Victoria Beckham’s sell-out Estée Lauder make-up collection is back for a second run with some new products as well as some cult comebacks. Here she talks Vogue online beauty editor Lisa Niven through the creation process, and explains why Nude Spice was the perfect name for her favourite new lipstick.
There are beauty collaborations that make an impact and there are beauty collaborations that don’t. And then there’s the Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder make-up collaboration, which won the hearts of beauty editors, customers and fans alike when it arrived in 2016 – exceeding expectations to such an extent that neither party could resist coming back for round two, which will launch on February 17.
“I was astonished and humbled by the feedback the collection received. Of course, I felt passionately from the outset that each and every product was brilliant, but you never know how it’s going to go,” Beckham told us earlier this week.
CREDIT: LACHLAN BAILEY
“Creating the first collection with Estée Lauder was the culmination of a long-held dream for me, so when we received such an overwhelmingly positive response from customers and retailers it made sense for us to revisit and develop the collaboration. We wanted to review it and look at what worked well – what do we need to fine-tune, where could we extend the range?”
Two completely new products will launch as part of a special phase-two collection, which offers both products created in response to customer feedback as well as a revival of the most popular launches from phase one. A new bronzer, Saffron Sun, joins the sell-out Java Sun shade from the first collection, whilst a nude lipstick called – wait for it – Nude Spice is a matt take on the classic neutral lip hue Beckham is so often spotted wearing herself. The products can be pre-ordered now.
“It’s a little tongue-in-cheek nod to my days as Posh Spice of course, but it’s also tied in to the theme of the whole collection – these rich and sumptuous spice-inspired shades of amber and saffron,” she said. “I think there are some beauty ‘looks’ that people associate with me – a smoky eye, a pale lip – so it was important that we spent time fine-tuning until we had an authentic-feeling product. I spend a lot of time with my customers in my stores and at events all over the world, and I really do listen to them. I have always taken on board what they want from their clothes, and now I am also learning what they want from their beauty products. After the launch of the first collection, we noted that some women would like to see a lighter, more golden shade of bronzer. So with this bring-back collection, we’ve added a new bronzer in Saffron Sun, which is really pretty.”
The returning bestsellers from the initial outing include the Highlighter in Modern Mercury and Eye Metals Eyeshadow in Bitter Clove, as well as the wildly popular Morning Aura Illuminating Crème. Estée Lauder doesn’t disclose its sales figures, but anyone who tried to get hold of a bottle of Morning Aura even hours after its release will assure you that it was only the very quickest off the mark that managed to get their hands on that particular glow-getter.
“Morning Aura is really quite a special product,” Beckham told us. “It gives the effect of an inner glow – a sort of halo of radiance, health and youthfulness, which can be quite elusive when you’re battling against a lack of sleep and a busy daily life!”
If there’s one person that knows the products as well as Beckham does herself its Sarah Creal, lead global partnership initiatives for Estée Lauder, who worked alongside the designer to formulate all of the products for both the first collection and this new phase.
“Morning Aura is just such a transformative product, and so luxurious to use. And everyone loves it. Ken Pavés [Victoria’s hairdresser] was saying to me the other day that using it feels like a really wonderful ritual. I mean, even David loves it,” she revealed. “And then the nude lip is just so Victoria. I always joke to her that her quest for nudes knows no bounds! She is very clear with her vision so working with her is a complex process in terms of getting things just right, but in a really good way. We’d try one sample and she’d say, ‘No that’s too mauve’, and another where she’d say, ‘That’s too nana’ – that’s one of her favourite criticisms – and then we got to a place where we were like, ‘OK, we did it’. It was a challenge, but a great challenge.”
And it seems to be Beckham’s very personal and thorough involvement with the production process that has contributed to making the collaboration such a success – much as her eponymous fashion label has become such a triumph due to her hard work, dedication and unwavering involvement at every step. At the 2013 Vogue Festival, Beckham described herself as a “perfectionist” and “probably a complete pain in the neck to work with” in reference to her company, but it’s likely that it’s this perfectionism that has led to both projects performing so well.
“Victoria really is super involved. We’d plan two-hour meetings to discuss the collection and they’d go on so much longer – once a meeting we had in London went on for six hours and I had to change the time of my flight back to the States! The thing is, she is the customer – these are the products she wears and that she felt were missing from what was out there,” Creal told us. “And she really cares about the end result being perfect. She likes to sit on the floor so that we can have all of the make-up spread out in front of us. One time we got the giggles so badly – we were sat on the floor with pretty much all of the make-up on. Like a different look on each eye, different colours on each lip… we just couldn’t stop laughing, but that’s how you have to test make-up!”
“I wanted to be involved in every aspect, from developing the pigments and textures, to choosing the weight and shape of the packaging,” Beckham added. “I have no shame in admitting that I love make-up! I’m a total beauty junkie, and always have been. I was constantly rifling through my mum’s make-up bag when I was little, and I loved nothing better than watching her getting ready to go out – putting her lipstick and eyeliner on. I like to celebrate being a woman – and for me, make-up is just a part of that. You know, I’m not a supermodel – I’m a working mother of four children – and sometimes I need a little bit of help from my make-up bag to make me feel ready to take on the world in the morning!”