Price resistance isn’t a familiar term in Christian Louboutin’s vernacular.
The designer is growing his business in the beauty sector, gearing up to launch a fourth category next month that contains items such as $75 liquid eyeliner and $70 mascara — or “Lash Amplifying Lacquer” as it’s referred to by the brand.
This story first appeared in the February 24, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The four-product, eye-centric color cosmetic collection from Christian Louboutin Beauté — a joint venture between co-owner Batallure Beauty and Christian Louboutin SA — will bow March 23 with a very tight distribution, capped at about 40 points of sale globally. In addition to Lash Amplifying Lacquer and Luminous Ink Eyeliner, Oeil Velours Velvet Eye Definer eyeliner pencils, $40; and Brow Definer eyebrow pencils, $40, round out the group.
What the range won’t include is eyeshadow — which Catherine Roggero, general manager of Christian Louboutin Beauté, called the “obvious route.” But she confirmed the brand will do eyeshadow “at some point.”
“The eye of a person is already extremely expressive, but she’s sending another message the way she does her makeup. She maybe wants to enhance her eyelashes…or [do] a smoky, sexy look. It’s not what she does or doesn’t enhance, but how she does it,” Roggero said of the rationale for developing and releasing these products at once.
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She continued: “This is very much what Christian [Louboutin] wanted to do — to once again give women a tool to enhance something that allows them to control how people perceive them. It’s about taking ownership, and the way you do that in eye makeup is through eyebrows, liners and lashes.”
The brand’s eye offering is the latest in a growing beauty portfolio. In 2014, Christian Louboutin Beauté made its debut with $50 nail polish, followed by the introduction of $90 lipsticks a year later. Last September, the brand introduced a trio of fragrances, but there was nothing outlandish about the $275 price point given the state of a fast-growing niche market.
Like the designer’s footwear, the mascara and two types of eyeliner come in unexpected colors in addition to basic black and brown. The Luminous Ink Eyeliner comes in a shade of red that’s surprisingly more wearable than it sounds, and an eyeliner pencil comes in the same shade of teal as existing shoes and a nail polish.
Roggero explained the mascara was called a “lacquer” because it was formulated with ingredients to give a luminous effect (but “not sparkly,” of course) and the “shine of patent leather.”
“They do not have the basic black, plastic mascara shell. It’s literally brass,” Roggero said, quickly adding that the liquid eyeliner “can be an object of calligraphy, almost.”
Distribution for the eye makeup is the same as the lipstick range, which now contains four formulas and about 50 stockkeeping units. Nail polish has about 100 points of sale globally, and fragrance is carried in about 115 retailers globally, including 65 Louboutin stores and e-commerce.
“Overall productively, we see eye and lip driving the business. Also, it’s more expensive. The price point of nail [polish] is $50, versus mascara [which] is $70. But also we hope we’ll be as lucky as we were in the past… [because] our product is not only for self purchase; it’s also for gifting,” Roggero said, comparing the mascara’s packaging to the “same type of jewelry box” the lipstick is packaged in.