Nars Launching Guy Bourdin Inspired Collection

The photographer is perhaps best-known for his work with French Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the Seventies.

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Nars is returning to the art world this fall with its newest color cosmetics and gifting line.

This story first appeared in the September 27, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The niche cosmetics brand, which offered an Andy Warhol theme last year, is this year looking to photographer Guy Bourdin for inspiration. The photographer is perhaps best-known for his work with French Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the Seventies. François Nars has long cited Bourdin as a key influencer and also chose Bourdin images as campaigns for his 2005, 2007 and 2011 cosmetics collections, even naming a 2002 blush Exhibit A, after a book of Bourdin’s images.

“This collection is an homage to [Bourdin] because he was such an inspiration in my life,” Nars, founder and creative director of the brand, told WWD. “When I was a young boy, I would go through my mother’s French Vogue and tear out Guy Bourdin images. Bourdin’s images were always the ones that really got my attention — he created a world that was so magical to me. From the lighting and the makeup to the abstract backgrounds and poses, Guy built up his own world. There is a certain decadence in Guy’s work that really struck a chord with me.”

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Nars plans 16 new limited-edition stockkeeping units for the color collection, as well as one existing blush, Exhibit A. Vivid-colored eye shadows and lipsticks are reformulated for the collection and blush and nail colors will also be offered. The new eye and lip formulas are dubbed Cinematic Eyeshadow and Cinematic Lipstick. The eye shadow has a high-pearl, high-metallic payoff, while the lipstick is a superglossy, high-shine formulation. Both are intended to deliver “the saturated, cinematic Bourdin look,” said Louis Desazars, chief executive officer of Nars Cosmetics. The eye shadows will retail for $24 each, while the lipsticks will be priced at $26. The collection’s four new nail polishes will be $19 each and blushes will sell for $29.

The color cosmetics will launch on Oct. 15 in Nars boutiques and on narscosmetics.com before heading into Sephora, department and specialty store doors on Nov. 1.

A gifting collection, which includes eight sets, will go on sale Nov. 1. Some feature best-selling Nars colors (including blush shades Orgasm, Deep Throat and Laguna); others offer new shades. Nars dubbed the kits One Night Stand Cheek Palette, $65, a Sephora exclusive; Promiscuous Mini Lip Coffret, $45, also a Sephora exclusive; Fling Lip Kit, $49; Crime of Passion Face Kit, $59; Beautiful Stranger Nail Polish Coffret, $35; Voyeur, Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner Coffret, $49; Cosmetic Pouchette with a heart design, $75, and Splendor in the Grass Cheek Palette, $49. Nars chose his own evocative names for the images on the kits, as Bourdin did not title his photos.

Globally, the collection will be available in about 1,500 doors. Outer packaging was designed by Fabien Baron, and a landing page for the Bourdin collection is planned to promote the items.

While Nars and Desazars declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the limited-edition collection could do upward of $16 million during its time on counter.

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