From kibbutz to cosmetics guru
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An ex-kibbutznik is an unlikely candidate as the creator of a cosmetics collection beloved by a slew of celebs including Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Myleene Klass.
But Israeli-born David Oren (right), who spent his early years on Kibbutz Ben Shemen before moving to the USA, is the creative mind behind Bellapierre, the pure mineral make-up collection on sale across the USA, Europe and the Middle East, and in 17 stores across the UK and Ireland including House of Fraser, where it launched just two months ago.
Now a resident of Los Angeles, Oren, 31, created his first skincare range, Nature's Best, aged just 18, collaborating with a friend and basing it around skin enhancing Dead Sea minerals.
"Growing up with seven siblings, with all the skin problems teens have, I became interested in skincare, and I knew about the need for effective skincare because of my mum and my older sister," explains Oren.
After his precocious success with Nature's Best, he began developing a colour cosmetic range and in 2008, launched Bellapierre. The word, a hybrid of Italian and French, means beautiful stone and is an allusion to mica, the mineral which comes from rock and is, along with colour pigment, the main component of each little pot of blusher, foundation and eyeshadow.
In fact, the foundation is so pure that many US dermatologists tell patients they can use it immediately after a procedure, says Oren. Water resistant and non-comodegenic (it doesn't sink in to the skin), the foundation doesn't slide off, even during a tough gym workout.
One of Oren's aims in creating the range was to "remove the fear factor" from mineral make-up: "There is a real fear about using powders for women who haven't tried them. They are worried they will look 'powdered', which is ageing," admits Oren. Even his mother, who lives in Israel, initially refused to try. "She was convinced she would look older. But once she saw how it looked, she loved it. I now have to ship it to her."
One of Oren's recurring themes is the versatility of the products - the five-in-one foundation and the powders can become eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, cream eyeshadow and even nail polish, depending on whether they are mixed with moisturiser, make-up base, water, clear lipgloss, clear mascara or clear nail polish.
But however evangelical Oren is about his powders, he also recognizes that not all women are comfortable using them, so he also formulated his "On-the-Go" concept, with pressed foundations, bronzers and blushers. Other clever ideas include trios of mini lipglosses and eyeliners, plus an emergency retouch trio of eyeliner, mascara and lipgloss, neat enough to fit in the smallest bag.
More evidence of joined-up thinking are the Get-the-Look kits, containing products and tools to achieve a specific "eye" - again, says Oren, "designed to take the fear out of experimenting with colour". This zeal to take the mystery out of make-up extends to step-by-step instruction cards with products, and make-up counter staff who, at the drop of a blusher brush, will demonstrate how to use any product.
House of Fraser is so keen on Bellapierre they used it (rather than, say, Chanel) for a recent catwalk show, and has given it a vast space on its shimmering new beauty floor. Elsewhere the brand is doing well, and is already in the top five make-up brands in Galeries Lafayette.
Just 31, and with the Nature's Best and Bellapierre under his (Hermès) belt, it is likely the beauty world will be hearing more from David Oren.