Few trends in the fashion and luxury industry tend to be sustained, but one that has stood the test of time is that of brands launching their own makeup and/or skincare ranges. Names such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, for instance, have long had beauty divisions. Last year saw Gucci and Victoria Beckham joining the very-lucrative fray: The global beauty industry is worth US$532 billion (S$738.7 billion).
Now, we have the grande dame Hermes herself entering the arena. The 193-year-old luxury leather and fashion house will launch its beauty segment with a collection of products for the lips, including lipsticks, brushes, balms, glosses and cases.
While Hermes has a rarefied, stately image that we would not immediately associate with prettifying fast-moving consumer goods, the house definitely did not lack for inspiration when conceptualising its first beauty collection. “Samples of more than 75,000 colour references are kept on silk in our Lyon archive,” says Bali Barret, the brand’s women’s universe artistic director, in the press notes for Hermes Beauty. “It it this diversity that we wanted to transpose to the beauty metier. Creating a lipstick like a mood… to reflect a woman’s personality without altering it.”
In true Hermes style, much thought has been given to product and presentation. Each of the new 24 lipsticks (14 have a satin finish, and 10 are matte) are refillable, and are housed in handsome, largely metal cases that are meant to be kept for a long time. The formulas contain an extract of white mulberry, which isn’t just nourishing, but also reminiscent of the silk industry — highly appropriate for the brand, of course. Hermes also promises maximum colour payoff, thanks to “micronised pigments in a high concentration” in the matte hues, for instance.
All these special touches also help to explain the price tags; not insubstantial even for beauty products by a luxury brand. Each lipstick, for instance, retails for $103, while a lip brush (made of hand-lacquered wood, mind you) costs $120. But hey, we would expect nothing less for a touch of Hermes.