Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Li Edelkoort, "Priestess of Trends", Predicts

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


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  2. I am fascinated! Birds are enchanting and in many cultures a symbol of love, the soul and all the colours of life, i love this idea!

  3. What a fascinating woman! I'm so "on trend" (NOT) that I've never even heard of this woman! I thank you again (and as always) for educating me!

    I agree with Lillie above about the use of the bird symbolism. One can only hope that our society will progress to that level of community.

  4. Filing this one under "things that make me go 'hmm'."

    Unfortunately, in my thinking, one train of thought goes toward Hitchcock's birds...

    ...be nice to the birdie. On the branch, or in fashion. :)

  5. Cassandra was right but it doesn't mean that anyone who decides to predict future is.

    But.... but I hung up a nesting box on Saturday, after years of failing to get one.

  6. Anonymous16:03

    I’ve been fascinated with Li Edelkoort too for years. I bought her inspirational book
    Bloom which is filled with gorgeous photographs of luscious color palettes. Birds as symbol for community translated into scent by the niche natural perfumers, we’ll see.

  7. Josie,

    oh thanks! Very nice of you, much appreciated. Will follow up soon!

  8. N,

    it's certainly a very intriguing idea! Who would have thought? (Not me, hence my surprise upon hearing so) But I guess she sees something that is translatable in practical things too (feathers, the "nesting" idea, the "wings" both as in creative mentorship and as an decorative pieces, the concept of "flight" translated into romantic or escapist ideas). We'll see...

  9. Donna,

    she's a renowned "guru" of style, but that doesn't mean that one who hasn't occupied themselves with those issues specifically should know her. There is some distance to be covered before we consider anyone in the fashion business a Mozart or a Da Vinci or a Newton, LOL. Even though fashion is infiltrating other subjects as well.

    Glad you enjoyed the bird reference. It was an especially interesting notion to be brought up.

  10. S,

    haha, yeah! I sure hope they're nice to the birdies, because after all, they're such cute innocent little things, aren't they? (I especially cringe when I hear about how once upon a time they de-feathered birds while still alive....ewww!)

  11. L,

    Li definitely has a MUCH more sympathetic audience than poor Cassandra! :P
    Seriously, the way Edelkoort talks is hypnotising; she could persuade people to commit mass murders if she liked. Spooky!

    Then again, you caught the bird "bug", so there you are...


  12. A,

    thanks for stopping by!

    Isn't Bloom horticultural? I think I have seen it mentioned and referenced.

    The translation of birds into fragrances, and what's more naturals, is something I am interested in seeing whether there is potential to be materialised.


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