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Women see fashion and beauty as one and the same thing, so says Maryelle Allemand, senior marketing project manager for creative trend forecasting agency, Carlin International.* She maintains that, among other things, a woman’s hair style, skin care and makeup are as important as her choice of clothes. “We see it when we look at old pictures,” says Allemand. “The emblematic look of the ’60s or ’80s is characterized by certain ways of wearing hair and makeup, along with the way people wear particular types of clothes. All these elements are like a vocabulary creating the ‘expression of femininity’ language.”
Carlin International helps clients read this language in today’s markets in order to anticipate future trends. Furthermore, it works with beauty brands to help them understand long-term trends based on sociological changes. “Understanding the changes in lifestyles is the best way to understand the needs of female consumers and to be able to bring them breakthrough innovations,” says Allemand.
A key difference between now and 20 years ago is the easy availability of cosmetic procedures, such as Botox and fillers. Antoinette van den Berg, founder of cosmetics trend and product forecasting agency Future-Touch,* believes that this—along with the advent of digital photography and tools such as Photoshop—means that women can change their appearance at a whim. “It’s no longer about having a real image but something that has been worked on,” she maintains.
“It’s an historical revolution,” concurs Allemand, who observes that women have never been so free to express their own individuality as through the way they appear to the world.