Men: Can they have it all?
It’s an eternal question, one that’s been addressed in countless romantic comedies, think pieces, and advertisements for home cleaning agents: Can men skip breezily through life, excelling at home and in their careers without compromising looking good?
Chanel, the storied fashion house, says yes.
The French luxury goods company, owned by Jewish billionaire brothers Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, plans to launch a makeup line aimed at men — a first for the brand. Starting September 1 in South Korea and November online, Chanel will sell four shades of foundation, four shades of eyebrow pencil, and a matte, colorless lip balm, marketed toward men.
Men, while perhaps concerned and surprised to learn that they only come in four different shades, should be less shocked to meet the business end of a cosmetics marketing strategy — the male makeup industry has been booming in Asia (as the Korea role out suggests.) And Chanel is hardly the first to make inroads into the male market in the US — CoverGirl has a rather delightful male spokesperson in James Charles. Charles rose to fame on YouTube, where other male makeup gurus, like Jeffree Star and Manny Guttierez (now a spokesperson for Maybelline,) rose to prominence.
Founded by Coco Chanel in 1910, the fashion and beauty company marks its first foray into male makeup with this new line, “Boy de Chanel.” In a statement, the company said, “Lines, colours, 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.”
Yes, beauty knows no gender — the color green looks good on everybody, especially private companies looking to expand their markets. American men, look out for November, when Boy de Chanel hits online retailers, and January, when they’ll be in stores — soon you’ll know the wonder of a fierce brown and the pain of a mismatched foundation shade. Just wait till they come out with a lipstick — putting it on and keeping it there is its own part-time job, and it doesn’t come with a gender wage gap.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny