Dior AW17

The New Beauty Revolution - How Real Consumers Are Taking Control Of The Beauty Biz

The beauty landscape is changing, and customers are the ones transforming it. Welcome to the season of serious commerce.

Imagine a fashion house's mindset changing so fantastically that the biggest shows are being used as a stage not just for their new season collections but as a chance to showcase their beauty offerings too.

Instead of merely complementing the design aspect of fashion week, beauty is now taking a front row seat.

Leading the way is Dior's Creative Director, Peter Philips, who has been a key player in fostering the modern Dior aesthetic since 2014. He launches his latest make-up creations on the faces of models who walk the runway. We see the make-up, want the make-up, and can then buy the make-up.

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And why is this relatively simple strategy so disruptive? Because for the first time in a long time it puts us, the people who buy make-up, first.

I create products that will give the same result in reality as they do on the runway', says Phillips. 'Now, the biggest trend on the catwalk is makeup itself. It's not a specific colour, or look, it's the product and how you use it to express yourself'.

It's one of the most exclusive shows but if you're a beauty editor lucky enough to find yourself backstage at Dior you'll be immersed in a frenzy of supermodels using and Instagramming new products as we scramble to see Phillips' latest make-up genius. This invitation-only is where trends are created, and the latest innovations take the limelight.

'Of course having expertise in backstage make-up for the past 20 years has had an impact on what I create as products - the now iconic Diorshow mascara was born backstage - but quite often my vision is led by what people need', explains Phillips. 'For example, the new Dior Pump Mascara was created so that I could quickly do a layered lash look and it could be recreated at home.' (we've tried it, you squeeze the rubber indents at the bottom of the tube to evenly coat the spoolie in product and then run it through your lashes once for a dense full look. It works).

For the first time in a long time it puts us, the people who buy make-up, first.

But why are fashion houses now creating consumer friendly products first and letting the trends follow suit?

Because in an era of live streaming and social media, our consumption of fashion shows and their beauty looks is rapidly developing. We now have access to new trends immediately and don't necessarily want to wait for them to percolate into a specific product for six months.

This has forced brands to evolve and consider how they can make their beauty offerings commercially accessible, faster.

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Both Burberry and Tom Ford made their new SS17 makeup collections readily available on e-commerce sites and in store immediately following their shows. Similarly, Topshop allowed consumers to buy it's latest beauty offerings via a curated pop-up at Spitalfields during fashion week.

Artists are finding a voice too. Nail artist, Marianne Newman has launched a capsule collection of nail shades called First Looks, which have been seen on the catwalk and can be purchased straight after Paris Fashion Week. Then there's Pat McGrath, an influential make-up artist with her own range of products, who creates trends that push her merchandise. It's no coincidence glitter - the hero of her first collection - became the biggest trend of the season, a season which, incidentally, Pat created several key looks for.

Naturally, the sales of products rises when it's made available during the hype. After Kendall Jenner wore Rouge Dior in Poison Matte during the Dior AW16 show it was an instant success. No one could their hands on it.

When we see inspirational beauty, we want to recreate it, and if the exact product is readily available, we're going to buy it.

The gap between runway and retail is closing. Make-up at the shows is becoming an increasingly important side of the fashion business, making getting in there early and being flexibly quick off the mark more essential than ever before.

For some brands, this will inevitably mean a change to the production calendar. But, if you can see something, fall in love with it and buy it straight away, surely that's a win-win for everyone.

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