Christian Louboutin Beauty has launched its first major lipstick product in 8-years and at a more accessible price point than its $100 Rouge Louboutin franchise.
Introduced on Sunday, the new lipstick, called Rouge Stiletto, will sell for $60, in an aim to appeal to new, younger customers and encourage people to use the lipstick often. Lipstick accounts for 70% of the Puig-licensed business’s sales. Since 2015, the brand’s Rouge Louboutin formula has been improved and the lipstick has launched in a mini-size. But Stiletto will be the first format in a sleek, slim stick. The new Stiletto stick comes in two finishes — a creamy Lumi Matte and Glossy Shine. Rouge Stiletto Lumi Matte launched Sunday, and Glossy Shine will launch in November.
When Rouge Louboutin first debuted 8 years ago at a $100 price point, the strategy was to make a declaration of luxury, said Thomas James, chief brands officer for Niche Brands & Wellness.
“We want people who love the product to use our products,” said James. “It was self-limiting to have this positioning of $100 lipsticks, but it was a statement that Christian Louboutin is a maison of objects.”
James said Stiletto will also serve as the focal point for a larger distribution strategy for Christian Louboutin Beauty. He declined to share additional details but said the distribution strategy will begin in early 2024. Christian Louboutin Beauty is sold through luxury retailers like Harrods, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. It is not, however, found in either Sephora U.S. or Ulta Beauty. Cassandre Sion, gm for Christian Louboutin Beauty, added that the objective is to make Stiletto a new product franchise, which will include a liquid lipstick finish debuting in 2024.
In classic Christian Louboutin fashion, the marketing around Stiletto is about sexy female empowerment. Visual assets feature “Pose” actress Dominique Jackson, activist and model Leomie Anderson, and models Daphne Groeneveld and Tian Yi. Stiletto is being introduced in a 360-degree campaign inclusive of digital ads, a Paris Fashion Week launch party and TikTok ads.
“It’s always a balance between having an iconic craftsmanship house and at the same time wanting to be relevant for Gen Z,” said James. “The objective is not to start with a bang, but to build on a long-term basis.”
According to McKinsey’s 2023 State of Fashion report, the luxury and ultraluxury beauty market is expected to double from around $20 billion today to around $40 billion by 2027. The growth will be driven by increasing consumer demand and beauty brands looking to expand their offerings at higher prices. Meanwhile, in the U.S., at least, consumer preferences around lip products have changed. More consumers are gravitating toward nourishing lip products like crème, gloss and oil formats. For its part, Christian Louboutin Beauty has sought to incorporate innovative formulations that offer nourishment and unexpected product finishes to appeal to customer desires.
“The no-makeup makeup trend is still super [relevant]. We are not saying that lipstick is dead, but we are rebalancing the shade range so we don’t only have red but also nude shades,” said Sion. “It’s all about having some over-the-top lipsticks, but also tackling new trends and bringing [them] into [the brand], like other shades or comforting and non-irritating formulas within lip.”