FROM SHELLIE KARABELL | FORBES | http://bit.ly/2geOuj6
Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Beauty: #L’Oréal Paris Brings #Diversity To The Runway
Paris Fashion Week is a time when couturiers spare no expense to strut their stuff in front of a select audience, sparing no expense. Chanel this year set off rockets in Grand Palais; Dior took over the Rodin Museum gardens. All for 15 minutes of high level, high-priced high fashion, available to the general public only on TV or You Tube videos or in their dreams. This year, L’Oréal Paris presented another take on that theme — mounting a 20-minute “defile” (fashion show) for the public and in public, featuring a 60-meter (nearly 200-feet) runway down the middle of the most famous avenue in Paris, 70 “looks” by 18-different designers. More similarities: loud music, lights and giant video screens, beautiful clothes, beautiful models male and female wearing beautiful makeup (including silver lipstick).
Kind of like France’s July 14 Bastille Day parade, but without the tanks and soldiers. You had to admire the logistics, planning, timing and security even if fashion wasn’t your thing. And the brand’s makeup and hairstyling products held up under the wind and drizzling rain, which managed to seep under the arched covering.
There was a certain irony in the fact that the 600 invited guests were seated on one side of the wide runway and several thousand members of the public were standing on the other side looking in. And there were even bigger and more significant differences from your run-of-the-mill high fashion show, aiming this show at real people: instead of row after row of rail-thin models, the show by L’Oréal Paris was sprinkled with some real-sized, even over-sized women, not to mention a few famous L’Oréal Paris “faces,” such as actresses Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda. And instead of having to wait six months before finding runway fashions in the shops, you could just walk right over to French department stores Printemps or Galleries Lafayette and buy what you just saw, if you had a mind to. Or you could learn the secrets of what went into what you just saw on the runway by taking a master class at one of the four booths set up adjacent to the venue. Oh, and the venue: the Champs Elysees, closed to traffic as part of the city’s no-cars Sunday experiment. It’s hard to beat the Arc de Triomphe as a background, rockets or no rockets.
“This is part of our brand mission — to portray diversity, to open up the best in beauty to everyone,” Pierre-Emmanuel Angeloglou, President of L’Oreal Paris, told me in an interview in his office for this blog. He pretty much does that already: L’Oréal Paris (one of the L’Oréal Group’s 32 brands) already sells 50 products a second, according to company statistics. Those are the skin care, hair care, and makeup — for men and women — you see under the L’Oreal brand in the drug store and supermarket. But don’t let that placement fool you: L’Oréal Paris has been the official make-up and hair artist for the Cannes Film Festival for the past 20 years. And in addition to L’Oréal Paris, the parent company L’Oréal Group owns perfume, hair care (consumer and professional) makeup and skin care brands such as Lancôme, The Body Shop, Kerastase, Maybelline, SkinCeuticals, and Ralph Lauren and YSL perfumes. L’Oreal Group is the biggest beauty company in the world, selling more than one billion products a year.