Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 03/14/2008

Beauty thrives on individuality, which is likely why the phrase unique selling proposition is bandied about so often in marketing meetings and product presentations. But as someone whose job it is to attend such assemblages, I can tell you that there are times when the last two words (selling proposition) seem to take precedence over the first (unique). Happily, that’s not the case this spring. As our editors were putting together this issue, our annual guide to the season’s key products and trends, we got more and more excited by the creativity and new ideas laid out before us. Beauty companies big and small have done a great job of creating compelling products to attract customers to their counters.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Makeup, for example, features new directions in both textures and colors. Bright, juicy shades of orange have replaced red and pink as the season’s style statement, while technology has injected the latest foundations with a dose of modernity, such as Estée Lauder’s long-wearing yet sheer foundation (this sounds much simpler to achieve than it actually is). The newest skin care ingredients are sourced from incredibly diverse locales, be it Brazil’s Amazon jungle or the research laboratory of a leading university, while new products like Clairol’s Perfect 10 hair color have the potential to propel a staid category into the stratosphere again. Even fragrance packaging gave our editors an aha! moment, with Brazilian designer Isabela Capeto’s cherry red doll flacon eliciting approval all around. “Spring Beauty Handbook” on page 40 features these and more in our comprehensive A to Z guide of the season’s key trends.

In this issue, we’ve also turned the spotlight on the trendsetters of tomorrow. “The Creative Coalition” features the work of seven emerging hair and makeup artists who beauty and fashion insiders tap as the image makers of the future. During a two-day shoot, I had the opportunity to meet and work with them all, an incredibly energizing experience. While each has his or her own unique style, some fascinating similarities did emerge: Each of the hairstylists comes from a hairdressing family, two are from Belgium and they all love Kérastase products. The makeup artists are all crazy about colors from MAC and Make Up For Ever and two out of three studied fine art before embarking on their chosen career paths. For this portfolio, we asked each to execute his or her vision for spring. Meet them and discover their work starting on page 48.

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While we were working with the artists on our story, many of them were also working on fall looks for New York Fashion Week. It was a winning season, as you’ll see in our special report, “Study in Contrast.” Historically, the majority of New York designers take a minimalist stance when it comes to beauty. Not this season—makeup overall was present and polished, while hair was more kinetic and quirky. Key trends included burgundy lips, acid-bright eye shadows, voluminous updos and myriad variations on the bun. Taken as a whole, the effect was dramatic and drop-dead gorgeous. And isn’t that what being unique is all about?