Not sure why I never saw this coming. Hermès is building out its beauty offer with skincare and make-up due to launch in 2020. It already has a great line of ancillary scented bath products – soaps, shower gels, body balms – which are so beautifully giftable and serve as perfect entry portals to one of the last true luxury fashion brands.
‘Obviously, we hope to have the biggest scope possible. We are trying to do it humbly and cautiously, because it’s a big market that’s already full of strong players, and therefore we have to find our place in it,” said Hermès chief executive officer, Axel Dumas. It’s certainly a crowded place but Hermès is planning a slowly-slowly strategy with limited availability to start with, mostly in its own stores.
I would love to know who it’s considering as its creative director for make-up. Hermès already has its own celebrated in-house colourist, the inimitable Bali Barret, who is the Artistic Director of the Women’s Universe. It also has an official ‘colour committee’ that creates a palette two years in advance to run across the brand’s entire product output.
Some might baulk at this new beauty expansion. Hermès has a thriving fragrance business so it’s not *that* surprising that it would want to upscale its beauty offer. And yet, the reason many are loyal to the brand is they it doesn’t make obvious ‘follow the crowd’ moves. Which makes me hope that this expansion will be done in an entirely new Hermès way that’s not what we all expect.
With its fragrance line, the perfumes are considered as a ‘library’ with ranges described as novels, haikus and novellas. Then there are the ‘garden’ scents, which are tied to the brand’s yearly themes and tend to be location-based. The latest is Un Jardin sur la Lagune (below, gifted*), an airy floral with a hint of salty-woodiness inspired by a secret Venetian ‘garden of Eden’, discovered by perfumier Christine Nagel. It joins five other existing Un Jardins that are united in a gentle lightness with wide appeal. It’s a poetic, very Hermès way of selling fragrance that obviously does well for them. Recent figures show that fragrance accounted for 5% of the company’s overall sales in 2018, a growth of 9% according to Business of Fashion.
This year’s brand-wide theme is ‘in the pursuit of dreams’. With the business of beauty generally on the ascendant, Hermès can afford to dream big and bold.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
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