OTTAWA — Love-struck fictional teenagers Bella Swan and Edward Cullen have cast their pale, brooding spell over cosmetics customers across Canada.
Retail stores are reporting a surge of demand for vampire-influenced makeup on the heels of the popular Twilight series.
Jane McKay, a senior artist with MAC Cosmetics in Toronto, says younger customers bewitched by the pallid lovers aren’t coming for bronzer anymore. They want lighter foundation and pale powder. MAC will be launching a Pale ’n Dandy trend this spring to respond to the demand.
“I definitely think (Twilight) is where it started,” McKay says.
“They’re really influenced. They’re in love with Bella, and they love the story, and I think it’s almost crossed over into their real lives.”
The first book in the vampire romance series became an instant bestseller when it was released in 2005 and the first two films in the series have sold about a half-billion dollars in movie tickets.
Edward and Bella are both described as having ghostly complexions in the books. He’s a vampire and she’s a resident of a rainy Pacific coast town.
In 2006, the year after the book’s release, Sears Canada also began to notice a trend toward spectral foundations, says spokesperson Vincent Power.
Cosmetics companies are responding to consumer demand with new, paler products, he says. The Canadian brand Lise Watier, carried by Sears, has released illuminating powder and porcelain-shade foundation.
“I would say that the movie’s popularity has only made this trend stronger and created additional demand for these items,” Power says.
The first Twilight movie sold Marta Tryshak, a 21-year-old University of Toronto student, on Bella and Edward’s faded beauty. Tryshak says she likes the pale skin tones, flushed cheeks and natural lip tones.
“Especially after the movie, it became so visually appealing.”
It’s a look she’s seen gain popularity as a fashion blogger and as a consumer trying to get her own hands on Twilight-inspired beauty products.
In anticipation of the release of New Moon, the second movie in the series, Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores began carrying a limited edition makeup line called Luna Twilight in late October.
The products, including face and body glow, are selling very well, according to Tammy Smitham, a spokesperson for Shoppers Drug Mart. In fact, she says, many stores have sold out of the line.
Bella’s embrace of natural beauty sends a positive message to young girls, Tryshak says, even if the whole vampire makeup phenomenon is a little otherworldly.
“I’ve never seen anybody imitate a novel character before,” she says. “Nobody tried to imitate Harry Potter.”