The recession hasn't killed the good life entirely; it's just put a renewed focus on value, quality, and story. Meet the iconoclasts who are redefining the meaning of luxury.
Photographed backstage at the Chanel Couture Show, Paris
Ever since Chanel launched its No. 5 fragrance in 1921, beauty has been a critical part of the legendary fashion house's image -- and its business. Chanel No. 5 is the bestselling scent in the world; last year Chanel Fragrance and Beauté saw estimated sales of $1.5 billion. Heading up the vision on the makeup side -- a position Vogue calls "the most coveted job in cosmetics" -- is creative director Peter Philips (right, with models). He's made a splash painting tattoos on runway models, but he also appreciates makeup's everyday role. "A good-quality nail polish or lipstick is almost an accessory," he says. "It's nice to be able to buy a little bit into the dream."
By Jessica Shambora; photographs by Ben Baker Fortune September 2010