L'Oréal Paris' new face: Maria Borges

PARIS – L’Oréal Paris is tightening its fashion link with a new initiative to recognize Paris Fashion Week’s most promising young designer, WWD has learned.

This story first appeared in the February 27, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The winner of the L’Oréal Paris Fashion Grant is to be revealed by actress Julianne Moore, the brand’s global ambassador, at a dinner here on March 5.

“Our support for emerging fashion talent is close to our DNA as the brand that democratizes fashion’s beauty trends,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Angeloglou, global brand president of L’Oréal Paris.

Paris Fashion Week, running from Feb. 28 to March 7, marks the third season the L’Oréal-owned label is an official partner. There, the brand will collaborate with more than 20 houses, including Giambattista Valli, John Galliano and Haider Ackermann, to help define fall makeup and hair influences.

L’Oréal Paris’ boutique on Rue Caumartin will host runway master classes with the brand’s global makeup expert Karim Rahman. L’Oréal Paris faces and influencers are to decode looks in person and via the brand’s social channels, too, it said.

“This season, L’Oréal Paris makes PFW even more inclusive through real-time access to the shows, the street-style scene, the looks and how-to’s,” continued Angeloglou.

Moore will reveal the grant’s laureate from among five nominees whose designs will be showcased. They include Coralie Marabelle, Mazarine Paris, Quoï Alexander, Victoria/Tomas and Wilfried Lantoine, who were selected by L’Oréal Paris and the Fédération Française de la Couture from a pool of 11 young designers presenting at the Designers Apartment initiative.

The grant’s winner will receive 10,000 euros, or $10,570 at current exchange, to help launch their label.

Other Paris Fashion Week tie-ins for L’Oréal Paris include the brand partnering with LeCab, whose cars will be equipped with Makeup Genius iPads; Paris Fashion Week L’Oréal Paris products, such as the limited-edition Elnett Loves Paris, and the possibility to find two tickets to attend a show front row.

L’Oréal Paris has also revealed a new face — model Maria Borges. She was discovered at the Elite Model Angola contest in 2010 and appeared in 17 shows during her first fashion season before signing on with Givenchy to walk for the house exclusively.

Borges subsequently modeled for brands including Balmain, Chanel and Victoria’s Secret. At the latter, she was the first model to wear a short Afro, which was meant to “help women around the world embrace their natural beauty,” Borges explained.

She has fronted, as well, editorials for publications such as Italian Vogue, W magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and Numéro. Borges has 324,000 followers on social media, founded a children’s charity in Angola and models during the country’s fashion week.

“I believe in the beauty of diversity and the empowering message that a girl who started from the bottom can be an international beauty symbol and be living proof that our dreams are valid, and the future ahead of us is bright,” she stated.

Borges has already appeared in L’Oréal Paris campaigns for Paint and Hydra Genius, and will feature in upcoming Matte Obsession advertising.

As part of the L’Oréal Paris fashion week program, Borges has chosen one model to make her debut on a Paris catwalk. Olamide Ogundele, of Nigeria, will appear on the Wanda Nylon runway with Borges on March 1 at 6 p.m. local time.

Other L’Oréal Paris faces include Eva Longoria, Susan Sarandon, Barbara Palvin and Karlie Kloss.

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