Without a doubt, the most highly anticipated beauty launch of the year was Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s splashy entrée into the makeup category. Although it’s been less than a month since the much-hyped collection of 91 skus debuted, the brand has already amassed one million followers on Instagram, teased a holiday collection (out October 13), and racked up more press and social media coverage than most beauty companies dream of getting in a year. Plus, nearly all the shades of Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation—the star product—are currently sold out on Sephora.com, proving that customers are putting their money where their double-taps are. Even at this early stage, it’s clear that Fenty Beauty is on track to be a big hit. Not that many people were betting against the pop star turned fashion executive, turned beauty mogul. As Newsweek succinctly put it, “everything Rihanna touches turns to green and she has the bank account to prove it.”
I definitely didn’t trek to the launch party at the Brooklyn Navy Yards with any doubts about the strength of Rihanna’s brand. I showed up expecting to be dazzled by her spectacular breasts (check), impressed by the inclusivity of the line (check) and entertained by watching my fellow attendees Storying and Boomeranging the hell out of it all (check). What I didn’t expect was for this surprisingly tame event to serve as a metaphor for the disruption that’s shaking up the beauty world. Yet there in that massive warehouse, three major shifts were on full display.