Photo: Courtesy of R.E.M. Beauty
If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a new beauty brand launches and there’s no celebrity to put their name on it, does it even really count? These are the enduring questions of our time. On Friday, Ariana Grande will join the legions of celebrity beauty entrepreneurs with R.E.M. Beauty, a new color cosmetics brand with a futuristic bent — sprinkled with plenty of ’90s and early-2000s nostalgia for good measure.
The inaugural R.E.M. Beauty makeup collection — dubbed “Ch. 01: Ultraviolet” by the brand — is a 62-SKU lineup spanning liquid eyeliner, kohl eye pencil, mascara, eye shadow palettes, lashes, liquid eye shadow, plumping lip gloss, matte lipstick, lip stain markers and highlighter. Each product will retail for between $15-$24. As for the name, R.E.M. seems to be a call-back to Grande’s “Sweetener” track of the same name, which itself is a reference to the deepest stage of the sleep cycle, standing for “rapid eye movement.”
“R.E.M. Beauty inspires you to make every dream a reality, in both beauty and beyond,” reads a press release.
We know Grande is quite adept at catering to millennial nostalgia for the late ’90s and early aughts (see: the “Thank U, Next” video; her entire aesthetic). This is reflected throughout the collection in the shade names, which rather delightfully incorporate AIM lingo (G2g, Ttyl, L8r) as well as references to pop culture, entertainment and style touch points of the era (Away Message, Waterfalls, VCR, Jelly Sandals, to name a few).
There’s also a futuristic/space exploration vibe to the brand, from the sleek, metallic packaging, to the campaign imagery (see above), to the product and shade names that aren’t middle school throwbacks. The Midnight Shadows Liquid Eye Shadows, for example, come in shades like Comet (champagne), UFO (metallic taupe), Asteroid (bronze), Milky …….