Maeve Conway reviews a new milestone of makeup for men.

Last month, French fashion powerhouse Chanel launched their first ever makeup range designed for men, Boy de Chanel. The collection was introduced exclusively in South Korea on 1st September and will be available worldwide on the Chanel website from November. Distribution to the Chanel boutiques is set for January 2019. The collection is made up of three products: a sheer tinted foundation, a matte lip balm, and an eyebrow pencil available in four shades.

“Men wearing makeup is not a revolutionary concept, but it is only in recent times that it has not been considered a taboo”

The Boy de Chanel franchise is named after Boy Capel, Gabrielle Chanel’s lover. Her legacy lives on in this new line as the brand’s foundation goes against the grain of societal norms. In a statement given upon the announcement of the range, Chanel said: “Just as Gabrielle Chanel borrowed elements from the men’s wardrobe to dress women, Chanel draws inspiration from the women’s world to write the vocabulary of a new personal aesthetic for men.”

Boy de Chanel has followed in the footsteps of other makeup brands, such as Tom Ford and Clinique which have previously launched makeup lines for men. Meanwhile, MAC featured YouTube beauty mogul Patrick Starrr as their spokesperson. Men wearing makeup is not a revolutionary concept, but it is only in recent times that it has not been considered a taboo. Social media platforms have been instrumental in the emergence of male MUAs such as CoverGirl James Charles and beauty guru Jeffree Star.

“A criticism of boy de chanel is the lack of diversity in its foundation selection, the limited range of four shades has raised some eyebrows”

Although there was an overwhelmingly positive response to the launch, the brand still received criticism online. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, one of the UK’s biggest beauty influencers, Jake-Jamie expressed his happiness at the release of Boy de Chanel but argued that makeup for men should not be marketed separately: “I personally prefer a genderless approach to makeup. I just wish we lived in a world whereby gender boxes didn’t exist”.

Men wearing makeup in the fashion industry has been commonplace since runway shows started, but it will take more time for people to accept this in the modern social milieu. A criticism of Boy de Chanel is its lack of diversity in its foundation selection, the limited shade range of four shades has raised some eyebrows. The impact from the launch of this collection has the potential to shift perceptions of gender conformity and gender performance, and to a certain degree blur the lines between the masculine and feminine.