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How MAC Turned Rodarte's Misguided Makeup Names into Sales Gold

MAC Rodarte controversial colorsIt's hard to know what the Rodarte sisters were thinking when they selected the colors and controversial names for the makeup line they created in collaboration with MAC cosmetics (EL). On the one hand, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the wunderkind sisters behind the celebrated luxe fashion label, claim they were inspired by the colors and culture of Mexico â€" the birthplace of their maternal grandparents. But naming a nail polish "Juarez," after the impoverished Mexican factory town best known for its lack of police intervention in the growing number rapes and murders of women between the ages of 12 and 22?

At best, the artistic sisters were indeed lost in the "ethereal landscape" of Mexico's desert provinces and didn't think beyond the natural splendor before their eyes. At worst, the two didn't bone up on Mexican current affairs before they conjured such clearly romanticized monikers.

But as the blogosphere leveled its vitriol at the Mulleavys, the MAC public relations machine was hard at work. No stranger to social initiatives (think celebrity-driven Viva Glam lipsticks which debuted 1994 to support those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS globally), the company simply did what it's done so well -- create an opportunity to give back.

MAC issued this statement via NY Magazine:

We understand that product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection have offended some of our consumers and fans. This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We are listening carefully to the comments posted and are grateful to those of you who have brought your concerns to the forefront of our attention. M·A·C will give a portion of the proceeds from the M·A·C Rodarte collection to help those in need in Juarez. We are diligently investigating the best way to do this. Please be assured that we will keep you posted on the details regarding our efforts.

Rodarte added its own apology as well.

It remains to be seen what (if anything) MAC will do about the criticism of the makeup itself for its lack of complimentary shades for darker skin tones. Though bloggers point out that white lipstick and frosty pink look best on milky complexions, the sisters can certainly take umbrage in their Goth aesthetic (think burned gowns and dresses wrapped with twine and spattered in blood red) and the fact that Rodarte is not a look for everyone.

That hasn't hindered the success of the brand, and the highly-anticipated Rodarte GO International capsule collection for Target (TGT) was a quick sell-out. Likely it will take more than the questionable appeal of slapping on a coat of "Ghosttown" chalky lipstick to discourage devotees from lining up and buying when the entire collection makes its department store debut on September 15. Especially if they know the proceeds are going to help the victims in Juarez.

Image courtesy MAC


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