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From Clothing Geniuses to Cosmetic Giants

This season, three designers blow a kiss to the beauty business—and everyone’s swooning

From season to season, designers choose beauty looks to compliment their runway fare—it’s jade cat-eyes one show and tangerine nails the next. For the most part, they don’t actually get their hands dirty by creating—and branding—the powders, shadows, liners and polishes themselves. (The same can’t be said for perfume, though; designers have been architecting scents since Coco Chanel’s hit with Chanel No. 5.) But now, a trio of major designers—Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Jason Wu—are debuting namesake lines, all of which they promoted during Fashion Week.

Marc Jacobs Beauty, which is sold exclusively at Sephora and Jacobs’ own stores, is the biggest of the bunch at 120 products. In a recent video—tagline: “Boy Tested, Girl Approved”—Jacobs shows off his personal favorites: the cooling under-eye cover-up (Remedy Concealer), the brow gel (Brow Tamer), and the lip moisturizer (Lip Lock). “Those are my three essentials,” he says in the video. “The ones you can find in my trousse de toilette all of the time.”

Marc Jacobs makeup. Clockwise from left: Lip Gels in Surrender Dorothy and Roll the Dice, $30 each; the Magic Marker Precision Pen, $30; the Style Eye-Con No. 7 in Lolita, $59

Anyone looking for makeup-bag constants is most likely to go for the lipsticks, in shades from an orange-red (Surrender Dorothy) to raspberry (Roll the Dice); the super-black gel eyeliner (Magic Marc’er); or the many-option eye-shadow palettes (Style Eye-Con No. 7). “If everyone does theirs in five or six shades, let’s make ours seven!” Jacobs wrote in a note during the line’s development.

Michael Kors’ new beauty line, on the other hand, doesn’t include any eye makeup at all (or foundation, for that matter). Kors, whose cosmetics were developed with Estée Lauder and are sold exclusively at Macy’s, preferred to focus on beauty’s most fashion-like quality: “Your concealer isn’t going to change,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “But your lip color, your nails—those are more ‘fashion’ beauty. They instantly show off your personality and your mood. They help you express yourself. They’re the fun part.”

Michael Kors beauty. From left: Leg Shine, $32; Sporty fragrance, $50

Kors’ products are grouped into three collections, named for the different moods that might strike a woman while she’s standing in front of her closet deciding what to wear: sporty, sexy and glam. Along with lipsticks and glosses, nail lacquers and bronzing powders, Kors also has new body-care products, like a bronzing stick for the legs (Leg Shine), and three new fragrances (called Sporty, Sexy and Glam, of course). All of his beauty products, fittingly, are unfussy enough for the charming, romantic spring clothing he showed on September 10 in New York.

Jason Wu beauty. From left: Nail lacquer in Madame Tulip; eye palette in Violet Streak

Jason Wu’s makeup line is the smallest of the three, with only 15 products—it’s also the only one that’s limited-edition. The designer, who’s best known for designing both of Michelle Obama’s inaugural gowns, collaborated with Lancôme on a classic but boldly colored lineup, which includes a navy blue mascara, nail lacquers in rose and red and an eye shadow palette featuring a mesmerizing violet-blue color that his models wore in his fall 2013 presentation. After beauty editors fell hard for it, expect to see it on many chic women this month. After all, a girl can now wear literally wear head-to-toe (or eyelids-to-toenails, say) Jason Wu…or Marc Jacobs…or Michael Kors.


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Main image by Christine Blackburne