‘Strong, inclusive and fearless’: Estée Lauder enters tie-up with Balmain for 2024 prestige beauty launch

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Balmain Beauty aims to offer a prestige 'beauty for all' experience, drawing inspiration from the spirit of the French fashion house brand [Getty Images]
Balmain Beauty aims to offer a prestige 'beauty for all' experience, drawing inspiration from the spirit of the French fashion house brand [Getty Images]

Related tags Estée lauder companies Fashion Luxury Prestige beauty Partnership inclusive beauty genderless beauty

International beauty major The Estée Lauder Companies and French luxury fashion house Balmain have entered into a license agreement to collaboratively develop and launch an inclusive prestige beauty line next year.

The range, named Balmain Beauty, would launch in autumn 2024 with a goal to “transform the luxury and couture beauty world” ​through design, craftsmanship and innovation, according to the two companies.

“For over ten years, my Balmain team and I have been pushing the boundaries of what is possible in fashion,”​ said Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain. “We’ve been determined to reflect the way that today’s diverse generation wishes to live and dress. So, obviously, there was no way that we were going to expand into beauty without ensuring that we had found the partner who understood and shared our outlook.”

A ‘beauty for all’ vision

Guillaume Jesel, newly appointed president of global brands, Tom Ford Beauty, Balmain Beauty and luxury business development at The Estée Lauder Companies, said the company was looking forward to working with Balmain and Rousteing – “visionary forces”​ in the world of global fashion.

“We look forward to working with them to expand the Balmain universe and forge a new space in luxury beauty that clearly reflects the strong, inclusive, and fearless spirit of the brand,” ​Jesel said.

Rousteing said the Balmain team was especially thrilled to be working with Jesel: “Guillaume is one of the most creative and passionate executives that I have seen in the industry today and I know he will help build Balmain Beauty into a global beauty brand for all.”

Sam Cheow, SVP and global head of makeup innovation, portfolio and product development at The Estée Lauder Companies, recently made the vision clear around gender freedom. Speaking at Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna earlier this year, Cheow said the concept stretched far beyond ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’ labels but rather empowered consumers to be “authentic”​ and “liberate”​ themselves.

“…It goes back to the power of being you and being individual (…) It’s a bigger message gender freedom – it activates that part of yourself that is more about authenticity. This is where the world is going; this is where beauty is going,”​ he told attendees.

*Beauty for all ​was one of CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s top five EMEA beauty trends for 2021​. The trend was driven by consumers wanting to feel catered to and better understood and the flouting of dated labels and meaningless marketing terms. And industry had certainly raced to cater to these needs in recent years, with everything from dedicated men’s makeup brands through to an array of genderless beauty and fragrance brands and a sharper focus on menopausal women.

Fashion-beauty tie-ups

Licensing agreements between the fashion world and beauty was also trending as fashion looked to extend its offerings for a more diverse and critical set of consumers.

In December 2019, L’Oréal announced its tie-up with Prada​ to launch a luxury beauty line in 2021. The first product launch out of the long-term license agreement had been men’s fragrance brand Luna Rossa Ocean, fronted by US actor Jake Gyllenhaal, but the tie-up was set to push ahead into pure beauty development and launches too.

Yann Andrea, international general manager at Prada Beauty for L’Oréal, said the overarching goal of the tie-up was to take a “code-disrupting approach to beauty”​– strengthening Prada’s existing fragrance business but also bringing “novelty and excitement to the market”. ​Andrea said product launches would align with consumer expectations on the new vision of luxury, which was “more essential, more meaningful and driven by tech”.

In 2021, beauty retail major Sephora also announced a partnership with e-commerce fashion firm Zalando to sell some of Sephora’s high-end beauty products on the platform, aiming to create a “new, innovative online prestige beauty experience for millions of Zalando customers”.

Sam Dover, global beauty analyst at Mintel, said at the time the tie-up could inspire more partnerships between beauty and fashion​ moving forward.

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