Beauty & Balance

The Artist and His Muse: Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian Talk Second Beauty Collab

Kim Kardashian and Mario Dedivanovic are in a league of their own.
The duo are largely responsible for popularizing the biggest makeup trends of the 2010s, including contouring and baking, both of which stem from the drag community. Throughout her career, Kardashian has remained loyal to Dedivanovic, crediting him with her most recognizable looks, and the two have since become a famed beauty pair, creating endless amounts of content and inspiring a myriad of trends.
It was only a matter of time before the star and her makeup artist teamed on a collection, which released under Kardashian's KKW Beauty brand in 2018. The launch was KKW Beauty's biggest that year, according to the brand. A few months later, Dedivanovic revealed he is at work on a beauty line of his own.
For the past month, Kardashian and Dedivanovic have teased their second collaboration, KKW x Mario: The Artist & Muse collection, on social media. The followup line will release on KKW Beauty's web site on Friday. In an interview with WWD, Kardashian said she gave Dedivanovic "full rein" to develop the collection, which he has been working on since the first line dropped.
"Mario and I have talked about a second collab for over a year now," said Kardashian. "After our first, we knew we wanted to do something else. It was so successful ‘cause people love to see our connection together. He’s so involved, I really give him full rein with a collab. He’s been working on formulas and colors for about a year now. We knew we wanted to do it around holiday."
The Artist & Muse collection consists of a 10-pan eyeshadow palette of beige, brown, silver and gold tones, a matte lipstick, a lip gloss, a blush and a lip liner. Prices range from $12 for the Beauty Icon Lip Liner to $95 for the complete bundle.
The collaboration, said Dedivanovic, is meant to pay homage to Kardashian and "thank her for what she's done for me for makeup artists as a whole." The products and shades are representative of the key essentials he uses to build all of her looks.
"She has changed the industry and she’s done so many things she wasn’t even aware of," said Dedivanovic of his famous client. "She’s selfless in her approach and it's changed an entire industry. I wanted to do something that she loved so much in the sense of our 'deserted island' palette that we would take, and the key essentials that we would need. I wanted her to love it and be super proud of it."
Much has been written about the decline of prestige makeup sales in the U.S., which is said to have affected big brands such as MAC, Urban Decay and Anastasia Beverly Hills. Kardashian, though, isn't fazed by these reports, and neither is her business — or that of her half-sister, Kylie Jenner, who just sold a majority stake in her beauty empire to Coty for $600 million.
KKW Beauty, said Kardashian, has doubled its sales over the past year. WWD previously reported that the brand's debut collection was expected to net $14.4 million in a matter of minutes.
"I see makeup evolving and I see lots of brands that, I believe, are putting out so much product," she said. "Everything has to have a story and the quality of the product has to speak for itself. I’m a statistics person, so I saw something where the number of beauty brands that used to exist were some low number, like under 50, and now there’s almost a thousand different beauty brands that exist. There is definitely a lot in the marketplace, but I try to focus on my brand and growing my sales.
"I’m very active during sales and launches," she continued. "We’ve doubled in a year. It just makes me proud of the brand and makes me want to push to do exactly what I want to do and continue to make the products that I love and stay true to the authentic collaboration."
Dedivanovic, too, noted beauty's changing landscape. Makeup "is never going to be dead," he said, adding that he doesn't pay too much attention to reports that say the opposite.
"It’s never gonna die, it's changing," he said. "We saw so much super-glam makeup, but I think we’re seeing different things and I think it’s constantly evolving. It’s evolving more so than it’s dead."
Beauty, too, plays a large role in Kardashian's mobile game, KKW Hollywood. Players have the option to purchase KKW Beauty products for their avatars, paying as much as $9.99 for their characters to have one shade of contour and highlight. Dedivanovic even has his own character in the game.
"The shelf life of a video game is 18 months and we just had our five-year anniversary," said Kardashian. "It’s still really popular in the gaming world. I think that has to do with the fact that I give them, literally, my weekly calendar."
She lets the KKW Hollywood team in on her projects and product launches, "even if it's something subtle like changing my character's makeup. I’ve given them the information and eventually, it will be added into the game. It stays as true to my real life as possible."
Earlier this year, Kardashian revealed that KKW Beauty would enter Ulta. Kardashian told WWD that the partnership has been "seamless and easy," adding her fascination for what people gravitate toward in-store versus online.
"I love when I work with people who are easy to have a relationship with," she said. "With color cosmetics, obviously there’s that customer online that really knows makeup and knows exactly what they want and if you market it the right way, share enough information, they can see and feel that product and be confident in what they buy. But there’s that other customer that really wants to see it in person and test colors and feel for everything. It’s interesting what sells better online and what sells better in-store. It’s totally different products, which is interesting to learn about. I love being in retail, that was always a goal of mine, and I love being at Ulta. I’m sure in the future we would expand. I don’t have anything planned."
She already has a new collaboration planned for 2020, along with a release of her must-haves.
"I have a lot of my necessities coming out next year and expanding on some of our core products," she said. "I have a good lineup that I feel confident about. I’m prepared through holiday of 2020."
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