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Paris Gets a Healthy Dose of J-Beauty

The Japan Store Isetan Mitsukoshi x Bijo pop-up, which carries 14 Japanese beauty brands, runs through May 27.

PARIS — Paris is getting a healthy dose of J-beauty.

That’s thanks to a pop-up shop carrying 14 brands linked to Japan in the country’s cultural center, the Maison de la Culture du Japon, located on the Left Bank here.

Running for one month, through May 27, it’s called The Japan Store Isetan Mitsukoshi x Bijo (Japanese for “beautiful woman”) and takes center stage in the gift shop. There, a long wooden table running down its center is chockablock with products.

They’re hailing from brands not well-known in France today. “They are more niche. But in Japan, they are really very popular, very innovative and interesting,” explained Keiko Suyama, who masterminded the pop-up concept.

She noted that retailers in Paris had carved out areas for Asian beauty products, but that they only included South Korean or Chinese brands.

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“It’s somewhat of a shame that people don’t know Japanese beauty at all — except for Shiseido, Kosé and Sensai,” she said, ticking off some of the country’s largest labels.

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“This was to be a good occasion to show the entire Japanese beauty universe,” she continued.

Among the brands on display is Colors Japonica — a three-year-old fragrance label for interiors founded by Shizuko Yoshikuni and Manuel Kuschnig. “It consists of four fragrances, all inspired by shades and tones and moods of the colors associated with traditional Japanese colors,” said Yoshikuni.

The duo is also behind a line called Airo, created in their Aoiro Airdesign olfactive atelier based in Berlin and in Tokyo.

“We were really pleased with this context and this location,” said Yoshikuni, referring to the pop-up.

A candle from Colors Japonica.
A candle from Colors Japonica. Courtesy Photo

Other brands present include Uka, which was founded by Kiho Watanabe, a celebrity manicurist. The wide-ranging line boasts products for nails, hands and hair.

Uka balms
Uka balms Courtesy Photo

Suwada, which was founded in 1926, produces must-have, top-of-the-line grooming tools for men in Japan, according to Suyama.

Slim Cera beauty rollers’ design takes a cue from traditional Eastern medicine, created to help circulation and energy flows in a person’s body.

Ruhaku is an organic line of skin-care products, whose formulas are based on the getto plant, which is billed to be an ingredient contributing to longevity.

Los Angeles-based, Tokyo-born designer Yuya Takahashi’s metallic hair ornaments — including a signature feather-shaped barrette — are part of the offer, as well.

Another brand with a focus on nails is Kobako, which has files created for particular effects, such as specific angles or shapes.

Eau de Ki is a lotion based on a mix of eight plants used in Wakan medicine, a mélange of Chinese and Japanese medicine, and four herbs from the West.

The other brands at the pop-up are Juttoku, Makanai, Panasonic Beauty, Parfum Satori, Shaquda and Shigeta.