As you all may have heard, Bobbi Brown is turning the page on 25 years of her career by leaving her cosmetics brand.
The owner of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Estée Lauder Companies Inc., said Monday that Brown will be leaving the company by the end of the year. Peter Lichtenthal, global brand president, will continue to oversee the business.
Lenny by Lena Dunham managed an interview with the makeup icon back in July, and they talk to her about her cosmetic business evolution throughout they years and what made her keep to preserving the more natural look of the beauty industry:
Bobbi Brown is one of the most recognizable names in the beauty industry. You probably own some of her beauty products in their minimalist black packaging, emblazoned with Bobbi’s name in its signature font. Or you’ve at least stopped by her aisle at a Sephora and gazed upon all the jars and compacts and sticks in every velvety skin tone imaginable. Hers is an empire built on following your instincts, regardless of how crazy they may seem to the people around you.
When Bobbi started out as a makeup artist in the ’80s, the trendy beauty look was over the top (as we all know from dressing up for one too many lazy Halloweens as “a person from the ’80s”). It involved as many colors as possible, intense rouging of the cheeks, and bright lipsticks — a lot of fuchsia and coral. Bobbi was not a fan of that excessive look, so she simply did not indulge in it. Instead, she stuck to her ideal of unadorned beauty and found success — see Naomi Campbell’s first-ever American Vogue cover, for which Bobbi did the makeup. She also started working with the photographer Brigitte Lacombe, who is known for portraits that capture subjects in natural light. By the ’90s, the artificial look went out of style, and a more stripped-back, bare version of beauty emerged, just in time for Bobbi to turn her aesthetic into a full-fledged business.
But the most important thing about Bobbi’s vision of beauty is that it is not defined by white, blue-eyed, blonde models. She did not see herself reflected in them when she was young, and when it was time to develop her makeup line, she was one of the first to go beyond “beige,” “peach,” and “tan” colors, offering alternatives for Asian and black skin tones. We spoke with Bobbi over the phone about tequila, making mistakes, and how turning down a dream job opened up the opportunity for her empire.