"French girl"-inspired beauty has long been a driving force of the cosmetics industry. And for what just may be the most on-the-nose "French girl beauty" collaboration ever, Lancôme has partnered with the Louvre — yes, the iconic art museum in the heart of Paris — for its latest collection.
The six-piece, limited-edition offering features some of the brand's existing best-sellers, as well as new products, housed in Louvre-inspired packaging. The popular Advanced Génifique Serum is repackaged in a bottle that draws from the Goddess Hygie; each of the four shades of L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick comes clad in packaging referencing a Louvre muse: Sleeping Hermaphrodite, Diane de Gabies, Nymph Echo and Nymph with a scorpion.
A standout is the Richelieu Wing eye shadow palette, which comprises five brand-new shimmer shades, all of which connect to show an embossed rendering of the sculpture of the Greek poet Corine. The shadows themselves are inspired by the lights that reflect through the Louvre's Richelieu Gallery, each shade named after a different area: Richelieu Galerie Light (a muted gold tone), Cour Carrée Copper Light (a rusty bronze), Cour Marly Marble (a two-tone swirl of white and yellow gold) and Royal Palace Pink (a dusty rose gold); the only non-neutral pigment (a glittery, cool-toned emerald green) is named after The Cour Puget, a ceiling window that overlooks the plant-filled courtyard housing garden sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries.
"[This palette is] very much about [Corine's] struggles, because at that time, you couldn't be a genius and a woman," said makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, who also serves as Lancôme's Makeup Creative Director, in a statement. "These days, [women] can take agency over our own choices and our own appearance. One day, you can decide to paint on a colorful mouth; the next day, you might decide not to wear makeup at all. It might not sound revolutionary, but trust me, it is."
Beyond releasing undeniably holiday-ready shimmers, the Lancôme and Louvre teams entered this collaboration with a larger intention: to reposition the spotlight traditionally put on male artists onto the women who inspired them, according to Rachelle Mladjenovic, Lancôme's head of marketing.
"There's a lot of tragedy in art pieces, and we wanted to represent the good stories of women," she tells Fashionista. "When we read the profiles of the women who inspired these statues, we instantly said, 'She's a Lancôme girl.' We didn't want to just pick the most famous [artist] or the most well-known [muse], we wanted to pick the most powerful."
The beauty brand tapped its roster of celebrity spokespeople — the women representing what it means to be a "Lancôme girl" today — to star in the collection's artful campaign, each paired with a specific sculpture housed in the Louvre.
Zendaya embodies the Goddess of Victory, Samothrace, by mirroring the outspread wings of the famed Greek statue with her billowing dress. "To me, her posture demonstrates a confident and victorious woman," the actor, who first became an ambassador for the brand in 2019, said, in a press release. "A powerful symbol of achievement. And that's what true beauty is: drawing on our own story to give ourselves wings, a way to empower ourselves."
He Cong is linked with the Venus de Milo, Goddess of love or of the sea. Aya Nakamura appears alongside the aforementioned Greek poet Corine. Amanda Seyfried, meawhile, poses next to Diana of Gabies, Goddess of the moon or the hunt.
"When you face Diane, you're first struck by her beauty — delicate, yes, but under her appearance: powerful," Seyfried said, in a press release. "The more you look, the more you see that she’s a wild goddess. Fierce, fearless. Claiming her own independence. That's where her beauty comes from."
By joining forces, both institutions hope to inspire a new generation of museum-goers.
"Something that the Louvre team mentioned was how the clip of Beyoncé's ["Apeshit"] music video, which takes place in the museum, brought light to the Portrait of Madeleine," says Mladjenovic. "Now, it's one of the most visited art pieces... I'm not saying that we're Beyoncé or Jay-Z, but part of our purpose was also to bring light to art that maybe doesn't get the most visitors."
"Beyond even the limited editions that we've created, I hope people see the content we've created, and it starts a conversation on beauty," she adds. "Maybe the next time someone comes to Paris, they visit the Louvre or go online to learn more. We just hope that we've depicted beauty in a multitude of ways that show that power comes from within."
The Lancôme x Louvre collection will be available at lancome-usa.com and via Lancôme counters at Macy's, Dillard's, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's starting Sept. 1.
Lancôme x Louvre L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in Celestial Rose, $35, available here
Lancôme x Louvre L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in French Drama, $35, available here
Lancôme x Louvre L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in French Tea, $35, available here
Lancôme x Louvre L'Absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in French Touch, $35, available here
Lancôme x Louvre Richelieu Wing Palette, $89, available here
Lancôme x Louvre Advanced Génifique Serum, $88, available here
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