Fashion Group Meets on Health and Beauty

FGI, The Fashion Group International, held a luncheon and panel presentation at New York’s Hilton on May 17, 2007 to address the Convergence of Health and Beauty. Caroline Pieper-Vogt, senior vice president, Clarins, introduced the program, noting that “we are experiencing a paradigm shift in the way we view beauty” and there is “an urgency to sustain beauty.” She added that the way we hold ourselves in regard to beauty and the way the event presenters translate this concept for the consumer is undergoing a great deal of change.

A panel was moderated by Greg Stock, president and CEO, Signum BioSciences Director; program director, technology and society, UCLA School of Medicine. Distinguished panelists included Lynne Greene, global president, Clinique; Howard Murad, MD, CEO and founder, Murad, Inc.; and Nicole Fourgoux, AVP, Garnier Nutritioniste.

“The first wave of change in the next decade will show tailoring the genetics of our own biochemistry and addressing problems before they occur,” said Stock. “The lines are blurring between treatment and prevention, medicine and personal care, and need and desire. The beauty industry inhabits a gray regulatory environment, particularly in the area of antiaging, and the challenges will include keeping things fresh and addressing the question of whether you are selling beauty and health or the feel of beauty and health.”

“Years ago, we had ‘hope in a jar,’ over time the hope has become better and better,” said Murad. “Your skin is connected to every part of your body and is a microcosm of the whole body. If you improve the quality of your skin, you’re improving the quality of your body.”

“From hope in a jar to the antiaging pill to which Dr. Stock alluded, we are almost at the ‘illusion’ place now, meaning, ‘I think, therefore I am,’” said Greene. “Thirty or 40 years ago, there was a certain amount of letting go. There isn’t that same feeling anymore. Women want to look good no matter how, and we are selling within the psychological headset of the consumer.”

Recently, Clinique collaborated with Weill Cornell Medical Center to make health information relevant to the consumer. It includes sharing the understanding of what the best technology is for taking care of the skin, and extends to taking allergy information and developing relevant products. Greene also cited a recent collaboration with Cosmopolitan, which encourages the use of self-tanning products for teenagers, who are increasingly contracting skin cancers as a result of tanning overexposure. The campaign is called, “Safe is the new sexy.”

“We are in the world of beauty,” said Greene. “We market in that world, and the evolution of that world has shifted. Asia is concerned about skin tone and skin whitening, and antiaging goes across all borders.”

“You can’t be healthy without beauty, and you can’t be beautiful without health,” Murad concluded. Clearly, the message resides in one’s interpretation of health and beauty, however, recent educational efforts and changing perspectives are advancing the dialog.

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