In recent years we have seen a feeding frenzy of collaborative efforts across beauty and fashion, with brands joining forces with each other, or with a brand that does not orbit in the same universe at all.
One such collaboration was between K-beauty brand TonyMoly and spicy instant noodle brand Samyang, which launched a viral capsule collection.
In China, the makeup brand Catkin launched an extremely successful range of collections with Chinese museums like the Forbidden City Museum in Beijing.
Such interesting mash-ups help brands tap into new ideas and can result in a cross-pollination of consumer bases.
Traditions with a twist
We have seen many such collaborations fuelled by quirk and nostalgia. While brand collaborations are definitely here to stay, we will now see brand collabs driven by neo-traditions and mindfulness, said Isabelle Gavalda, the founder and creative director of creative agency Somexing.
Speaking on the former, she said: “Neo-traditions are about new craftmanship, which can be very interesting to elevate a beauty brand and help them connect with heritage and legacy. The role of collaboration most of the time to elevate or premiumise the brand through, for example, craftsmanship, and you can really develop super prestige additions in very limited numbers.”
She highlighted the collaboration between French luxury house Guerlain and Beijing-based visual artist Li Hongbo, who designed the exquisite packaging for the brand’s Orchidée Impériale Black face cream.
Somexing is an art and design agency specialising in brand collaborations that has worked with beauty brands such as Lancôme and most recently, Maison Margiela Fragrances.
L’Oréal-owned niche fragrance brand is relatively new to the market and was searching for a way to connect with the locals with a China-exclusive collection for its Replica collection.
“Fragrance was not the key market for collaborations until now because it was quite niche for the Chinese market but I’m sure it will become more present,” said Gavalda.
Somexing helped develop the limited-edition Chinese New Year collection with a local photography collective Birdhead.
“It was quite interesting that the brand took the risk to develop a project that was quite alternative, a bit out of the box,” said Gavalda.
The design of the project combined analogue photography, Chinese calligraphy, and the traditions of Chinese New Year.
It also tapped into Maison Margiela’s haute couture roots by designing a reusable red packet from upcycled fabrics.
Gavalda explained that working with local emerging artists could help to foster cross-cultural understanding, especially with local youths.
“What’s so interesting to work with local Chinese art scene is that it’s been booming for the last five years as the attraction to art among Chinese consumers have increased. Brand can show that they share the values with the Chinese youths by working with these artists.”
Art and mindfulness
The second trend Gavalda believes will gain more traction in beauty is mindfulness, which ties in very nicely with art, she said.
“Mindfulness is a trend that you have beauty and in art. You can see with the development of immersive installations you can somehow in the creative process, bring a sense of mental wellbeing that is now also very important in beauty,” she explained.
The connection between mindfulness, well-being, and fragrances has been heavily emphasised over the past three years.
Gavalda said: “You can really feel that perfume is a good medium, a good category for collaboration because its something invisible that you want to make visible. It’s always great to work with artists that can somehow visualise the fragrance. It’s something I call the art infusion effect.”