Artist collaborations: Make your cosmetics pack a masterpiece

By Julia Wray | Published: 4-Apr-2022

Teaming up with a visionary on limited-edition beauty packaging brings multiple benefits. But is it best to bolster your brand DNA, or step outside of your comfort zone?

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From the Art Deco stylings of Charlotte Tilbury to Rouge Louboutin’s stiletto spike, the design of beauty packaging has long interweaved with the worlds of art, fashion and architecture. While such examples display their heritage 365 days a year, it is possible for cosmetics brands to dabble in art on a less permanent basis – and the number of artists who’ve worked on limited-edition visuals for the cosmetics industry is extensive.

Recent collaborations include last year’s Lisa Congdon x Method collection, a team-up built to inspire creativity and optimism, and Ciaté London’s work with graffiti artist André Saraiva on the Smiley 50th anniversary palette, which launched in February. Ciaté worked with the Smiley team to capture Saraiva’s design as an eyeshadow palette and carton, featuring pink and orange ombre, as well as white paint splatters to give a ‘graffiti’ look.

Perhaps inspired by pioneers like MAC’s Viva Glam – whose work with creatives (including its new range for the late Keith Haring) raises money for the MAC AIDS Fund – beauty’s relationship with art is increasingly channelled towards championing social or philanthropic causes.

Already this year, Procter & Gamble’s Olay Body launched the Fearless Artist Series, a collection of body washes featuring bottle artwork by African American artist Avery Williamson. The range is aimed at increasing the representation and visibility of products designed for women of colour, and champions the diversity of women in STEAM (an acronym that inserts art into the usual science, technology, engineering and maths).

US skin care label Loum Beauty, meanwhile, teamed up with Instagram artist Beth Evans in October to launch limited-edition packaging for World Mental Health Day; Evans’ mood character ‘blob’ appeared on the pack for Loum’s Tranquil Radiance Nutrient Mask to raise awareness.

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