MAC Cosmetics is ramping up its “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes” credo with the Mickey Contractor Collection, designed by a Bollywood makeup artist and launching globally this month. The move is part of MAC’s increasing emphasis on India, a market the brand entered in June 2005.

This story first appeared in the January 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Mickey Contractor Collection adds an additional layer to MAC’s long-term strategy in India, as well as addresses the needs of those with Indian and Middle Eastern skin tones, noted Karen Buglisi, global brand president for MAC. She added that the rapid growth of the market has made India a strong focus for MAC, which is in 14 doors there.

“The prestige color market in India is growing at approximately 35 percent yearly,” said Buglisi. “MAC grew 40 percent in India in the last fiscal year and we are projected to grow faster than the market. We are also the leading prestige makeup brand in India, with 54 percent of market share, according to Euromonitor 2010 data.”

The brand’s association with Mickey Contractor, a leading Bollywood makeup artist for more than two decades, has helped fuel this growth, Buglisi observed. Contractor first became involved with MAC when he was named director of makeup artistry, India, for the brand six years ago. Unlike the traditional Bollywood aesthetic — thick pan stick and pancake — Contractor has long advocated a more natural look, as first inspired by MAC’s Twig and Malt lipsticks.

Other success factors for MAC in India have been high-touch capabilities with the brand’s makeup artists and a strong focus on education, training and development, said Buglisi, who noted that MAC is the Estée Lauder Cos.’ number-one brand in the Middle East and India because of its strong focus on regional relevance.

“Customization is a key component of our Middle East and India approach,” said Nick Gavrelis, vice president of global product development for MAC, who noted that Contractor’s line marks the first time the company has singled out a particular makeup artist to headline a collection. “We are working very closely with our global team to customize our product and collateral offerings to make them more relevant to this consumer’s preferences. We have regular color team meetings with product development in the market.” As well, the brand regularly sponsors fashion weeks in India, as well as Bollywood’s version of the Oscars, to continue raising awareness in the market.

The Contractor collection is broken down into two components: Face, intended to create a light-handed, luminous complexion, and Colour, intended for a single jolt of color. Contractor began formulating foundations for MAC three years ago, creating four foundation shades for the Middle East and India.

“For foundations to work on Indian skin, they need to have enough yellow undertones so as not to appear gray and dull,” explained Contractor. “Many women wanted to wear MAC, but couldn’t find the exact shade and tone they needed.”

Pigmentation around the mouth and under the eyes is also prevalent in India, noted Gavrelis, leading to the development of the Double-Ended Colour Corrector, which offers banana yellow and off-coral shades intended to be mixed with existing concealers for a custom-blended solution. Too-dark shades get a hit of yellow to make shades lighter and counteract blue tones, while too-light shades get a few dots of coral to neutralize dark brown and red undertones common in Indian skin.

The 31 stockkeeping-unit lineup includes foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks, lip glosses, blushes, concealers, eyeliners and brushes, ranging in price from $14.50 to $36.

While Buglisi and Gavrelis declined to comment on sales projections, industry sources estimated that the Mickey Contractor collection could do about $3 million at retail globally.


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