Is there anyplace on earth with more raw energy than Asia? The exploding middle class in China, India and Indonesia, to name just a few. The urbanization boom and emergence of major new cities. The unquenchable enthusiasm for new experiences, new products. Our goal with this, our first-ever issue dedicated to Asia, was to capture that energy in the pages of WWD Beauty Inc, and bring to life this region that’s so much more than just another place to sell more stuff. (Although there’s a lot of that, too. In most of these countries, double-digit sales increases are the norm, not the exception.)
But while Asia is a key business development driver, what is truly fascinating is the evolution of its role as trend setter rather than follower. Whereas historically the flow of influence has been from West to East, now the cross currents mean that Chinese supermodel Liu Wen is a global—not regional—face of Estée Lauder while the French-born Sephora and its open-sell, self-assist format has taken root as one of Asia’s key beauty concepts. “Asian women in general are true beauty seekers, quite phenomenally so,” Procter & Gamble’s Joanne Crewes tells our Beijing-based reporter Kathleen McLaughlin in “In Development” on page 28, where she looks at how (and where) the urbanization of China is impacting consumer mores, and the expected impact for international beauty marketers.
If names like Wuhan, Xi’an and Qingdao are unfamiliar, they most likely won’t be for long. All are cities of six million-plus people in China; all represent rich opportunity. All have also been colonized, so to speak, by Sephora, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton–owned retailer, which is aggressively expanding its presence across Asia. As you’ll see in “Asia Major” on page 32, the retailer expects to have 100 stores in China by yearend, and 50 scattered across Southeast Asia within the next three years.
Sephora doesn’t yet have stores in India, where the law currently forbids foreign direct investment in retail in the multibrand segment. However, industry analysts say it’s only a matter of time before such restrictions are loosened and western-based retailers gain a stronger toehold. When they do, they’ll find a receptive population, particularly to fragrance. As Mayu Saini reports in “India Blooms” on page 34, fragrance has very deep roots in India, among both men and women. And though sales are currently small compared to the worldwide market, they are growing in some sectors by 100 percent.
Elsewhere in this issue is an in-depth interview with Shiseido’s Carsten Fischer, who discusses everything from the challenges confronting Japan after the recent natural disasters to how he’s married his native German dialectic communication style to the Japanese consensus culture. As you’ll read in “Master Class” on page 8, he’s been able to successfully meld the two and cross cultural boundaries. Likewise, the three beauties on our cover—Tao Okamoto, Hyoni Kang and Ming Xi—are as popular in Paris and New York as they are in their respective hometowns of Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. They, too, have successfully crossed cultural boundaries and we hope that with this issue, we have as well. Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews