PARIS — Eager to bring his beauty products to a broader audience, Christian Louboutin has signed a licensing agreement with Spain’s Puig, WWD has learned.
An announcement is expected as early as today.
“It’s a family business: They share the same vision,” said Alexis Mourot, Louboutin’s group chief operating officer and general manager, saying the licensing deal — the company’s first — would allow it to take its beauty business “to the next level.”
He noted that there are still wide swaths of geography to conquer — including China, Latin America and many countries in Europe, including Spain — and that Puig would help it achieve much broader distribution.
Mourot downplayed the likelihood of rapid category expansion, as Louboutin’s range already includes products for nails, lips and eyes, plus perfumes.
The footwear guru introduced $50 nail polishes, housed in pointy bottles, in 2014 after he set a joint venture with New York-based Batallure Beauty in 2013.
“This is the launch of a true luxury beauty company,” Robin Burns-McNeill, chairman of Batallure Beauty and cofounder of Christian Louboutin Beauté, said at the time.
When the deal was made, Louboutin said several parties had approached him about potential beauty ventures, given that his scarlet signature soles could translate easily into lipstick, nail polish and the like.
He noted the idea was also “in the air” with a so-called Louboutin Manicure entering the modern parlance thanks to a few enterprising London salons that painted red the underside of nails.
He spied direct links to his sexy, high-heeled designs.
Mourot said the joint venture with Batallure effectively established the brand image and prestige, and now it needs more distribution muscle.
After Christian Louboutin Beauté debuted with nail polishes he introduced 38 lipsticks a year later. In 2016, the high-pigmented lipstick Loubilaque and a trio of fragrances hit the market.
Louboutin launched a fourth beauty category in March 2017, a makeup collection for eyes, including a $75 liquid eyeliner and a $70 mascara, called Lash Amplifying Lacquer. The four-product, eye-centric color-cosmetics collection bowed with very tight distribution of about 40 points of sale globally.
Christian Louboutin Beauté has expanded internationally, most recently opening a corner in Milan’s Rinascente department store, its second Italian unit, in February.
The Spanish beauty and fashion company has recently been acquiring and investing in niche brands — red-hot market commodities these days — such as Granado. In September 2016, Puig took a minority stake in the Brazilian high-end beauty maker and retailer, to help bolster the brand’s growth at home and abroad.
Puig’s net profit for 2016 rose 23 percent versus 2015 to 155 million euros ($189 million). Company sales in the period gained 9 percent to 1.79 billion euros ($2.18 billion).