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Jennifer Lopez, who this year was one of Barbara Walters’ 10 most fascinating people, is adding another title to her résumé.
This story first appeared in the December 3, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The multifaceted entertainer-turned-fashion designer has landed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract to become a global brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris, a mass market beauty division of L’Oréal USA. L’Oréal Paris brands include EverPure hair care, Preference hair color and Youth Code skin care.
Lopez, who spoke with WWD Thursday afternoon about everything from beauty to fashion to her true calling (performing), seemed most excited about how the deal taps her creative side.
“You can’t help that when you work collaboratively with a team where you are the focus that how you look and feel is very important to how you portray something. So what I wear and how the hair and makeup is and how I move and choose to move in the [ad] campaign says a lot for the product and what we are trying to portray,” said Lopez in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. Her debut ad will focus on EverSleek, a new range under the Ever franchise of hair care products.
Lopez, who said she was approached by the beauty brand, will launch the company’s new take on TV advertising in 2011, which aims to be more intimate and conversational.
Cyril Chapuy, global brand president, L’Oréal Paris, said the inspiration behind the TV shoot — which took place Nov. 13 and 14 in New York City at Silvercup Studios — was Lopez herself.
“The script was written from Day One with Jennifer in mind. It was never just another commercial, it was designed for Jennifer’s personality. She is the one speaking directly to the camera, there is no voice-over and she speaks in her own words,” he said, adding that “the look of the styling and set was also defined especially for her…[which] had a very intense energy.” Behind-the-scenes video clips from the shoot will be streamed online to L’Oréal Paris’ Facebook page when the ad airs Jan. 16 during the Golden Globes. Print advertisements will appear in February magazines.
While the L’Oréal deal is the first where the ubercelebrity will serve as the face of a cosmetics company, it is certainly not Lopez’s introduction to the beauty industry.
She entered the fragrance scene with Glow in 2002 in a deal with Coty Inc. Last year, her fragrance empire peaked at $150 million retail; cumulative sales of her scents, of which there are an estimated 16, are at about $1 billion.
Of course there’s the fashion side to her multifaceted career, too, which began in 2001 when Lopez and Andy Hilfiger launched Sweetface Fashions, a joint venture of their holding company, Music Entertainment Fashion Inc., which rolled out designs inspired by the urban J.Lo lifestyle and included contemporary items and jeanswear, accessories and eyewear licenses. Sweetface closed its doors in 2009. But in late November Lopez, along with her husband, Marc Anthony, unveiled a new lifestyle fashion venture with Kohl’s.
The recent fashion chapter is very new, she said, with a few creative meetings having taken place. “At the moment it is about what this line is and what it has to represent, getting the brand DNA down and very specific so when people look at it they’re like ‘Yeah, that’s what I always thought a Jennifer Lopez brand would be.’ [Kohl’s] wants to aim high with classic and high-end [designs]. It’s a different niche in their stores that they don’t have right now.”
Fashion, it seems, is what Lopez is most known for these days, though her career started as a backup dancer on the TV show “In Living Color” in the early Nineties and ascended to movies in 1995 with “Money Train.” In 2001, Lopez became the first person to have a number-one film and album at the same time; she appeared in the movie “The Wedding Planner,” which was the nation’s top-grossing film the week it opened, while at the same time her album “J.Lo” was No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.
Attending numerous fashion, music and charity events — and getting glammed up for them — can get a girl excited.
“That is one of the most fun things of my job,” she said, explaining that for fashion inspiration she looks to magazines and tear sheets. “I don’t think it’s a secret how I choose to wear and present myself with Old Hollywood glamour looks from the Forties and Fifties,” she said, pointing out that Barbra Streisand is her ultimate Hollywood icon, as well as Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor.
She admits she has her favorite designers — “Marchesa, Gucci, Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli,” to name a few — but she added, “I don’t discriminate” against lesser-known artists. “I will wear any great piece of clothing” if it has the right fit, style and a “little bit of a dramatic something.” Lopez then added, “I’m not going to have the Lady Gaga hat on. That is not my style.”
But perhaps in 2011, she will again be known for her music. She is, after all, the woman who sang “If You Had My Love,” a runaway club hit, video success and her first number-one single from her 1999 debut studio album, “On the 6.”
Her new album, “Love,” is scheduled for a 2011 release, and music it seems is where her heart is.
“I still find [the most reward] in the acting, the singing and the dancing. It is who I am and everything else happened because of that. I am always a performer at the end of the day. [Everything else] is an extension of that,” she said.
Asked why she thinks Walters chose her as one of the most fascinating people of the year, Lopez recalled “all of the different things that happened this year. The ‘American Idol’ [deal to appear as a judge] and also being a mom and entering back in the scene with the album.” So what kind of tree would Lopez be?
“She didn’t ask me that, but she did ask me some kind of an abstract question like that, where I was like, ‘You’re Barbara Walter-ing me right now!’”