Football star Kylian Mbappe, singer Harry Styles or actor Adam Driver… As the new faces of the big luxury houses, these character ambassadors are redefining the traditional canons of male beauty.
Hollywood’s sex symbol is in the shadows. Cosmetic brands are turning to new male muses who are no longer asked to play playboys. “These talents come from archaic cinematic cliches, they break with the cult of appearance and the stereotype of the beautiful Apollo,” confirms Audrey Roulin, beauty director of the NellyRodi trend office. “The term “canon of beauty” is no longer relevant. We don’t necessarily emphasize their physique, but rather their career path or the way they convey messages to the younger generation.
New faces of pop culture and urban trends take over the great classics of perfumery. The Polo By Ralph Lauren fragrance is now embodied by Angus Cloud, This is a boy scar from the show Euphoria to “reach a wider and more diverse audience,” the sign hopes. Tahar Rahim has been chosen as the ambassador for Caron’s “Pour un homme” fragrance, a label that is undergoing a complete revamp.
In the video Burberry Hero, a new fragrance for men
“This notion of inclusivity has been ubiquitous in advertising for several years now, especially in the beauty industry. Consumers need to see more authentic representations that are more in line with reality and population diversity,” emphasizes Clarissa Scalisi, consultant at consultancy Peclers Paris, who sees a connection to the surge in the “grooming” market (skin and hair care for men): “This is which makes the product more affordable. A familiar face like them encourages them to take the plunge.” And when stars aren’t muses, they launch their own line of products, like actor Idris Elba (who co-founded S’able Labs with his wife Sabrina), rapper Tyler, the Creator (Golf Le Fleur), or singers Farrell. Williams (The Human Race) and soon John Legend.
Far from stereotypes
Since David Beckham and Antoine Griezmann paved the way for them, other champions have arrived in the cosmetics arena. “Sport generates a lot of interest in an inclusive vision of beauty,” confirms Audrey Roulin, who especially notes the appointment of Kylian Mbappé as the face of the Dior Sauvage fragrance: his athletic performance. It represents a new model of success for the millions of young people who follow it.”
other Success stories inspire brands. An atypical personality, American actor Adam Driver has conquered both the film and beauty industries. His appearance as a legendary creature in a commercial for Burberry’s Hero perfume went viral on social media: “He has a distinct physique that is far from stereotyped and embodies a new masculinity that goes beyond the beaten path. It’s wild, it’s damp,” notes Audrey Roulin.
The ad campaign for Kenzo Homme’s new fragrance is no less striking: it’s not a celebrity but Orin Hardy, founder of Bamboo U, an eco-responsible initiative that promotes the use of bamboo as a material for building sustainable buildings. “We are targeting a generation very concerned about all environmental issues, emphasizing values rather than aesthetics. This is what consumers today want: a strong message and commitment from brands,” notes Clarissa Scalisi.
According to the specialist, a sensitivity that reflects social change: “We are in the process of deconstructing genres. Masculinity has been completely redesigned and will continue to evolve in this direction,” she predicts. Celebrities set the tone, such as the androgynous singer Harry Styles (the face of Gucci’s Memory of a Smell perfume), who launched his own line of unisex nail polishes. Or singer Jackson Yee, skincare and makeup spokesperson for Giorgio Armani Beauty, who appears on Instagram with his acne and face masks.
There is always a need to make consumers dream, but dreams have changed
The analysis shared by Audrey Roulin points to the new needs of the times. “There is always a need to make consumers dream, especially in the luxury sector, but dreams have changed. Meaning and authenticity are new vectors of attraction for brands.” The next task, according to experts, will be to shed more light on the old profiles. Will the men’s work join the women’s?
The global men’s cosmetics market is expected to grow at 8% per year between 2021 and 2031(1). More than shaving products, skin and hair care, popularized under the term “grooming”, is a craze. On TikTok, the “mensgrooming” hashtag has gained over 730 million views, where concealer tips and guides are mixed together to achieve a flawless complexion. The many mixed lines created in recent years confirm the trend.
(1) Persistence Market Research “Global Men’s Care Market Research: Demand for Natural and Organic Products is Growing Rapidly” July 2021