When I first heard about the forthcoming makeup launch from the house of RiRi I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited; as an artist I don’t really follow her, even if I do bop along to her tunes on a Saturday night, and her previous collaborations weren’t my personal cup of tea. (The last time I wore Puma it was 2005, and even then it was an ill-advised mistake.) However, in the wake of the L’Oreal race row she released a preview of what was to come and the beauty industry went into meltdown: it showcased a spectrum of colour that’s reflective of any given high street, in an edgy and current way, that left my heart in all of a flutter. Whether intentional or not, the timing of the preview (and later the launch) was impeccable; L’Oreal had proved so well that their attitude towards diversity was certainly not what they’d tried to convey, and here was Rihanna doing it properly and from the heart.
Rihanna herself has said “Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, cultures and races. I wanted everyone to feel included. That’s the real reason I made this line.” Diversity and true representation is at the heart of the collection, so it’s no surprise to find forty shades of foundation in the range – ranging from the palest white designed for albino skin, up to the darkest browns developed to offer the most beautifully radiant base. Just looking at the counter you can see that Fenty Beauty has been created to offer high quality cosmetics for every woman (and man) without compromise, something truly refreshing when most brands cater for only about 40% of the population. For so long we’ve been discussing the lack of available shades for women of colour, and little progress has been made; most brands only showcase a handful of shades, even when there’s the space available, as it’s just not seen as financially viable – even though the spending power of these woman is just as great (if not greater) than those of us with milky white tones.
Clearly Rihanna has experienced her own foundation frustrations over the years and wanted to make a difference, allowing anyone to find their perfect match no matter their tone: “Foundation is one of those areas in the beauty industry that has a big void for women at extreme ends of the shade spectrum. And so, I wanted to make sure that women of all skin tones were covered and they could be included in what I created.” Her cosmetics have been designed with every single skin tone and ethnicity in mind, which is reflected within the models she’s used to showcase the line. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to see a campaign and line such as this, and I’m not the only one.
Fenty Beauty is more than just foundation shades though: there’s a huge selection of beautiful highlighters, contouring sticks, blusher shades, lipglosses and accessories that help make application as easy and effective as possible. The packaging is beautiful and so well thought-through (the sticks are magnetic and actually stick together for dual-application or simply better storage,) while the textures are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced; with the brand being developed by the same guys as those behind Marc Jacobs and Kat Von D’s own makeup ranges, I wouldn’t expect anything less. With so much hype around the launch, I went in with very high expectations – but thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. If anything I was positively surprised as to how great this range actually is, and promptly handed over my card to buy £150 worth of the stuff. (Beware: they have VERY good sales people who will put everything on your face, colour match you without even being asked and leave you thinking that you need absolutely everything that they recommend!)
I’ll delve deeper into the individual products in a future post, but for the meantime I wanted to discuss the impact this range will have on the industry as a whole. So why is it such an important and much needed launch? For what seems like the first time ever, Fenty Beauty is all all-inclusive range focused on the diversity of beauty enthusiasts without limit. It’s been designed to cater for every single skin tone that exists, and not because it’s on-trend to do so; this is a brand that has it absolutely nailed and offers longevity that other celebrity ranges don’t. (Kim and Kylie I’m looking at you.) Every box has been ticked, but because of a fundamental belief that that’s just how it should be done – not because it’s a way to make money. Yes Fenty is selling like hotcakes only days after its launch, but this is a brand that knows exactly what it’s doing and how to cater to the modern beauty consumer.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest RiRi fan out there, or you’ve never even sung along to ‘Umbrella’ in the car, Fenty Beauty is a brand that will appeal to everyone as a super high quality, diverse and exciting collection of beauty must-haves. For the first time in a long time I’m truly excited about a launch and the potential it has in the years to come; this is so much more than just a celebrity makeup line, and more the start of a industry shake-up that will hopefully set the scene for the years to come. Rihanna, you nailed it love.
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