Exchange funding for facial products
Blame it back then, but it looks like the big public birthday party trend has cooled its throws this year and has followed the path of the exciting big bag of goodies. Both were sadly absent from the social whirlwind in New York and elsewhere, and we can’t say that life in the city was better for it.
A new drift, at least the one exemplified by former hedge fund manager Julie Macklowe, could be to turn your birthday party into both a benefit and a product launch. Ms. Macklowe, as many who follow fashion magazines may know, recently left the world of finance for a world that some say prints money. It would be the cosmetics industry.
Ms Macklowe used her 34th birthday at The Box (where she says she also celebrated her 30th birthday) to showcase her new product line called VBeauty. There was also a charity component with VH-1 Save the Music, which helped provide the musical talents of Jamaican pop, rap and reggae singer Sean Paul. If the letter “V” was not enough for you, Rémy Martin V has also started as an alcohol sponsor.
It was nice to have the brand of alcohol, Ms. Macklowe said, “but it doesn’t really help with skin care.”
As for the charity, Ms Macklowe explained that when she started her new business, “social responsibility was very important. I think more companies should do it.” She chose a music beneficiary “because I was playing in a band when I was in school. The marching band, actually. I was playing the trombone, which almost made it worse.” Ms Macklowe agreed she might be the only marching band alumnus in the world to wear full-price dresses from fashion label Rodarte.
As for the skincare line, Ms Macklowe said its genesis had something to do with losing her toiletries on a trip to Europe. “I bought very expensive products in France and I broke into beehives,” she recalls. “I have super sensitive skin.” For others, it might mean going back to Neutrogena and Cetaphil a bit. For Ms. Macklowe, this gave her the idea of launching a new brand of lightweight, “modern”, “fragrance-free” products that were “upscale luxury” but also “affordable”. Its starter program, called “It Kit,” which, like the V in the title, said Ms. Macklowe, “should be your win over time,” includes five products, including a serum, cleanser, exfoliant and an eye cream.
“You can buy my entire line for $ 616,” Ms. Macklowe said. Please note its previous use of “affordable”. What do we know? We buy our shampoo from Target.
Ms. Macklowe sells the products at places like Bergdorf Goodman, the Webster in Miami, and Louis Boston. For the holiday season, Sibarthes Villas in St. Barts will be offering It Kits with villa rentals – great work, if you can get it – and Cos Bar will be testing the products in Aspen.
“Gstaad could be next year,” Ms. Macklowe said. “We never know.”
Ms Macklowe’s birthday party was populated by fashion designers like Eddie Borgo, Chris Benz, Zang Toi and Yigal Azrouel, as well as friends like publicist Alison Brod and her husband, Andy, CNN’s Alina Cho, Tom and Lori Florio and Lesley Schulhof. Ms Macklowe’s in-laws, Harry and Linda Macklowe, were also in attendance.
Mrs Macklowe was dressed in what she called “vintage Rodarte”: “Does that age me?” She asked – and Louis Vuitton shoes, “the ones Madonna wore.” She greeted the guests and pulled them into a small photographer’s pen with a step and a repeat, with the logos of the three brands being promoted.
Amy McFarland, former director of development for the New Yorkers for Children, confronted Ms. Macklowe.
“Your husband said I was dressed conservatively,” Ms. McFarland said of her simple black outfit. “I thought I was dressed like Julie Macklowe.”
“No, you are too conservative,” Ms. Macklowe said. It was one of those fashion jokes that doesn’t have to be a joke.
Meanwhile, Ms Macklowe’s husband Billy had previously wrapped a glowing purple bracelet announcing his wife’s company on his wrist. “You have to support the woman,” Macklowe explained.
Oh, is he also wearing his products? “Of course,” he said. “I wear eye cream. And sure enough, I saw a difference under my eyes.”
Write to Marshall Heyman at [email protected]
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