LOOKING AHEAD WITH NARS

Byline: Rusty Williamson

DALLAS — Since his company was acquired by Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido in May, makeup artist Francois Nars has been busily plotting an expansion course to dramatically grow his business.
While in Dallas recently for a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus’s NorthPark Center store, Nars told WWD that he plans to open a freestanding store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood by next fall; launch a botanical-based skin care collection next fall that will include around 10 products, and introduce a signature scent within the next two years.
On Nov. 15, Nars will launch two scented candles designed to enrich and heighten the senses and radiate peaceful vibes. Encased in frosted white glass, each candle will retail for $45. Bosphoros was inspired by Nars’s passion for tropical paradises, like Tahiti and Hawaii. Hyacinth, pure lilac blossoms, black currant, peonies and raspberries are a few of the essences that emanate from Bosphoros. Oran takes an Asian path and is fragranced with tuberose, white gardenia blossoms, violet, jasmine and heliotrope, among other scents.
Nars’s long-range plans include greatly expanding his presence in Japan, where he already has lots of fans.
Nars said hot interior designer Christian Liaigre already is working on the design for his new store, which is planned at 2,500 square feet. He’s narrowed his options to two locales but hasn’t signed a lease.
“My store will be about the world of Nars. It’s a lifestyle concept that will include all my products and a staff of trained makeup artists,” explained Nars from his suite at the Mansion on Turtle Creek Hotel here.
“So many makeup stores that I’ve visited felt cold and overly high-tech,” he added. “My store will be the opposite — warm, inviting and full of energy. I plan to open at least four other stores in the near future in Tokyo, Paris, London and Italy.”
Nars’ skin care collection will follow a less-is-more approach.
“I don’t believe in having 300 treatment products,” he said. “It’s not necessary and women don’t have time for all those products. They want something simple and something that works. I’ve always dreamed of having my own skin care line, and who better to do it with than Shiseido.”
Like his color collection, Nars’ treatment packaging will be designed by Fabien Baron.
His edgy color line, sold in more than 100 doors in the U.S., Europe, the Mideast and Hong Kong, includes about 250 items and is marketed to trend-conscious women in their Twenties and Thirties. Retail prices include nail polish for $15, lipstick for $19 and foundation for $37.
“I’m hoping we’ll grow faster now that we’re owned by Shiseido,” Nars noted.
When it acquired Nars last spring, Shiseido said the color line did $10 million at wholesale in 1999 and that plans were in place to grow the business to $15 million in 2000 and $25 million by 2002.
Shiseido didn’t disclose the purchase price it paid Agora Cosmetics Inc. for the Nars brand.
Nars has managed to find time to enjoy his passion for photography. His book of portraits called “X-Ray” was published last September and a makeup how-to book is set to be published next fall.

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