Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — Gaultier’s Fragile, a fragrance in a snowglobe showcasing an elegant woman with gold flecks for snow, proved that packaging can speak to both form and function.
Not that it is easy.
“Fragile was excruciatingly complex,” said Patrick Fraillon, senior vice president, engineering at Techpack’s LIR USA division, a participant in the project. One of the many scientific achievements required was the design of a pump that worked upside down, he noted.
Another recent breakthrough came from Gucci. Its new Rush fragrance package, a rectangular book-shaped container, is made from plastic — possibly the first prestige scent not launched in glass.
While it’s been an explosive period for fragrance packaging (see story, page 10), color cosmetics and skin care categories have seen their own advancements.
A desire for convenience is fostering development of combination packaging. recent examples include an Armani compact with an attachable lipstick and Guerlain’s Issima skin care line offered in travel-size tubes that link together.
There is also interest in making more combination products for time-strapped women. For instance, Revlon introduced EveryLash mascara, featuring a mascara wand and an eyelash comb.
Add to that an interest in making packages smaller for the woman on the go, who doesn’t want to be burdened. Teen brand Caboodles will be introducing a bath and body products line this fall that will include a collection of travel-sized antibacterial cleansing gels. They will be designed so that girls can easily carry one in a backpack.
For the same reason, the use of capsules for skin care, foundation and other beauty products is expected to grow. Capsules are easy to travel, convenient to use and keep product sanitary until use, according to markers.
And packaging manufacturers said they anticipate more challenging projects to come this year as designers seek new and provocative ways to take beauty products to market, while meeting consumer demands.
Other products with innovative packaging that have either recently launched or will shortly include Origins’ Resume the Position, a sleeping aid from its Sensory Therapy collection. The slim plastic diffuser, about two inches long and an inch wide, slides open and shut. And, Nivea’s new Sheer Moisture Spray comes in a bottle with indentations that makes it easy to grip.
Meanwhile, the use of sticks continues to grow as formulations become more complex. First tapped by silicon-based long-wearing lipsticks requiring an airtight container, tubes have become widely used for foundations and blushes. On its One Coat Light & Easy Makeup, Almay even added a sponge applicator. And now the stick concept is building with eye shadows and solid fragrances. Estee Lauder’s Dazzling collection has already added a stick version.
Otherwise, airtight packaging has moved beyond stick packaging and into compacts and jars. Even some loose powders are now being stored in airtight packages to preserve their integrity. Shiseido is one example.
For packaging companies like Techpack and Risdon-AMS, which operate facilities around the world, the globalization of the economy is becoming strategically challenging as more and more brands plan simultaneous global launches. There is also more pressure to streamline the industry and better manage the supply chain. That means producing products just in time to ship while maintaining limited inventories.
The future could bring even more packaging innovation as e-commerce develops. Presenting products online may require different specifications than an item for traditional retail merchandising, said Fraillon. “We want to start looking to see how products sold on Web sites could be different.” And because all the products must be shipped, that is another packaging issue, he said.
Color scheme and package texture is also seeing some new spins with light-reflecting elements and iridescent pigments. While more brands are using playful, yet subtle color, there is also a movement toward simple designs and transparent packaging, according to packaging marketers.
“Everything must be functional,” said Sophie Chevalier, vice president of marketing and sales at Henlopen, another Techpack division. “But everything must be beautiful.”
And because of the fashion-driven demands of the beauty industry, noted Chevalier, “We must bring new things to market every year.”