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Macy’s shoppers will be living in a bigger Material Girl world come fall.
This story first appeared in the July 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Madonna, Iconix Brand Group Inc. and Macy’s, all partners in the juniors brand, are launching a range of new product categories, including beauty, intimates and sleepwear, and expanded programs in denim, outerwear and social dresses.
The first beauty offerings, which include nail polish, lip gloss, body sprays and lotions will be in Macy’s stores Aug. 15, with eye palettes arriving on Sept. 15. The intimates and sleepwear are hitting stores this week, the denim will be available on Aug. 15, social dresses Sept. 15 and outerwear on Oct. 15.
“It was so much fun getting to pick all of my favorite scents for the Material Girl body products and lip glosses,” said Lourdes “Lola” Leon, Madonna’s 14-year-old daughter who serves as a public face of the brand and helps oversee creative direction and design. “The body products have fun names like Wicked Watermelon, Flirty Fruit, Midnight Magnolia and Sinful Sugar. I chose scents that I loved.”
The move into new categories for Material Girl comes as Macy’s expands the brand’s footprint. Material Girl will be in 300 Macy’s doors this fall, up from 200 at its initial launch last August and 250 this past spring. As of July 2, there were 805 Macy’s stores in the U.S.
Macy’s declined to provide total sales figures for Material Girl, but Martine Reardon, executive vice-president of marketing and advertising, said the line was performing well. “If you walk onto the sales floor, you’ll see how prominent a positioning it has on our juniors floor. It is one of our top-five brands in juniors,” she noted. “We are focusing on this youth consumer with fast-fashion that is trend-right and extremely affordable.”
The Material Girl beauty products will retail from $7 to $12. Body washes, body lotions and body mists will come in six scents, the nail polish in 10 colors, and the lip gloss in 12 variations. Eye palettes will come in two variations, including “Soft & Pretty” and “Smoky and Sexy,” and include four eye shadows, a pencil, a dual-end applicator and mirror.
Some beauty items will also be placed near registers to encourage impulse buys. “We have brand-new fixtures to highlight the beauty products, as well as new accessories, within the Material Girl world,” said Reardon.
Intimates retail for $5 to $29 and include solid and polka dot pushup bras, bustiers, boyfriend briefs, rose-print lace panties and cupped cami bras. Sleepwear retails for $14 to $22 and includes tanks, tunics, sweatshirts, boxers and lounge pants.
“The woven waistbands on the underwear have the Material Girl logo on them, so there’s a status feel to them. Girls want to wear this brand and show it off now,” said Lanie List, chief merchandising officer at Iconix Brand Group. Taking a page from Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and “Express Yourself” days, List expects Material Girl customers to wear some of the innerwear as fashion pieces.
While the brand sits on the juniors floor and has a soon-to-be high school sophomore at its creative helm, the core customer is 18 to 25 years old.
“Lola is 14 but she lives in New York City and has a very famous mom, so she has a very sophisticated eye,” explained List. “Lola is here once a month and sometimes more. She brings stuff from her own closet for inspiration. For the bath and body products she probably had 100 scents in front of her. She has a very mature approach to product development.”
Madonna is a less frequent visitor to Iconix headquarters in New York than her daughter, but she wields final say in much of the product, said List. “Madonna definitely has creative input also. It’s a collaboration between the two. If Lola goes to a place with an idea that Madonna doesn’t think is appropriate for the brand, she’ll veto it. She’s a branding expert,” said List.
While Material Girl already has some denim, outerwear and party dresses in its current merchandise assortments, for fall the brand will blow out those categories with full product assortments, as they have been key sales drivers in the collections. Outerwear will retail for $59.50 to $89.50 and includes cape coats and bomber jackets. Party dresses adorned with sequins, feathers, lace and beading will retail for $59 to $79. Denim, which will encompass 20 trend-driven styles, including faded flares, studded jeans, overdyed styles in vivid colors, acid-wash skinny jeans and suspender styles, will retail from $29.50 to $32.50.
Macy’s and Iconix are supporting the expansion of Material Girl this fall with an advertising campaign that features Kelly Osbourne for the second consecutive season. The fall media buy includes People StyleWatch, Nylon, Seventeen, Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan, in addition to outdoor — including a Times Square billboard and the Macy’s Jumbotron in Herald Square — and online celebrity and fashion blogs.