Estee Lauder Marks Shift in Beauty

Photographer: Craig McDean. Models: Joan Smalls, Constance Jablonski, Liu Wen

Makeup: Tom Pecheux

The models in the new campaign by Estee Lauder lock on to a growing market in China. Will it change conventional Beauty photos or is the shift purely cosmetic?

China is having an impact on beauty and fashion photography. Estee Lauder’s campaign Every Woman Can Be Beautiful, shot by Craig McDean, celebrates diversity in an attempt to pitch to a grwing market.. With a nod to the classic Three Graces it features Puerto Rican-born Joan Smalls, French model Constance Jablonski and Chinese Supermodel Liu Wen.


It’s a response to demand as the Chinese market which once saw Western brands as aspirational, now want these brands inflected with a sprinkling of localism. Geoffrey Jones, Harvard Business School Professor and author of Beauty Imagined explained to Observer journalist Zoe Wood that, “popularity of the ‘white, blonde and blue-eyed’ look has been declining for some time as the global cosmetics industry, in which sales approached £240bn last year, adapts to the growing markets such as China and Latin America. The latter is expected to overtake North America in size within four years.”


The extent to which beauty, and aspiration, is defined by economics is clear. As China and the other BRIC nations develop into mature markets it will clearly have an impact on the kinds of images we see in our beauty advertising and fashion magazines. The question is, will we see a Global face of Beauty, a blend of different faces, or will we see faces with distinct local characteristics?


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