L’Oréal in Paris said Monday it has signed an agreement with private equity firm Castanea Partners to acquire Urban Decay.
Based in Newport Beach, Calif., Urban Decay executives will report to Carol Hamilton, president of L’Oréal Luxe USA in New York. Hamilton praised Urban Decay as “experts in being able to appeal to younger consumers with the right presentation and the right products.”
She also cited the makeup-driven company’s expertise in navigating what she described as “the newest form of luxury distribution” — specialty chains like Sephora and Ulta.
Wende Zomnir, the makeup expert who created the brand in 1996, said the core consumer is aged 28 to 29 years old, but the audience ranges up to age 40, running the gamut from “edgy girls to people who have kids and jobs and are looking for formulas.”
Zomnir will continue as general manager of worldwide strategic brand development and creative director. Her current title is chief creative officer.
Nicolas Hieronimus, president of L’Oréal Luxe in Paris, said, “Urban Decay will beautifully complement L’Oréal Luxe’s portfolio of iconic brands. It is the makeup specialist we needed to fully satisfy young women in search of playful colors and inspiration in selective distribution, at an accessible price point. It is totally additional to our existing propositions and as such it will contribute significantly to the growth of the division in the years to come,” he added.
Urban Decay recorded net sales of $130 million in the fiscal year ended in June. L’Oréal did not disclose the sales price. However, industry sources estimate that the price climbed as high as $350 million.
The brand is known for its vibrant shadows and pencils in the brand-leading eye category and has been branching out into complexion and primer products. This fall, the company transformed its Naked color cosmetics franchise into a new line, called Naked Skin, focusing on complexion and providing an entrée into foundation. Chief executive officer Tim Warner said the sell-through was above expectation. Instead of achieving a penetration of 8 to 9 percent, Naked Skin surged to a penetration of 15 to 16 percent. L’Oréal noted that specialist brands account for 44 percent of the luxury makeup market in the United States. In addition to chains like Ulta and Sephora, Urban Decay also distributes through Web sites like urbandecay.com and sephora.com.
“L’Oréal’s strong innovation capabilities and presence in every channel of distribution will enable Urban Decay to reach its full potential in the marketplace,” stated Warner. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, which is expected by the end of the year.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast