Reading the credentials of Dutch-born, Parisian-living Li Edelkoort, sounds like an astounding pile of worthy accomplishements: Internationally acclaimed for pioneering the trend-setting concept, named by Time Magazine as one of the world's 25 most influential people in fashion and an unparalleled lifestyle expert, Li is president of Edelkoort Inc. but also of Trend Union Paris, Trend Union Japan, Studio Edelkoort and Edelkoort Editions. In short, if anyone is thinking of gauging what the market will bear, they only have to set their eyes on this meek-looking yet truly hypnotising and persuading woman with the piercing blue eyes code-named in the industry as "the oracle". As anyone who has met her knows well, she is able of persuading cows to buy milk!
So investigating about her views on upcoming beauty and lifestyles trends naturally interested me a lot and here are some thoughts worth sharing with you.
The whole notion of lifestyle is defined by Li Edelkoort as "an ensemble of ideas, attitudes, designs and aesthetics geared to celebrating life", the focus being enjoyment, deriving pleasure out of the process. But what made her become involved in it? Does she make the trends or does she read the trends? In her opinion trend-shaping happens by the public itself and by the environment. "Trends reside in the collective subconscious and in the unknown and can be detected by individuals who trust their intuition and are trained to detect signals at an early stage".
Reverting to the beauty and fragrance industry, reflecting upon the focus on wellness in the past decade, one is wondering what the evolution will be: Will there be a completely new concept or simply a recalibrating of the wellness ideal? According to Li, well-being will not cease to be important, verging not only to health and beauty but also to spirituality: "A more domestic way to look at household chores will ground us and make us appreciate life with simplicity. Sound, dance and music will be part of the well-being continuum".
For 2011 specifically the continuation of the "green" movement in the beauty industry and beyond and the reversion to the earth is looking like the main direction, especially in the realm of an economic crisis. In that regards she proposed grey as the transitionary colour. She hopes that a stronger bond between humans and animals will be generated, while the research for sustainable products as well as interesting new looks and moving fragrances will continue.
The opening of the new decade on the whole presents new challenges as the world is changing and after 30 years in the business, it comes as no surprise that Li is not only vaguely referencing a trend but putting a very specific context on it: Birds! I admit I was sceptical too, but hear her out please: "We believe that we will be moving in the next decade towards more community-oriented behavior. Our attitude will be one of respect for our environment and our species; this is the reason why we entitled our latest lifestyle & design forecast "we are family". Also, we were intrigued by birds and their social behavior for our new Trend Union autumn / winter 2011-12 fashion season, which we called "Taking Flight". Birds are a model of social connectivity and communal efficiency, as well as an incredible source of inspiration to develop rich color cards, fantasy fashion shapes, and nest-like weaves. Birds can also be a source for ideas in creative make-up, hair color, and hair styling".
Also worth reading, an article into the beginnings and confessions of Li Edelkoort on Wall Street Journal Magazine by Cecilie Rohwedder.
Li Edelkoort photo taken by Marie Taillefer