PARIS — Estée Lauder has entered a new phase of its color cosmetics business development.

This story first appeared in the May 21, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The move was kicked off Monday with a cocktail party here for a few hundred guests, who feted the arrival of Tom Pecheux as Estée Lauder’s creative makeup director and Constance Jablonski as a global face, plus the new Pure Color cosmetics collection, including a limited edition line.

“This is the first step in a process to modernize and evolve our brand, and to reach a broader and slightly younger woman,” explained Jane Hertzmark Hudis, global brand president of Estée Lauder.

Other attendees at the event included William Lauder, executive chairman of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.; Aerin Lauder, Estée Lauder’s senior vice president and creative director, and Hilary Rhoda, another of the brand’s faces. Present also were company executives and journalists, who jetted to the French capital from 27 nations.

Showcased during the festivities as part of the new Pure Color line conceived by Pecheux was a three-unit, limited edition makeup collection, called Pure Color Night. Just out now in three French doors — Le Bon Marché, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette — it resulted from a dare Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Cos., gave Pecheux when they first met.

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“Mr. Lauder challenged him to come up with a special collection to commemorate the beginning of a wonderful partnership together,” said Elana Drell Szyfer, senior vice president of global marketing at Estée Lauder, adding the outcome is Pure Color Night, Pecheux’s vision of what a young, modern woman looks like going out for the evening. Pecheux was instrumental not only in creating the products, but he also had a hand in conceptualizing their packaging (which is navy blue rather than the traditional gold) and advertising, alongside Aerin Lauder.

“The idea overall is to work closely with Tom on the evolution of Pure Color for the Estée Lauder brand. What we’re trying to do with the overall collections starting with Night and following with a collection for fall, called Blue Dahlia, and the whole range…is to really reestablish the brand’s connection with glamour, style and fashion, with which it was always associated,” said Hudis.

Setting the launch event in Paris helped signify Estée Lauder’s presence on the international — and global — beauty scene, she continued. Company executives said the brand already holds the number-one position in facial skin care and in antiaging in Europe, where it has gained in rank in overall skin care during the last couple of years.

“So we obviously have a resonance with European women, and we think there’s a big opportunity now to get her to see what we can do in color,” said Daniel Annese, senior vice president, general manger of Estée Lauder.

The brand’s makeup has shown its colors in various European markets already. In the U.K., for instance, it places second. One goal is to have the brand move up by at least one rank in the category in each European market during the next 18 months, said Annese.

“Overall, just given our strength in skin care globally as well as in Europe, long term our goal would be to be in the top five in color,” added Drell Szyfer.

To help drive the Pure Color business, Estée Lauder will stage its largest digital campaign for makeup in the brand’s history. “Europe plays a key role in that,” said Annese, adding that’s particularly true for the markets of the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Russia.

The Night line includes a luminous powder, ombre effect eye shadow and lip gelée, which retail in France for 45 euros, 23 euros and 22 euros, respectively, or $55.75, $28.50 and $27.25 at current exchange.

Beside the three Parisian doors, the Night collection will be carried at Bergdorf Goodman in New York and at Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street starting in the second week of June. Only a couple of thousand units of each product are to be on offer overall.

Pure Color’s creative development spearheaded by Lauder and Pecheux could take a wide variety of forms, said Hudis. Estée Lauder has been working with Pecheux for years on photo shoots and — as reported — signed him on as its creative makeup director in November.

“We’ve had a wonderful working relationship with him, and it’s so exciting now to take it to the next step and incorporate him more into the brand,” said Lauder.

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