NEW YORK — There's a new face at Shu Uemura: makeup artist Gina Brooke, who has been named artistic director of the brand.
Brooke, who is represented by Los Angeles-based Caliente Beauty, has signed a one-year agreement with Shu Uemura, a division of L'Oréal. She will consult on product introductions and represent the brand at appearances in the U.S. and on photo shoots globally. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"This is the first time that we've hired an artistic director for the U.S., so a year gives both sides the chance to see how the role will evolve," said Chris Salgardo, president of Shu Uemura. "We're thrilled to be working with Gina, especially because her philosophy of makeup and Mr. Uemura's are very much aligned."
In a telephone interview this week from London, where Brooke is doing the makeup for Madonna's new music video, she said she is excited to be joining the brand. "There are a lot of partnerships where the artist involved doesn't actually use the product — he or she just gives that brand the credit," said Brooke. "Shu Uemura was the first brand that I used as a makeup artist, and it is the brand that I still use to this day." She's especially fond of the brand's iconic Cleansing Oil — "I've hooked Madonna and Eva Longoria, among others, on it," she said — and the brand's eye pencils and eyeliners.
Despite the fact that she does a number of photo shoots with celebrities attached, Brooke said she's most excited about making over consumers. "As a makeup artist, it's easy to show up on a shoot and make a model look flawless," she said. "But to play with different colors on real women — that's where the fun is. That's where the artistry comes in. Most consumers don't have perfect features."
The brand is also continuing its slow but steady growth in high-end U.S. specialty store doors, noted Salgardo, who added that Shu Uemura is partnering with one high-end specialty store in each market in which it is present. By yearend, the brand will be in 18 U.S. specialty stores, including new Saks Fifth Avenue doors in Chicago and Atlanta and Neiman Marcus doors in Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Hawaii and Boca Raton, Fla.
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