Products from Shiseido's Playlist brand

Shiseido has drawn on the expertise of 40 different hair and makeup artists to develop a new makeup brand targeting digitally savvy young women in their late 20s and 30s. The brand and its dedicated web site launched Wednesday.

Called Playlist, the new brand aims to invoke the idea of having fun or “playing” with beauty, which the Japanese company gives women stronger self-confidence. It takes inspiration from the fashion industry, with artists drawing on their experiences backstage at runway shows and photo shoots to develop a product range that is relatively simple but can be used to create a variety of looks. Belgian model Yumi Lambert has been named as the brand’s muse.

A key element of Playlist’s identity is its digital presence and reliance on e-commerce. It will be sold on its own site, Shiseido’s e-commerce platform Watashi+ (pronounced “Watashi Plus”), and select third-party sites. The only bricks-and-mortar store to carry it at the moment is Shiseido the Ginza in Tokyo. For now, the brand is only available in Japan but a Shiseido spokeswoman said the company is considering international expansion for the future. Shiseido is declining to release a sales target.

The brand also intends to use its web site to create a dialog between makeup artists and customers. The site currently has a total of 25 different looks on display, each attributed to a different artist. When customers click a look they are taken to a page where they can see a video of the look, step-by-step instructions on how to create it, links to buy the products used, and a form they can fill out to ask the artist specific questions.

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Another interactive service being offered by Playlist is its “artist kit.” Customers choose a makeup artist, take a selfie, upload it to the site and answer a few questions. This information is then relayed to the artist, who creates a personalized makeup kit and advice catered specifically for each customer. When it’s ready, the kit is delivered directly to the customer’s address.

The timing of the Playlist launch coincided with the announcement that Shiseido has replaced Maybelline as the cosmetics sponsor of Tokyo Fashion Week. The company will provide cosmetics products for the event, and Shiseido hair and makeup artists will be in charge of creating the looks for the models. Linking the two announcements together, the company is holding a drawing in which 20 customers who make a Playlist purchase of 5,000 yen (about $49) or more will be entered to win a pair of tickets to one of the shows. As reported, Amazon Japan is the new headline sponsor of Tokyo Fashion Week, which runs Oct. 17 to Oct. 22.

At the time of launch, the Playlist line consists of 14 products in a total of 31 variations. Additional color cosmetics for winter will be released Nov. 1. Prices range from 2,500 yen, or $24.50, for lipsticks, to 5,500 yen, or $54, for a serum. Other products in the range include cleanser, toner, cream, foundation, mascara, and cream cheek color.

Playlist is the latest Japanese cosmetics brand to position itself around the makeup artist concept, joining the ranks of Addiction, RMK and Three. It also complements another makeup brand in Shiseido’s portfolio: Nars. Shiseido and other beauty companies are increasingly targeting younger Japanese consumers as the population ages and competition intensifies. In June, Kosé announced that it would launch a new line of makeup, Visée Avant, targeting trend-conscious women in their 20s who use makeup to create different looks and play up their personality.

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