Before Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz had even toyed with the idea of collaborating with a cosmetics brand, his fate was sealed. "I knew that eventually Alber would work with a cosmetics company, and so I told him, 'If you do something with someone else, I will kill you,'" Lancome president Youcef S. Nabi, who is a close friend of Elbaz, told W magazine with a laugh. "I really wasn't kidding."
And because of Nabi's persistence, the beauty world will welcome Elbaz's ultra-luxe quad of mascaras on June 15. "Eyes are so important to me," Elbaz said. "When I think of cosmetics, I think of eyes. For Lancome, I wanted to do something funny and a little handmade." Building from these ideas, Elbaz created whimsical cartoon packaging for four of Lancome's mascaras: hearts for Hypnose Doll Lashes, blue stars for Hypnose Star, pink polka dots for Hypnose Drama, and big doe eyes for the classic Définicils. "I'm hoping women will collect all four," Nabi said.
Beyond the line of mascaras, Elbaz is slated to conjure up a set of eye shadow boxes but has no far-reaching plans with Lancome. "We'll do this project and see how it works," Elbaz said. The designer is hesitant about expanding and diluting his brand, which explains why he has never designed a secondary, less expensive line. Partnerships are also a rare affair; he never collaborates unless it makes creative sense.
His collaboration with Lancome, however, will no doubt further prove his love affair with women. "I adore women," said Elbaz, who also appreciates that being a woman today isn't always easy. "Women try to be the best everywhere, and it's impossible. I want my clothes to give women the freedom to just be — I want them to put on my dresses and shine." C'est parfait, non?