Inside Peter Dundas’ Big Beauty Bet

From Beyoncé’s goddess-like gold 2017 Grammys gown to her more recent metallic, leather minidress coat combo during her Renaissance Tour last year, designer Peter Dundas has long been synonymous with glamour. But for his foray into makeup, he’s going in a decidedly more subdued direction.

“I love to do elaborate clothing,” Dundas told The Business of Beauty, but he prefers “keeping my women fresh-faced, natural-looking.”

Named Dundas Beauty, the new line launches today with five “no-makeup makeup” essentials including eye pencils, bronzer and a tinted cream. Items range from $18 to $45 and will be sold with existing fashion retail partners Revolve and Amazon. Dundas said the initial collection is called “Dundas Enhancers” to emphasise its focus on natural beauty and was designed with what the founder calls Gen-Z yellow packaging. Like Dundas’ non-seasonal fashion collections, the beauty products will be released via a drop model.

All five products with yellow packaging and black logo.

“Looking fresh-faced, looking tan, looking rested, is part of a true glamorous look. … I think that looking overly made-up makes you look like you’re trying too hard,” said Dundas.

The move comes as fashion brands have increased investment in the beauty space en masse. In June 2023, Kering chose niche fragrance label Creed as its first beauty acquisition, paying $3.8 billion for the company; Richemont created its own dedicated beauty division with an eye on fragrance in September. And that’s on top of the dialled-up licence deals such as Coty and Marc Jacobs and L’Oréal and Miu Miu, which was announced just last week.

Dundas’ Next Act

Dundas contends he has had ambitions for a standalone beauty label long before his peers. He began thinking about it soon after the debut of his eponymous fashion line in 2017, following two separate stints as chief designer at Cavalli and a role as artistic director at Emilio Pucci. (His brand has received $25 million in funding to date from unnamed family offices, and is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Revolve, Amazon and Fwrd.)

The wheels for makeup were put in motion during a Beverly Hills Hotel lunch meeting between Evangelo Bousis, the line’s co-founder and Dundas’ husband, and Anastasia Beverly Hills founder Anastasia Soare, when he asked her for advice on potential licensing partners.

“At the time, I wanted to do it with someone else. And I said, ‘Well, what do you think about them?’ And she said, ‘Why are you going to do it with them? I think you should do it with me,’” said Bousis.

After a formal pitch process and hammering out details, Dundas became Anastasia Beverly Hills’ first licensing deal. The line was meant to launch in 2022, but Bousis said the timeline was slowed due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions.

While delayed in hitting the market, the products have already been used by makeup artist Diane Kendal at the brand’s Paris fall/winter 2023-2024 fashion show in March 2023, and shared with the founders’ wide network of celebrity friends and clients including Dree Hemingway and Camille Rowe.

But it’s not just the Dundas woman that the new makeup line is geared toward. The co-founders emphasised that the idea for the line was as much inspired by doing their own makeup for red-carpet events. They saw a gap in the market for a gender-neutral makeup brand that could appeal to both men and women. Dundas also hinted that body care is another category in the pipeline.

The brand selected Amazon and Revolve as retail partners to reach a younger, more price-conscious consumer. It currently does not operate a DTC site.

“We really wanted to extend our reach with this collection,” said Dundas. The brand’s Amazon shop now exclusively features its beauty products.

“It was harder to sell $1,000 dresses on Amazon, as you can imagine. But with price points like this in beauty, you can really see the gold of it,” said Bousis.

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