If Plato’s utopian city-state Kallipolis ever becomes a reality, Yoshiharu Fukuhara is a shoo-in to become its philosopher king. One of the most successful chief executive officers in the history of beauty, he is also one of its most modest. Largely responsible for transforming Shiseido, the company founded by his grandfather 140 years ago, from a Japanese beauty concern into a global conglomerate, Fukuhara remains a humanist at heart, the antithesis of the hard-driving executive. Yet his achievements are legendary, impacting not only his company but the entire industry: Fukuhara was an early champion of creativity, giving collaborators such as Serge Lutens and Chantal Roos the artistic and business freedoms to execute their visions. He brought Shiseido to Europe and the U.S., and was an early pioneer in China, creating relationships there in the Seventies that have blossomed into an enormous business today. And he was a leader who understood the importance of development and collaboration at a time when authoritarian figureheads were most often found in the corner office.
If those achievements sound like the fundamental tenets of success today, it’s because they are. Fukuhara paved the way that others have followed, and we are delighted to honor him with the WWD Beauty Inc Visionary of the Year award. For a fascinating look into Fukuhara’s analysis of the beauty industry, turn to “The Zen Master of Beauty.”
Doubtless, Fukuhara would appreciate the achievements of this year’s WWD Beauty Inc Award winners. In a standout year for beauty overall, they represent the best of the best. As always, our editor’s choice business-to-business awards recognize the brands, products, people and retailers that powered our industry forward this year. On behalf of everyone here, I’d like to wish congratulations to all of this year’s winners.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast