With Lady Gaga, Pharell Williams, and Selena Gomez all in on the act, the marker of success in 2021 is not a star on Hollywood Boulevard, it’s the launch of a beauty line. Trust Harry Styles to blow the rest out of the water.
Yesterday, the boyband star turned cultural and style juggernaut announced the launch of Pleasing – described as a “life brand”. Styles’s first business venture includes a range of nail polishes, an illuminating primer serum, and a dual-purpose eye and lip oil.
With the tagline “Find your pleasing”, the mission of this venture is to “bring joyful experiences and products that excite the senses and blur the boundaries”. Styles announced that he hoped to “dispel the myth of a binary existence”.
Pleasing is at odds with outmoded beauty industry ideas about masking and concealment. Instead, “illuminating” and “highlighting” are the buzz words for Styles. There is a sense that this brand is about celebrating what is already there and encouraging customers to be themselves.
Undoubtedly, the idea of this beauty line is to serve as an extension of Styles’s unique and much-revered aesthetic. His signature look spans everything from floral suits to feather boas and is the result of a long-running collaboration with British stylist Harry Lambert.
The new venture, which came as a pleasant surprise to fans, sent social media into overdrive when it was announced, along with an interview and cover shoot with Dazed. A shot of Styles by photographer Rafael Pavarotti, styled by editor-in-chief Ib Kamara, features on the front of the December issue. The image, which shows the singer straddling a vintage motorcycle while wearing lilac flares and singlet vest (slashed to reveal his torso) attracted more than 5m likes on Instagram in 24 hours.
Stylers (as Styles’s fans are affectionately known) will have to wait until 29 November to get their hands on the collection but can pre-order now. Prices start at £16 for Pearly Tops, a clear nail polish to give a “barely there” effect or painted over other colours, and £50 for the Perfect Polish Set, which comes with alphabet stickers.
While skincare also features in the collection – the Pearlescent Illuminating Serum and the Pleasing Pen will also be available – nails are an evident focus for Styles, whose playful use of polish has become something of a style calling card.
“It’s starting with nail polish because that was kind of the birth of what it was for,” Styles tells Dazed. “Me seeing a colour on a flower or a wallpaper or something and thinking, ‘Oh, I wanna put that on my nails.’”
Pleasing is Styles’s version of sourdough. He credits the pandemic for its inception. “It was a fun little project, but during the pandemic, it felt like it was so much more than nail polish,” he says. “I really think that the essence of Pleasing is finding those little moments of joy and showing them to people.”
If Styles plans to leap from musician to mogul, Pleasing is an excellent place to start. However, he is adamant that his venture is more than a celebrity endorsement. “I don’t think that putting someone’s face on something sells a bad product,” Styles says in the interview.
Undoubtedly, there is serious value in beauty now. In July, the global beauty industry was valued at $511bn, with celebrity brands taking an increasingly significant share of the market. Fenty Beauty, the product line Rihanna launched in 2017, is now worth $2.8bn. Lady Gaga’s Haus Labs is reported to be the third most successful celebrity beauty line in the world.