There is no shortage of collaborations in the beauty world (Jason Wu and Alber Elbaz recently partnered with Lancôme, Amy Smilovic of Tibi teamed up with Jin Soon, and the list could go on…), but it’s usually the compacts and colors inside them that benefit from these designer makeovers—not necessarily the women and men selling them behind the counter. Leave it to Estée Lauder, the classic cosmetic house, to switch up the game. The seemingly uptown brand turned to downtown designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, of Opening Ceremony, to create a custom-made Beauty Advisor wardrobe. Going back to the label’s heritage—Estée believed that the women pushing her products acted not only as salespeople but also served as beauty muses themselves—the design duo customized every aspect of their outfits, down to the buttons and specially made jacquard-print fabric (inspired by the iconic rope-weave pattern found on vintage packaging). Seeing as the original Mrs. Lauder was the first in the industry to tie her counter employees’ looks to specific seasons and launches, the new uniforms will also have modifiable elements—like a detachable belt that can be embellished with new colors and fabrics, depending on what comes down the pipeline. The pieces—including a peplum blouse, slim pant, pleated skirt, and blazer—have a retro silhouette but a thoroughly modern look, explained Lim and Leon. Leave it to Lauder to chicly part the sea of all-black ensembles that have become standard on the beauty-department floor.
Check out these exclusive behind-the-scenes shots and see how the looks came to life: