Urban Decay to launch new Naked palette

Next Friday, American cosmetics company Urban Decay will be launching its blockbuster Naked On The Run face palette.

Priced at $85 and available at Sephora stores, it contains five neutral eyeshadows in shimmer, pearlescent and matte textures; a bronzer, blusher and highlighter; as well as a jet black mascara, deep brown eyeliner and rose pink lipgloss. Almost all shades in this handy travel kit are new.

Says Ms Wende Zomnir, the co-founder and chief creative officer of the brand, in an exclusive e-mail interview with Urban: "I'm always travelling and sometimes forget to pack something.

"So I wanted a kit that was fool-proof, and Naked On The Run was born."

The Naked series was first launched with an eyeshadow palette in 2010. It contained 12 complementary neutral shades that enhance one's natural features.

"I created Naked because I wanted a collection of easy-to-wear shades at my fingertips," adds Ms Zomnir. The palette turned out to be something many other women wanted too, and it soon became a best-seller.

Since then, four more Naked eyeshadow palettes have been launched. The shades in Naked 2 are generally warmer than the first palette, while the Naked 3 shades are based on rose gold.

There are also the Naked Basics and Naked 2 Basics, which comprise six pared-down matte neutral shades each.

The Naked palettes are so successful - the brand claims one is sold every five seconds - that Urban Decay has spun off an entire Naked collection of foundations, beauty balms, blushers, eyeliners and lipglosses.

Not to mention the countless copycat neutral palettes from other labels that are hoping to tap on the brand's success.

It would not be wrong, however, to say the popularity of the Naked collection is ironic.

Urban Decay was launched in 1996 because Ms Zomnir and the brand's other co-founder Sandy Lerner were looking for bold colours as an alternative to the boring beige, pink and red shades in the market.

One of their first products was Acid Rain, a greenish- yellow gold eyeshadow; and Oil Slick, a sparkly charcoal nail polish. The grungy colours made Urban Decay a hit with the goth crowd of the 1990s.

Urban Decay, a make-up artist favourite, still offers some of the brightest eyeshadow, eyeliner and nail enamel shades in crazy green, yellow and blue, as well as the deepest blacks, such as those packed in the Vice and Electric shadow palettes.

So why the focus on neutral shades?

"The Naked palettes work for all women and for any occasion. I think that's why these do so well. A naked eye is timeless and always on trend."

"While we have a wide offering of bold colour choices too, these palettes contain shadows that look amazing on everyone," says Ms Zomnir.

This intuition about what consumers want has long made Urban Decay a desirable target for conglomerates.

In 2000, the brand was bought over by French luxury giant Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton and sold to duty-free company The Falic Group two years later. Private-equity firm Castanea Partners bought it over in 2009.

In 2012, L'Oreal reportedly paid around US$350 million for it.

Today, Urban Decay is stocked in 16 markets, including the United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

Although the brand is now owned by one of the world's largest cosmetics company, Ms Zomnir says L'Oreal lets them "do our thing because they know that's what works for us".

Her role has not changed much since Day One.

"I'm actively involved in every part of keeping Urban Decay as one of the hippest, most aggressive niche players in the make-up world."

And so far, so good.

gladysc@sph.com.sg

The first two customers in the queue at Sephora Ion to purchase the Naked On The Run palette next Friday (Dec 5) at 6pm will receive a Naked Vault filled with a dozen Naked products worth more than $550.

The first 100 to buy Naked On The Run at Sephora Ion will get a deluxe sample of the Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

EXPERT TIPS

Like a true beauty junkie - Ms Wende Zomnir worked at an Elizabeth Arden counter for the free make-up in her college years - she is never short of useful make-up tips.

  • A little gold eyeshadow pressed onto a bright lip adds a highlight and interesting matte texture.
  • Sloppy mascara application that is smudged along the lash line can help you fake a smoky eye.
  • Apply the Eyeshadow Primer Potion on blemishes so the inflamed skin is velvety - not stretched and slick - so the concealer has something to stick to.

This article was first published on Nov 28, 2014. Get a copy of Urban, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.