25 years ago, Bobbi Brown launched a natural beauty revolution—and it's still going strong.
Bobbi Brown's signature lipsticks.
When Bobbi Brown, one of today’s most recognizable names in cosmetics, first moved to New York City in the early 1980s, she didn’t know anyone—and times were very different. “I used to go to an aerobics class, and Madonna was often in the class before she was famous,” recalls Brown. As a young makeup artist, she says, she was never comfortable with ’80s makeup. “It was a time for me to try to conform.”
Anyone familiar with Brown’s work knows that didn’t happen. Instead, a natural—and signature—look was born. It started with a collection of ten lipsticks that the makeup mogul, along with a chemist, created to complement the natural color of lips. “My philosophy was that you can mix and blend colors to get any color you want,” says Brown.
After selling the line for a year out of her home in New Jersey, where she had moved with her husband, she met a buyer for Bergdorf Goodman at a party and pitched her the lipsticks. The collection debuted at the revered Manhattan retailer in 1991. “It was a lucky meeting,” says Brown, who a quarter century later has fittingly introduced ten new shades inspired by the original. And though Brown’s relationship with the city may have shifted since her start (“I don’t take the subway anymore,” she says with a laugh), the brand’s motto remains intact. “Makeup is simple: A woman should be confident, she should look like herself.”