SEOUL — Plastic surgery is competing with luxury spending in Asia.
At least that’s the view of plastic surgeon Sang-Hoon Park, who was speaking on the second day of the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference held at the Shilla Hotel here.
During his morning discussion titled “Changing Faces,” Park spoke about the rising popularity of plastic surgery in Asia and argued that the industry is even competing head-to-head with traditional luxury brands.
“These days, plastic surgery clinics are looking more and more like luxury stores. Why? To appeal more in the competitive beauty market.…What would you do with $5,000, would you buy a new luxury bag or undergo rhinoplasty instead?”
“It’s the same thing,” he said. “Potential luxury buyers [are also] my potential patients.”
In other talks, Diesel’s artistic director and former Lady Gaga collaborator Nicola Formichetti discussed how Asia is a leader in promoting the rise of gender-neutral fashion.
“If you’re in Asia, it’s much more obvious that the boys and girls share lots of things in common from beauty to fashion to music, it’s much more open.”
Gender-less clothing must become part of mainstream fashion, argued Formichetti. “The subject of sexuality and gender is so important. We as a fashion community need to support that.”
During a series of talks focusing on the “global power of accessories,” British milliner Stephen Jones participated in a discussion on the significance of hats and headwear in modern times. “In every country in the world, there’s a huge tradition of head-decorating and hatwear. It’s a further expression of style,” he said.
Jones also spoke about his memories of working with Princess Diana and meeting a young Prince William. “I had a box of pins in front of [Princess Diana’s] dressing table and there was a young boy who came in and picked up the box of pins and threw it in the air. As they tinkled down in the air on his face, I thought, oh that’s the future kind of England.”
The closing talk by Sophie Hackford, director of Wired consulting, focused on the need for “revolution” over “evolution” within traditional luxury industries.
“Luxury is in an impermanent state of flux, and it’s not going to change, I’m afraid. It’s only going to get faster. And there’s nowhere else to me where challenges and opportunities of the future are more obvious and exciting than here in Asia. I see South Korea and Seoul in particular as a petri dish for the future of the global consumer. Because there’s such a youthful group of spenders here,” she said.
“Maybe this market is actually where you can take some serious risks because I think that is something the Korean consumer would be excited about. It’s quite clear that bio-tech advances in some of the labs around the world will find some of their first customers here in South Korea.”