By  on May 31, 2007

Prestige beauty will take many guises in years to come, trend forecasters say.

While gazing into their crystal balls, they see rare ingredients, natural formulas and made-to-measure products emerging as strong trends.

"There will be a higher level of segmentation," said Alexander Kirillov, senior analyst of London-based Euromonitor tracking fi rm. "There's a trend for very natural and organic ingredients. There are also more and more high-tech products emerging on the market."

Other dichotomies abound in the high-end segment, too.

"Makeup related to fashion now focuses on the mouth a lot," said

Gert Van de Keuken, artistic director of Paris-based Studio Edelkoort, adding brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent are currently emphasizing the lips and offering shades of vibrant red. "They're very glamorous and also very graphic."

On the other end of the spectrum, meantime, are grassroots beauty products.

"One of the key trend drivers affecting the way we think about luxury is what we call 'nu authenticity,' " said Sarah Rabia, researcher of London-based trend tracking fi rm The Future Laboratory. "This is about consumers searching for the real, human and unspun.

"I think the beauty industry in particular is really lagging behind this point," she continued. "Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign [featuring real women] is an example of a brand being 'nu authentic'- their message was, you don't have to conform to us. [It's] a paradigmatic shift for brands targeting women, I feel, because they resonate with the consumer by being reassuring and calming."

Trend watchers also note a move away from a homogenous vision of beauty to a more individual one.

"Made-to-measure products are increasingly important," explained Van de Keuken. "The phenomenon is like haute couture, but for cosmetics."

Along with the increasing lure of made-to-measure products comes the growing importance of perceived rarity in luxury cosmetics. That's where small, indie brands come in.

"There's a very strong trend toward niche products," said Kirillov.

"A lot of people want to buy niche items that they can't buy everywhere. They're not necessarily very expensive, but their provenance and niche distribution make them desirable."So, too, do their rare ingredients, which increasingly must be associated with nature to obtain real cachet.

"They have to do with treasures from the earth, such as minerals, waters and other ingredients," said Van de Keuken.

"Fabrics and metals are very important signals for high-end luxury brands," continued Rita Clifton, chief executive offi cer of Londonbased branding consultancy Interbrand. She highlighted a new facial available in Asia, which uses a gold-leaf mask as part of a treatment.

Noble materials will also become more evident in product packaging, added Jeanine Recckio, founder of Mirror Mirror Imagination Group, a beauty and lifestyle trend forecasting fi rm in New York. "Small details are returning, like weighty glass for perfume bottles," she said, giving Versace Profumi's latest signature scent as an example. "[Luxury] is all about weight. You want it to feel decadent and more luxurious."

"Consumers want to be related to something more special and to be part of a select group that can afford and have access to treasures," said Van de Keuken. "It is like treasure hunting."

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