"It's not what you would expect for Estée Lauder, we're shaking it up, it's time to morph again"
Estée Lauder Director of Make-up Artistry, Blair Patterson
It's the very first step for our plans to revamp the brand," Blair Patterson enthuses, "Everything is being repackaged reformulated and updated in technology, and so the very first one we wanted to step out with was the lipstick collection – 20 shades which is a very manageable (I always say, 'wonderfully edited') because I can't stand it when I see a lipstick launch with around 70 shades, I mean what could you possibly do with 70 shades of lipstick?"
Despite his protests, we think Patterson could do rather a lot with 70 shades of lipstick, actually. Passionate, savvy and inspiring, our meeting with Estée Lauder's director of make-up artistry is one of those that stick with you for the rest of the day. Much like the new magnet lipstick lid device he presents to us, we're addicted, and we want to know more...
Tell us about the new lipstick range.
As far as packaging is concerned it's been redesigned with a little bit of a twist, it's inspired by modern architecture and a female silhouette if you look at it from afar, and we redid the cap with a magnetic connection – you walk around our office and all you here is snaps from the lids, even when you are on the phone you can hear it in the background, I actually really love it. The formulation – it's a highly highly, highly pigmented lipstick with a 6-hour wear, we've had an issue with that in the past because highly pigmented lipsticks with long wear technology can leave your lips dry so we have combined our famous 'advanced night repair serum' into our formulation which means it doesn't give you immediate moisture, but every time you speak, every time you kind of press your lips or move them together, the hyaluronic acid capsules burst and provide moisture. By 6 hours you're out of hyaluronic capsules but the colours still there but with moisture thats where we end. The other piece of technology, which I find the most interesting is the actual colour pigments – they have been fasted so they attach to each other, so what you get is sculpted lipstick, it is the first lipstick we've done that is also a lip liner because it has such precise lines.
"We've combined our famous 'advanced night repair serum' into the formulation, Technology that everytime you speak or move your lips it provides moisture"
The reason for that technology is two fold, its makes it easier to use and secondly, we have a very loyal following of customers that wear lipstick, and the younger generations don't really wear lipstick as much as the older generations, they might be getting into it now but in most metropolitan areas its still very much a step that they don't do. Maybe they do at night and part of that is because its time consuming, you have to apply a lip liner you have to do a bunch of research on YouTube of what bases do you need? Concealer first, lip liner...etc. So the technology for that is to really draw in the younger generation.
In the digital age that we live in, social media is a huge thing for the younger generation that you speak of. How are you addressing that?
We have added in a social media component with this collection to drive the conversation and to give it life in the world of social media.
So from a consumer engagement point, how do you get a customer who knows what she likes to wear as far as lipstick goes, who doesn't have a lot of time and doesn't want to try anything new, and then how do you also bring in a younger lipstick, find a shade that works for them and push them to go out of the box? We have a tool that has worked miraculously. What people are afraid of is trying to find it, they're afraid of change, thinking 'If if I even pick up a colour that I don't really want to try, someone will come over and ask 'can I help you?' and pressure you into buying a colour that you don't want'. We are addressing this with digital and social media conversations, as well as on the ground.
Patterson then presents Buro 24/7 with an A5-sized colour chart, asking us to select a lipstick colour that we "would definitely wear," using the chart, he highlights two other colours that would suit us. He does this again, but this time asking us to select a shade that we "definitely wouldn't wear" – using this he presents two us with two colours that we aren't opposed to at all. It's fabulous, simple and highly effective.
You should make an app out of it! (The aforementioned colour chart)
It's already happening, it's all in the works, we've revamped the entire Estée Lauder website and relaunched it including the 'Estée Edit', which is a lifestyle section of our website, covering influences across the board, from chefs to writers to make-up people. This is also attached to social media and the Estée Lauder Instagram with the hashtag #getpersonal – but apps will be coming for this, and for eyeshadows and for foundations going forward. Plus, way down the line – probably Fall 2015 – we are going to launch actual live tools in store that if you pick a foundation it suggest all the products that will go with your skin tone and undertones in your skin, for eyes/lips/cheeks.
So yeah, that is kind of the rebirth of the brand from an aesthetics standpoint and technology.
Caroline Murphy in the new Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy lipstick campaign
What inspired the shades in the new lipstick collection?
Looking back in our vaults, which is downtown New York and all of the lipsticks that we launched in the past and the press that those received and then pairing those with iconic celebrities of those eras, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn looking at what screenwriters did of making lipsticks incredibly famous as far as Greta Garbo. We anchored the line to what we knew to be traditional and iconic and things that will probably never go away to be modern, we updated it with colour forecasting that we know to be popular for this year, like I said the pantone colours. Coming from really deep burgundies last year and plums it can go either two ways either bright, bright shades next year or keeping with the same dark area.
"This is kind of the rebirth of the brand – from an aesthetics standpoint"
In regards to the brand as a whole, there is a huge trend at the moment in cosmetics where companies are partnering with designers, for example the most recent was NARS x Christopher Kane, do you have something in the pipeline also?
Yes indeed, it is happening. I mean we have done it before – we have partnered with Michael Kors, we've partnered with Tom Ford, Derek Lam, and Opening Ceremony did a piece for us during a fashion week. We do have something coming up which will be very big, we will be doing the press launch for that in November and it will be released in early 2015 and it's pretty interesting, its not what you would expect for Estée Lauder, we're shaking it up, its time to morph again and update ourselves.
What does the Middle Eastern market mean to you?
I think beauty is such an important part of the Middle East, so for us its a really important market, and for us it's an emerging market so its doubling every year and in Europe it's a mature market – so I think in terms of growth its incredibly important for us, especially with make-up. You love make-up and fragrance here, so those are our two priorities, fragrance first and then make-up being second.
You should deepen your 'conversation' with the Middle Eastern market and shoot a really cool cultural icon from the region.
Thats a great idea, maybe next time we come out we can arrange that as I would want to be here to do that. I'm going to make a note!
What is the most common mistake people make with their daily make-up routines in your opinion?
Some people honestly have no idea because they have never been told or taught how to apply make-up. There are people who do too much, and the thing I recommend is focus on one feature for the day and stick with it. That's not to say if you play with your eyes you can't do a nice lip as well, but there are days when you need to do up your eyes because you're in a very important business meeting and you need to be focused, there are also days when you should play with your lips because you are presenting something and you want people to pay attention to your mouth and what you are saying.
I believe that as a woman when doing your make-up you have to choose your favourite feature and make it a focus
I find that young girls especially in metropolitan cities don't do enough, and there is no focal point. I believe that as a woman when doing your make-up you have to choose your favourite feature and make it a focus. If it's an everyday look for a younger girl in an office, a wing liner and a soft lip is perfect. If it's a colourful lip or a bold eye it's better that it is perfect, you don't want to see lipstick around someones mouth it needs to be clean, you don't want to be doing a bunch of stuff on your eyes, if you like that then save it for night but I think that analysing someones features personally is something that helps a lot.
Women say 'I don't really think I have eyes to pull off a smoky eye' or 'I don't suit contouring' and they go into a rut, and can I just say if you want to try new things, do it at night time on your couch when you're comfortable because if you make a mistake you can just wash it off and go to sleep, the worst time to try new techniques is in the morning just before you go out!