FASHIONTRIBES 5 MIN. PODCAST. Beloved Barbie to Shill for MAC Cosmetics.Courtesy of:
(Barbie sells dolls & cosmetics to big girls.
"If you ask most makeup artists and hairstylists who their first client was, most of them will say it was the Barbie head," James Gager
, senior vice president and creative director for MAC Cosmetics Worldwide, recently told WWD about the Barbie Styling Head from the 70s & 80s – a life-sized head & shoulders wonder that permitted endless fun with hair & makeup. "We see Barbie as more than a doll — we see her as a fashion icon, and no one has really looked at Barbie as a vehicle for makeup before."
For spring, MAC has teamed up with Mattel, the manufacturer of the 11.5 inch, 48-year-old, generation-spanning doll, creating both a MAC Barbie retailing for $35, and an accompanying color cosmetics collection. Given that Barbie is a full-fledged lifestyle brand that includes entertainment and even room décor, generating $3.5 billion
in retail sales annually – with clothing & the like for adults responsible for a cool $100 million of that – aiming the cosmetics & dolls at big girls makes financial & branding sense. "The Barbie brand has evolved into a true lifestyle brand," says Mattel's senior vice president of marketing, media and entertainment, worldwide, Richard Dickson
, noting its availability in chi chi places like Fred Segal, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom for apparel, boutiques in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and marketing deals with big players like iPod. Design A-list’ers like Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Sui and Zac Posen have all created ensembles for the doll, and a fragrance was created by Puig, makeup is (surprisingly) unchartered territory. According to MAC's Gager, it gives the grownup customer a chance "to revisit women's fantasies [from their youth] when they wanted to wear makeup and never could." However, the Estée Lauder-owned brand is aiming this line at women in their 20s & 30s, rather than teens & 'tweens. "This is intended to be a very sophisticated makeup collection, designed for adults — not children," says Peter Lichtenthal
, general manager of MAC Cosmetics.
The makeup collection includes bright pink, yellows and warm green that flatter a variety of skin tones, with an embossed image of Barbie in the eyeshadow. Ms. Barbie herself will be packaged in hot pink and black. On February 13, the line hits MAC counters, MacCosmetics.com
, and BarbieLovesMAC.com
, and MAC stores will be kitted out like a Barbie boudoir. As an extremely limited edition – just under 10,000 of the dolls have been produced (one recently showed up illegally on eBay and went for $105) – and the collection is estimated to reach up to $9 million
, mostly from sales of the cosmetics: lipstick, lipglass, eyeliners & shadews, liquid liners, shimmers, powders, nail polish, brushes, and a black makeup bag with pink stitching.
This being the age of sexy pirates with kohl-rimmed eyes (Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean) and Jean Paul Gaultier (everyday) makeup for men, is a Ken collection in the works? "We don't doubt that Ken has a future," opines Mattel’s Dickson. (via WWD)