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Iris Apfel and Ciaté London’s Colorful Collaboration

The style icon teamed up with the makeup brand for a joyful new makeup collection.

Iris Apfel may just have celebrated her 101st birthday, but the style icon shows no signs of slowing down.

Her newest project: a makeup collaboration with Ciaté London.

Consisting of eight stock keeping units — including two eye shadow palettes, three lipsticks, nail wraps and a collectible bag — the collection launched exclusively at Nordstrom on Sept. 29.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — you do what makes you feel beautiful and how you want to express yourself that day. I love putting on makeup,” Apfel said. “It’s part of how I express myself, along with fashion — I put on my bright lipstick and I feel confident in myself.”

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For Ciaté, the collection builds on its history of buzzy collaborations. The brand has done collections with everyone from Jessica Rabbit to Miss Piggie. “We always want to associate ourselves with empowering individuals and talent,” said Charlotte Knight, the chief executive officer and founder of Brand Agency London, Ciaté’s parent company. “For us, it’s more than slapping some IP on top of an eye shadow palette. They have to stand for something.”

Knight said she keeps a “wish list” for collaborations, and that Apfel has been on it for the last five years. “She is absolutely iconic. Her imagination is endless,” Knight said. “She has a timeless fashion about her and she is truly unforgettable. If we can all grow old gracefully and be a little bit Iris, I think we have succeeded at life.”

The products reflect Apfel’s audacious approach to style and Ciaté’s no-holds-barred approach to beauty was one of the things that attracted her to the brand. “Charlotte isn’t afraid to play around with bright, bold colors. I really found the collaboration delicious. It was so much fun,” Apfel said. “I enjoyed exploring different textures and color shades for lipsticks and the eye shadows. The world is a very gray place and I wanted to do a happy, joyful collection.”

The collection comes at an auspicious time for  Brand Agency. In addition to Ciaté, which is also sold in Douglas in German, Mecca in Australia, Tmall in China and a number of e-commerce sites in the U.K., its roster includes Skin Proud skin care, and Lottie London, a Gen Z-focused makeup brand.

While Ciaté’s lip business took a hit during COVID-19, its Dewy Collection of complexion products infused with treatment properties has resonated with consumers. Industry sources estimate brands sales at $17 million, a figure Knight declined to comment on.

Lottie is sold in about 1,000 doors, including Walmart and Ulta Beauty, and will be expanding to Walmart and Liverpool in Mexico later this year.

“There is a lot of vibrancy back in the color market,” Knight said. “It was challenging during the pandemic, but we people wanting to unleash their creativity again and have that moment of self-love.”

Lottie’s products are priced below $10, which Knight believes is a plus in the current economic environment, and she’s also focused on multifunctional formulas.

“Multitasking products is something people are going to be leading into more and more as they’re tightening their belts with inflation,” she said. “I also think consumers will become more loyal to the brands they love. You might not be so willing to splurge on new brands that you’ve not tested before, but you will double down on the brands you love.”

In terms of challenges — supply chain issues are still problematic, particularly with the continued lockdowns in Asia and ever-rising freight costs.

Still, the company continues to expand, with skin care — a relatively new category for Brand Agency — a new focus. “Over the next six months, we’re going to continue to expand categories,” Knight said. “Our platform is focused on the message — be proud of who you are.

“We want to help the younger generation who have grown up on social media and are constantly comparing themselves to unrealistic beauty ideals,” continued Knight, who has a 17-year-old daughter. “We want Skin Proud to help this generation be more accepting of who they are.”

That’s a message that resonates deeply with Apfel, who said she often describes herself as “the world’s  oldest living teenager.”

“I am very curious and love to continue always learning,” she said. “This keeps my energy levels high.”