Fashion Wire Daily: the First Word in Fashion


Versus Hires Jonathan Anderson November 29th, 2012 @ 11:04 AM

Cacharel Unveils New CEO, in Major Corporate Revamp November 21st, 2012 @ 00:56 AM

Kane Drops Out of Versus in Major Shake-up November 20th, 2012 @ 10:14 AM

Pucci’s Madison Avenue Store Debuts Massive Expansion November 16th, 2012 @ 00:35 AM

Ghesquière Departs Balenciaga in Major Surprise November 05th, 2012 @ 00:43 AM

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Between Optimism and Fear November 02nd, 2012 @ 00:28 AM

London Unveils Men’s Season Schedule November 01st, 2012 @ 00:36 AM

Azzaro Releases Castello Branco October 25th, 2012 @ 00:18 AM

Revenue Soars 22 Percent at LVMH in First Three Quarters October 16th, 2012 @ 00:18 AM

Rykiel Names Geraldo da Conceicao Artistic Director September 21st, 2012 @ 8:12 PM

Brazil’s New London Pop-Up September 21st, 2012 @ 7:20 PM

McQueen Men Returning Home to London September 12th, 2012 @ 7:19 PM

Roitfeld, Mum and Son, Open in Brazil September 07th, 2012 @ 00:54 AM

Berluti Opens to Big-Time Business in London September 06th, 2012 @ 3:27 PM

Stefano Pilati Back with a Bang at Zegna September 05th, 2012 @ 7:10 PM

Hugo Boss Wows in Berlin, Plans for New York July 06th, 2012 @ 00:17 AM

Salvatore Ferragamo: Crusin’ the Louvre June 13th, 2012 @ 11:04 AM

Michel Klein Gains New Backer; Launches Sunglass Collection June 13th, 2012 @ 00:48 AM

Sykes Jettisoned by Aquascutum; Maurer In at Rabanne June 06th, 2012 @ 00:18 AM

Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM


Lip, Not Hip Plumping, With New Gloss

Renata Espinosa
July 28th, 2009 @ 2:06 PM - New York

When Purple Lab founder Karen Robinovitz is in the room, you know she’s the person you want to talk to, even if you’re not quite yet sure what you might discuss. She looks incredibly chic, for one, but she also looks like she’ll tell you something that might just change your life, even if only for a moment.

As a former fashion journalist, Robinovitz has plenty to say. She’s written for everyone from Elle to the New York Times, from the latest trends to the best products to the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

As a result, she found herself testing out a huge array of beauty products and she was invited to hosts of cocktail parties, feasting on all-you-can-eat h'ors d'oeuvres. The combination led to the formation of Purple Lab. During one fashion week party, she had an epiphany, Robinovitz explained over breakfast in New York on July 23. As yet another tray passed by filled with morsels too tasty for her to resist - “This being fashion, I was the only one eating!” - she suddenly realized she’d had one too many and had that ring you get around your waist when you’re too full. “We have to leave,” she said she told her husband. He asked her why. “If I could put on lip gloss that plumped my lips, instead of eating something that plumped my hips, maybe I wouldn’t have this problem!” she told him. “I wish my lip gloss was an appetite suppressant.”

“Wait,” her husband had said. “That’s it! You need to make that product.” So immediately Robinovitz started to call a woman she knew at a beauty company to tell her about her idea - but her husband stopped her. No, he said, she should make it herself.

Of course, Robinovitz had never produced a beauty product before. Sure, she’d been consulting for beauty companies like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal, but that was on the marketing end of things - she knew how to make a product hot, and what kind of audience a brand needed to reach. That was the tastemaker side of the equation. But developing a lip gloss from scratch? Another story.

So her husband sunk his savings into starting up Purple Lab - “He was wise and had the savings, I had the 401 closet,” joked Robinovitz - and they set out to create a brand focused on “double-duty beauty products designed to add a daily dose of glam while providing a service to the body, soul and self-confidence.”

Two and a half years later, Purple Lab’s first product, the lip gloss, which she named “Huge Lips Skinny Hips,” launched this spring. It offers exactly what Robinovitz envisioned back at that party, stuffed with h’ors d’oeuvres: Lip plumping power without any of the usual sting of lip plumpers (Vitamin B3 is used to stimulate blood flow to the lip surface, which does give a slight tingling sensation, but it’s balanced by the addition of cooling lemon peel oil) and Robinovitz’s secret weapon, hoodia, a natural appetite suppressant.

She’s aware of the slightly unusual message a beauty product that promises to suppress your appetite sends. Does it mean she doesn’t think women should eat?

No, said Robinovitz, it’s about creating mindfulness. “Everyone wants to fit into their skinny jeans, so it’s just a reminder to feel good and conscious about your eating,” she said, likening the lip gloss to tying a string around your finger to remember something, or snapping a rubber band on your wrist. It’s meant to be a quirky, tongue-in-cheek product that gives you an added boost of confidence that you get when you feel like you’ve got things under control and makes you, well, your lips anyway, look good at the same time. In other words, it’s not like a miracle diet pill, it’s a psychological tool.

There are six shades, all “universally flattering,” said Robinovitz, who brought in friends of every ethnicity and skin tone to test out the colors to make sure they would work on anyone, with names that reference fashion icons or Robinovitz’s own personal favorites, like “Worship Kate,” a glittery pink shade after Kate Moss, “Red Sole,” in homage to Christian Louboutin shoes’ famous red soles or the cheekily named “Kitty Poledancer,” a nude colored gloss after Robinovitz’s nickname - her favorite form of exercise is pole dancing. And, don’t worry - should the appetite suppressing theme seem dubious, she’s also got a shade called “Love Your Thighs,” which is really the core message of Huge Lips Skinny Hips.

Each gloss comes in a snazzy hourglass-shaped box packaged with a folded “love letter” that explains the origin of the shade’s name - Robinovitz still has the journalist in her who likes to tell a good story. And, of course, the brand’s story also extends to the Internet, utilizing social media like Twitter (@purplelabnyc) to keep fans in the loop about the latest developments and organizing “Beauty Tweetups,” monthly meetings where beauty bloggers and Purple Lab fans can meet, as well as a feature on called “Kiss and Tell,” where users can upload their own personal stories and photos about their favorite shade.

This fall, Robinovitz will launch a new lip gloss - “Goji Berry Smoothie,” after her favorite antioxidant-rich morning beverage, recipe included - in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, with the aim to educate women about a type of breast cancer called “triple negative,” a particularly aggressive strain if not treated properly. Twenty percent of the proceeds will go to a triple negative foundation called Sealed With a Cure, or SWAC. Double-duty ingredients in this gloss include antioxidant-rich mangosteen and moisturizing vitamin E and C, taking into account the dryness that occurs post chemotherapy. And as with the original six shades, it is also free of cancer-causing parabens.

Eventually, Purple Lab will offer a full-range of products, but right now each product is self-financed so Robinovitz is building the brand slowly. The lip gloss is sold at small boutiques like Scoop, Fred Segal and Space.NK for $20.

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