Isetan's newly renovated beauty floor

TOKYO — The beauty floor of Isetan’s flagship in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district has undergone its biggest remodel in four decades, reopening Wednesday with seven unique zones and roughly 40 brands. The project is part of a larger renovation, which started with the department store’s men’s building this past spring and will be ongoing until about March.

In designing the layout of the new beauty floor, the retailer utilized learnings from its Isetan Mirror chain of semi-self-service stores, which appeal to younger consumers because they combine luxury brands with a casual atmosphere that allows shoppers to peruse and try products at their leisure, without the pressure to buy. In a similar vein to this style of retail, the new space in Isetan includes inviting corners and interactive experiences.

The seven zones on the ground level shop space include fragrances, new makeup, couture makeup, Japanese makeup, artist makeup, cute makeup and lifestyle cosmetics. Seven brands featured are new to Isetan, with La Bouche Rouge making its first appearance in Japan, and Grid and Uzu being sold in a department store for the first time.

French brand La Bouche Rouge markets its lipsticks as sustainable beauty, since its tubes use no plastic. Grid is a new Japanese brand with a minimalist aesthetic, launched just this fall. And Uzu, also Japanese and formerly known as FlowFushi, underwent a major re-brand earlier this year and has been launching products ever since.

Uzu is an interesting choice for Isetan from a retail perspective as well, as it is largely a drugstore brand, with prices to match. Aside from a flagship in New York, the corner in Isetan is its first dedicated retail space. The display focuses around clear acrylic drawers that store stock of its colorfully packaged products, giving customers a glimpse of that which is normally hidden from them. It’s a new retail concept that the brand is considering employing in other locations in the future. 

Timed to coincide with the Isetan opening, Uzu also launched its new mascara on Wednesday. Its color mascara is available exclusively at the department store until Dec. 6, when it will be rolled out to other stores in Japan. All of the mascaras will be released in New York next spring.

Special beauty services offered at Isetan include a touch-screen at Kiehl’s that allows customers to design their own custom artwork for product stickers, using a variety of text and icons, including some that are exclusive to Isetan. Guerlain’s counter includes its Mindscent fragrance finder for the first time in Japan, which creates a unique fragrance powered by emotion sensors. And a number of brands, including Shu Uemura, Nars, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Laura Mercier and Lancôme, offer customization via an engraving service.

The artist zone, which includes brands such as  Addiction, RMK, Shu Uemura and Nars, is where customers can get free makeup lessons and advice from professional makeup artists. Shiseido’s corner includes a makeup bar, while Esteé Lauder’s has a “look lounge.”

Following Wednesday’s grand reopening of its beauty floor, Isetan will unveil two new women’s clothing departments in December and February, as well as a promotion space in March.

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