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NEW YORK — Small may be beautiful, but Parfums Givenchy is hoping to make a big impression on the U.S. market with its newly revamped color cosmetics collection.

This story first appeared in the July 2, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Givenchy Le Makeup, a 209-stockkeeping-unit lineup of petite products, which will launch in the U.S. in mid-September, replaces Givenchy’s Miroir cosmetics line, which had been strongly influenced by Alexander McQueen. The collection, under the artistic direction of Nicolas Degennes, artistic director for makeup and color for Givenchy, launched in Japan last November and in France in February. Its products are intended to be small enough to fit into the smallest of handbags.

But that isn’t their only selling point, emphasized Gilles Dougoud, general manager of Parfums Givenchy’s U.S. operations. “The products aren’t just small — they’re also smart,” said Dougoud, pointing to the design, which includes items that are color-coded by category and also offers sizable mirrors, considering their petite size. Square, black packaging, created by Cent Degres under the direction of Pablo Reinoso, emphasizes a logo comprising four Gs. Depending on the makeup category, the logo color changes — blue for eye products, yellow-beige for foundation, red for lipsticks and nail lacquers and pink for face powders. The compacts are refillable.

The cosmetics fall into four key categories — lipstick-nail lacquer, eye products, foundation sku’s and face powders. Key items within those categories are lipsticks, nail lacquers, lip pencils, eye pencils, mascaras, eye shadows, liquid foundations, compact foundations and face powders.

Two foundations —?Subli’Mine and MatMate — each come in 12 shades, retailing for $35 apiece. Prisme Again, a pressed powder compact, is available in six shades, plus a limited-edition pink-and-gold version for launch, each retailing for $35. A third foundation formula, Skin Tonic, is available in 12 shades, all retailing for $38.

Lip color includes Lip Lip Lip, a collection which includes Light, six shades that can be used alone for a subtle look or to top other shades; Essential, 20 shades designed for everyday use, and Extreme, 13 dramatic, pigment-rich shades. All of these lipsticks are priced at $22 each. Lip liners in 12 shades, each $21, also will be available. They are retractable mechanical pencils with built-in sharpeners. As well, eight shades of Pop Gloss Lip Gloss, all $22, will be offered.

Eye shadows will include Shadow Show, 13 shades that can be used alone or topped with one of two Ombre Regard Reflets highlights colors — sparkly shadows that are available in gold and silver. All of these eye shadows retail for $20. Six Prisme Again! eye palettes will be $45, while six shades of blush under that name will be $30 each.

Vernis Please, the brand’s nail color lineup, will be available in 24 colors, ranging from pale pastels to deep reds, each retailing for $14. Each is a 5.5-ml. minibottle, important because most women do not finish entire large bottles of nail polish, said Degennes.

As well, three shades of mascara under the Parad’Eyes nameplate, three shades of eyeliner also under that label, and eight shades of Magic Khol eyeliner will be sold. Mascaras will retail for $20, while the Parad’Eyes eyeliners will be sold for $25 and the Magic Khol eyeliners will be $18. And three eyebrow pencils, each $20, will be sold. Additional items reflecting seasonal trends will cycle in and out of the lineup, said Degennes.

To focus strong attention on the launch, the makeup collection will be available in just two doors in the U.S. at first: Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and in Beverly Hills, said Dougoud, although it also will be sold on Saks’ Web site. “For us, makeup will be a fantastic vehicle to express our image,” said Dougoud, who noted that the collection will kick off a fresh, youthful image for the company.

Dougoud wouldn’t discuss sales projections or additional U.S. doors for the cosmetics, although industry sources estimated the cosmetics could ring up sales of $12 million to $18 million at retail in their first three years in the U.S. Globally, it is estimated that Givenchy’s wholesale volume for the collection will top $28 million in its first year of release.

Sources also estimated that Givenchy conceivably could take the color collection into about 50 U.S. doors over the next three years, with about 15 of those doors coming in 2005 — although Dougoud wouldn’t confirm. “Our first goal is to do whatever we have to do to make it a top brand in our first two stores,” Dougoud insisted, adding that Givenchy executives would visit the Manhattan Saks flagship “every day, if we have to, to learn and to find out what our consumers want. We’ll do whatever we have to do.” Dougoud also will tap Degennes to do in-store appearances promoting the brand, including visits during both the Beverly Hills and Manhattan launch weeks.

And in a move intended to further emphasize its French-elegance-with-American-spontaneity positioning, the company has tapped actress Liv Tyler, already the face of its Very Irresistible Givenchy fragrance, to front the color cosmetics.

In fact, the self-proclaimed “makeup-obsessed” actress — who appeared at the brand’s American launch at Givenchy’s U.S. headquarters Tuesday — said she’s already chosen a number of favorites from the new line. “I especially love a lipstick called Tea Time,” the actress said, adding that, in a pinch, it also can be used as blush. She’s enthusiastic about the entire line, she said — “The line looks timeless and beautiful, and what I love about it is that there’s something in it for everyone.” Tyler noted that she leans more toward eye products than lip products —?“I was always teased as a child about my big lips,” she said with a smile.

The actress will appear in European advertising for the makeup; U.S. advertising, due to the targeted initial door count, is not currently planned.

And Tyler’s looking forward to her next project: the baby that she and her husband, musician Royston Langdon, are expecting in December. “For once, I’m not looking for work,” she said with a laugh, hastening to add that she is “still reading scripts.”

— Julie Naughton