ASPIRATION/ INSPIRATION/ INNOVATION
Innovative textures, on-trend colours, intuitive products, lasting or budge-proof formulas, and designer-sleek packaging. This is the reinvention of Shiseido Makeup.
The reboot of Shiseido Makeup; Ugg footwear makes another comeback; and the SG gin that’s finally made in SG.
Baby boomers who grew up with Shiseido have always known that the brand – which is 145 now – has always been progressive and innovative; a game changer even before the phrase became fashionable to toss around. It was one of the first (if not the first) to stress the importance of prepping skin with moisture, using a softening lotion prior to other skincare. It was the first to pay as much attention to the lightness of a sunscreen as its efficacy. And when it came to base makeup – from foundation and loose powder to concealer with the most refined textures – before the South Korean cushion boom, Shiseido was untouchable.
That heritage may have been lost on the younger generation, but it resonated with Jill Scalamandre, who now heads a team at the Shiseido Global Makeup Centre of Excellence (MCOE). The team is tasked with rebooting Shiseido – starting with its makeup.
Scalamandre is the president of MCOE. The latter is one of four centres of excellence set up by the Japanese brand “to create a collaborative, cross-border way of thinking”. In short, it aims to stay relevant and evolve as a player with a global view in today’s hyper-crowded market. MCOE, which oversees the makeup division, is one of two centres in New York; the other is in charge of digital growth. Two more centres are in Tokyo and Paris for skincare and fragrances respectively.
The centre in the USA was picked to lead in makeup because the country is “a melting pot of ethnicities and the largest consumer of makeup”, says Scalamandre. “An incredible amount of insights and data here allows us to know that what we are creating today is what the consumer of tomorrow wants and needs.”
From Shiseido’s rich history, Scalamandre mined the functional level of the brand’s mastery of science and texture. “When you touch a skincare product from Shiseido, the sensorial experience is truly unparalleled,” she says. “So we knew we had to bring these innovative textures to the world of makeup.”
Texture became the springboard for the first part of the brand’s overhaul: Let it do all the talking and wowing.
And these textures do wow. They don’t just generate social media buzz and give instant gratification to makeup fans and experts; they are also the kind that makeup novices are grateful for, not intimidated by.
The 137 items, categorised under four textures – Dew, Gel, Powder, Ink – are, says Gail Boye, senior vicepresident of Global Product Development for Shiseido Makeup, “reimagined and redefined for the eyes, lips and face. All are lightweight and lasting, with boldimpact colour. While I can’t comment on brands outside of Shiseido, I know that the initial response to developing a range centred around four key textures has been overwhelmingly positive, and something the consumer wants to experience more”.
“We are taking an innovative approach to makeup that no other brand has ever done before,” says Scalamandre. “The focal point of the range isn’t simply the extraordinary colours or its incredible performance, but the unique, sensorial textures. By fusing two of Shiseido’s key pillars, art and science, and taking inspiration from modern Japanese culture, fashion, and design, we have reimagined what beauty looks and feels like today.”
Well, since its worldwide launch on Sept 1, “beauty reimagined” looks like everything it should be for today’s exciting, spontaneous, relevant, irreverent, daring, experimental and inclusive makeup space. Yet it feels, well, like nothing – literally and figuratively. Regardless of which item you pick from the four textures, everything glides on and melds with the skin like the two are one (even if you don’t have perfect skin or skill), while providing colour or effect that won’t slide or melt away. And all the eye makeup is everything every woman (young or older) wants – it’s easy to apply, easy to use, easy to navigate, and stays on like a dream.
Shiseido Makeup is just phase 1. Phase 2, which will be the reinvention of the brand’s base makeup, is slated for September 2019. We think a lot of people will be staying tuned.
Six international Insta-makeup artists/ influencers were recruited to target a younger audience for Shiseido Makeup. Called the Global Artist Collective, they’re led by Asian American Global Color Artist Patrick Ta (@patrickta, 1.1 million followers), who has A-list celebs as fans and clients (Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian West, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Ariana Grande, Rita Ora and Priyanka Chopra are among them). South Korean Youtube phenomenon Pony (@ponysmakeup, 5.5 million followers), is the brand’s AsiaPacific ambassador.