PARIS — For French sportswear brand Paul & Joe, it’s color first.

Rather than launching into beauty with fragrance — the traditional strategy — Paul & Joe has opted for makeup as the springboard.

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s our savoir faire,” explained Jacques Vignaud, marketing and commercial director for Albion Cosmetics Co. Ltd. France. Albion, a Kose Corp. subsidiary, is the beauty license holder for Paul & Joe that produces numerous cosmetics collections — for Sonia Rykiel and Anna Sui, for instance.

Among the makeup’s strengths, he said, is that it “touches all the senses” and “reflects fashion.”

Paul & Joe introduced its 125-stockkeeping-unit makeup line in two Japanese Takashimaya doors in April. The collection is scheduled for launch in the first quarter of next year in tight distribution in the U.K., France, Canada and the U.S., where it will be in a handful of doors. By yearend 2003, it will be distributed in Germany, Italy and Spain, as well.

While Albion executives refused to divulge figures, industry sources estimate the color cosmetics line will ring up about $1.4 million in retail sales in the U.S. during the first 12 months.

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The makeup collection targets the trendy 18-to-25 set, the same customer as the Paul & Joe fashion line.

It has numerous subdivisions, including a 24-unit “basic” line, whose products come in cardboard packaging reflecting certain looks within the season’s ready-to-wear collection. These will be changed every six months in Europe. Some Paul & Joe makeup comes in 1950s-inspired packaging, which looks like it’s composed of Bakelite.

The extensive designer makeup line also includes more than 20 nail polishes, many of whose colors were inspired by popular tints of the Thirties through the Fifties, and four combination tints for the eyes and lips.

Paul & Joe’s makeup is priced at $19 for a lipstick, $25 for mascara and $37.50 for powder.

Advertising for the line has not yet been finalized for Europe.

Up next for the company are two women’s eaux de toilette, slated to be introduced in Japan next year.

In other company news, Albion in April took over the distribution in France of Anna Sui’s makeup, skin care and beauty accessories. Elsewhere, it is distributed by Cosmopolitan Cosmetics.

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