Here’s the shortlist for Best Grooming Product in the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2023. Explore The Unseen Beauty’s colour-changing hair dye; Hæckels 2.0 sustainable skincare with packaging made by microbes; Dries Van Noten’s exquisitely colourful beauty line; artist James Turrell’s first fragrances, with Lalique; and the olfactory encapsulation of Balenciaga in a candle.
Look out for the winner of this and all the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2023 in the February issue of Wallpaper*, on sale 5 January, and here at Wallpaper.com.
THE SHORTLIST: BEST GROOMING PRODUCT: WALLPAPER* DESIGN AWARDS 2023
Dries Van Noten’s beauty line
Dries Van Noten Beauty sees the Belgian designer translate the most singular aspects of his fashion designs – a penchant for combining unexpected patterns and an incomparable eye for colour – into a range of perfumes, lipsticks and companion accessories, including compact mirrors, combs, and pochettes.
The fragrance collection features ten genderless scents, each created by a different perfumer and each its own unorthodox interpretation of traditional floral fragrances. The perfumes come in bottles that juxtapose patterns drawn directly from Van Noten’s print collection, and the lipsticks are also packaged this way.
The lip range features 15 satin shades, ten matte shades, and five sheers that span classics like the matte cherry Crafted Red to bolder colours like the charred eggplant of Bohemian Scarlett, Barbie-esque Neon Pink, and the all-out unconventional shades of blue and green.
Altogether, the collection is an intelligent reiteration of Van Noten’s iconic vision of beauty. One that is contradictory and compelling or, as Van Noten puts it, ‘what is beautiful for me may be very ugly for you, and vice versa. Something that is considered by a lot of people as beautiful I think is boring. That’s why I like so much to work with contrasts. I like to have strangeness in my beauty.’
driesvannoten.com (opens in new tab)
James Turrell and Lalique perfumes
James Turrell, the American artist known for his immersive light installations and holographs, debuted his first-ever fragrances at this year’s Paris+ par Art Basel. The launch of the Lalique Range Rider and Purple Sage perfumes not only marks the artist’s first foray into perfumery, but also the first time in his five-decade career that he has created work on a small scale.
Created in collaboration with the historic French crystal maker and fragrance house, the fragrances result from four years of close collaboration between the two ‘artists of light’, both masters of manipulating material and space to capture and shapeshift light into breathtaking forms, although traditionally for different purposes and at different scales.
Turrell advised on the fragrances – both inspired by the American West – as well as designed the two multicoloured bottles. Lalique artisans handmade the flacons, an especially difficult feat since they had to craft a uniform thickness that could ensure the correct density of colour and homogeneity of design.
lalique.com (opens in new tab)
The Unseen Beauty’s colour-changing hair dye
In 2022, material science company The Unseen Beauty launched a colour-changing hair dye called Colour Alchemy. The product comes in five iridescent shades that morph into molten colours according to temperature and sunlight. It is suitable for even very dark hair, and the colour range for each is kaleidoscopic, with shades such as Borealis, which transforms from clover green to flame orange to imperial violet, and Phoenix, which transitions from burnt orange to pollen yellow to ultraviolet.
The Unseen’s founder, Lauren Bowker, was inspired to create Colour Alchemy after studying the phenomenon of structural colour that appears in beetles, peacocks, and butterflies. Simply put, their pearlescent appearance is a result of the way their coats reflect a certain wavelength of light.
Colour Alchemy mimics that phenomenon through a formula composed of thousands of micro prisms, which expand and shrink in relation to temperature, allowing them to reflect different wavelengths of light in a manner that has never before been seen in a hair product.
theunseenbeauty.com (opens in new tab)
To create the fragrance for the Balenciaga candle, the perfumer-artist-scientist Sissel Tolaas used a special device to extract molecules from the walls of Balenciaga’s historic couture house at 10 avenue George V in Paris, along with pieces from the Balenciaga archive and objects that belonged to Cristóbal Balenciaga himself.
The result is a remarkable olfactory document of Balenciaga history, from the couture house’s opening in 1937 to its closure in 1968 and its reopening in 2021 under current creative director Demna. Open the candle’s mirror-polished case, designed with Panter & Tourron, and you will be blasted with an intoxicating mix of burnt incense, tobacco smoke, warm skin, old paper, tanned leather, aged wool, delicate silk, exotic fur, oak, and the oiled metal of sewing machines.
For Tolaas, smell is as much a philosophical exercise as it is a sensory one, which makes her a perfect match for the cerebral aesthetics of Balenciaga. Speaking about the collaboration Tolaas told us, ‘these [smell-trapping] devices are my “smartphone” for invisible information. Surprise is part of my discoveries. Nothing in the air is stable and static.’
balenciaga.com (opens in new tab)
But this year, the brand debuted its most radical launch yet – Hæckels 2.0. The brand’s reformatting is rolling out in three phases, with Hæckels Skin and Hæckels Home already debuted. Skin sees the brand’s signature skincare formulations, made from seaweed harvested on Margate’s beaches, repackaged in compostable containers, alongside two new offerings – a Prebiotic Cleansing Balm and a lighter version of its Eco Marine Cream.
And although the packaging of these new products looks and feels exactly like petroleum-derived plastic, the Hæckels Skin containers are made by microbes that are abundant in soil and marine environments. This revolutionary material, called Vivomer, can be thrown away like ordinary food waste and will decompose without leaving behind any microplastics.
haeckels.com (opens in new tab)
Mary Cleary is the Beauty & Grooming Editor of Wallpaper*. Having been with the brand since 2017, she became an editor in February 2020 with the launch of the brand’s new beauty & grooming channel. Her work seeks to offer a new perspective on beauty, focusing on the pioneering personalities, product designs, and transformative trends within the industry.
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