Overhyped: NARS Andy Warhol Collection

Sometimes you see a product in the blogosphere and you wonder why everyone is getting so worked up over it.  Usually they are limited special editions.  Other times, it’s a collaboration that will not be duplicated.  Or a collection inspired by another (imaginery, real, living, dead).

Enter Nars Andy Warhol collection.

Now, I am not a Andy Warhol fan.  I get why his stuff is so important, especially in these mad, mad, 15 minutes of fame, reality tv days.  His work defined and mirrored the emerging modern pop culture world.  I get it, even though I am not that into it.

For Andy Warhol fans, I am sure getting any limited edition, cross-branded product would be amazing.  A chance to own a bit of the artist you enjoy.  For the most extreme of cosmetic collecting junkies – I suppose the allure of a limited edition artistic palette is strong.

So, let’s talk about the NARS Andy Warhol collection.

I find the colors not very attractive, or useable.  I find the art palettes not attractive at all.  The pigment is patchy and kind of sher while the glitter ROCKS are out of control.  So ,why is everyone going all gaga over it?  Mark my words, these palettes will end up in BLOGSALES internationally!  Lightly swatched, of course.

I consider the overhyped nature of this limited edition launch the result of the NARS marketing and branding team, who are brilliant, and beauty bloggers delight over novelty.  NARS has a cool modern edge to it that many other cosmetic lines don’t have.  A lot of it has to do with the still living and involved creator of the brand, currently owned by Shiseido, Francois Nars.  Black clothes /white shirt- check.  Plastic black frame glasses – check.  Black hair with bangs- check.  Described as mild mannered, quiet, and artistic, this is a cool kid who hangs out with all the other arty cool kids.  Photographer, makeup artist, and now creator of a cosmetic/skincare line.  Of course you want to buy his stuff!

Personally, the products I have most enjoyed from NARS were the photography makeup books.  I loved looking at the bare faces of the models, and then seeing how they were transformed with NARS products.  If NARS continued to produce these books to highlight new collection launches, I would be game.  But other than that,  NARS doesn’t have the same appeal it used to have when I was far more limited in my exposure to other cosmetic brands.  I have owned just under a dozen NARS products in my life and I can’t say they have been the BEST when it comes to formulation or packaging, although they sure do look cool tumbling out of a makeup bag.  As a matter of fact, despite the sophisticated aesthetic of the black rubber packaging with the cool white, narrow sans serif typeface – I absolutely cannot stand how easily dirty and broken the packaging becomes.  I am not a fan of how glittery the blushes are.  Also, despite the dry-ish texture that helps matte lipsticks stay on my lips (which I like), these are not the best feeling lipsticks out there.  The blush/bronzer sticks are kind of thinly dry-creamy with some  uneven rough particles.

Then you have many bloggers raving about NARS.  This is a matter of preference and a difference of opinion.  However, the overwhelming love bloggers give to NARS is kind of irritating.  Is NARS single-handedly distributing these suckers as PR samples?  Has the cool kid factor taken over the senses of beauty bloggers?  This isn’t to say that NARS is a bad brand, because it is not.  It is on par with many other solid brands.  However, there are actually many other unsung brands that should get more blogging love.  Becca Cosmetics, Origins, Kevyn Aucoin, Make Up Forever Cosmetics, Vapour Cosmetics are brands that need more blogging press.  Ok, Becca Cosmetics is actually getting there.  They may start irritating me too…just kidding!

So, let us look at the underlying reasons why some bloggers may love NARS, aside from having an actual appreciation for the products themselves, unaided by intangible aspects:

NARS offers novelty with all of the seasonal launches of new fashion shades and products.  Novelty keeps this brand fresh and in the faces of beauty bloggers world round.  Other brands are not introducing new fashion colors the way NARS, or even MAC does, which limits their exposure to potential new fans, who may discover something else in the brand they like.  So, I think these limited edition color products are no more than hooks for new fans to explore the core of the brand – their bread and butter.  NARS wants to sell another “Orgasm” or “G-Spot.”  Teehee.  This also makes me question the quality and time used to produce these limited edition collections.  Who cares if it’s not the most flattering color, if the formulation is a little too patchy – we got a set of brand new eyes to check out out core line. 

NARS offers an attractive price point for upper middle income buyers, or those who aspire to be one.  Brands like Guerlain, Tom Ford Beauty, Cle De Peau, and By Terry have incredibly high price points, which makes stockpiling these items, unless you are loaded, kind of nuts.  NARS is just expensive enough to publicly state your “sophistication” in the makeup world, but not so expensive that you wouldn’t feel comfortable stockpiling it. 

NARS ownership identifies the owner as part of a group with a certain branded sensibility.  NARS has done an incredible job of branding their product so that mere ownership signals something to the buyer and to others who may not own it.  This is actually pretty brilliant because the creator, Francois Nars, has successfully imbued the brand with his own “personal” brand, much the same way a successful fashion designer captures their own personality and design aesthetic into a signature collection that defines the brand beyond future collections, or even the need for direct involvement of the creator. 

You know, I had set out to explain what it is that irritates me about the blogging love that NARS Andy Warhol Collection is receiving, not really knowing where this post would go, but it is totally connected to SUSHI.  Huh?  Yes, sushi.  You see I hate seafood.  Therefore, I do not eat sushi.  However, sushi has become the young, urban “sophisticates” defacto eating out marker for being “in.”  Or being pretentious.  One thing to like sushi and to love to eat it all the time.  Another to eat it because EVERYONE ELSE IS.  That’s how I feel about NARS and the Andy Warhol Collection.  It’s not really about liking the product that much, it is what it says about you for having it.  It is the hipster of the cosmetic world.  No thought required, no preference necessary – you get it and it says something about you.

It is probably unfair to feel like this about NARS and the Andy Warhol Collection.  Funnier still that it DOESN’T mean that I won’t buy NARS cosmetics because I do find some of their fashion colors incredibly unique and flattering, and I am as suckered by the modern coolness this brand imparts. 

Do not think I have not contemplated the weirdness of being irritated by the blogging love a cosmetic brand can get like it’s personal.



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