ROWLEY: A SWELL COSMETICS LINE

Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — Cynthia Rowley’s quirky point of view will soon be on display at U.S. prestige cosmetics counters.
Rowley, who teamed up with Kanebo to create a 180-stockkeeping-unit color cosmetics line that launched in Japan nearly two years ago, is bringing it to the U.S. in late February. “A lot of designers who do beauty choose to do fragrance first, but I love color so much that I wanted to do that first,” said Rowley, as she smoothed on Lipstick number 29, her favorite berry-red lip color, during an interview at her showroom here. It’s evidently a hereditary gift: “After ‘mama’ and ‘dada,’ my daughter Kit’s first word was ‘eye shadow.”‘
The cosmetics lineup includes a wide range of color products directly inspired by Rowley’s ready-to-wear collection, including lipstick, lip gloss, lip liner, eye shadow, nail polish, foundation, blush and mascara. Sometimes, the inspiration goes the other way, too: after finding the perfect nail shade recently, Rowley sent it to a Seventh Avenue beadmaker to match, for her next ready-to-wear collection.
The cosmetics are packaged in medium blue with Rowley’s name in silver script, and as one might expect from Rowley, they’re not your standard-issue plastic. Take the pressed powder, for example: a detachable silvery chain handle gives the compact the appearance of a miniature purse.
Initially, the collection will be available in about 50 department and specialty store doors in the U.S., including Sephora and Rowley’s own retail stores. In Japan, the cosmetics are in about 300 doors.
While Rowley loves color — “I don’t get the whole nude makeup thing; I think you should have fun with color” — she’s not planning to stop there. A sun care line is planned for late 2002, as is a skin care line. On her wish list: fragrance. “That will be later,” she said. Advertising, which is still in development, is slated to break in the second or third quarter of 2002, as distribution expands, said Rowley. She declined to comment on ad spending or sales projections, although industry sources estimated that the collection would do at least $5 million at retail in its first year in the U.S.
The designer is also keeping busy with several book projects. She released her first book, “Swell: A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life” with co-author Ilene Rosenzweig in 1999, and has two more planned: “Home Swell Home,” slated for a June 2002 launch, and “The Swell Dressed Party,” which will be released in 2003.

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