Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Art-Infused Beauty Bottles

I’ve always loved manga (Japanese comics) and anime. Many summer nights were spent watching series and reading illustrated books with my younger brothers. It’s no wonder that I’ve always been biased to anything that’s Japanese made, and I’ve never outgrown my love for anything cute.

It’s been a while since Shu Uemura came up with a delightful limited collection of cleansing oils—last time was a few years back with artist Ai Yamaguchi. I still have the bottles and the boxes to prove how much of a fan I am: they’re truly limited edition works-of-art. So you can imagine the look on my face when I found out about this new collaboration with manga artist Moyoco Anno. To those who don’t know her, she is quite famous for her comics and most of them were adapted into TV series: both popular among men and women in Japan.

July marks the arrival of this special collection, with five lovely adorable ladies named the Kamon Girls imprinted on each of the five cleansing oils. These Kamon Girls represent a kamon crest; a thousand-year-old design tradition that Anno successfully translated and preserved in these bottles with a cute twist!

There’s a story behind every bottle and Kamon girl to make things even more endearing and enticing! Read all about these ladies, and find out which cleansing oil suits you best below. The information below is taken from Shu Uemura's press release:

high performance balancing cleansing oil fresh (recommended for oily to combination skin)

The delicate chrysanthemum adorning the fresh cleansing oil is Japan’s most symbolic bloom—it is the motif used as the kamon of the emperor. While the flower is most common in shades of yellow and white, Moyoco Anno opted for a completely new look – a pink palette to give the image a youthful, blushing bouquet. Inspired by the Cherry Extract within the cleansing oil, she also created a cute cherry blossom kamon.

The pure and innocent Sakurako sits between these floral icons of Japan. She is a blossom of charm and purity. Sakurako is in Tokyo’s Ueno park on the way backc from a friend’s wedding, dressed in her best komono. She enjoys the stylish springtime tradition of viewing bursts of breathtaking cherry blossoms at night. She was conceived in Moyoco Anno’s mind as an icon of all that is cute.

high performance balancing cleansing oil enriched (recommended for dry skin conditions)

With a bold palette of orange and black, this unique package emphasizes a completely different dimension of Japanese design. Moyoco Anno’s background motif for this bottle is an eye-catching checkered pattern drawn from traditional kimono textiles. Inspired by the enriched cleansing oil’s orange tone, the kamon symbol is formed by leaves of the mandarin fruit.

Inside the kamon is the energetic and strong-willed Tamaki. Her straight, long hair and bangs hark back to traditional images of Japanese female beauty, while encapsulating the vividness of this cleansing oil. Tamaki lives in a luxurious mansion in one of Tokyo’s most exclusive residential areas, Den-en-Chofu and enjoys playing with her dog in her landscaped backyard.

high performance cleansing oil advanced formula—classic (excellent for all skin conditions)

Leaves and vines playfully intertwine in Moyoco Anno’s design for the classic cleansing oil, which also features heart-shaped flower petal icons shimmering in delicate pink. In one of the series’ most sophisticated visual themes, she says she wanted to communicate the idea of “brilliance”. Tsuruha, a serene girl with bobbed hair represents her happiness and fulfillment.

Tsuruha sparkles as she drifts through the streets of Tokyo, attending a performance fo the traditional Japanese theatrical art of Kabuki with her mother and enjoying an afterenoon of shopping in the posh Ginza district.

cleansing beauty oil premium a/o (for skin with signs fo aging or fatigued skin condition)

The A/O cleansing oil – her first creation for the range – was intended as the harmonizing image, and she took inspiration from her immediate surrounds. A magnificent Japanese pine, inspired by the A/O cleansing oil’s deep, austere green dominates the rest of the image in an eye-catching shade of red.

The reserved and elegant Matsuno represents the subtle power of this design, and a more mature Japanese woman. She adores nature, but her shyness contrasts with the pine’s dynamism. Here, Moyoco Anno depicts Matsuno lovingly manicuring her bonsai plants on her balcony ini Tokyo’s fashionable Azabu-Juban district.

white recovery EX+ brightening cleansing oil (for skin with concerns about dullness, UV damage, and spots)

Purple Wisteria, known for its longevity and fertility, is a frequent theme in ancient Japanese poetry and exuberant green brings to mind the youth and vitality of fresh leaves; a common color combination in traditional Japanese designs. For shu uemura’s brightening cleansing oil, Moyoco Anno united these shades as key design elements.

She created coquettish Katsura who, through side parted hair that nearly covers one eye she seems flirts away, intent on stealing hearts from inside the kamon. She is as mysterious and alluring, as the duality expressed in the purple and green combination. Katsura enjoys an exhibition of antique furniture from the early Showa period at Tokyo’s Teien Metropolitan Museum of Art in Shirokane.

Hmm... if I were to choose a Kamon girl, it would be the last one—Katsura hihi... She looks the most lady-like and polished. And I love the design of the bottle the most, next to the pink one for its floral theme ;) How about you?

*These cleansing oils are only available for a limited time, so do hurry and visit Shu Uemura kiosks in Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-la Malls or Rockwell Power Plant Mall. Another good reason to purchase them, other than the cuteness of the bottle, is that their cleansing oils are a cult favorite all over the world. Obviously, I am part of that cult. The pricing might be a bit steep, but a bottle can last you more than a year. Just a few pumps, mixed with water, and your face will be squeaky clean ;)

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