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Heidi Klum has designs on the cosmetics business: Coty Inc.’s Astor brand, to be specific.
The supermodel and actress has been signed by Coty Beauty to help reshape the cosmetics brand, which Coty distributes only in Europe. This follows a report in WWD on Tuesday that Klum has teamed up with New Balance to design an activewear collection that will be sold exclusively on Amazon.com.
This story first appeared in the September 10, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
You could say that cosmetics are in Klum’s blood. “My entire childhood, I was surrounded by makeup,” Klum told WWD on Thursday. “My father worked as the marketing director for 4711, a cosmetics company in Germany, for 20 years. He would always bring home testers of lipsticks, eye shadows and perfumes. I absolutely loved it — I started wearing makeup and experimenting with beauty products way too early. In German schools, it is mandatory for students to find a three-week internship when they turn 13 to get work experience. I worked at 4711, where I had to do everything from filling perfume into bottles, sitting at the conveyor belt for quality inspections to marketing to the labs where the vats of creams are being developed. It was great. It’s funny how it’s all come back around again!”
And Klum is excited to get her hands on Astor. “Wearing makeup and helping to create makeup looks are two totally different hats, [but] I have worked on makeup products in the past for Victoria’s Secret Beauty, which was a fantastic learning experience,” she said. “I am eager to bring the fresh new look of Astor products to the market. What is important to me in makeup is the quality in texture, staying power, trendy colors and packaging — but most of all, that it’s easy to use for women that aren’t professional makeup artists. It’s even different for me having my makeup artist do my makeup and when I’m at home doing it all by myself — I get overwhelmed by the color pigments in the foundations and eye shadows. They can be quite tricky, so I try to make them user-friendly and accessible for all women. And Astor has such an incredible history and is known for its color range, which makes it especially exciting for me to nourish the brand with the latest fashion trends and be a part of its future.”
“We are hiring Heidi as an artistic director and adviser, and will be working with her to re-create Astor,” said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty, in a phone interview earlier this week. “We chose Heidi because she is an international icon in fashion and beauty and women find her accessible. We also find that certain people have credibility when they become more than just a face, but a creator. Heidi will be doing collections which will have a lot of creativity and color, and which will be keyed for daytime, nighttime and occasions.”
Added Bernd Beetz, Coty’s chief executive officer, “We are very excited about the new partnership between Heidi Klum and Astor and feel that it has huge potential. Heidi will play an important role in ensuring that the Astor brand continues to be seen as relevant, modern and sophisticated.”
Klum’s first collections for the brand are expected to hit counters in the spring, said Mormoris, and prices are expected to be on par with the brand’s current price points, which average between 5 euros and 15 euros apiece.
Klum will also appear in Astor advertising. The first campaign featuring her, for a new mascara called Big and Beautiful Ultra Volume Mascara, will drop in January editions of European magazines. “We’ll incorporate snippets of Heidi’s life in the ads,” Mormoris added. While he declined to discuss details, these could include references to Klum’s husband, Seal, and their four children.
Founded in 1952, Astor — which is sold in about 16,000 perfumery chains, department store, drugstore and mass merchandiser doors in Europe — reportedly generates global retail sales of about $150 million annually. Its strongest markets include Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Romania. While Mormoris doesn’t rule out the possibility of eventually distributing Astor in the U.S., he emphasized that this is not in Coty’s immediate plans for the brand. “Our largest task in the short term is to rejuvenate the Astor brand in the doors in which it is already distributed,” he noted.
Klum’s other projects include her role as a host and producer of “Project Runway” and host of “Germany’s Next Topmodel,” and creating fashion and beauty collections for Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Destination Maternity. Unlike the other celebrities on the Coty payroll, Klum doesn’t seem interested in pursuing a fragrance deal. “We are going to conquer the world of color together for now,” she said.