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D E S I G N

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O V E R

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T H E

C O U N T E R

STYLE COSMETICS

BY

COURTESY

LOUIS POSTEL • PHOTOGRAPHY

BY

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, PALM DESERT

TAYLOR SHERRILL AND

FREDALA, BEVERLY HILLS

The packaging is art. The thinking behind it is science. MONACO COSMETICS were looking cheap. The packaging had devolved from gold to a muddy mushroom color with navy accents. Once the makeup of choice for the aristocrats orbiting around the young Princess Grace, Lancaster had fallen on hard times, bought and sold and all the worse for wear. Finally Coty bought the brand and hired industrial designer Kenneth Hirst to bring it back to life. Sketchpad in hand, Hirst started ANCASTER

with a single phrase to guide his hand: “a drop of liquid sunshine.” After all, the Lancaster factory was still in Monaco, the ingredients from that Mediterranean part of the world where light, air and water all seem to mix into one heady concoction. Radiance of skin and smiles was the “visual territory” Hirst wanted to cover. He first translated the “drop of liquid sunshine” into the re-design of the lipstick tube, “the hero of the line,” as he calls it, placing “a gold accent on the top of the cap as though you

dropped a pebble in water.” Combining the gold with silver “to make it look more modern,” Hirst created line extensions once Coty approved the lipstick look — compacts, nail polish, a foundation. (Don’t go looking for it. Although the brand was successfully relaunched in Europe and Saudi Arabia, it is not yet available in the U.S.) Hirst, 49, is at the top of his form, a leader in the ranks of cosmetic package designers. Debonair with a cheery Australian accent, he could

Stunningly designed packaging nestles nicely in Vancouver’s skyline (from left): Lancaster Monaco; Delices de Cartier; Prada Pour Homme; Dr. Feelgood Balm; Anna Sui’s Secret Wish; Alien by Thierry Mugler; Pure Poison by Christian Dior; Pasha de Cartier; Miso Pretty; Orchidee Imperiale. FEBRUARY

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What a beautiful combination. easily pass for one of the Princess Grace set. Over his career he’s launched a wide variety of cosmetics from upscale Lancaster based in Monaco to mid-market Nautica and celebrity lines for Jennifer Lopez and Celine Dion. Other talented individuals are doing the same: • Marc Rosen, once the art director of Elizabeth Arden, is busy creating ampoule-based cosmetics for world-traveling women for Lisa Hoffman, wife of Dustin. • Norman Kay of IBC/Shell packagers is hard at work making eco-friendly packaging out of

biodegradable plastics (“the Europeans are ahead of us on this we have to catch up”). And that’s just a random sampling. The world market for new and different makeup solutions seems insatiable. Take a look at any cosmetics counter — the choices are too numerous to mention, a kaleidoscope of possibilities. How, then, do designers like Hirst differentiate their products, make them unique and beautiful just as they keep us unique and beautiful? One part is sheer inspiration — “the drop of liquid sunshine” guiding your sketching hand. Another part is FEBRUARY

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the ability and knowledge in staying “on trend” as they say in the fashion world. And indeed, cosmetic packaging is at the very forefront of the fashion world, intimately connected to whatever else is going on: runway fashions, street fashions, even architecture. Yes, architecture. For example, there’s an entire look emanating from Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain. Its titanium skin and floating forms have creators of cosmetic packages (as well as their contents) experimenting with the same kind of shimmering effects that change completely when under a ➤


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cloud, or in rain, or a shadow, or seen from a different angle. As our world becomes smaller, there’s no corner of it that doesn’t exert some influence on fashion and the way we and our products appear. As our technological prowess increases there’s no end of special effects possibilities for packaging. To name just a few, there’s glistening, “wet” package surfaces, anodized metallic, glazed, blurred,

and gilded. There’s even a panoply of interesting patinas; your compact can have the same look as a bronze statue of Aphrodite left out in the weather. Sunny Maffeo is an expert in the look and feel of cosmetic packaging. She knows what it takes to keep it “on trend.” As the Creative Director at Engelhard in New Jersey (part of the BASF plastics conglomerate), Maffeo travels the world trying to figure out what’s next in fashion. She’s in Paris

at least three times a year at various shows, camping out at L’Oreal and other firms just to see what’s going on. And she makes her way to the desert, too. “As a matter of fact,” says Maffeo, “I’m a member of the Color Marketing Group and we just had a conference in Rancho Mirage.” Palm Springs was a good location “because trends start on the high end and usually work their way down. Except for glitter on packaging which

From left: Antidote by Viktor & Rolf; Eau du Soir (Hubert D’Ornano) by Sisley for Women; John Varvatos; Some Kind of Gorgeous by Benefit; Armani Code; SK II; Jo Malone of London’s Cologne and La Prairie’s Midnight Rain. Thanks to Pam Riccio of Saks Fifth Avenue for her assistance. FEBRUARY

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started low and then went up.” Maffeo calls this lifestyle pattern the “porcelain phenomenon” — after Marie Antoinette, “people now are absorbed in taking care of themselves. I tracked vanity tables on the ’net. At first they were almost non-existent; and now it’s a big thing. Time is being spent at those tables and now the trend is to have beautiful things to leave on them as well as ‘companion packaging’ — smaller items of the same design you can take with you.” Maffeo sees designers creating this

boudoir-friendly cosmetic packaging in basically four different modes:

MODE 1: “This look is about calm: meditation, delicacy — subtle contrast and layering, tone on tone. Punchedout or dotted things in lettering. Not-quite-geometric printing on boxes and labels but soft wallpaper effects. Opalescent. Resembling luxe fabrics. There’s sometimes a very faint gold dusting-over that can be seen at certain viewing angles. “The color palette is an elaborate FEBRUARY

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one of skin tones: Delicate rosy to warm tans. The packaging has a luster emulating healthy skin; a healthy glowing reflection. “As for the ‘Flemish Face’ or ‘no make-up make-up look’ — trust me, it takes a lot of product to do that look right,” says Maffeo.

MODE 2: “You will never get away from pink in cosmetic packaging. Though, in the fashion world at-large, pink is ceding its top spot to green, there are new pinks coming from the Continued on page 96


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