Estée Lauder’s newest creation is a rarity: it delivers something truly new in beauty—an industry where everything’s been done a thousand times. It’s called Flirt, and so far the fledgling brand has just one product, out today.
Flirt started as just a name. Well, it was a name that Estée Lauder owned, along with the corresponding social media handles. As Flirt’s creative director Donald Robertson explains, “These days, there are very few single brand names you can own. The word Flirt is like waterfront property! We HAD to build on it! No brainer.” If Flirt was the vacant lot on South Beach, Robertson was just the architect to design the sleek condos.
Flirt is just the latest Robertson brainchild. Professionally, Robertson is Estée Lauder’s creative director at large, but you might know him better simply by his Instagram handle, @drawbertson, where he shows off his side hustles: the art he makes in his spare time (pop art for the digital age, often fashion inspired), and his adorable twin boys.
And just in case you thought one spunky social media heavy hitter wasn’t enough to carry the flashy (no pun intended) new launch, the face of the new brand is Amber Rose. The model and founder of Slutwalk an equally social-savvy choice, thanks to her 12 million followers on Instagram, making this seems like a fated match. Of the collaboration, Rose says “Flirt Cosmetics is all about being yourself. They actually love me for me!”
So with a great name, the shell of a brand existed. But what would Flirt be? What would they make? A lip kit à la every brand in existence for the last year? Of course not. Enter the new brand’s first product: FLASHES, a self-contained falsie applicator.
Robertson has a keen understanding of the need to bring something new to the proverbial table. “Beauty folk today live and die by instantaneous online reviews!” Robertson says of the breakneck pack of the beauty industry. “You have to grab everyone’s attention then try to impress them. It’s hard.”
Why lashes, though? Applying falsies, if you’re anything less than extremely steady presents a beauty dilemma of its own.
Flashes contain 44 lash buds in a Robertson-designed compact. You simply roll the lashes to the top of the hand-automated gadget and apply a bit of lash glue (you’ll need to buy that separately) to the clear band holding the small bud together.
Ten seconds later, you can angle the applicator towards your eyes, et voila: professional-level beauty for the masses. There’s a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re not a regular user of false lashes to begin with, but Rose is encouraging: “It’s super easy to use, just put the applicator up to your lashes and click away! And don’t be afraid to try it a few times and mess up before mastering it. I had to play with it a little to figure out exactly what to do, now it’s like second nature.”
From its origin story, Flashes seems like it was meant to be. “This incredible woman I worked with had been developing it for years. She swore it worked,” Robertson recalls, and with the dry honesty that only a beauty executive as successful as he’s been could pull off, he adds: “All the other fun stuff we are launching was super late so it’s all we had. The beauty Gods smiled down on this! Google the reviews.”
Flirt embodies a playful, carefree approach to beauty—a vast and ephemeral concept best explained by Robertson: “To me, Donald Robertson, beauty is about making you want to attract someone with your confidence and then make out with them hard. But that is just me. Should I say to feel beautiful inside? Making out does that! So I rest my case.”
While easily applying lashes is exciting on its own, perhaps most exciting is the fact that this is the only Flirt’s product. Here’s hoping for more innovation to come, all adorned in Robertson’s addictive imagery, please. Flirt Cosmetics is one to bookmark.