"This is the retro brand that's reborn looking through the eyes of young people like Ming and Aoki," Kimora Lee Simmons says of the extension of her iconic label

By Morgan M. Evans
September 01, 2020 10:05 AM
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Kimora Lee Simmon's iconic Baby Phat brand is receiving a glam makeover with a little help from some millennial fashion and beauty tastemakers — her daughters!

On Tuesday, Kimora, 45, announced the launch of Baby Phat Beauty with her daughters, Ming Lee, 20, and Aoki Lee, 18, taking the legacy of the famed brand to a new level with a multigenerational flare.

The new beauty line revealed its first product, the Shimmer Dreams three-piece kit, which is equipped with a glittering high shine lip gloss, a nourishing hand lotion and an iridescent high-shimmer body spray. The nine-item collection is available in three individual sets, each defined by different fragrances that reflect the three personalities of the mother-daughter collaborators.

"We're a family business ... a heritage brand. It's an old meets new legacy kind of a situation for me," Kimora tells PEOPLE of working on the beauty the line with her daughters before adding that with the line, she's adding "a little bit of luxury, a little bit of sassiness, a little bit of glitter and glitz to your day."

Kimora Lee Simmons Launches Baby Phat Beauty
Credit: Courtesy PRINCE and JACOB
Baby Phat beauty
Baby Phat Beauty
| Credit: Baby Phat Beauty

The Baby Phat founder goes on to explain just how the three $45 kit fragrances — named Opulence, Divine and Ethereal — match with each of the beauty line creators.

"Ming's is Opulence. Ming is very similar to me, she gets the love of fashion, beauty and self-expression. The smell is also super yummy. It's peachy and has orchid with the caramel," she says. "Aoki's is called Ethereal. Hers is more about a free-spirited attitude, being independent, a pursuit of knowledge. It's kind of an uplifting decoration of independence. It's like I am woman, hear me roar."

Describing her own Divine fragrance, Kimora says, "Mine is more warm, sweet and a little bit floral. I think of mine as ... I think of myself as being a boss, like a badass."

Baby Phat beauty
Divine
| Credit: Baby Phat Beauty
Baby Phat beauty
Opulence
| Credit: Baby Phat Beauty
Baby Phat beauty
Ethereal
| Credit: Baby Phat Beauty

Kimora — who founded Baby Phat in 1999 with then-husband Russell Simmons and recently relaunched the brand last year —also took time to reflect on her journey in the fashion industry and how working with her daughters on the new beauty leg of the label a full circle moment for her.

"This is the retro brand that's reborn looking through the eyes of young people like Ming and Aoki," she explains. "My girls have been working with me and going to school – and that’s tough. It can be tough, but it's exciting that we're pushing that needle forward."

Kimora Lee Simmons Launches Baby Phat Beauty
Credit: Courtesy PRINCE and JACOB
Kimora Lee Simmons Launches Baby Phat Beauty
Credit: Courtesy PRINCE and JACOB

The mom of five, who has all her kids together while they quarantine amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, goes on to detail how the '90s and early '00s nostalgia surrounding her label and the current Black Lives Matter movement taking place across the globe have made for good timing for the brand's relaunch and recent beauty expansion.

"I made the brand, sold the brand, and then I got the brand back. But this is a little bit different. Ming and Aoki are growing up in this environment working for themselves and really working for the community. So, we have always been about diversity," the fashion and beauty mogul explains. "I have always been very inclusive of people and women that look like me and looking for something I'm looking for that didn't exist. Going back to my very first show, my very last show, every show in between, this is what I've represented since I've been on the runway myself. We are women of color, which is super important to celebrate right now."

Baby Phat
Ming and Aoki Simmons Baby Phat launch 2019
| Credit: Courtesy Baby Phat
baby-phat.jpg
Kimora with her girls during a Baby Phat runway show

The longtime fashion icon also praises fashion brands such as Kenzo and Prabal Gurung, along with beauty brands like Make Up For Ever, Pat McGrath and FENTY for embracing and elevating diversity in the industry.

“You need people of color, you need women and women of color working for themselves and for others that are like them," Kimora explains. "It's really not only a black thing, a woman thing or an Asian thing. It's absolutely not. We want that inclusivity, that diversity, that focus from all brands for everyone all over the world."

And in addition to balancing school and working together on their new line, Kimora and her daughters have also been perfecting their beauty routines while stuck at home.

"We're doing a lot of these luxury self-care rituals and learning how to do our own nails and hair and makeup ... I think everybody should be paying attention to that," Kimora says, suggesting other self-care "escape moments" such as taking a bubble bath or trying out new makeup.

With her two Baby Phat Beauty collaborators following in her footsteps, the model and entrepreneur says she loves sharing her favorite beauty tips and tricks with her girls.

"I instill in my daughters this concept of mixing high and low, which I think it's very important," Kimora explains. "For example, a little Vaseline goes a long way on those eyelids or those lips. It doesn't have to always be that $500 cream. You have to learn how to high low it in life, whether that's with fashion or beauty. You mix and match. You want to look like you broke it, but you don't want to really be broke."

Kimora also wants consumers to know that Baby Phat Beauty isn't just about looking and smelling great — it is also about girl power and celebrating women being "dynamic" and "smart" in conjunction with looking and feeling fabulous.

"We are the ones now. This falls on our shoulders, and no one does it better than women. I'm over here grooming future presidents," she says of her daughters. "And if it's not these two girls in my house right now,  it's one of their friends. We're a community, and we're stronger together. It is a crazy, crazy time, but some good things are coming out of this. There's much more opportunity right now for women of color and people of color and I think that's the importance behind my messaging and my brand and why I'm always there saying the same thing, and I'll never stop that."