PARIS — Stephane Marais cosmetics will arrive Stateside in early April.

The quirky signature brand from celebrity makeup artist Stephane Marais is set for introduction in two New York doors, Henri Bendel and Jeffrey, where it will have corners measuring about 170 square feet. Each door is to carry the brand’s entire line comprising 240 color cosmetics and skin care units, which come in Stephane Marais’ highly graphic, funky packaging decorated with offbeat phrasing, drawings and photographs.

These New York openings mark the first step of the brand’s broader U.S. expansion plan, which includes Stephane Marais items entering 20 stores countrywide by year-end, according to Valerie Vanier, general manager of French and international markets for SMB (Surprising My Beauty). SMB is the Shiseido subsidiary that first launched Stephane Marais beauty products in France two years ago.

While Vanier would not discuss numbers, industry sources estimate Stephane Marais will generate wholesale volume of $497,850, or 400,000 euros at current exchange rates, during its first year in the U.S. market.

Stephane Marais products are currently carried in some 115 doors worldwide, where they rang up an estimated $8.09 million, or 6.5 million euros, in wholesale volume last year, industry sources say.

And it is expected the brand’s business will grow rapidly, as Stephane Marais products enter an additional 80 to 100 doors globally this year.

Today, key markets include France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

Alongside its U.S. development, the objective is to consolidate Stephane Marais’ European business, said Varnier.

And as for further openings on the Continent, this week Stephane Marais products entered Russia for the first time, through the Rive Gauche department store chain.

In other company news, the Stephane Marais Rue Saint-Honoré boutique will be shuttered in March. According to industry sources, the store was a money-losing venture not core to the brand’s expansion plans.

“It’s a huge coup for Bendel’s,” said Ed Burstell, the store’s vice president and general manager, remarking on being one of the first U.S. retailers to carry the line.

“You have to address Stephane’s talent. He’s one of a handful of premier makeup artists — if not the premier makeup artist — in the world today. His body of work speaks to that,” Burstell said.He added, “From a technical and quality standpoint, they [the products] are top of the line. Then you have to look at the attitude of the brand, the way he’s incorporated art into the packaging. When you have those three things together, it’s huge.”

— J.W. with contributions from Matthew W. Evans

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