Shiseido Makeup has relaunched its color cosmetic collection, in a big way. The new products feature surprising textures for makeup — Inks, Gels, Powders, and Dews — along with innovative packaging that is lightweight and ultra-slim.
The development process was innovative as well. For decades, Shiseido has always developed its products in Tokyo — but this is the first collection developed at Shiseido’s Global Center of Excellence by its team in New York.
Jill Scalamandre is president of Shiseido’s Global Makeup Center for Excellence (COE). The cosmetics line was developed by her team, working closely with colleagues in Tokyo. “This collection is the result of an ongoing international collaboration that defies languages, time zones and borders,” the brand states.
Gail Boyé, senior vice president, product development, COE, led the development team for this launch — and the team includes Sharon Garment, executive director, product development; Sandra Hutson, director, product development; and Jess Abrams, director, package development.
This launch required close collaboration among Shiseido’s internal cross-functional teams in the U.S. and Japan. “The outcome of this beautiful line was truly the result of a successful partnership between Shiseido Operations, our Brand & Product Development teams, paired with our suppliers — and this allowed us to launch on competitive timelines. We were able to leverage expertise and know-how with a global footprint,” Boyé explains.
“It is unusual in our industry to launch a full product line on-counter all at once,” says Boyé. “This unique opportunity allowed us to align all brand codes upfront; the signature Shiseido red line, shapes, colors, finishes, and textures for all primary and secondary packaging,” she explains.
Design Cues: Engineering A Modern, Ultra-Slim Look
The Shiseido Makeup collection features packaging with a modern, minimalist look, in black and red. Mao Komai is the collection’s premiere design architect and worked with Shiseido’s team of engineers to fuse “modern, cutting-edge design with timeless signatures,” the brand states.
When designing the line, Komai incorporated one of Shiseido’s signature design cues — a red lacquered line. It adorns the compacts and lipstick cases. “It symbolizes the life force that flows through nature, as well as bold, individualized beauty,” explains Komai.
Ludovic LeCaro, vice president, packaging development, explains that executing this vision required planning — and engineering decisions. “To incorporate the red line design element on the Blush and Eyeshadow Quad compacts, a separate red molded part utilized an ultrasonic welding process to allow a seamless joint to the cover,” LeCaro says.
LeCaro continues, “Acute attention to detail went into the package engineering to hide the injection gates, relocate parting lines to areas not perceivable by consumers, optimize flow lines and select plastic resins that are compatible with these innovative formulations.”
The collection features some of the slimmest componentry on the market. The Essentialist Eye Shadow Palette, for example, is lightweight and ultra-slim — thinner than an iPhone.
“The slim look of the packaging — and the fact that it is lightweight — was important because it not only fits our Japanese heritage but also mimics the lightweight feel of the makeup products on the skin,” Boyé.
The compacts may seem high-tech, sleek, and modern, at first glance — but they incorporate several design elements inspired by the shape of traditional bottles used during a Japanese tea ceremony. “For the compacts, we were particularly inspired by the Japanese fukusa, which is used to purify tools for a traditional tea ceremony,” Komai says.
Overall, the simple, yet sophisticated design required Shiseido’s package development team and engineers to be creative when making technical choices.
The team deployed various complex technical solutions, including specific material choices, decoration, and finishing processes, along with intricate part designs — and all had to meet the highest level of Japanese quality standards, and at the right cost, while meeting time constraints.
The lipstick and mascara cases are metal. “The sleek square design of the lipstick and mascara inspired us to use a thin metal shell while maintaining all internal functional features to satisfy formula protection and consumer experience,” says Boyé. “The metal shell for these package formats was custom-developed, with great consideration to maintain consistency in color, decoration, and finish,” she explains.
Recategorizing Color Cosmetics: Inks, Gels, Powders, and Dews
Shiseido’s new makeup collection reinvents the standard categories for color cosmetics — there are Inks, Gels, Powders, and Dews. (Read more about them in the slideshow A Look at Shiseido’s New Makeup Textures.)
“The unique, sensorial textures are the focal point of the range,” says Scalamandre. The textures are lightweight — and many are highly pigmented. Shiseido is promoting the range with the tag line, “Visible Feels Invisible.”
Shiseido Makeup’s global director of artistry, James Boehmer, worked with the team to develop the new products. The range includes 21 products, in a total of 125 shades — plus five makeup brushes.
Several of the products in each category are designed to use in several ways — on the cheeks and lips, for example. There are also several types of lip products, in different textures, including LacquerInk LipShines, in 12 shades, in Inks; VisionAiry Gel Lipstick, in 28 shades, is in Gels; and ModernMatte Powder Lipstick, in 24 shades, in Powders.
There are five new makeup brushes in the collection, and they are handcrafted, the brand says, and modeled after Japanese calligraphy brushes. The Daiya Fude Face Duo has a fluffy, diamond-shaped red brush on one end, while the other end is cushioned, to mimic the feel of a fingertip. It is designed to deposit pigment and blend makeup.
The Big Launch & Campaign
The new Shiseido Makeup collection launched on Shiseido’s website and in 25 Sephora stores last month — marking the first time Shiseido makeup has been available at Sephora since 2009. It is also rolling out to Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom stores now.
To promote the launch, Shiseido created an “experience” — the Japanese Beauty Gallery presented by Shiseido Makeup. Located in New York’s Soho neighborhood, the interactive exhibit was open to the public September 6th through 9th.
A private launch party was held on Wednesday September 5th for members of the press and social media influencers. (See photos and read more about the event here in the Slideshow: Shiseido Creates a J-Beauty Interactive Exhibit To Launch Makeup Line.)
A Collab with Emerging Artists & A Collective
Shiseido cast four faces for its creative campaign to promote the new collection — singer/songwriter Banks to represent Inks; actress/ballet dancer Sonoya Mizuno as the ‘face’ of Powders; multimedia artist Yi Zhou to represent Gels; and makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto-Bua as the face of Dews.
Scalamandre says, "This collection changes how we experience beauty, so we sought out artists whose work has reshaped the creative boundaries of their industry. A key priority from the start was to work with artists who have a genuine connection to the Shiseido brand, as well as the company's Japanese heritage, either through their origin or their art.”
The brand also established the Global Artist Collective — a group of beauty authorities brought together to present the new collection to the world. Each artist hails from a different culture or country, but each has a special tie to Japan.
Shiseido’s Global Artist Collective includes Global Color Artist Patrick Ta; APAC Ambassador Pony; Japan Color Artist Hiro Odagiri; North America Color Artists Vincent Oquendo and Lottie; and EMEA Color Artist Gregoris Pyrpylis.
Scalamandre says, "We chose this diverse group of artists not only because they are masters of their craft, but also because they are representative of what Shiseido has always stood for: artistic expression, creativity, and innovation.”
The brand has also partnered with Influenster and StyleHaul to promote the collection on Instagram and YouTube.
More To Come
Next year, Shiseido will relaunch its foundation makeup line. The new products are expected to roll out in Fall 2019 — stay tuned for details.
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Slideshow: Shiseido Makeup's Launch Party
Slideshow: A Look at Shiseido’s New Makeup Textures: Inks, Gels, Powders, and Dews -- which products are in each category?