In my 15-or-so years of writing about beauty, I’ve regularly heard talk of makeup, skincare and fragrance mega-store Sephora coming to our shores.
But this time, it’s more than just a lovely-smelling waft of a rumour.
At a press event in Sydney last night, Ravi Thakran – Group President, LVMH South & South East Asia & Middle East – confirmed that the world’s largest beauty retailer is indeed en route.
The first store will open its doors in Westfield Sydney before Christmas; Sephora Melbourne will roll out the red carpet (location as yet undisclosed) several months later. And that’s just for starters. “We’ll be ramping [the expansion] up very fast,” says Thakran. “All signature locations of great size – 800-1000 square metres – so you’ll get a true spirit of the brand.”
Most of you probably know Sephora, or have at least heard jet-setting friends rave about it. Shopping here – where you can lose yourself for hours at a time – is the beauty lover’s equivalent of a kid-in-a-candy-store high.
Sephora’s Australian stores will brim with over 250 brands, both established beauty brands, and a number of names that are new (or relatively unknown) to this market – think Marc Jacobs Beauty (cue excited squeal or ten), Urban Decay (yes, they of the legendary Naked palettes), Kat Von D, Tarte, MAKEUP FOR EVER, Boscia, Andre Fulerton and Percy & Reed. Sephora’s own brand of skincare, bodycare, makeup and tools will also be showcased.
And all will be set out in Sephora’s much-loved serve-yourself-style format.
“Nobody will tell you that you must buy this brand because they represent that brand,” says Thakran. “In a department store you get your answer depending on which sign that person is standing in front of … You can go [to Sephora] and buy anything or nothing. You can test everything. You can get educated on everything.”
As anyone who has stocked up on Sephora goodies overseas – and paid the price in excess baggage (yep, guilty as charged) – can attest, shopping here is about as enjoyable as it comes. As well as the easy-to-navigate walls and aisles, and the pressure-free perusing, makeovers are readily on offer and samples are generously handed out.
“We’ll be bringing the same fun and frolic that you see in [the stores in] Paris or New York,” says Thakran. “What Sephora stands for is very much an Aussie spirit: Don’t take life too seriously … Sephora world is all about entertainment while shopping.”
Bring. It. On.