Tom Ford Azuree: The Body Oil Spray $28.50 at Neiman Marcus
Stella McCartney organic skincare
Armani’s Creme Nera
Although I trust the Stella McCartney infinitely more than any celebrity clothing designer, I must say I am a little wary of the brand expansion. Can’t we just go with what we know and support those who have spent a lifetime researching the best way for my wrinke(s) to disappear? Sigh. From the IHT Armani, McCartney, Ford: New stars in skin care products By Jessica Michault PARIS: There’s a new frontier in the wild world of fashion and a few big name designers have already started to stake their claims. Stella McCartney has joined a select but growing group of fashion designers, including Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford, who are getting under the skin of the beauty business. Until now, the territory has been left to big-name brands like Clinique, Clarins, Estée Lauder and L’Oréal. But none of these successful brands, where the products more than the label bring the customers to the counters, immediately conjure up a cohesive image of a luxurious lifestyle. Even Chanel, which is arguably the best-known fashion house in the skin-care market, has never concretely linked itself to the image of the brand’s designer, Karl Lagerfeld. But today, in a world gone celebrity crazy, iconic fashion designers want to harness the power of their public persona and use it to launch a line of skin-care products. It is not as easy as it sounds. The skin-care market is one of the fastest growing segments of the cosmetic world, and the competition is fierce. "Fashion designers are traditionally linked with fragrance, where style and image are what sells the perfume. In skin care, women are looking more for science than style," said Linda Wells, editor in chief of Allure magazine. Wells says moving into the field is "a big leap and not a logical association for designers." She says she wonders whether "designers translate their talent in creating well-made, high-priced clothing into a great, high-priced skin-care line." McCartney, 35, says personal integrity was a key ingredient in her commitment to creating organic skin care products. "I just don’t think that there is a great deal of luxury, organic product out there and I’ve found that quite frustrating," she said in an e-mail interview. "I don’t see why the luxury element in a skin care line needs to be compromised in order for the organic element to be fully present." McCartney’s product line, Care, will go on sale in June at Selfridge’s, as well as in McCartney’s own boutiques. Prices range from £21, or $40, for the Purifying Foaming Cleanser to £46 for the Care 5 Benefits Moisturizing Fluid. The products are already available in Continental Europe. According to Euromonitor, a global market research company, organic skin care is one of the fastest growing sectors in cosmetics worldwide – and Care’s debut can only draw more attention to it. McCartney’s commitment to the environment has been almost as well documented as her popular clothing line. "The main thing is to have integrity and honest products," McCartney said. She worked with YSL Beauté to create the line. Wells of Allure says that being associated with a major brand helps designers "by giving them access to great research and development" and by lending them credibility. Armani has again teamed with L’Oréal, which produces the Giorgio Armani Parfums and makeup line for his Crema Nera skin treatment. "Tom Ford by Estée Lauder" is yet another partnership, created in 2005 for the production of a limited collection of fragrances and beauty products. Now that the connection has been made in consumers’ minds, the company has started the Tom Ford Beauty brand. Its first product was "Black Orchid" perfume, a 50-milliliter, or about one-and-a-half-ounce, bottle that sells for $90 at Neiman Marcus. In May he is introducing a collection of 12 unisex fragrances made with a few rare ingredients. "For skin care, I don’t believe in having masses of references," Ford said. "I like the idea of a very short line with just a few very well defined products." Armani’s thinking was similar when he introduced Crema Nera, or Black Cream, during the Paris haute couture shows in January. The luxury cream, designed to work with skin of all ages, is scheduled to go on sale in September in select stores that carry the Armani cosmetics line. Its "miracle ingredient" is obsidian, a natural mineral compound of volcanic origin that Armani encountered in the famous mud baths on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, where he has a vacation home. The cream will sell for €250, or $328, for a 1.76-ounce jar. Or, as Armani said at the introductory news conference in Paris: "Lots of creams look alike but some are worth more than others."
–Joanne Molina for Second City Style