SHANGHAI — When Chinese celebrity Yue-Sai Kan launched her eponymous beauty line in 1992, she always envisioned it as a global brand for the millions of Chinese women around the world. Now, under the brand's new parent, L'Oreal, that dream is about to be realized.
L'Oreal officially relaunched Yue-Sai, a cosmetics and skin care line that specifically targets Chinese features, last month. Company representatives unveiled several new products to the local media — as well as an advertising campaign featuring a new brand spokesperson, Chinese actress Shu Qi — and reaffirmed their intent to take the Yue-Sai brand beyond China and make it available to Asian women abroad.
The event was the first official introduction of the Yue-Sai brand under L'Oreal since the company acquired it in early 2004 from Coty Inc., which had owned the brand since 1996. L'Oreal, whose sales in China nearly doubled last year to roughly $360 million, is hoping that a Chinese-specific product line will give them a major edge in the increasingly competitive beauty market of mainland China.
"Of course, you could sell every brand everywhere in the world," said Arnaud de Fontgalland, international development director for Yue-Sai, "but we think that having a brand that specifically targets a Chinese vision of beauty gives us an advantage [in this market]."
In the year since purchasing Yue-Sai, L'Oreal has been slowly reworking the brand's product lines by updating existing offerings and introducing new ones that incorporate L'Oreal research and expertise.
"Chinese women have unique features and they need products designed to enhance these features," said de Fontgalland. The Yue-Sai products specifically target such Chinese characteristics as yellow skin tones, fine pores and a fair complexion.
The purchase of Yue-Sai from Coty also gave L'Oreal a manufacturing space in Shanghai's Pudong district, which will reopen this summer as a major research and development center for the Yue-Sai brand and other company brands. The facility will be on par with existing L'Oreal centers in New York, Paris and Tokyo.
Executives hope the Yue-Sai brand, which is sold in 800 department store doors in China, will expand first to other countries in Southeast Asia next year and in 2007, and then move into markets in Europe and the U.S.Brand founder Kan, who will continue to contribute to the brand in an advisory role, said, "There are Asian women all over the world who need products made for them. Quite simply, foreign brands don't cater to them. We do."
Meanwhile, L'Oreal's next chief executive officer, Jean-Paul Agon, made a pit stop last Thursday at the Fashion Institute of Technology for breakfast with a few recent graduates of FIT's Master of Professional Studies program in Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing & Management.
True to form, the affable, self-effacing executive garnered laughs from audience members, several of whom are current employees of L'Oreal, while describing his early years as an employee at the world's largest beauty firm.
"I started as a salesman and I chose the South of France, because I had a girlfriend there and it was sunny," laughed Agon, who is just weeks away from moving to Paris to prepare for the post of ceo.
After taking the students through his days as general manager of L'Oreal Paris, president of Biotherm Worldwide, president of L'Oreal Germany and then of Asia, Agon mused on a company that, many times, took a chance on him and believed in his abilities. "At L'Oreal, when we promote someone, we don't do it based on the experience of this person, we bet on the talent, we try to figure out skills and the potential of someone," he said. "We take a risk — that's what they did with me all of my life."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews