LONDON — Blend it like Beckham. Come September, Victoria Beckham devotees — and others — will be able to buff, line, sweep and blend their makeup like the celebrity fashion designer, who’s set to unveil a limited-edition collection of color cosmetics with The Estée Lauder Cos. The Victoria Beckham Estée Lauder collection will debut in the U.S. and the U.K. on Sept. 13, although guests at the designer’s New York runway show on Sept. 11 will get a glimpse of what is to come. Lauder is the beauty sponsor of Beckham’s spring 2017 outing, and models will be wearing some of the new products.
One of the most photographed women in the world whose black-rimmed eyes and nude pout have long been paparazzi magnets, Beckham said she’s fulfilling a long-held dream, creating a very personal makeup collection that will work on a variety of ages and skin tones. In an interview with WWD, Beckham said her aim is to empower women, fill a few market niches, complement her fashion collection and relay some of the makeup and skin-care wisdom she’s gathered from a life spent on airplanes, red carpets and in the full glare of paparazzi flashbulbs. “I was very specific about what I wanted. It was about the must-have items that I felt everybody should have in their makeup bag, things that are really quite difficult to find because I know, I’ve searched,” said Beckham.
The aim was also to deliver products people could immediately associate with her, “whether it’s a smoky eye, a nude lip, or dewy skin. So I’ve been very honest, very true to myself. This has been something that I’ve wanted to do for so many years,” she said. For Lauder the feeling was mutual: “We’ve had our eye on her for a long time,” said Jane Hertzmark Hudis, group president, The Estée Lauder Cos. “There are women in this world that represent the Estée Lauder point of view, and she is one of them. “To us, she’s a next-generation Estée: Authentic, an entrepreneur, wife, mother, fashion designer — and she’s a beauty maven. Some people in fashion are into fashion, but not beauty. She’s into the whole picture, and has a vision. She knows her style, her point of view and about the way she wants women to look, feel, act and be comfortable in their skin — but really have a great deal of glamour at the same time.”
There are 15 stockkeeping units, including a limited-edition, portable mirror that casts a flattering light for makeup application. Prices range from $30 for the designer’s signature nude-matte lip pencil to $45 for an Eye Metals Eyeshadow, $95 for the Morning Aura Illuminating Crème and $1,200 for the Victoria Beckham Collection Daylight Edition, a light box that includes a removable lighted mirror as well as 8 products. Although Lauder declined to comment on sales projections, market sources said global retail sales should be close to $10 million. While the focus is mostly on lips and eyes, there is also a bronzer, a highlighter (Beckham convinced Lauder to bring back a version of its limited-edition Modern Mercury highlighter) and the Morning Aura cream. Beckham refers to the latter as a hero, a glow potion for skin that can be used over or under makeup and that helps with airline-induced dullness and dehydration.
“I will get on a plane from London and travel to either New York or L.A. or Asia, and when I get off at the other end, I’m paparazzi-ed,” said Beckham matter-of-factly. “So I want something that moisturizes, tightens, lifts, acts as a primer, and gives me that really great glow. And it can be used on its own. “Wherever I am, if I’m just running around and want a more natural look, I’ll put on my moisturizer and then I’ll put Morning Aura all over my face. If I’m going out, and know I’m going to be photographed, then I will put it on top of my makeup, on my eyes, down the center of my nose, on the bow of my lip and also on the top of my cheeks, and I’ve also used it on my collar bones.” She’s even mixed Morning Aura with moisturizer and rubbed it on her arms and legs. “It’s so versatile but very, very luxurious, and the kind of thing I’ve searched for and never been able to find.”
Although Beckham has spent most of her adult life in the spotlight, initially as one of the Spice Girls, wife of David Beckham, mother to their four children, and later as a ready-to-wear designer and charity fundraiser, she points out that camera lenses are no longer just for the famous nowadays. “Everybody is always taking a selfie. You could be anywhere, bump into someone, and take a selfie. Everyone has to be photo-ready,” she said. Another photo-friendly product is the matte bronzer, Java Sun, which Beckham also uses to contour her cheeks, on her eyes and under her chin. “You don’t need to have tons of products. You can have a few key pieces and use them in different ways. This is very, very easy.”
Asked whether she does her own makeup, Beckham said “all the time, even if I’m going out for dinner. I would never have a makeup artist unless it’s for a major event. I’ve worked with the best makeup artists in the world, and I’ve learned how to do my own makeup over the years.” While the skin and face products may be multitasking, the lip and eye items are bold, drenched in color and glistening with shine and texture. There’s the Eye Ink, a newly engineered pressed gel-cream formula that can be used dry or wet. “It’s hard to find the right black eyeliner that’s thick and sooty enough, and looks great the longer it’s worn, something that’s easy to apply, use at home and get that really cool fashion editorial runway look as well,” said Beckham.
There are also metal-finish eye shadows and liquid eye “foils,” that deliver a vinyl-like shine with pearl pigments and metallic flecks — as well as translucent, light-reflecting shadows that come in a palette. Lip products include Chilean Sunset, which Beckham refers to as a modern red. “It’s an orangey-red, which is very much a signature color, a color that I’ve used in rtw and also I’ve used it in accessories.” Creating a powerful color story was paramount: “If I do color, I really want to do color. If I want to do blue, let’s make it really electric, strong and different — the same with the green and the sunset orange. It’s all very strong, but also flattering on (a variety of) skin tones, nothing middle of the road.”
Even her neutrals have a powerful story to tell: Beckham said she spent a long time trying to formulate the “perfect” nude, because the shade is famously tricky. “I always end up mixing lots of different nudes, because they’re either too pale or too mauve or too pink — or the textures are not right.” The result is her Brazilian Nude lipstick. There is also a nude pencil and a high-shine nude gloss. For the packaging, Beckham dipped into the Lauder archives and picked out a signature gold color, which Beckham was able to change into her own “blond-gold.” She said she wanted the packaging to feel luxurious, “something you would feel proud to have in your makeup bag if someone looked inside it, something that would look great displayed in the bathroom and felt special.” Many of the products are named after aromas and spices — reflecting their rich color content — and Beckham’s former life in the world’s most famous girl band.
The gel-cream eye ink comes in Black Myrrh while the shadows and foils have names including Bitter Clove, Burnt Anise, Blond Cumin, Metal Saffron, Burnished Sage and Black Nutmeg. “I liked the idea of strong, sexy South American spices — that was the starting point. Those names really do suit the makeup and the different looks that we’ve created. It is a little wink to my past, in a good way. I look back at those days and smile because I’m obviously very proud of everything I achieved with the girls.” (The Spice Girls announced last month they are planning to reunite — as a trio, without Beckham or Melanie Jayne Chisholm, known as Mel C — to mark their 20th anniversary next year. They will be known as GEM, the first initials of the threesome Geri Halliwell, Mel B and Emma Bunton).
As part of the limited-edition collection, Beckham has also created personal looks inspired by some of the cities she loves, London, New York, L.A. and Paris. “All looks are very me, whether it’s what I’d wear during the day, evening, or for editorial purposes. It’s making it very, very easy for the customer. I’m not a professional makeup artist. I’m not a model. I don’t have hours to follow instructions. I’m a busy working mum, and I think there are lots of women in my position, and I just want it made easy for them.” Ease was also the reason she wanted Lauder to help her develop the light box mirror. “I travel around the world, I’m constantly in and out of hotels, and quite often the lighting is terrible,” said Beckham, adding that she wanted something “you could throw in your suitcase that had proper makeup lighting around it,” something easy and not bulky.
The mirrors have also been produced in a limited quantity and will be available at Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridges and select retailers worldwide. The full collection will be sold at Bergdorf Goodman and bergdorfgoodman.com, Selfridges, Victoria Beckham’s Dover Street store in London and on victoriabeckham.com and esteelauder.com from Sept. 13. It will launch in the rest of the world from Oct. 1. Lauder plans to support the launch through digital and social media, via Beckham’s, Estée Lauder’s and retailers’ channels, and through public relations and events. Beckham is planning to do two personal appearances, on Sept. 13 at Bergdorf Goodman and at Selfridges that same month. Print ads will run in the September and October issues of glossy titles worldwide. Lauder’s decision to sponsor the beauty element of Beckham’s show underlines the importance of the new partnership.
“We have done some beauty sponsorships from time to time, but it’s not our norm. Here, what better way to bring beauty and fashion together than to sponsor her show? It’s her. It’s one concept to her, and the runway show is the greatest expression of this,” said Hertzmark Hudis. Although the collection is limited edition, Beckham and Lauder believe it’s just the beginning. “I hope this collection does go on,” said Beckham, while Hertzmark Hudis said there are a number of roads they can take. “We’re living in a world today where there are a lot of new business models. If something is enormously successful — in London or Paris or New York — we have the opportunity to bring it back,” she said. “The idea today is certainly about creating limited editions, creating great demand for what [Victoria] is about to offer. Potentially, if something is enormously successful, we have the opportunity to bring that back — maybe have it sold exclusively online. We’ll see how it goes.”
Asked whether this collection might be the prelude to a future Beckham fragrance, Hertzmark Hudis did not rule it out. “We take things one step at a time,” she said. Beckham no longer has any ties with Coty, which had produced fragrances for her in the past. Coty still has a license for David Beckham fragrances. Hertzmark Hudis said the fact that Lauder is even collaborating with Beckham is a win for the beauty giant: “We have a history of collaborations, but we’re very selective. This is at the upper, ultimate, aspirational tier of what our brand is all about — especially in makeup. This is obviously the ultimate aspiration, but it’s also ‘real girl’ at the same time.” She added that Beckham put her all into the project.
“She’s in this 1,000 percent: Her vision, point of view, choice on textures, insistence on quality make her more Estée than anyone under the sun because nothing is good enough until it’s perfect. Like a true beauty product person she understands textures, performance, look, sheen, color, skin color — she knows what she needs to look like,” said Hertzmark Hudis. “She has a sense of a woman in total: Her lifestyle, her point of view, the way she should look, the way she should be. She has lent all of this in a deeply passionate and committed way to the collection — in a way, almost more so than anyone in our history. It’s been an ideal marriage.”