By  on February 16, 2007

NEW YORK — In an attempt to transform itself into a fashion authority, Avon is teaming up with designer Cynthia Rowley to create a limited-edition color cosmetics line called Cynthia Rowley for Avon Fall 2007 Color Collection.

This is the first time the beauty giant has enlisted a fashion designer to help create a color cosmetic collection.

"Growing up in a small town in the Midwest, I always remembered the Avon parties my mom threw," Rowley said in a recent interview. "It was the most grown-up thing you could do, having all your friends over and trying out those mini-lipstick testers. It was a way for me to be glamorous."

"Color for Avon is a key initiative that will drive excitement and innovation this year," said Jill Scalamandre, senior vice president of global beauty brands for Avon. "Our intention is to revitalize, revamp and elevate the color collection by seeking partnerships with designers. Cynthia epitomizes the Avon personality. She's fun, artistic and creative, and her spirit shines through the collection she created for us."

According to company executives, Avon's color business exceeds $1 billion globally. "We feel as though revamping, re-energizing and infusing it with style will help it take off this year," said Scalamandre.

The Rowley for Avon collection, which will be available for two months starting in September, will feature rich tones with pops of icy silver, charcoal and champagne golds. Rowley created the products with celebrity makeup artist Jillian Dempsey, whom Avon named global creative color director last August.

Ranging from $4 to $15, the Cynthia Rowley for Avon Fall 2007 Color Collection will include a finishing powder, all-over face powder, blush stick, eye shadow quad, lipstick, lip gloss, nail polish and brush set with a clutch. Rowley selected shades like Plum Orchid and Very Violet for the eyes, and Peony Pink and Rose Petals for the nails. The line is scheduled to roll out to Asia, Mexico and Europe in the fall, followed by a spring 2008 rollout in Latin America.

"With the color collection, I'm able to bring fashion to a much broader audience," said Rowley, who added that she had "pumped up" many of the dark and earthy colors from her fall collection for Avon. "It's a way for consumers to experience a collection the same way a designer sees it during a season, but in a more accessible way."Peter Arnold, president of Cynthia Rowley, views the Avon collaboration as an opportunity to expand the fashion company's reach with entries into untapped markets abroad. "For us to partner with a company with a global perspective and get into the homes of women around world is a compelling opportunity," said Arnold.

Rowley's influence can be seen in every detail of the collection, from her selection of colors and textures to her own take on Avon's trademark black shiny packaging. She's added a colorful floral vine design along with her signature.

"By repositioning and revitalizing the brand in the U.S., we're fortifying our credentials by bringing on Jillian. The next step is to infuse the brand with more emotional appeal with Cynthia," said Claudia Poccia, president of Avon U.S. Beauty and global president of the Mark brand. "Most importantly, we're arming our representatives with the right tools and tips to service existing customers, but also inviting new customers."

A multifaceted marketing plan, including a print advertising campaign, will support the Cynthia Rowley for Avon Fall 2007 Color Collection. For the first time, Avon will advertise in Vogue with a four-page insert.

"We're building on a collaboration of design, artistry and fashion while reinvigorating whole positions for Avon's flagship brand," said Poccia.

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