PARIS — Christian Dior’s latest cosmetics endeavor is akin to a start-up launching within a beauty behemoth.
For its new color cosmetics line, the brand is tapping into the beauty secrets that Peter Philips, its creative and image director for makeup, has gleaned while working backstage and on photo shoots.
Dubbed Dior Backstage, the range of professional performance essential products was created to be easy-to-use, coming in a huge selection of colors and photogenic, streamlined lightweight packaging.
Upon launch starting in late May, it should bolster the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand’s momentum in the increasingly competitive color cosmetics segment that has been shaken up recently by new brands catering to Millennials and women with a wide variety of skin tones.
The rise of online tutorials is credited as a key phenomenon quelling the fear factor sometimes associated with makeup.
But Philips told WWD that the idea for the line using his expertise grew organically. He would, for instance, sometimes ask the Dior labs for certain products, like white foundation, that he needed to ply his trade. That helped plant a seed for a selection of new indispensable items that could be in his own makeup case.
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Dior Backstage is meant to be easy, basic makeup, including 40 face-and-body foundations, two brow palettes, a contour palette, two eye palettes, a glow face palette, a lip palette and 13 brushes.
Philips hopes women of all types will be attracted to it. That could include Millennials “but also women in general, who maybe find a classic makeup line too complicated or too intimidating, or don’t need color statements or don’t approach [makeup] from a fashion point of view but would like to have that expertise,” he said.
The core of the range is the Face and Body Foundation collection — a first for Dior. “It covers a lot of skin tones,” said Philips.
The makeup artist explained that when he travels for work, he brings only five or six bottles of foundation that he mixes.
“You can’t expect that from a woman in a bathroom,” said Philips. “Because it asks for an expertise. So we used our expertise and made a whole range of shades that is even larger than the ones we did before. There is a huge demand for it.”
The foundation formulas are lighter than in other Dior ranges, and are buildable and easy to apply, said Philips. He noted people are increasingly putting makeup on their bodies, echoing the rise of how it’s being used on the catwalks or in photo shoots, so there is a demand for such a multiuse product.
Each Brow Palette — there’s a lighter and darker one — includes a setting wax and two powder shadows. “Eyebrows are seen more like an expert kind of makeup. That’s why [this] finds its place in the Backstage line,” he said.
The Eye Palettes come with eight shades in varied finishes and a primer. The Lip Palette has nine trays — three hues of volumizing gloss, three shades of satin-finish lipstick and three matte colors chockablock with pigment.
The Glow Face Palette is billed to have “ultra-fusional textures” and mother-of-pearl for a veil of light, while the Contour Palette comes with two light-catching hues and a pair of darker matte shades for sculpting.
Dior is reworking its makeup brush line for the Backstage collection. The reason was twofold, explained Philips. “I need to provide [it for] my team and our backstage pro teams, our counter people and at the same time women [who] are getting more professional and using tools. It’s mainly based on my kits, my favorite brushes,” he said.
The Backstage line will continue to grow. Philips is working on a concealer, for instance, and — depending on consumer feedback — the foundation range could expand with more hues.
The collection will be launched first in France and the Middle East on dior.com on May 25, followed by a bricks-and-mortar rollout there on June 5. Elsewhere in Europe, the line is to be sold on Dior’s web site beginning June 1 before its wider online distribution on the continent starting June 15, the day Asia will being selling the range on dior.com, as well.
Also on June 15, the collection, except for the brushes, will available in the U.S. and Canada on dior.com and sephora.com. The national Sephora rollout is slated for June 29.
Product prices in the U.S. range from $35 for the Brow Palette to $40 for the Face and Body Foundation and $49 for the Eye and Lip Palettes. The brushes, due out in North America starting in August, will be $25 to $59.
Backstage’s advertising campaign features Bella Hadid, Chu Wong, Manuela Sanchez and Ruth Bell, who were made up by Philips in one shot. He created three-step makeup looks for them, as well.
“This is your basics,” said Philips, of the Dior Backstage line. “And it’s no-nonsense.”
Other company executives would not discuss the range’s strategy further, but its positioning appears to be similar to that of brands such as Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, a collection from LVMH’s Kendo division, which with its wide color offering has been a blockbuster.
Kylie Cosmetics is also commanding that space, with founder Kylie Jenner telling WWD last August that the line had raked in $420 million in 18 months.
“New brands such as Kylie Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty are essentially creating businesses around Millennials’ preferences as they recognize high market potentials,” said Kloe Angelopoulou, a beauty and fashion analyst at Euromonitor International. “Millennials come with high demands, and we can see how companies incorporate them.
“Brands have been associating their products with deep values such as inclusivity and diversity as Millennials look for stories and meaning behind the brands they purchase,” she continued. “Based on our data, Millennials are the customer segment with the highest frequency of use of color cosmetics. Their share of customers who use color cosmetics daily or more frequently is the highest among all target groups.”
“Millennials are amongst the savviest shoppers in the beauty industry,” added Clotilde Drapé, a research associate at Euromonitor International. “They have slowly but surely helped shape the range of products offered to them, thanks to blogs and social media, but also by having the capacity to build strong consumer communities.”