With innovative products from Asia stirring up a storm in the international beauty market— think BB creams—all eyes are on the East for the next wave of ideas. “Today in Asia, you find new conversations, beauty gestures and packaging that are inspirational to brands and consumers elsewhere,” says Florence Bernardin, founder of specialist consultancy Information & Inspiration. “Western brands are following this very closely.”
One of the latest innovations out of South Korea is the “mist cushion,” a liquid foundation with cooling and other properties impregnated into a sponge, offered by brands such as AmorePacific’s Hera. “South Korea has very quickly become a laboratory for innovation. Industry players there are extremely reactive, and production times are very short,” says Bernardin, who notes that BB creams and mist cushions have been real “cash cows.” Such newfangled products have paid off. All three South Korean companies in the Top 100—Able C&C, AmorePacific Corp. and LG Household & Health Care— registered strong double-digit gains in 2012. Although the economic situation in Japan makes it less buoyant overall, there are pockets of growth, with innovation the key driver, according to industry sources.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"