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.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion