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Tumultuous Events Shape Beauty Fashion

By Nancy Jeffries, Correspondent | February 10, 2011

Trend Union presents Earth Matters.

Earth Matters, the title of the newest Spring/Summer 2012 Trend Seminar presented by Emmanuelle Linard, director of Edelkoort, Inc., expressed the fragility of our beleaguered planet in the context of art and transformation. Held on February 3, 2011, at The Firehouse in New York City’s East Village, the theme, inspired by our planet’s natural resources, was initially explored in an audiovisual homage to the earth.
From the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, to the oil spill in the Gulf, the earthquake in Haiti, and record breaking flooding, Linard noted that 401 natural disasters took place around the globe in 2010. Indeed, the earth has been beset by both natural and man-made phenomena, and their impact has resonated around the world. In the context of design, Linard took attendees on a journey from the roots of the earth, exploring rock, crystal, natural pigments, water, fossils, oil and gemstones, to a new blending and juxtaposition of fashion, beauty, and social consciousness inspired by the earth. Having previously explored the impact of water and birds in the realms of design, fashion, and beauty, the newest exploration emphasized the vast storehouse of nature and the ways in which it inspires material expression.
Homage to the Earth

Chalk, sand, rocks, meteorites and roots all came into play as aspects of design and elements of beauty. In the world of fashion, chalk, said Linard, will dominate as a texture in fabrics, offering a porous surface as a canvas. Sand and desert colors will reflect solar energy, and plant fibers, hemp, roots and fossils, will convey a sense of organic matter. Evidence of the planet’s history will become tangible in textile design, jewelry, rock-transformed agates, and the natural pigments of the earth, which will increasingly be seen in naturally dyed fabrics, hair color and makeup.

Chalk, in particular will have a powerful effect on beauty and fashion, said Linard. It will appear in combinations of white, gray, natural, non-dyed aspects of pigments, and its porosity will impact fabrics, and face makeup. Sand will be a source of inspiration for beauty and fashion as well, impacting the use of rustic, slub yarns, chambray, scarves and shawls, while it also finds expression in desert-toned cosmetics and body scrubs. Rocks will be influential as well, sharing their hues of purple and gray in fashion, and their shapes in spa design and treatments. Earthy textures and shapes will emphasize traditional weaves, like ikat, the trend to mountain gear and trekking, and aspects of the soil, which will continue to impact fragrance development.

Henna colors for hair will also come into use and roots of the earth will be seen compounded for use in lip colors, featuring deep burgundy and rusts. The root trend will lead the way for us to become more local, in sourcing and utilizing materials. Plant-based colors, natural dyes, dark mineral colors, and faceted chain mail coatings drawn from the composition, feel, and energy of meteorites, will also impact beauty and fashion, with subtle silvers, grays, and iridescence impacting cosmetics, while natural earth hues and plant dyes will find new expression in clothing, linens, and makeup reminiscent of tribal, indigenous rituals.
Photo: Thomas Straub
Beauty and Well Being

Chalk, which is used to absorb moisture and in Thailand has come to represent a highly desirable beauty ideal, is also being used as a white base for skin protection. In makeup, white eyelashes and white mascara, making the eyebrows disappear and the face to appear whitewashed, is also becoming popular. Pale white, whether in the form of a powdery, talc aspect, or a super white moisturizing cream, mark a clear cosmetic direction, and provide a contrast to citric yellows and pale blues, used in defining a beauty and fashion look.

Sand, used to naturally scrub the feet and body, or golden sand, to impart a healthy glow for skin products and eyeshadows, will leverage the natural properties of the element. In addition, scented powders, sandy textures for the exterior of candles in home fragrance, muddy textures and hot stone massages, will continue to echo the association with earth’s benefits, in the area of bath and body.

Benefits that come from the earth are making inroads in all categories. Linard said, “It’s now noble to have dirty nails, because it means you are working with your hands, gardening, cooking, creating. Earthen and terracotta substances for the hair, smearing our skin with pigments, dyeing the hair with natural hair colors, are part of a growing trend in Paris, where the look is very artisanal,” added Linard.

She also noted the trend to ingestible beauty, citing ginger and garlic for their healthy properties, and the rediscovery of the forest as a source of vegetal beauty. Water and marine life are being translated into hydro-treatments and earth-based spa regimens, and the blues of the ocean are translated in eye shadows and liners, while marine sources yield clay applications for the skin, bubbles and steam, vapor treatments, and salt scrubs, all contributing to a natural gestalt for health and beauty.
Natural Elements of Beauty

Reflective metals and gold, seen on eyelashes and lids, plus liquid gold eyebrows, tears of gold, and shiny lips are new looks for the face. Crystal colors for eyes, like smoky quartz and amethyst, as well as golden tones for the skin, part of a new trend to place makeup on other parts of the body, have also come into play. Not to be ignored is the use of rich, volcanic substances for beauty treatments, including the waters found in the spas of Iceland or Costa Rica, where natural hot springs bring bathing to a different level.

Charcoal is also making inroads in the world of beauty, with anthracite grays and purples on hair and skin, charcoal tones on eyelids, and the compounding of ashes and natural powders to create prismatic color. These convey aspects of the petrified forests, with dusty charcoal in smudgy eye makeup, leveraging the trend to natural formulations and compounding with materials from the earth.

A special presentation from the Danish company, Sort of Coal, based on the purifying element white charcoal, followed Linard’s discussion of natural beauty. Sort of Coal, which explored the benefits of active white charcoal, noted that this form of active charcoal is made from carbon that has been processed to make it extremely porous, and that its countless micro-cavities attract substances to it. While it appears to be black, it is its unique processing that gives it its name. White charcoal is made by charring wood at a relatively low temperature for several days then, raising the temperature to a scorching 1000°C. The charcoal is then pulled out of the kiln while it is red hot, and covered with a powder to cool it. The powder is a moist mixture of earth, sand, and ash, which gives it a temporary whitish hue.

It is said to not only give off negative ions when worn close to the body to improve circulation, but is also beneficial when formulated for topical use in soaps and shampoos. Originating in Japan, white charcoal is said to be the highest grade of charcoal, and is made with artisanal methods from Holm Oak, in Japan, where it also used for water purification. All of the body products made by Sort of Coal are natural and organic, free of parabens and DEA, and suitable for sensitive skin. Among the products offered by Sort of Coal are Kuro Soap, a deep cleansing black soap, which removes skin impurities; Shiro Soap, for soothing and balancing, while cleansing and disinfecting the skin; Char Body Soap, to invigorate the skin and leave a smoky, earthy scent; Kuro Shampoo with White Charcoal to absorb excess oil, and Shiro Shampoo, to cleanse and invigorate the hair and leave an earthy scent.

Additional information about both Edelkoort’s Trend Union and Sort of Coal are available at: and

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