If you're a person who uses Instagram (and who, these days, isn't?) then you would have been aware of a social media frenzy on September 30 surrounding Pat McGrath and a lot of gold make-up.
That is because McGrath is launching a full make-up brand late next year - huge news in an industry of which she is at the top. This particular news has barely been mentioned though - instead, it's the debut product that's creating the buzz. Rather than bringing out a full line of make-up at once, McGrath wisely launched her Gold 001 pigment via an event in Paris in partnership with Instagram - painting the faces of models (who subsequently Instagrammed the looks from their own accounts) with the mysterious golden product. Some got a swoop of golden liner, some more gilded brows and others metallic lips like the ones she had created just days previously at Prada's spring/summer 2016 show using the product in question. And with that, a beauty buzz was born.
Officially unveiled in full today on the new Patmcgrathlabs.com site and available in a limited run of 1,000 from Thursday, the product is a bold, golden pigment, delivered alongside a spatula, a mixing liquid and a container in which to store it (you smash the pigment with the spatula to use it). McGrath describes the finish as, "liquid-like, a gilded glaze of intense colour… like pure metal, foil, gilding, brilliance."
The product is definitely interesting, but what is more interesting still is McGrath's launch approach. Long a fan of Instagram ("I've actually had to rein in my use of hashtags - there were too many!" she admitted to us,) she knows the power of interacting with her followers, and has been dutifully regramming #Gold001 inspired beauty looks daily (that's one hashtag she's certainly still using). McGrath (who boasts over 500,000 followers) is adopting the same wise tactics as New York brand Glossier before her - using social media to build a buzz and tease products to the extent that demand is at fever pitch before they're even revealed in full. Glossier played a trump card in sending sheets of kitsch stickers along with its products when it launched in 2014, encouraging customers to personalise and share pictures of their purchases and regramming a lucky few. Esteé Lauder is now adopting the same approach with Kendall Jenner, getting the social media star to debut her new campaigns for the brand on the social media site before they appear on television and in print. Several years ago this would have seemed an enormous risk for a global brand but today it's a no-brainer - after all, Jenner has over 39 million followers. And remember who did it first? Beyoncé, who in late 2013 launched a full secret album complete with videos, unveiled via a several-seconds-long Instagram teaser film. It's a way of maintaining control, creating a buzz amongst the same engaged audience who will be the ones making the purchases (after all, if they follow you it's for a reason), and cutting out the middle man.
"We're doing this in a very untraditional way," said McGrath in a statement. "With Pat McGrath Labs, I'm now able to bring innovation to the public almost instantly. When I used Gold 001 for the first time at Prada, the obsession began and everyone was asking me about it. So it's such a thrill for me now to be able to make it available just one month later."
The sales process is just as straightforwardly controlled by McGrath and her team: visit Patmcgrathlabs.com; sign up for the waiting list; cross your fingers and then at 12pm on Thursday if you're lucky, you will swap your $40 for a sequin-filled gold package to arrive on your doorstep.
As she told us back in early October: "I was never going to do this the ordinary way". When you're Pat McGrath and you want to launch a make-up product you have the clout - and crucially the Instagram presence - to do it how you want to do it. Instead of going down the months-long route of press releases, department-store launches and previews, we all saw the Gold 001 launch in real time on Instagram. And it had to be Instagram. The celebrity social media platform of choice not only appeals to beauty and fashion fans due to its focus on aesthetics rather than link potential (the only place you can add clickable links on Instagram is in your "bio", rather than on individual posts), but it has also signed up ex Lucky editor Eva Chen as head of fashion partnerships - an undeniably shrewd move. McGrath knows that Instagram is the place that her fans now go to see her catwalk beauty creations first, and has seen her followers rack up as she diligently posts shots of each look as soon as the models hit the catwalk.
But what's next for Pat McGrath Labs? What will the next product launch be? We don't know yet - but we can be sure we'll find out about it on Instagram first.
[By Lisa Niven] [Read More] [From Vogue.co.uk] [Images From Vogue.co.uk]