With so many makeup lines competing for our attention, how does a new collection distinguish itself and captivate us? Simply by being true to its roots and playing to its strengths. That’s what the luxury brand Burberry— famed for its timeless, iconic check trench coats and urbane-cool aesthetic— has done with its new makeup line, Burberry Beauty.
Other than fragrances, this is the company’s first foray into the lucrative cosmetics market. Based on soft natural tones and stormy hues, the line consists of 96 products for eyes, cheeks, lips and skin. Similar to the Burberry style philosophy, which runs through the clothing and accessory lines, Burberry Beauty exudes a classic, subtle and luxe feel, from its covetable metallic Burberrycheck packaging to the makeup inside. The entire collection is sophisticated and eminently wearable—without a speck of glitter or sparkle—for grown-up women of all ages.
Christopher Bailey, creative director for Burberry, explains that the makeup line, which took 2 1/2 years to develop, was born of his desire to extend the Burberry ethos from head to toe. “It started because I felt that the whole [Burberry] style is epitomized in our shoes, bags, clothes and accessories, but the face is one thing I’ve always struggled with,” he explains. “When we were doing makeup for the catwalk shows, I always felt that we weren’t able to get the right Burberry attitude—I wanted it to be this kind of effortless elegance.”
That same mood is captured in the ad campaign, which was shot by celebrated photographer Mario Testino and features English models Lily Donaldson, Nina Porter and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. With their own individual looks, the three muses portray what Bailey is fond of calling the “Burberry girl.” “This is a woman who has this dishevelled elegance,” he explains. “She is incredibly elegant, but she is also very easy and comfortable with herself.”
Since joining Burberry in 2001, Bailey has reinvigorated and modernized this quintessentially British brand. ELLE chatted with him about his inspiration and vision for Burberry Beauty.
What sets Burberry Beauty apart from other makeup collections?
Burberry Beauty is really about creating a subtle layer between you and the elements. It’s evocative of the trench coat, which is an easy piece that cocoons you and makes you feel safe and protected. We also wanted Burberry Beauty to reflect the same attitude as the Burberry girl, which is very relaxed and easy.
The colours are so subtle and very wearable. Why did you choose these particular shades?
The colours are reflective of everything that belongs to the Burberry world. The nude and natural tones of the trench coat form the base of the whole collection. Added to that, we have these stormy, cloudy, misty and hazysunny-weather shades too. Weather is a big part of Burberry, and we reflected that in these smoky colours and beautiful deep blues and purples.
The packaging is chic and stylish. What was the inspiration behind its design?
The makeup packaging, which is very luxurious and tactile, is a hugely important part of the experience. It’s based on the idea of a trench coat wrapping around this jewel of a box that is embossed with the signature Burberry check.
Tell us why you chose these models for the campaign.
Lily Donaldson is a true English beauty, Nina Porter has a bit of a boyish edge and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is very sexy and sultry.
How would you describe the concept of Burberry Beauty?
I would describe it as effortless elegance yet sophisticated and relaxed at the same time.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.