As I was making my way through Interwoven Globe, a fascinating exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that covers the worldwide textile trade from 1500 to 1800, I was immediately reminded of this issue’s cover subject, Laurent Attal, the executive vice president of research and innovation at L’Oréal. The show is a beautiful examination, through richly embroidered and decorated fabrics, of the cross-pollination of ideas between Europe, Asia and the Americas, demonstrating how themes, motifs, materials and ideas travel beyond borders. It is a concept with which Attal is intimately familiar. His domain is vast—L’Oréal has research facilities all over the world—and since being appointed to his post in 2010 by chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon, Attal has expertly interwoven and transferred ideas, innovations and breakthroughs from one area of the globe to another. He recently invited WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born, to spend two days with him touring L’Oréal’s facilities located just outside of Paris. In addition to this rare glimpse inside the company’s state-of-the-art laboratories, Attal shared his strategic vision for how L’Oréal is evolving its approach to science and innovation. As Born writes in “Doctor of the Universe,” “Clearly, the ‘hope in a jar’ school of marketing hype of decades past is dead; the future will be fought in the lab.”
This issue, WWD Beauty Inc’s third-annual Science Issue, explores that idea in depth. In “The Innovation Exchange,” I asked leaders from five different sectors of the industry—marketing, research, supply, retail and editorial—how they see the skin-care sector evolving in an era that is absolutely transformational for the category. Meanwhile, in “The Unstoppable Entrepreneur,” Gail Federici analyzes the myriad factors that have led to her incredible—and continuing—success in hair care.
Of course, the digital revolution continues to exert a profound influence on beauty. Most recently, we are seeing a new class of influencers emerge on YouTube, personalities who are quickly becoming the voice of beauty authority for Millennials. In “Screen Grab,” our West Coast–based beauty editor, Rachel Brown, presents a compelling overview of the YouTube ecosystem, including a comprehensive list of the channel’s rising stars in four key global markets. Many have fan bases that number in the millions, and while some of the names may be new to mainstream marketers, no doubt Attal and his colleagues are tuned in to this—and all—of the changing dynamics of the beauty industry.
“I think what’s so interesting about the #MeToo movement and this whole new wave of feminism in general, is that women are finally seeing, ’Oh I can start my own company, oh I can lear to code, oh I can leave my nine-to-five job and do the thing I want to do,” said @brooklyndecker ahead of her @sxsw talk for @createcultivate. The former model took the stage to share wisdom about networking and female-driven entrepreneurship. #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.