The beauty industry is always looking for creative ways to align their products with the latest fashion lines hitting stores. And now, a new tactic is emerging: top cosmetics brands are creating products specifically for designers to match with their shows at Fashion Week. The beauty companies preview the colors and designs, create a specially-tailored color or type of product, and send it to the designer, who then uses it on models during shows.
The company leading this trend is Sally Hansen, a nail products powerhouse with annual sales of up to $500 million. This year, the company collaborated with designers Prabal Gurung and Tracy Reese, analyzing fabric swatches from the upcoming lines and creating nail polish colors tailored to match the designers’ collections. This will be the brand’s tenth season collaborating with Tracy Reese — but it’s a first for Prabal Gurung.
Now that the runway shows have taken place and revealed the clothing, as well as the nail colors, Sally Hansen will put the polishes on sale in spring 2011 as limited-edition products. The brief availability creates a level of exclusivity and a pressure to buy quickly, driving greater sales. Prices for the designer nail polish collections are the same as any other Sally Hansen product, making them even more accessible.
Partnerships between makeup companies and fashion houses are appealing to both because “[designers] actually use the products…it’s not just a product placement. It’s a genuine endorsement. The companies get press coverage and have something measurable come out of their investment,” according to Allure editor-in-chief Linda Wells.
Nail polish in particular has become a best-selling cosmetic item in drugstore chains due to its affordability. “Polish has become the latest fashion accessory. It’s an easy way to play into trends in an inexpensive way,” explained Bill Boraczek, Sally Hansen’s senior vice president of marketing. Market-research firm Euromonitor International Inc. supported this claim, reporting that U.S. nail polish sales increased 11% in 2009 to $462.9 million.
Other industry insiders are beginning to get in on the collaborative act as well: designer Jason Wu recently launched his own line of nail polishes with the help of Creative Nail Design, marking CND’s first “direct” project with a fashion house.