50; two shades of powder blush, each $17.50; two nail colors, each $10; Zoom Lash mascara, $11, and three eye shadow quads, each $36.

While none of the executives would comment on sales projections, industry sources estimated that the collection would do $6 million in retail sales in the U.S. It will be available in MAC’s full U.S. distribution of 500 department stores and 150 freestanding MAC stores.

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