Grooming News: Chanel Creating First Men’s Makeup Line
PARIS — Chanel S.A., a French privately held company owned by Alain Wertheimer and Gérard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer is expanding its brand into grooming. The House of Chanel is launching its first makeup line for guys, a three-product range, starting in South Korea on Sept. 1.
The collection includes a tinted fluid, coming in four colors; a matte moisturizing lip balm, and four shades of eyebrow pencil.
Chanel’s Boy division, which already counts products such as handbags and a perfume, is named after Boy Capel, the lover and muse of Gabrielle Chanel.
“Just as Gabrielle Chanel borrowed elements from the men’s wardrobe to dress women, Chanel draws inspiration from the women’s world to write the vocabulary of a new personal aesthetic for men,” the company said in a statement. “Lines, colors, attitudes, gestures….There is no absolutely feminine or masculine prerequisite: Style alone defines the person we wish to be.”
“By creating Boy de Chanel, its first makeup line for men, Chanel reaffirms the ever-changing codes of an unchanging vision: Beauty is not a matter of gender, it is a matter of style.”
The collection will be rolled out to the rest of the world in November on the house’s e-commerce platforms and in January 2019 in Chanel’s boutiques.
The two men who claim ownership of Chanel are far less publicly-known.
Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, the billionaire brothers who have privately held Chanel for over 30 years, are two of the least famous owners in fashion. The Wertheimers have managed to largely shy from the public eye.
While little is known about the brothers, personally – “We’re a very discreet family, we never talk,” Gérard, told the Times in 2002 – we do know this: They each own half of Chanel and have a combined fortune of approximately €21 billion ($25.8 billion), per French financial magazine Challenges, which put the Wertheimers on the publication’s “top 10 richest French business tycoons” list in June 2018.
The Wertheimers are the grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, who was an early business partner of the couturière Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, herself. In 1924, Pierre Wertheimer entered into an agreement with Coco Chanel to create “Parfums Chanel.” For a seventy percent share of the company, Wertheimer agreed to provide full financing for production, marketing and distribution of Chanel No. 5. Théophile Bader – founder of the Paris department store, Galeries Lafayette – was given a twenty percent share.
The brothers, who began their work for the house roughly 43 years ago, are the third generation to run the 100+ year old company, which is reported to have brought in $5.67 billion in revenue in 2016. In addition to the Paris-based design house, the Wertheimers maintain a portfolio of investments that consists of three French vineyards, including Chateau Rauzan-Segla, and Wertheimer et Frere, one of the world’s top horse racing and breeding operations.
Gerard, 62, is based in Geneva. While Alain, 65, who lives in New York, has been credited with resurrecting the brand when he took over operational control from his father in 1974.
As the Times noted in 2002, the brothers “rarely, if ever, attend Chanel boutique openings or other Chanel events, they never lend their names to advertising, and they eschew licensing the company name for bedsheets and aerosols. ‘You can make money that way,’ Alain told Wine Spectator some years ago in one of his rare interviews. ‘But that’s not the way to run a family business.’”
As for how they have stayed so under-the-radar, Gerard said in 2002: “It’s about Coco Chanel. It’s about Karl. It’s about everyone who works and creates at Chanel. It’s not about the Wertheimers.”
Photos Credit: Courtesy of Chanel