When the worlds of Fashion and Cosmetics collide: What do you think when fashion companies branch into cosmetics?

by Paris B on · 45 comments

in Discussions,Fashion,Musings

fashion cosmetics When the worlds of Fashion and Cosmetics collide: What do you think when fashion companies branch into cosmetics?

I was thinking about this during the launch of Signorina, the new fragrance by Salvatore Ferragamo a while back. You see, unbeknownst to me, Ferragamo actually has quite a few fragrances released already. But I never paid much attention to them. When I saw pictures of the bottles, I suddenly realised why. I didn’t see the Ferragamo brand reflected in the bottles.

However, Signorina, the new fragrance features that famous grosgrain ribbon bow on the bottle and suddenly, I saw in it, Ferragamo! Anyway, I’ll tell you about the fragrance another day. Today, I was just curious to see what you thought about fashion brands that branch into the cosmetics arena.

Do you expect more of a fashion brand that branches into cosmetics? Do you expect less? Or do you have no expectations at all?

If you have read Deluxe : How Luxury Lost Its Lustre, then you will understand why many luxury fashion brands have a cosmetics arm. It is a way to make luxury products more accessible to the public. Its hard to fork out RM12,000 for a Chanel Classic Flap bag. Its easier to hand over RM90 for a Chanel lipstick and aspire to the fashion. The consumer is happy to own a piece of luxury, the company is pleased to see their bottom line. Win-win!

Most fashion houses’ foray into cosmetics almost always inevitably start with a fragrance. Chanel, in particular has their immortal Chanel No. 5 set firmly as the cornerstone of their fragrance arsenal. Both Chanel and Diorhave had their fragrances and cosmetics arms for decades now, so in many ways, they have already become a part of many of us. Maybe we don’t even think of it as separate anymore. Gucci has had their fragrances for ages, and I read a while back there was supposed to be Gucci makeup coming, but there’s been no news yet.

Other more recent fashion brands to open up a cosmetics arm are like Giorgio Armani and recently, Burberry. They started out with fragrance, and now have a good range of makeup and skincare.

Because they are coming on the scene now, when I am more aware and more particular and picky about my cosmetics, I suddenly have a higher personal standard for the quality in these luxury brands. If it is a luxury fashion brand setting up a cosmetics line, I expect more out of them. Their prices are almost always higher than the norm and I want something that is different, and better. Something that actually makes me feel like I should own it, instead of a similar item from their competitor that could be a pure cosmetic brand.

I’ll give you one example. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill eyeshadows and L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadow are almost twins separated at birth. The price of 1 Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill shadow can buy you 2 or maybe 3 L’Oreal Infallible shadows. Yet, if I am pushed in a corner and forced to choose, I will choose the GA because the texture is better, it applies more beautifully on the skin, and the colours more complex and beautiful. That alone will justify its price to me.

Yet, if something falls a little short, I think to myself – well they are a fashion house, you can’t expect them to also be good at makeup or skincare! I’m a bit of a contradiction, I know icon razz When the worlds of Fashion and Cosmetics collide: What do you think when fashion companies branch into cosmetics?

I do come down a bit harder on brands like Chanel and Dior that have been doing cosmetics for so many years. I expect that by now, they should have worked out the kinks and be delivering consistently good, high quality products. I may be more forgiving of newer brands like Burberry that have only been at it for about 2-3 years. A little more forgiving, but not by very much because they do charge a high price.

And then you have a brand like Calvin Klein. I remember when they had a makeup line. And then they discontinued it. And then brought it back. And discontinued it. And now its back again. Honestly, if it didn’t work the first time, I doubt it’ll work a few more times down the line. The market is just so saturated, you really have to be excellent (or dirt cheap) to make it!

Have you any thoughts on this? Do you have higher expectations of a fashion brand that opens up a cosmetics line? Or are you a bit more forgiving if they fall short? Would you buy a fashion brand’s cosmetics over the cosmetics from a brand that specializes in only making cosmetics? Take a look in your stash and see just how many products you have that may have its origins in a fashion brand icon smile When the worlds of Fashion and Cosmetics collide: What do you think when fashion companies branch into cosmetics?

Paris B

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[ 45 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Sheila April 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

Marc Jacobs is coming out with a makeup brand too… I guess they just realize how easy it is to get into the industry. Look at Tom Ford. His products aren’t even THAT amazing (apart from the lipsticks maybe) but they’re selling at a crazy high price point.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I read about Marc Jacobs! I think if you have a name and have access to a cosmetics factory, we could all have a cosmetics line hehe … :) I’ve only tried 1 Tom Ford lipstick. Its nice but I’ve heard conflicting reviews about the rest of the makeup. I personally feel them a bit too pricey to dabble in for now.

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Natalie April 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

Imagine if Louis Vuitton releases their own cosmetics line with their monogram logo imprinted on compacts, eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks etc. Grr overkill

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I read somewhere that LV is coming out with a fragrance. They are apparently one of the only few (or maybe only) luxury brand to not have a cosmetics arm… yet. I’m not sure what to think. Nothing is sacred anymore.

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lazeny April 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

I’ve tried the Tom Ford lipsticks and it’s very expensive. It’s good quality, but not as good as Guerlain, Suqqu or even Cle de Peau. I find that odd because it’s the first foray into cosmetics and they think it’s justified to have that high of a price point.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I have one Tom Ford lipstick too and whilst I like it, I am questioning if it is indeed worth the horrendous price we pay for it. I like my Guerlain and I’m going to try Suqqu and Cle de Peau. I have no doubt the latter are good and Guerlain is just excellent! I think I could live without another TF :)

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Applegal April 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

I wouldn’t rush out to buy fashion branded cosmetics. A bit of a snob at this, I buy watches from watch brands, and make up from make up brands. BUT (there is always a but) for perfumes, I buy what I like, and most of the time, it’s from a fashion house! :P I have Hugo, Chloe, Dior perfumes. . . My nose isn’t so snobbish I guess!

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Haha… we all have our preferences I guess. I didn’t think too much about this either till recently because so many older cosmetics houses are so intertwined with their fashion houses that we take them at face value now. But I’m particular about watches too. Watches should come from watch makers, not fashion houses :)

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Germs April 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

I have heard so much about the burberry line of makeup that i’m itching to try it! Apparently their blushes and primer is so exquisite in quality, wouldn’t expect anything less than them.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I can vouch for the blushes. They are quite nice – fine milled, smooth, nice wearable colours. I’ve tested their primer and its quite impressive too. The rest do not wow me :)

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ishi April 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

There is a clear demarcation in my stash though I don’t think it was intentional (I really did not think of it until you came up with this topic). I would categorise my stash into 3; fashion house, pure cosmetics/skincare and skin care/cosmetics though differentiating the categories to this level is quite difficult. It is clear that the majority of my makeup collection is from fashion houses with GA, D&C, YSL and some TF leading the pack. I started out from the skincare/cosmetics route, being a loyal lancome user (blame my mom for that, in between the two of us, we have almost 100 years of lancome care). However, for the longest time, i find Lancome’s cosmetic line focus very much on sheer or pale colours, which doesn’t really do it for me. So, I strayed. I became attracted to the strong colours offered by fashion houses and although the brands mentioned above are not easily obtained here, my jet setting lifestyle be it for business or personal takes care of that. I became stuck to the fashion houses especially GA because of the lipsticks, really really intense colours and has decent staying power (I propose the Rouge d’Armani 400 for your next Bandit foray), ditto with YSL (love the new lipstain), D&G (try Scarlett) and TF. Aside from the colours, these fashion houses have stronger advertising as compared to the rest and they mostly focus on their cosmetics line, and I am attracted to shiny things :) … (or perhaps I suspect their skincare is probably expensive crap and stay away).

To be fair to cosmetics lines, I do have a stash of Nars, love the blushers (though I am increasingly reaching out to my TF blushers now), MUFE primers, MAC brushes and just starting out with Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner. And I am now in love with Laura Mercier’s foundation routine, the tinted moisturizer, primer et al. Where do we put Guerlain, because I love their illuminating powders and Rouge G (they started out with fragrance?)

All that said, recently I find myself coming back to Lancome; their Rouge in Love lipsticks are lovely; nice texture and range of colours. So who knows, if their offerings are shiny enough this time, I might just stay.

Ps: For the life of me I simply cannot make my L’oreal Infallible e/s in Permanent Khaki work for me and whoever can offer a nice new home, just shout, I’ll post it over.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I loved reading your thoughts Ishi :D I think Lancome’s cosmetics (makeup) line was only just so-so a while back. I was never keen on them either. But I do think they have improved in recent years. I do think that GA in general has been quite consistently good in their cosmetics. Their quality is amazing and I do wish they’d come back here. I think I have the Rouge d’Armani 400. I think! :D Except mine is a gloss which is pretty amazing. Also wish YSL will come back although I hear that it is. You know, until you mentioned it, I’d forgotten that YSL too originates from the fashion line!

I’ve read some conflicting reviews on the TF blushes. I’d love to try them but the price point is shocking. I’m sorry to hear the L’Oreal Infallible shadow doesn’t work for you. Permanent Khaki is one of the poorer quality ones to me. Have you tried the GA Eyes to Kill shadows? They are LOVE! ;)

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milktea April 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Hello ishi. Is the L’oreal infallible still up for grabs? I’d love to try it out! :)

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ishi April 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I have 8 GA ETK e/s and 3 of them are my staples; the purpura (3), khaki pulse (6) and # 18 (don’t have the name but its pale gold). I wear 3 and 6 on its own with eyeliner to define the eyes but for #18, I combine it with laura mercier’s caviar stick( flavour of the month is Khaki). Because of the metallic sheen I tend to combine the ETKs with other e/s, to mute it down just a tad for daytime makeup. I’d love to see your take on the ETKs. So drum roll for PB please…

Still on GA, the Rouge d’Armani 400 lipstick combined with the 400 gloss is simply amazing. The closest competition to this combo in my opinion is the Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Dragon.

Its good to know that YSL is coming back (they have always maintained their counter at the KLIA satellite terminal but on a bad day, pickings can be rather slim), so I can lay off the YSL counters on my upcoming trip, which is great, because I can now blow my hard earned money on Dolce & Gabbana, Edward Bess and Kevyn Aucoin. As for TF, I have a bunch of his lipsticks and a blusher in Flush. Wicked is on my wish list. Since you love blushers, I think you’d love TF blush… well I can vouch for Flush.

Milktea, the Permanent Khaki Infallible is still yours for the taking. Email me your address and I’ll post laju it to you.

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milktea April 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Hi Ishi. I just saw your post here. Have already sent an email to you. Thanks a lot, Paris B! Beneficial enabler! :)

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I hope to get down to taking some pics of the GA soon. Not sure why I keep forgetting hehe I actually wear GA ETK on their own not paired with anything because I think they are perfect that way :) I’m not too sure about the YSL rumours and there’s another rumor that Tom Ford maybe in end of the year too ;) I’ll check out the TF stuff when they come in.

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laila April 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I don’t realise this but I seems to have the same problems as you Paris..I thought I wasn’t in to brand but I would pick up the same brand again and again..the brand is Marc Jacob …I don’t like it so much as I like Coach or Ck..but I seems to be buying all things from them..purse,bags,perfume..Although I am not liking the perfume but I still grab it for what reasons..hahaha so funny but your post remind of me being so naive…although there is other brand that carries the similar product at the end of the day…I still pick up Mac, Bobbi Brown, Nars…and dumped the drugstore product which cost lest (oh my….I thought I was the only one with this simptom) looks like there’s so much of me in a lot of all of you hahahaha

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Aww an MJ fan! :D I think you’ll be pleased to know there’ll be Marc Jacobs makeup coming out soon :D I quite like some of his bags but they are seriously heavy! I almost bought one until I tried it without anything inside and I could already barely lift it. Had to pass or break my back >.< I don’t mind using a drugstore or pharmacy brand if they are good. Some are excellent and L’Oreal Infallibles are great stuff… just not comparable to what you can get with GA ;)

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laila April 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm

true..waiting for the makeup from MJ …obviously sanely I would not buy something if you haven’t review it…(takot rugi duit) but somehow or rather my tangan is always reaching for that MJ …so I guess…I am a fan of MJ …haha

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm

HAHA berat bahu memikul :P But thank you for the validation ;) I don’t know how to feel about Marc Jacobs makeup to be honest. Let’s see how it looks first. I think Tom Ford has led some impressive footsteps to follow!

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rudi April 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I tend to stick to what the brand is known for ; so make-up brands for make-up, skincare brands for skincare etc.

Whispering – but I am now in love with Ferragamo’s Attimo.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I’d say go with your gut… or nose in this case :D If it makes you happy, and you like it, who cares where it originates yes? :D

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Jyoan April 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I have no idea Chanel and Dior didn’t have cosmetics at first! haha. To me, the quality of their cosmetics is really way up there already. They are good enough to make me feel that the price is worth it, though they will never be the same as M.A.C, Make Up For Ever, and Urban Decay. But really, the Western brands are really walking a very different route from Chanel/Dior. They should be compared this way.

The part that I find hard to ease into is actually skincare by fashion houses. I am still not convinced to try Chanel skincare even though their marketing has been very strong this past year. They’d almost always push the skincare line and keep coming up with new skincare.

As for Burberry, they opened a huge, huge counter in Tangs Orchard last year. And I was like, Burberry has makeup? From the looks of how deserted the counter always is, I have feeling Burberry will pull out from Tangs Beauty Hall soon, given that there is already news of Tangs Orchard bringing in NARS and Tom Ford in the last quarter. I have no idea where Tangs is going to squeeze NARS and Tom Ford! Singapore is not very big, and Tangs Beauty Hall is packed, packed, packed as it already is. I don’t expect these two brands to make do with a tiny, tiny stand, really, or I would be disappointed.

Still have not tried Burberry even though I am in love with the checkered pattern on their bags. haha, especially not after I read your post on how their lipsticks grew moldy.

In terms of expectation, I am quite fine with anything. I don’t expect ultra branded fashion houses to have better makeup.

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Jyoan April 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

*First paragraph, I mean M.A.C, MUFE, and UD, should not be compared with Chanel/Dior. They are just on different paths.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

LOL Yes. Chanel and Dior are fashion houses first but very early on, branched out into fragrances and then makeup. So they have been around a long time and I do think they have improved tremendously in recent years too. I think they cater to a slightly different market than the true makeup brands that seem to have a stronger focus on pigment and intensity. I wonder if this is why I don’t gravitate towards true makeup brands? Some colours are just too intense for even me!

I think skincare is a bit arbitrary. I have tried some Chanel skincare but for the most part, I never quite liked them. In Dior, barring one or two items, I’m not too much of a skincare fan either although i love their makeup. I prefer to go with a skincare brand for skincare.

Maybe Tangs is planning a big revamp? I hear of so many big brands coming in. I should go visit then and check them out, I think :D My Burberry lipstick smelt bad but many people reported theirs was fine so I think I got a dud – don’t let my 1 experience put you off ;) I would however place their strength in their powder blush and maybe primer. I wasn’t too impressed with anything else.

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Sam April 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I expect a really high standard too – if you make great bags/shoes etc, you should make great cosmetics too. Burberry looks nice, but the prices in Australia are shocking – I think I could get a bag instead for the price of a full face of cosmetics!
There are some random companies coming out with cosmetics at present – who would have expected Laduree to produce cosmetics?!

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

That’s my exact thought! If you can make great fashion accessories, why not makeup? I’ve heard of the Burberry prices in Australia. In fact, everything is so pricey in Australia! A Tom Ford lipstick alone is scary :P Oh and don’t get me started on Laduree. I do not understand what a cafe or bakery or macaroons have to do with makeup and I honestly do not think much of the brand for taking that plunge! :P

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ysk April 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I bought a bottle of Burberry Body in KLCC last year and got a complimentary makeover.I don’t think their cosmetics are as good as some brands.so-so only in my opinion.If you ask me to choose between branded fragrance and cosmetics,I prefer perfumes.However I heard that YSL beaute is nice.Have you tried it before??

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I’m a lot more particular about perfumes now, so I tend to go mostly for those from perfume houses. I find them more interesting :) I do like some YSL products. Their lipsticks are very impressive, as are their eye colors. The famed Touche Eclat eye illuminator does not work for me. Oh and I have a tub of powder that I really like too! Its a fairly good brand all round – am hoping to see it reappear on our shores.

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ishi April 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

The travel exclusive Touche Eclat sold at airports didn’t work for me…because they are always shade #2…apparently too light for me. When I got #3, it worked fine. I still don’t understand why they push #2 as a must have travel exclusives.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I had a bad experience. They stink after a few uses! I read it’s not just me plus I didn’t like it. Preferred how Dior Skinflash looks :)

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milktea April 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I’ve known about the Ferragamo perfume range for some time. Fendi also has a perfume now I think. Did not notice the grosgrain bow until you pointed it out! :D I love it on the Varina shoe (alas, don’t own any yet…) but it didn’t register with me on the perfume bottle.

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I think almost every fashion house has a fragrance! LV is probably the last bastion but even they have one in the works. Only Signorina has the ribbon bow. The others don’t :)

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Jan S April 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I would usually judge any cosmetic product according to quality, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to brand names :)

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Paris B April 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm

The best way to buy anything, because we like it ;)

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Leila April 9, 2012 at 6:21 am

Sometimes I like when the worlds of fashion and cosmetics collide, sometimes not.

The Paul & Joe collections that use prints from the current season’s collection is genius and ties the fashion and cosmetics seamlessly. Chanel and Dior likewise, do this well. The tweed blushes, cannage print (on everything, but it’s more subtle than Burberry!) etc. Although Dior has the edge over Chanel in this respect.

I don’t like it when launching a cosmetic line seems opportunistic. Whilst I think the Burberry line has been done well (from what I’ve heard, haven’t tried it yet), the timing so soon after the recessions and economic trouble makes me feel like they didn’t care too much about their cosmetics; they just wanted to tap into another market (unusually cynical for me). Fashion houses have long used perfumes and subsequently cosmetics to make a lot of thier profits, so the sudden launch of new lines from all these brands makes me feel a little bit suspicious.

Also, I think it’s pretty arrogant for the Tom Ford line to charge the prices that they do. I get it, it’s luxury (I am far from arguing about that!) and they’ve had cosmetics before, but to put yourself well beyond, Dior, Chanel and even Guerlain prices?! Even a Suqqu lipstick costs less here (and they’re a real cosmetic brand). I don’t know, I’ve never wanted any Tom Ford items, although I can see why people want them.

Like Applegal above me said, I like to buy certain things from brands that specialise in that area, but that doesn’t go for everything. A watch must be from a watch company, same for skincare; as much as I love my Dior, I won’t rely on my skin care from them. Cosmetics are different, it’s more about colour and texture, so a fashion house should know about that. Although what’s available tends to fit the brand’s ideal so gaps in my colour collection are usually filled by MAC if they’re not available elsewhere. Some cosmetics I prefer from a proper cosmetics brand, like Laura Mercier for base makeup.

In the end, quality is absolutely the first priority, so I won’t excuse the brand for bad products, but I know I am paying a markup on luxury brands for just that, the luxury.

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Paris B April 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Oh yes! Paul & Joe! You know, I never thought of them as a fashion brand, because we don’t get the fashion here :) But you’re right. They blend fashion and cosmetics very well. I have a similar sort of thought about Burberry (The classic Burberry shades are only so few!) and Tom Ford. As for opportunistic, think Laduree. Now, that I do not get at all! Food? Macaroons? Tea? Makeup?? >.<

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Leila April 10, 2012 at 5:11 am

Oh yes, Laduree. That one really doesn’t make sense at all, although apparently they do already have some skincare and bodycare. It does look like thought went into the products though (at least superficially, they do look pretty), but it’s too soon to tell if it will be a quality line.

As for Burberry, they do seem to be doing well and I would like to try them out (I know I sounded cynical about them). I guess overall, I don’t mind when fashion and cosmetics blend, but it has have thought behind it and overall, done well.

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Paris B April 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Ooh I didn’t know Laduree already has some skincare and body care. I still don’t get the connection :P I mean, sweets, tea and… How does it gel? I have to admit the products are prettily packaged though. That is a huge plus.

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LeGeeque April 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I think my thoughts are more or less along yours. For the price tag stamped onto these luxury brand products, I do come down hard on them. E.g. the Dior nail polish is AUD39. For that price, I’m really expecting miracles. But what sort of miracle can a nail polish perform? (Short of applying it magically on my fingers without me lifting my.. ahem.. hands?) So, I’m extremely critical of the quality. Being an entity under a massive conglomerate means they have the funds at their expense to research the hell out of a product and come up with something to wow consumers.

I’ve got no issues with fashion designers coming out with cosmetics. After all, in this dog-eat-dog-world, one has to try and take over the world and conquer the majority of the market share in whatever market it is. (Bernard Arnault the snake. *koff* *koff* *koff*)

While we’re on this subject, I do think I’m mildly-OCD (close friends think I’m extremely OCD, whatever!) and I LOVE to pair makeup products to bags of the same brand. *hangs head in shame* I’m known to:
1. Pick a bag
2. Pick the makeup from the same designer of the bag
3. Figure out outfit
4. Figure out other accessories ><

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Paris B April 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Lol I don’t own enough from one brand or designer to be able to go all matchy matchy :D but I like mixing up my makeup. Makes me happy to have on Dior foundation and Chanel eyeshadow just because I can, and it isn’t as jarring as walking around wearing logos ;)

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Esther April 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I generally don’t have much expectations regarding fashion brands that branch into cosmetics. Admittedly, a huge part of my attitude probably stems from the fact that I don’t generally keep up with fashion trends/brands. xD;

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Paris B April 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Ah I don’t keep up either ;) fashion isn’t something I’m all that interested in. But I do know which are the fashion brands out there so I’m a bit particular about their makeup lines.

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Lisa April 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I’m all for fashion companies to foray into cosmetic lines. But there should be something about it that draws me, the consumer to it. Quality is one aspect though that i don’t compromise on. I’m a huge fan of Burberry. And i applaude the brand for not coming up with extensive lines of limited edition products for every season like any other brands out there.I always turn to their eye products whenever i’m feeling ‘zen’/womanly or not in the mood for ‘play’/girly (which i turn to Nars for). The products are supposed to help women look good in a subtle way, nothing ever too garish or flashy. And they can be oomph up for evening too. I especially love each and every one of their eye shadows plus some of their lip products. Their Fresh Glow liquid highlighter is very well executed and something i really like and not yet able to find something close to this quality out there. Their service at Tangs Singapore (i always look for Mindy) is great too and that itself draws me back to the brand again and again. I really hope the brand is here to stay.

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Paris B April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I’m still a bit iffy about Burberry, maybe because I’ve had less than stellar experiences with them so far. I was told that the brand isn’t going the limited edition route yet because they use each season to pad up their existing collection, as they are so new. Once they are more established, then I think we’ll start seeing the LE stuff pop up ;) But still, it’s good to know that some of their products are good. I’ll take a look at some of those you like the next time I happen to go past their counter.

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