Korea: When make-up plays with design…

And when make-up plays with design, it is with all its dimensions.

Design in terms of packaging first. Starting with “primary packaging”, a trend of which is inspired from K pop culture and its illustrative and cheerful language.

The adorable small eyeshadow case by TONYMOLY (with its built-in applicator in the stem) is somewhat reminiscent of the minimal lantern of the designer Beeen. The same organic vocabulary, more airy in forms, can be found in more selective brands, like the beautiful SU: M brand (which means breathing in Korean) and its bottle Air Rising essential foundation or with O HUI and its dual mascara.

In addition, the little “Bunny” of TONYMOLY or the cheek stick of FACE SHOP are both a beauty response to the playful design present in the furniture or accessories for cats signed by the designer Kam Kam.

Accessories are not left out either in “tools packs”: coloured and decorated for a BB cream by A’PIEU with massage properties or more romantic for the flower-shaped puff of O HUI’s pink blusher.

Then “secondary packaging” of course… The profusion of Illustrative decorations on cases has what it takes to attract any Korean pinup. And between ELLE GIRL, PERIPERA or TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL, the choice is hers. She will find her look in the effigies and a style bordering “fashion magazine” models. PERIPERA for example gives pride of place to the illustrations from Mari Kim on the packs of blushes, while ELLE GIRL advocates more for the fashion world and the figure of Parisian women.

Not forgetting the funny and faceted case that takes up the shape of the pencil inside PERIPERA….

A nod to this graphic style and to Korean creativity: The Shu Uemura brand claiming here its “Asian” image, has launched a limited collection of its best-selling skin purifier with a “Seoul” decoration…

And finally the dimension taken by retail design and merchandising. The strength of all these Korean brands lies in a super dynamic distribution, with in addition to department stores, some own-name boutiques which are mushrooming in the shopping areas of Gangnam in Myeong-dong, and allow each brand to assert a universe of its own. ETUDE HOUSE has developed its doll house concept, the perfect place to host in a case its so “kawai” collections… (with one i inspired from the Japanese word “kawaii”, meaning cute) or TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL with its cases for schoolgirls, or its slate boards presenting the latest collections!

Already voted “world design capital” in 2010, Seoul will inaugurate by the end of 2013 the Dongdaemun Plaza, the future design museum with a spectacular architecture signed Zara Hadid. When you know the active policy of the government, which made its K culture an instrument of power and of global influence (the “Hallyu” being the Korean name used to designate the avalanche of its entertainment industry throughout Asia), Korean design has not finished surprising us…

Another detail which cannot be missed: The recent election of Juun.J, the leader of the menswear creation for the Samsung Cheil Group, as a member of the chambre syndicale de la mode masculine of Paris (a Paris menswear association which includes French top brands of men’s ready-to-wear)…

And yes, men are not left out and have become, through the recent launch of several BB creams (tubes and compacts), a target of choice for Korean make-up brands. Hence, a phenomenon which should be followed closely.

Especially when one knows that make-up for men is in the genes of the Korean people (theatre masks among others) and that it is not for them an obstacle to virility as it is in our Western societies. The design of these new men’s beauty tools should therefore also be followed closely, when we see today the playful design of the Good Guy or Bad Guy ranges (the choice is yours), signed by ETUDE HOUSE, and which offers in tonic pink or blue colours some BB creams in sticks and Hair waxes in jars taking the form of caps, it’s seems quite promising!

But this is another story….

For the complete study, contact Caroline Moulin, NaO design trends – nao@orange.fr