Last weekend, Sephora converted three stories and 25,000 square feet into 16 showcase rooms at The Majestic Downtown in Los Angeles to celebrate its 20th birthday. Dubbed Sephoria House of Beauty, the much anticipated, Instagram-worthy event, which featured 50 brands, dazzled its lucky guests . . . and then some!
The rooms included the Foundation Closet, where attendees could get matched with their perfect shade from a variety of brands; the Custom-Palette Room, where guests could create their own palette from brands such as Make Up Forever and Urban Decay; and the Fragrance Bar Room, where party-goers could drink cocktails inspired by Tom Ford as they danced the night away to a live DJ.
While at times overwhelming, the life-size, interactive beauty exhibits were clearly one of the hits of the event. From a jumbo Fenty Beauty highlighter compact filled with gold confetti, to a stool in the form of a Glamglow mask container with a mega-sized brush, there was no shortage of Instagram photo ops.
Of course, Sephoria’s really big draw was the A-list beauty names who attended. Spread across master classes, meet and greets and special appearances, the lineup included celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, Kardashian makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, Natasha Denona, Dr. Dennis Gross, makeup artist and Artist Couture CEO Angel Merino, Dr. Murad, Fenty Beauty’s Priscilla Ono, Chrissy Teigen, Charlotte Tilbury and Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai.
Tickets prices ranged from $99 for a Bronze key, $249 for a Silver, and $449 for a Gold. All three keys provided entry to the event and all the rooms. Gold and Silver included additional perks such as expedited entry, front-of-the-line passes to 1-3 rooms (which during peak periods had wait periods of 20 minutes), the option to reserve spots in master classes, and a few extra goodies in the swag bags handed out when guests exited the event.
Event organizers worked to make the event as personal and intimate as possible, with tickets capped at 1,200 per session. Other industry events like BeautyCon can see up to 30,000 per show, often leading to hours-long waits just to get in the front door.
Regarding my own experience, I went to the fourth session on Sunday evening, 6pm-12am. I expected this session would be quieter since most people don’t want to be out too late on a Sunday. I had spent the weekend tracking #sephoria tags on Instagram to get an idea of what to expect, and after seeing the blocks-long line on Saturday morning, I decided to arrive an hour before check-in for my session. As it turned out, that wasn’t necessary. Just 30 minutes before the doors opened there were fewer than 30 people in line behind me, and I was . . . number 4!
Before entering The Majestic Downtown, all guests passed through a garden that featured a giant La Mer container they could walk into to sample The Moisturizing Soft Cream hero product (this retails at $325 for a 2 oz container). They next passed Instagram-worthy interactive booths from Gucci, Glamglow and Viktor and Rolf, to name just a few, before finally reaching the front door. There they were greeted with cheers from Sephora employees, who were handing out bags they would fill with the brand swag they discovered inside.
Once inside, I was immediately captivated by the watermelon-themed set from Glow Recipe and the giant mushrooms from Youth To The People. These ended up being among my favorite showcases, since I love seeing emerging brands hold their own against well-established beauty names owned by big conglomerates. These names, not surprisingly, were ubiquitous, and included Fenty Beauty, La Mer, Glamglow, IT Cosmetics, Too Faced, Gucci, Dior, Murad and Marc Jacob (all under the LVMH umbrella, as is Sephora).
The creative set pieces made for some really great photos. The only thing that I liked even more were the brand representatives who were eager to share their products with me!
Next up was Chrissy Teigen. She was at the event to officially launched her BECCA X Chrissy Cravings Glow Kit, a fusion of her love for beauty and cooking. This eyeshadow, highlighter, lippie set has some of the best color and scent on the market currently, in my opinion. I was truly hooked and walked away with a kit of my own.
After leaving Chrissy - but not before getting a selfie of the two of us! - I next hit up the giant Fenty Beauty highlighter (and took home some complementary confetti stuck to my thighs!), then made my way to the top floor and grabbed samples from other brands I’ve been dying to try.
My final stop was to chat with Angel Merino, makeup artist, beauty influencer, glow-getter, and CEO of Artist Couture. I really admire the risks he has taken in launching his brand, and love that all his hard work is now paying off. You can see his glow from a mile away!
By 9:30 I was ready to call it a night, and headed out to collect my swag bag and order a car. The party would rage on until midnight at the dance floor and bar, but I’d already had a fantastic time and learned a lot.
Another party next year, Sephora?