LONDON — Avant-garde makeup brand Illamasqua is getting a boost from Agent Provocateur co-founder Joe Corre.

This story first appeared in the January 26, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Friday, Corre took a 10 percent stake in the color-cosmetics brand based here for an undisclosed sum. He will also play an active role the firm’s development.

“I’m going to bring the skills I developed at Agent Provocateur and Vivienne Westwood at retail,” said Corre, who left Agent Provocateur in 2009, two years after the lingerie brand was acquired by private equity firm 3i. The entrepreneur, who is the son of designer Vivienne Westwood, is also involved in men’s wear retailer and apparel line A Child of the Jago.

“[Corre’s participation in Illamasqua] encourages an acceleration in the speed that we would normally have gotten around to opening our own stores,” said Illamasqua’s founder Julian Kynaston, adding he envisions opening two or three freestanding doors in the U.K. “Joe has been there and done that. It’s valuable learning for us.”

Illamasqua, which made its debut with a counter in London’s Selfridges in November 2008, is distributed through eight doors in the U.K. and Ireland. In 2009, it bowed in the U.S., where it has a presence in 26 Sephora doors and will enter Bloomingdale’s Dubai in February. A launch in Australia is also on the cards.

According to industry sources, the brand, which is meant to help people to unleash their alter egos, will generate wholesale volume of 4 million pounds, or $6.5 million at current exchange, in 2010.

“I think because the essence of the brand is about celebrating and facilitating the fundamental human desire for self expression and showing that through the skin, it transcends cultural and national boundaries,” said Corre, of Illamasqua’s international growth potential. “One of the challenges is going to be how to control rollout and how not to let it run away with us as there is no shortage of interest.”

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