MAC taps Korean fashion brand Steve J Yoni P for collaboration, with launch in Seoul - Asia’s make-up mecca
International beauty brands feel the influence of K-pop, K-fashion and now K-beauty
To the crowd’s delight, a sextet of male and female skateboarders in slogan T-shirts fly off skate rails and glide onto spray-painted ramps connected to a the catwalk, nearly colliding with the likes of Girls Generation’s Jessica Jung, Son Dambi, and other K-pop stars watching the autumn/winter 2017 fashion show in Seoul for SJYP , the denim line of Korean womenswear label Steve J Yoni P.
The event also saw the launch of the label’s make-up collaboration with international cosmetics maker MAC, featuring a series of limited edition lipsticks, eye glosses, blushes and other items. It’s the first time MAC has worked in this way with a Korean label.
Steve J Yoni P is one of South Korea’s most popular ready-to-wear street style brands. Launched in 2007 by designers, and husband-and-wife team, Steve Jung and Yoni Pai, the brand is known for creating winning combinations of edgy street looks made cute and accessible.
This season’s SJYP collection showcased a variety of punk-meets-country-music-era looks that remind one of Taylor Swift. Models with platinum hair, chunk-dyed bangs, and short, shorn hairstyles that could best be described as pixie mullets appeared in corseted-denim dresses, wide-legged bell bottoms, and a variety of denim jackets embellished with feather patterns, frayed edges as well as sections of glittering blue sequins.
Jung and Pai’s appreciation for the eclectic drew MAC to the brand. “They’re really like a breath of fresh air as far as Korean designers go and who they appeal to. Young audiences here love them,” said Phillip Ing, MAC’s vice-president of global retail and special events.
Beyond K-fashion, the latest big K-buzzword, K-beauty, has made an impression on both West and East in recent years, and MAC, part of the New York-based Estée Lauder Companies stable, is trying to harness the widespread appeal of K-beauty brands – including possible competitors.
“Seoul has become the make-up capital of the world with the amount of brands and the amount of make-up activity,” said Ing. “We have our own niche, but it is very competitive here, especially with the Korean brands, and with every other international brand that’s here.”
“When [MAC] came in [15 years ago], K-pop and K-beauty weren’t even terms yet. It was that long ago that we came in. Korea was just starting to come up economically. It wasn’t where it is now,” he said.
“It’s just changed so much. Now you’ve got one of the biggest youth populations here. And just the amount of make-up brands and innovation to come out of here are staggering,” said Ing of the variety of cosmetics products, masks, and skincare lines produced in South Korea. Make-up is so big and beauty products are so important to Korean women,” he said. “[Korea] is a make-up mecca.”
South Korean cosmetics are lauded for their various strengths – including lipsticks that are long-lasting and tints and CC cushions that make skin look dewy and youthful. K-beauty products are equally renowned for their too-cute packaging and adorable themed designs.
The latter is something Steve J Yoni P’s MAC collaboration embraces. Jung says cartoon designs on the packaging are based off Yoni Pai’s blonde locks, signature red lips and winged eyeliner look.
The couple said the make-up palettes were chosen with youthful Korean beauty trends in mind. “I chose the colours,” said Pai. “It is the first time MAC has collaborated with a Korean designer, so we picked what [colours and products] Korean people like and brought it all together.”
The Steve J Yoni P x MAC collection is due to launch in selected shops in Hong Kong and China on June 2.