As the cosmetics world goes global, how will it affect individual nations’ ideas of beauty? Now that anyone with internet access can check out the latest catwalk trends and advertising campaigns in international fashion magazines, will make-up trends become homogenised? Will a Mad Men-inspired red lip catch on in China, as it has in New York and London? Will women from Mumbai turn their backs on Bollywood glamour in favour of “the new nude”? Here, industry insiders from major cities around the world report from the front lines of beauty today.
“Catwalk trends take time to trickle down, but when key celebrities wear a look, it can have an instant influence,” says make-up artist Cassie Lomas – and the celebrity does not have to be UK-based. “The statement lips we saw on Angelina Jolie at the Oscars is a trend that London girls are sporting,” says Lomas, who credits the Kate Middleton effect as well: when the Duchess of Cambridge wore a particular Bourjois nail polish (Rose Lounge), sales soared. “It is still their bestseller,” says Lomas, who is also a consultant for the brand. But the influence of New York shouldn’t be underestimated, says Nicky Kinnaird, founder of Space NK. “You can’t get away without having a manicure and tidy nails any more, and that’s the influence of the US.”
“Parisians do not in any way follow fashion trends that come from the shows – they have their thing and stick to it,” says Lloyd Simmonds, creative director of make-up at Yves Saint Laurent. French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt is a likely influence on French women, says make-up artist Lisa Eldridge: “She has that typically French, easy, effortless look with the glossy hair, fabulously cut jacket, no make-up except for a bit of bronze – the most I’ve seen her with is a bit of black smudged pencil.”
Bright splashes of red, orange and pink lipstick featured heavily at the shows but red is already a Parisian classic. “I have seen a lot of Parisian women wearing bright red and I can see them continuing to wear a lot of bright orange or fuchsia red lips,” says Simmonds. YSL’s current bestselling lipstick is Rouge Laque: a rich, glossy red stain (£22.50). “The rest is still always very minimal. That’s just a very Parisian approach,” says Simmonds. “Their mothers teach them how to do it properly,” says Eldridge.
“In New York City, summer is about natural-looking make-up, glowing skin and eye shadows in warm neutrals,” says Bobbi Brown, whose summer bestsellers include long-wear make-up, in particular a brilliant dark brown gel eyeliner (£17). Yet the New York make-up artist Kabuki, who is also artistic director of the British cosmetics company My Face, thinks the red lip will catch on. Indeed, a sheer, blood red lipstick stain by Lipstick Queen is Space NK’s bestseller. Meanwhile, “Unusual nail colours are bigger than ever,” says Kabuki. The bestselling colour at Space NK in New York is The Darkest Emerald (£12) and Hip Pop (a shimmer coral) by British nail company Rococo. “Maybe that is an extension of the now classic navy and dark, vampy colours,” says Eldridge, “but I still don’t see it working in the average New York office.”
“Milanese women still like all that sexy stuff: you see a lot of blondes – with the lashes, the smoky eye, that Donatella plumped-up nude lip. It’s almost Kim Kardashian,” says Lisa Eldridge, who adds that the classic Hollywood look is popular too. Photographer and former creative director of British Vogue Robin Derrick points to two distinct beauty looks in Milan: “Miuccia [Prada]-style, minimal yet very well done during the day, and then the less fashiony people, who are, if anything, quite evening in their look: they will wear a cocktail dress for work, with the smoky eyes and beige lips.”
“We end up mixing US and European summer references with our fall/winter,” says Victoria Ceridono, beauty editor of Vogue Brazil. “This season a great influencer is the feminine, pastel trend: its delicate and perfect for day. Louis Vuitton and Chanel showed beautiful looks,” she says. Indeed, the bestselling MAC cosmetic in São Paulo is a pale fuchsia lipstick called Snob (£13.50), which has a waiting list. Yet, it’s now winter in Brazil, albeit mild. According to Ceridono: “Deep red and wine lipstick is big – Brazilians are used to wearing bright reds and pinks, so it is a natural evolution for the colder weather.” Overseas influence is increasing as more brands move in (Sephora launched last month), but for now MAC lipsticks and Benefit primers are popular foreign brands – and “BB [blemish balm] cream fever is starting to grow,” says Ceridono. Brazilian model Gisele is still a reference, as is the model Isabeli Fontana, but a big influences on women’s beauty is the Brazilian telenovela, or soap operas, with its glamorous look.
“This summer the most popular trends are graphic eyeliner, coral lipstick, wet gloss on eyelids and lips and pastels,” says Elena Petrova, beauty and living director of Vogue Russia. “My friends and colleagues tend to follow more or less the same make-up routine from day to day. They pick what looks good on them and are less likely to experiment than women in Europe or the States.” Still, she says, “Russians love nail polish, especially in summer … the brightest and trendiest shades.” Maria Taranenko, beauty director of Elle Russia, adds: “They will match the make-up with their look, with nail polish and shoes of the same colour.”
“Peach, pink or coral lip stains are popular. Cheek stains and cream blush in bronze, apricot or peach are on trend. And for evening red lips are still big news, with flashes of orange showing up,” says Parizaad Khan, beauty editor of Vogue India. “Kohl will always be popular with Indian women, no matter the current season or trend,” she says. Little wonder MAC’s three bestselling cosmetics are black eyeliners. “We’re doing winged liner for evening and a lot of neon and bright pops of colour on fingers and toes,” Khan continues. “Bollywood is probably the single largest influencer … but Indian women are extremely aware of international make-up trends, which trickle down via make-up artists and also hairstylists. I’ve seen a number of girls with bright coloured panels in their hair, which they may or may not be aware was seen on the spring/summer runway at DSquared,” says Khan.
Beijing and Shanghai
“Vogue is saying sky blue or bright red nails – the Chinese have beautiful hands and feet and they love decorated nails,” says Kathy Phillips, international beauty director of Condé Nast Asia Pacific. Yet, she continues: “I don’t think they think in terms of trends. Make-up is not a big thing and you very rarely see women in lipstick; there is more interest in skincare.” The weather plays a part in this: “In most places summer is too hot to wear make-up; it is important to look clean,” says Helena Hu, beauty director of Elle China. And Chinese actresses are a reference point. “Fan Bing Bing is the most popular beauty idol today,” says Hu. The most popular received trend of the summer? “The Chanel trend with the pearls in the hair is hugely popular. The Chinese love hair accessories and the idea of putting decoration in your hair as a way to get it out of the way and look pretty,” says Phillips.
“In the spring it was pink cheeks and lips and for summer it will be coral,” says make-up artist and creative director for RMK Cosmetics, Tolu. This ties in with Vogue Japan’s 1950s pink and coral summer beauty message, set to feature on its beauty pages. “I think those slightly cold colours work with their skin,” says Phillips, “but, as a whole, Japanese women are very unmade-up. They are much more concerned with the shape of their face, their eyes being big and skin being dewy.” Though Phillips does not think western trends have much effect on the Japanese beauty market, make-up artist Shinobu Abe disagrees: “Japanese women copy western girls’ eyes, to make them look bigger and rounder. They curl lashes, apply layers of mascara, then false lashes,” he says.
Where the world nails its colours
What do the sales say? We asked nail company OPI for its most popular varnish colours around the world. The results suggest that women mainly embrace two looks: a pale nude, or a bright red or pink. In France, bright red is the bestseller, reinforcing a French leaning towards classic glamour. The current trend for greens, blues and Chanel-influenced alternative hues might have caught on with the fashion-forward, but it hasn’t yet become a cultural norm.
UK: Big Apple Red, Red Lights Ahead Where?, Kiss Me on My Tulips (fuchsia)
France: Big Apple Red, Over the Taupe, Passion (flesh pink)
US: Tickle My France-y (brownish nude), Big Apple Red 3, Bubble Bath (nude)
Italy: As above.
Brazil: Thrill of Brazil (red), Flashbulb Fuchsia, On Collins Ave (coral red)
Russia: Big Apple Red,Red Cajun Shrimp, Elephantastic Pink
India: Thrill of Brazil (red-orange), Pink Flamenco, Charged up Cherry
China: Big Apple Red, Hot & Spicy (coral), Too Hot Pink to Hold ’Em
Japan: Princess Rule! (shimmering pink), Over The Taupe, Big Apple Red