NEW YORK — Make Up For Ever is staking its claim in the U.S. market.
On Feb. 24, the Paris-based brand will open its first global flagship — and sixth U.S. store — at 731 Lexington Street here. At 750 square feet, the space is nearly twice the size of Make Up For Ever’s other 70 freestanding stores around the world — a result of location scouting for a year-and-a-half, according to Laure de Metz, general manager of the Americas at Make Up For Ever.
The exact spot — between 58th and 59th Streets and a block from Bloomingdale’s — was deliberate and caters to a very different consumer than other doors do, de Metz explained. Customers in this area span “local Upper East Side moms” to business women to international and domestic tourists.
“The goal is to bring trends and education to clients in an entertainment manner. The client sits down and will pick one of the trays,” de Metz said on a tour of the space this week, stopping at what’s arguably the main attraction: a seven-seat Go Pro Make Up installation located smack in the middle of the store.
The concept, which already is on display in three doors in Paris, Singapore and London, has a conveyor belt with a dozen rotating beauty trays that each contain a different trend. Trends include complexion and color and will be updated seasonally. De Metz held up a highlighting and contouring set that contains corresponding product and step-by-step instructions on how to master the look. She explained that a “Makeup Master” in the center will customize the shades in the box for each consumer, who at the end of the process will get a leaflet outlining how to use each product and in what order.
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“The makeup master will guide her but she will do it on her own. The goal is that client can go home and replicate. It’s a live tutorial,” de Metz said of the brand’s philosophy on the concept: offering “tutorials with a pro — not by a pro.” The service is free, but if consumers wish to have an in-depth one-on-one makeup lesson or makeup application, prices are $100 and $60, respectively.
The almost entirely black and red store has a splashy back wall comprised of rows and rows of lightbulbs (a nod to a marquis stage in theater, according to Constantina Castellano, visual merchandising and store development) emblazoned with a giant pair of red lips. The left wall, home to eyebrow products, brushes, false eyelashes and two iPads that enable consumers to virtually try on lashes, is also outfitted with a giant pair of red lips. But these are metallic and sequined and flutter when the air is turned on to “bring movement” to the space, Castellano said. Square Umbrelit photographer lights hang from the ceiling, expressly designed at a temperature that elicits the best lighting for makeup.
Other features in the store: a digital “menu” at the entryway to let clients know what’s happening in-store; daily makeup classes at 3 and 6:30 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sundays); a brow service station; self-checkout; a whole wall dedicated to complexion, including 40 shades of Make Up For Ever’s best-selling Ultra HD Liquid Foundation and a section dedicated to lips that’s home to a capsule “Get Your Piece of New York” collection of lipsticks that will only be available in this door.