There are still only a handful of luxury brands that really broke into the beauty market and shook the original pattern.
Author | Chen Huiyan, Drizzie
Prada broke the traditional thinking of luxury beauty with three levers.
In August last year, after the launch of "I am unpredictable" perfume, Prada beauty cosmetics officially launched the makeup and skin care series for the first time, and the matte lipstick with a price of 395 yuan became an annual explosion once it went on the market.
Only one month later, the cumulative sales of this Prada lipstick with platinum tube and square ring brand imprint logo in Tmall flagship store has exceeded 10,000 pieces, and as many as 10 lipsticks out of stock, including B03 ugly red brown, B101 plain nude brown, B103 light wine brown, etc., and ranked first in Tmall lipstick new product list for many days.
The latest sales page shows that the monthly sales of Prada lipstick has exceeded 12,000 pieces, and the monthly sales of two-piece suits have also exceeded 3,000 pieces. In Little Red Book, a popular beauty sharing platform, there are more than 10,000 notes about keywords such as "Prada Lipstick" and "Prada Lipstick", and the related topics of the latter have been viewed more than 20 million times, and the interaction of many notes is close to 5,000.
Although the lipstick effect still works, it is really hard for the industry to imagine that a lipstick, which has been officially published for less than half a year, can successfully tear a hole in the China beauty market where luxury brands and domestic cheap brands are in fierce melee, catch the eyes of consumers who are already tired of lipstick marketing and stand out in this attention battle.
Unique color matching is regarded as the primary reason for the popularity of Prada lipstick.
As a brand labeled as an intellectual, earthy tones, which is emphasized in Prada lipstick, reflects a cool sense of high intelligence and becomes the basic color that is trusted by social traditions as well as uniforms. Lynsey Alexander, a global creative makeup artist of Prada Beauty, said in an interview with LADYMAX of WeChat WeChat official account that the brown color in Prada lipstick corresponds to the meaning of uniforms to Prada, that is, everyday and classic.
Prada beauty cosmetics global creative makeup artist Lynsey Alexander
According to the makeup report released by Xiaohongshu in November last year, the popularity of lipstick with lower-key colors such as brown, brown and nude is soaring. In the macro environment of increasing uncertainty, the trend of abandoning publicity and embracing more classic styles exists not only in the fashion field, but also in the beauty market. From this point of view, Prada lipstick with neutral tones such as nude brown undoubtedly caters to the market demand.
The report also pointed out that with consumers’ more and more mature understanding of lip makeup, the functional requirements for lipstick are becoming more and more refined. Above the color, the moisturizing texture that does not show lip lines and does not dry is increasingly welcomed by consumers, especially considering that compared with the younger consumer groups of lip glaze, the target consumers of lipstick have higher purchasing power and higher demand for products.
In fact, lip dryness caused by lipstick, especially matte lipstick, has always been a difficult point for beauty brands to overcome. Lynsey Alexander admits that as a lover of retro red lips, she used to have to endure chapped lips almost all the time, but Prada lipstick brought the opposite experience.
Although it is called matte lipstick, Prada lipstick has a unique soft and fuzzy matte lipstick texture due to the addition of Bifidobacterium extract and Jojoba oil, supplemented by high-tech technology to create a frosting texture. While nourishing the lips, it reflects a faint luster similar to Prada’s iconic recycled nylon.
From color matching logic to texture research and development, the product strength of Prada lipstick can be seen from this. In the seemingly colorful makeup market, only the core products can impress the increasingly rational consumers in China.
Prada Beauty, which successfully opened the market through lipstick, launched a brand-new Prada lipstick deconstruction nude series at the end of December, starting from nude brown, introducing four variable colors: plain soft powder, contrast reddish, deep rose purple and flexible earth color, thus forming a very layered color aesthetics. It is worth noting that the B107 naked brown in the new color has been shown out of stock in Tmall flagship store.
At the same time, Prada Beauty also announced actress Andy as the spokesperson of Prada makeup and perfume, and released lipstick blockbusters and series of short films performed by her. With the help of the star effect, Prada Beauty is continuously expanding its share in the China market.
Prada Beauty announced actor Andy as the spokesperson of Prada makeup and perfume.
It is reported that Prada Beauty Cosmetics held "Prada Speculative Aesthetics — — Special creative meeting ",Lynsey Alexander, the global creative makeup artist of PRADA Beauty, as a special guest of this creative meeting, started an aesthetic dialogue with professionals. Dr Xavier MARAT, skin regeneration laboratory of L ‘Oré al R&D and Innovation Center (French headquarters), also introduced the cutting-edge technology of brand skin care at the creative meeting. This is an important and complete appearance of Prada Beauty in China market after the perfume was released last year.
With the growth of the overall luxury market slowing down, it has become an industry consensus to build a diversified income structure. Thanks to its status as a cash cow, beauty cosmetics have once again become the focus of high-level brand attention.
In recent years, it is not uncommon for luxury goods group giants to set up beauty departments, or luxury brands to enter the beauty industry. However, it is rare for brands to break into this category in a real sense and shake the original pattern. Prada is one of them.
The success of Prada has revealed three new ideas for the operation of luxury beauty brands, namely, creativity first, technology empowerment and sustainable development.
First of all, in terms of creativity, the integrity of the aesthetic system has been raised to an unprecedented height, which is different from the narrative of luxury brands and authorized perfume beauty brands in the past.
For most luxury brands that authorize the beauty business to the professional beauty group, it is necessary to keep the beauty business matching with the brand image at all times, get inspiration from the fashion business, and strengthen the connection between products and core brand assets to solve the problem that the beauty business is out of touch with the brand story.
The practice of Prada beauty cosmetics provides a reference answer to this question to some extent. From simple packaging, the extensive use of the brand’s iconic triangle elements to the product concept that emphasizes speculation and innovation, Prada beauty products are highly consistent with the brand’s ready-to-wear line.
It is reported that Prada’s beauty products all use its brand-name fragrances, such as mustard flower, vanilla and iris flower, and the fragrance type is created by Daniela Andrier, the perfumer of Prada Watermark private perfume series.
The design of Prada lipstick is undoubtedly a benchmark example that closely follows the brand gene and continues its aesthetic system. In addition to the metal shell that echoes the avant-garde style of the brand, the triangular cut at the top of the paste, the Saffiano cross pattern engraved on the paste and the texture of the Re-Nylon recycled nylon fabric all come from Prada’s past iconic design.
When talking about the color creation of Prada Beauty, Lynsey Alexander said that the team reviewed as many as 27,000 kinds of pattern prints in the brand archives, and got the inspiration of TINT, and even directly extracted a series as a prototype to form a palette. This also explains why brown, a symbol of everyday classics, becomes the background color of Prada lipstick.
However, under the seemingly harmonious and conservative main color, there are imperceptible conflicts and rebellions. In the article "How to Understand Prada" written by WeChat official account LADYMAX, the author Tang Shuang once wrote that Pradism is rich and complex, with multiple levels, and even often fights with the accustomed aesthetics, constantly overlapping levels outside the solid base, reflecting vivid and interesting different personalities.
In Lynsey Alexander’s view, the unexpected purple, orange or green in the eye shadow tray is the embodiment of this complexity. They not only add interest to the classic elements, but also release free space for improvisation, encouraging consumers to go out of the comfort zone and explore new possibilities, even if they are contrary to daily aesthetics.
Prada Beauty held "Prada Speculative Aesthetics — — Special creative meeting "
"I think this is Prada’s philosophy, and there is no specific restriction on something." Lynsey Alexander’s understanding of Prada is largely due to her frequent meetings with Miuccia Prada, the current creative director of Prada. High-intensity communication ensures the relevance of beauty categories and brand themes, as well as the consistency of information conveyed by products.
However, moderate exploration does not mean complete change. Unlike many top makeup artists, Lynsey Alexander is not keen on changing a person’s own style. Accidents can be used as embellishments, but they cannot be the "main course". For her, people’s own sense of existence must be greater than makeup, and their own style cannot be erased by cosmetics.
This people-oriented concept has also been injected into the design of Prada beauty by Lynsey Alexander, emphasizing the preservation of personal characteristics, breaking through the traditional beauty thinking and becoming a reflection of the "speculative aesthetics" system.
Taking the foundation as an example, she believes that different from other liquid foundations that completely cover the skin, the foundation products of Prada beauty cosmetics should reveal the true beauty and take the amplification of natural beauty as the core concept.
In fact, this is in line with the global beauty trend. After the pursuit of tanning in the western market and the mainstream aesthetics of whitening in the east, the makeup trend with natural skin color as the core has risen. On social media in China, the popularity of keywords such as "plain water makeup" and "nude makeup" also confirmed this trend.
In addition to reshaping the thinking of beauty through creativity, the second important lever for Prada to pry open beauty is technology.
Lynsey Alexander admits that the competitiveness of beauty brands ultimately comes from technological innovation, and research and development often needs to rely on beauty giants with absolute advantages in resources such as laboratories and researchers. In 2019, Prada signed a long-term license agreement with L ‘Oré al Group, which came into effect in 2021. The latter was licensed to create, develop and sell high-end beauty products for Prada.
"The support of the big group provides a strong backing for the research and development of Prada beauty." For example, Lynsey Alexander said that the laboratory has tried many times to modulate a color between yellow and green, so as to ensure the accurate transmission of the emotional narrative that the overall color matching wants to express, and any lack of expressiveness will not be compromised.
Not only that, Prada’s reflection on the boundary between makeup and skin care is also obvious. Lynsey Alexander believes that the era when makeup has become a burden on the skin has passed, and makeup will gradually approach skin care. By injecting skin care ingredients into make-up, Prada Beauty has introduced products such as lipstick and eye shadow containing moisturizing factors, and promoted the blurring of the boundary between them with innovative technology.
The support of large groups has provided a strong backing for the research and development of Prada beauty cosmetics.
The active cream, which marks Prada’s ambition in the field of high-end beauty, also reflects the brand’s strong strength in product research and development by introducing a new skin care concept called "active".
According to reports, the day and night two-in-one cream formula contains the cutting-edge technology of "muscle comes from fitness" which has been developed for more than three years, accurately compounding three major components: 18% boson, 2% vitamin CG and 0.175% ceramide NP, so as to promote the progressive regeneration of collagen layer by layer and rejuvenate the skin in time.
In addition to creativity and technology, Prada Beauty also promotes sustainable development to a rare height in the industry as an important part of the triple operation idea. If creativity and technology are used as leverage to help Prada beauty break through the tight encirclement and determine its top line, then a responsible attitude is to create a solid bottom line for the series.
This is also the embodiment of the overall strategy of Prada Group, which has taken the concept of sustainable development as an important starting point in fashion, jewelry and corporate governance in recent years.
Reflected in the beauty series, not only in the design and packaging process, strict control of packaging materials, use of recyclable plastics, promotion of sustainable replacement packaging, but also traced back to the product formula. Take Prada Active Cream as an example. This iconic product follows a sustainable formulation process from raw material procurement to ingredient extraction, and does not contain raw materials from petrochemical industry. The replaceable supplementary design can save 86% of material consumption compared with repurchasing formal products.
But more importantly, as a brand that leads the market, the sustainable development of brands in all fields now not only depends on the improvement of their own technical practice, but also needs to guide consumers to adopt a longer-term thinking mode through product concepts with the help of brand appeal, and promote changes from both ends of the consumption chain at the same time.
In fact, many inspiring ideas implied in Prada’s first beauty collection can indirectly benefit sustainable development.
Dr Xavier MARAT, skin regeneration laboratory of L ‘Oré al R&D and Innovation Center, said at the creation meeting that "initiative" has a corresponding concept in the context of China, that is, "preemption" to prolong the healthy state of skin. It is often more efficient to intervene in layout in advance than to react passively to aging signals, especially in the field of skin care.
For example, before mixing the color of liquid foundation, Prada Beauty scanned 3,000 faces and their skin colors from different regions and races around the world. On the one hand, it can cover and understand the largest range of consumers, but on the other hand, it can be sorted and extracted into limited color numbers with the help of AI technology through dynamic filtering and other scientific and technological means, without causing excessive product quantity and inventory waste.
From fashion to fine jewelry to beauty cosmetics, the launch of beauty cosmetics series continues to complete Prada’s story, and also continues Prada’s ability to reconcile seemingly contradictory concepts such as art and commerce, elegance and popularity, idealism and consumer society and reality at any time. For brands that accurately balance the proportions, beauty is undoubtedly the freest palette and playground.
Release creativity, make good use of technology, and a responsible attitude, which are nested in a ring and become the golden triangle of Prada beauty.
There are still dark horses in the most crowded beauty market.
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