M.A.C. Cosmetics is a high-end brand founded by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo in 1984. Initially just for professional make-up artists it soon evolved to include products for consumers. Headquartered in New York City, the cosmetics giant became a part of Estee Lauder Companies in 1998.
Canadian cosmetics brand MAC Cosmetics- popularly known as M·A·C- was founded in Toronto in 1984 by makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo. With Toskan as creative director and Angelo as director of marketing, the duo worked out of a kitchen in Angelo’s hair salon. Joined by Toskan’s future brother-in-law and chemist Vic Casale, the team cooked up their debut lipstick inspired by a pink Crayola crayon, Flamingo and soon the lipstick line expanded to include twenty-three crayon-inspired shades as well as a range of pencils, bases and powders.
Word spread about the quality products and make-up artists in Canada and the US began choosing M.A.C.’s brilliant shades for their makeup kits, spreading word to their clients including pop star Madonna. The first M.A.C. Pro store opened in 1982 in Toronto, styled as a space for makeup artists to exchange tips, portfolios and buy in bulk. The products were intended for makeup professionals but were then sold directly to consumers. As Frank Toskan explained in a company release, he “first manufactured makeup for models, but then the models wanted this makeup for their sisters, friends, and so on… ” In 1985, Mac Cosmetics opening its first retail store in New York City’s West Village, at the epicentre of the AIDS epidemic; the duo’s bold approach to makeup artistry was just what the community needed and the. store became a hot spot for locals, drag queens and beauty eccentrics. In fact, drag entertainer Lady Bunny was hired to work the door!! The founders hired employees with bold hair color, piercing and tattoos and it was the first brand in cosmetic history to invest in the training and education of its staff.
In the Nineties, MAC Cosmetics had over a hundred stores worldwide, raking in an estimated two hundred million francs. The brand development, the opening of new points of sale, and the adaptation of products tailored to each continent made the brand a best-seller worldwide. In 1994, Estée Lauder Companies acquired fifty one per cent shares and began managing the business end while the founders retained creative control. During this era, Madonna requested a lipstick that would last through a performance so Toskan and Angelo formulated Russian Red. It became a sensation and the store often had visits from stars like Michael and Latoya Jackson; when supermodel Linda Evangelista mentioned MAC Spice lip liner in an interview, it sold out immediately. in 1994, M.A.C. launched Viva Glam campaign. The burgundy Viva Glam lipstick was modelled by drag sensation RuPaul and to this day, one hundred percent sales of this product goes to the M.A.C AIDS Fund.
In 1997, Frank Angelo passed away due to cardiac arrest. That time, MAC was generating a revenue of reported US $250 million and Estée Lauder Companies completed the acquisition when Frank Toskan sold his shares and left the company. However, the brand flirted with controversy in September 2010 over the anticipated release of MAC Rodarte, a potential collaboration with Ciudad Juárez-based fashion label Rodarte; the region had been plagued by violence against women and MAC eventually pulled the line before distribution and instead set up a charity which raised an estimated $3 million in two years. In September 2012, MAC Cosmetics launched “MAC Selena” in collaboration with Selena Quintanilla Perez which was a sell-out. Due to its high demand, the brand restocked it in December 2016 and it became the best-selling celebrity collection in cosmetics history — the eyeshadows, blush, mascara, eyeliner, gloss and lipsticks were products Selena would have worn herself but were also products Latinas looked fabulous in. MAC had collaborated with celebrities from Rihanna to Ellie Goulding before but a collection by Latinas, for Latinas made headlines.
Today, MAC Cosmetics is named one of the top three global makeup brands, with an estimated annual turnover of $1 billion and five hundred independent stores staffed with professional makeup artists. Without its founders core values and joyful approach to beauty, M.A.C. would not be the influential company it is today. ” We have never taken makeup too seriously.” Toskan told The New York Times, “It is something to have fun with.”
To be the world’s leading make-up authority among both professional make-up artists and consumers, and meet their need for superior quality services.
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.