Photo Credit: maccosmetics.com
In the beauty world, finding Mr. Right has never been more essential.
From the seasonal gift to the latest nail lacquer, beauty products come in various finishes, pigments, and textures, and now more often than not, with the shade of a partnership. Take your pick: the classy NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection or slick romantic MAC RiRi set, created by pop icon Rihanna.
COVERGIRL’s new Flamed Up Mega Curl mascara is from its Capitol Collection partnership with The Hunger Games 2 (Photo Credit: COVERGIRL)
MAC Cosmetics’ Pro Longwear Riri Woo Lipliner pencil, designed and signed by Rihanna (Photo Credit: Nordstrom)
COVERGIRL’s latest Capital Collection, a partnership with the producers of The Hunger Games 2, is a makeup line meant to evoke the sizzle and fire of the book and its various “districts.” This past year, Birchbox, the monthly sample-size filled beauty box, chose Cynthia Rowley, Tibi, and Ruffian as partners among other designers. The resulting Limited Edition boxes were much like sold-out rock star concerts, quickly available only through wait lists.
NARS Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette ($65) (Photo Credit: Sephora.com_
Now, OPI is teaming up with singer Mariah Carey to launch a very metallic and bling-centric holiday collection that features 18 nail polishes with pop-inspired names like All I Want for Christmas and Baby Please Come Home.
But does a well-known partnership automatically encourage a beauty shopper to swipe her credit card? “Personally, it doesn’t,” says Lindsay Rogers, an Oklahoma-based beauty blogger for the site Belle Belle Beauty. “But when a celebrity invests in a brand like Jennifer Aniston/Living Proof or Katie Holmes/ Alterna I’m impressed and more likely to buy,” she adds.
Clinique Holiday Party Polish Gift Set ($22.50) comes in an elegant, clean zipper bag with three sensitive-skin nail enamel. (Photo Credit: Clinique)
Some brands, like Clinique, are more purist, determined to let consumers focus on the product instead of remembering the celebrity. “At Clinique, we want you (the shopper) to be the face,” says vice president of global retail design Anthony Battaglia, who adds that celebrities and partnerships in general are not part of the brand’s credo. “We want people to remember the product.” Clinique, which recently received a beautiful new 620-square feet counter at Macy’s, is the department store’s best-selling beauty brand, and needs no tricks to make its products get noticed.
Urban Decay Vice 2 Makeup Palette ($59) is the gift to give and get this holiday season, with 20 completely unique shades and a creaseless Karma brush (Photo Credit: Urban Decay)
Urban Decay, which has erased the need for makeup with its Naked line (from eye shadows to its flawless Weightless Ultra Definition foundation) has had its share of partnerships, including the Disney partnership for the movie Alice in Wonderland (the Book of Shadows released in 2010).
One of several Estee Lauder holiday gift sets: the Lifting/Firming Essentials Set, $88. (Photo Credit: Estee Lauder)
And let’s not forget the other brands like Estee Lauder, which has had partnerships with screen-sirens from Elizabeth Hurley to Gwenyth Paltrow, and launched a new skincare product in China through its Osiao brand with actress and singer Miriam Yeung as spokesperson.
While many brands don’t really know if they’ve hit the celebrity sweet spot until well after the ink is dry on the contract, the proof truly is in the numbers: unlike celebrity fragrances, which are overripe and unwelcome these days (except for Lady Gaga—she can get away with anything), the celebrity partnerships do so well that brands keep coming back for more (MAC partnered with Johnny Weir for Holiday 2012; and now Rihanna for 2013; will 2014 be Adele? Who knows?).
In the end, whether a brand taps into a partnership or not for the holidays, the product has to be memorable; otherwise, you’re just purchasing a face.