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MAC Links With Graffiti Artist

What do makeup and graffiti have in common? Thanks to MAC Cosmetics, a color cosmetics collection involving Fafi, the Parisian graffiti artist.

Items from MAC's Fafi collection.

What do makeup and graffiti have in common? Thanks to MAC Cosmetics, a color cosmetics collection involving Fafi, the Parisian graffiti artist.

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We had the idea on a shoot to capture the spirit of a young woman having fun playing — with clothes, technology, fashion,” said James Gager, senior vice president and creative director of MAC Cosmetics worldwide. “We were inspired by Japanese anime, and as we researched the movement, we discovered Fafi. We asked if she would collaborate with us on a photo concept, and the creation began from there.”

Gager and Jennifer Balbier, senior vice president of product development for MAC Cosmetics worldwide, used Fafi’s work and MAC’s blockbuster Barbie makeup collection — released in February 2007 — as a touch point. “Barbie and Fafi are both very playful,” said Balbier, who became fascinated by anime and Japanimation after a trip to Asia. “Fafi wasn’t involved in developing the makeup, but her work inspired it. The idea, really, was a young-at-heart feeling — toned-down skin, a pretty, girly mouth and colorful eyes. The colors are playful with a sophisticated twist, and they’re sheer and buildable so you can control the effect.”

The collection — whose muse is “a nymphet with a Ph.D. in passion,” Gager said — includes six lipsticks, four Lipglasses, two eye shadow quads, six eye shadow Paint Pots, black eyeliner, two kohl pencils, black mascara and two blushes, as well as three Fafinette dolls, two makeup cases, a tote bag, a T-shirt and a scarf. Colors include blue-pink lipsticks and Lipglasses, dirty purple and bright aqua eye shadows and coral blushes.

Items range in price from $11 for mascara to $60 for the tote bag (most range in price from $14 to $17.50) and will be available beginning Feb. 13. While MAC executives declined to discuss sales figures, industry sources estimated that the collection would do upward of $8 million at retail.

The Fafi color collection and makeup bags will be in MAC’s full distribution — 500 department and specialty store doors, as well as 120 freestanding MAC stores. The dolls and tote bags will be available at MAC freestanding stores, select Nordstrom doors and online at maccosmetics.com, while the scarves will be exclusive to MAC stores and the brand’s Web site. The T-shirts will be an online exclusive.

MAC plans an extensive online promotion of the collection: a cheeky teaser on the site shows black spray paint overlaid with pink and white writing and a microsite goes live Feb. 11. As well, Fafi plans to make an appearance for the collection on Feb. 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Henri Bendel.