"GALLERY COMPACT" launched on February 1st with the concept of "A Happy Meeting of Art and Cosmetics." The pressed powder series created in collaboration with artists have generated a lot of discussion, primarily on social media. We talked with producer and creative organizer Natsuko Nakamura, as well as with Shoko Tanaka, the creative director.
--"GALLERY COMPACT" launched on February 1st in limited quantities. The first installment features all nine types of pressed powder, created with the collaboration of three artists, with the theme "SPRING CRUSH." First of all, tell us about how "GALLERY COMPACT" was born.
Nakamura: There are many brands in Shiseido, but there were very few products that approached people in their twenties. So we started with the idea of developing cosmetic items that would reach young generations. Before proceeding with development, we first conducted interviews, listening carefully to each person in order to deepen our target insight.
--What did you learn?
Nakamura: It turned out that for these ladies to make a purchase, functional appeal alone was not enough. Their desire to purchase is stimulated by limited quantities, which raise their spirits, or by empathizing with the story that is put into the product.
In addition, we also confirmed that people in their twenties value word-of-mouth information, such as from social media, instead of mass media like television. Rather than being widely advertised in television commercials and in stores, it is important to have a special feeling of "I found it myself!" and a limited edition feeling such that "If I don't buy it now, I won't get another chance!" Therefore, I thought that I would like to aim at the topics that were raised by collaborating with distinctive artists instead of going for a functional appeal.
--How was the concept decided?
Tanaka: Through interviews we discovered that people became excited when they discovered small changes in their usual lives, so we raised the concept of "A cross between cosmetics (usual) and art (unusual). A gallery that brings discoveries and enjoyment to me every day."
Pop, fashion, girly. Recruiting artists in three directions
--The first installment of "GALLERY COMPACT" is a collaboration with three artists. How were they chosen?
Nakamura: Because this is a newly born, unknown brand, I asked for an artist who has influencing power and who is supported by the kind of consumers that we want to encounter. In order to encounter as many consumers as possible, I kept the three directions of "pop," "fashion," and "girly" in mind.
"Pop" is Masami Yanagida, who loves fashion and art and is supported by people in the beauty and creative industries.
"Fashion" is Sayuri Nishikubo, who is popular among people who like monotone fashion. "Girly" is SRETSIS, a Thai fashion brand. SRETSIS is known for its high fashion sense and is loved by many entertainers.
--What point did you focus on in product development?
Tanaka: Among the various limitations, that point was whether the artists could freely show their individuality. For example, there are two types of compact surfaces: matte and sparkling. We consulted with each artist and selected the surface according to compatibility with their respective work and texture when printing.
In addition, we imagined a transparent outer box, surrounded by a black border, and decorated with works in the gallery. For this, if the work on the back side showed through, then the cuteness would be cut in half, so the in-house designer worked hard to fit it inside the round compact.
Nakamura: We of course want to offer a good powder on the inside, so, we made it a powder that matched the skin of people in their twenties. When the powder is applied to your skin the light cover effect from the glitter particles hides pores and color unevenness and brings out a sense of transparency.
--We also talked about promotion with "She is" Community media to bless women who live their own way.
Nakamura: The impetus for collaboration came about because consumers who thought "GALLERY COMPACT" was interesting seemed to align with the readers of "She is." A group of artists and writers called "Girlfriends" worked together to create "She is" and it was attractive to have a network spread over several areas.
--A posting campaign for #HitomeboreGALLERY (love at first sight GALLERY) was also held on Instagram. How was the response?
Tanaka: We had quite a few people apply. It was also interesting that everyone from "Girlfriends" had their own color for "Hitomebore." The photos posted to #HitomeboreGALLERY were also projected on the wall in the pop-up event.
--You're referring to the pop-up event held at GALLERY X BY PARCO in Tokyo's Spain-zaka to commemorate the release? What kind of content was there?
Tanaka: The venue was divided by artist into three areas. Masami Yanagida's booth had a lot of pop illustrations pasted onto a red wall, Nishikubo's booth had a monotone and a natural finish, and SRETSIS's booth had displays with a girly clothes motif. Each one of them stood out.
In addition to having a photo space and a product hands-on corner, Yanagida drew caricatures on a first-come-first-served basis for people who bought the product, and Nishikubo did a live painting on the second day.
--Please tell us about your future developments.
Tanaka: I would like to do more collaborations with artists via "GALLERY COMPACT." While searching for expressions that can be made from cosmetics, it'd be great to make products with not just illustrators, but photographers, embroidery artists, etc. from various fields. To all the young artists out there with the ambition that "I'll make it big if I debut here" -- we definitely want this to be a space where you can collaborate with us.