Dolce & Gabanna Does Beauty, Beautifully… D&G Cosmetics

January 19, 2009 • Beauty


Women have worn their clothes, and adorned in their perfume, but now Dolce & Gabbana will make its long-awaited entry into color cosmetics.

The move into makeup is seen as a springboard that could transform Dolce & Gabbana into a full-fledged beauty house making it a brand to be reckoned with. Industry sources' estimates of the line's first-year sales range as high as $50 million in retail volume.

Dolce & Gabbana will announce its arrival into the world of color with the face of Scarlett Johansson, who will appear in the line's advertising campaign.

In an interview with WWD, Stefano Gabbana confessed that he and Domenico Dolce have wanted to do makeup for years. "It's a new pathway for us, and it's not like fragrance," he said. "We see makeup as another thing for women, like a dress. We worked on the makeup line like we work on a clothing collection — you can change makeup like you can change your clothes, depending on your mood," Gabbana added.

Asked if he envisioned a skin care expansion for the beauty brand, Gabbana said, "There will be time for skin care in the future, but first we have to consolidate the market with our makeup."

Dipping into Dolce & Gabbana's familiar inspiration sources, colors in the collection include intense blues for the Mediterranean; black and gold for the volcanic island Stromboli — where the designers spend their summer vacation — and a deep burgundy that recalls the color of one of Gabbana's favorite flowers, the dahlia.

The line's packaging — weighty metal glossy gold with rounded edges and slipped into black velvet pouches — underscores the designers' desire to create a beautiful, feminine object. "It's luxury, but it's not too extravagant, and it's something that will last forever," Gabbana said.

Among the initial 110 units are lipsticks perfumed with a trademark rose scent and mascara with a peppery olfactory note.

"We noticed that lipsticks on the market took away their fragrance, but we wanted to create makeup with a scent. Domenico and I remember when we were children and opened our mother's handbags — the scent of her lipstick trailed out. I observed that when women open makeup, they smell it first," said Gabbana. "I don't use makeup, but we are fascinated with the attitude of women when they apply makeup."

Lipstick, noted Gabbana, was the core piece of the collection. "For me, lipstick is one of the most important things. When I see a woman made-up, I look straight to the lips," he said.

Along with licensee holders Procter & Gamble Prestige Products, the pair also enlisted makeup artist Pat McGrath to collaborate on colors and formulations. Gabbana observed, "We speak about a certain type of blue, and Pat knows the blue that we like. She's in tune with us. We trusted her to select the mix of colors, even the bolder colors. She understands makeup."

There will be only three doors for the brand's initial launch strategy. Starting with Italian luxury department store La Rinascente's Milan flagship at the end of January, the line will be unveiled in two other key retailers in March: Selfridges of London and Saks Fifth Avenue. Beyond those sales points, Strobel said he was unable to elaborate on the roll out plan. "Our strategy initially is to be in the best cities and in the best doors," he said, outlining Paris, Madrid, Moscow and Barcelona as target locales.

Kate Oldham, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics and fragrances at Saks, confirmed the chain has the U.S. exclusive for spring and that the line will be premiered in two doors: Fifth Avenue and Beverly Hills. It is expected to rank in the top 10, and Saks is planning to add more doors for fall.

Dolce and Gabanna's Cosmetics will range; from nail lacquer for $20; mascara for $28; lipsticks for $30, and eye shadow duos for $36, up to perfect finish powder foundation for $59. Other categories include bronzing powder, blush, eye and lip pencils, and lip gloss. 

Look for Dolce & Gabanna Cosmetics at the stores next month.

– Kelley Epps-Woods, Beauty Writer

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