Saturday, 30 April 2011

Addiction Creative Director Ayako Interview Part 2

Here's the translation of the second part of MSN Japan Beauty Style's interview with Addiction Creative Director Ayako. The interview was conducted by Mayumi Toura, former editor of Marie Claire (Japan) and now Beauty Director at MSN Japan. The interview was conducted on 14 March, just a few days after the tsunami disaster.

Q: At our first meeting, your base makeup application left a great impression on me. What was particularly attractive was your way of "creating the skin", which I experienced when using Addiction's base makeup.

A: For me, the key is still about creating the skin. Base makeup should help to bring out the inner glow of skin. While this is sometimes influenced by trends, foundation should not conceal the skin more than necessary. Skin imperfections like pigmentation can be covered up by concealer. The key to a polished makeup look is to have beautiful base makeup.

Q: I agree! When I first used Addiction's Tinted Moisturizer and Primer, it reminded me of the time I first saw your work at a photo shoot. I was impressed that the products made it so easy to achieve that bare skin-like nude makeup look that I had seen at that shoot.

A: I'm happy that you felt that way. I created Addiction because I wanted to make it easy for any woman to create that look of beautiful skin. Without that, there's no meaning in creating a brand. I'm frequently asked what is the main product of Addiction? Naturally, it's the Tinted Moisturizer that is the important product.

Q: For my base makeup today, I'm using those three products. How is it? I really like the textures. I've been carrying the black Eyeliner Pencil in my makeup pouch all the time. I can't do without it!

A: That's an honour. The Eyeliner Pencil is a product that I'm also very proud of as it has a unique texture and feel.

Q: It's really easy to use. It's soft but it can draw a sharp line and it does not smudge. For hooded double lids like mine, it's important to have a pencil type that is easy to use and doesn't give one "panda eyes". What is a special feature of the brand?

A: When creating the base makeup line, I thought it would be perfect if the products helped busy women to create a professional look effortlessly, even without using a mirror. Hence, for the foundation, I decided on a flesh-toned fluid tinted moisturizer that is very easy to use. For covering up skin troubles, that can be done through concealer. Hence, the line had only one type of foundation but three types of foundation.

Q: I understand that now.

A: Many Japanese women are probably used to creating a base with complete coverage and so when they are first introduced to our Tinted Moisturizer, they may think that it does not provide sufficient coverage. We have to teach them how to use the concealers properly. That's definitely the easy way to create a pretty look.

Q: Addiction is created from the perspective of a makeup professional but the products are also highly practical as the brand understands the needs of women. That makes it a unique brand.

A: That's why I created the brand. Skin imperfections can be covered by concealer and hence one only needs a sheer layer of foundation. When you need to touch up later, you can use the convenient pen-type concealer. Addiction is a collection of products that I've used and liked.

Q: Are the brand's bestsellers the same as what you had expected? How do you deal with a world dominated by marketing?

A: Like you say, there have been many times when I've had to "re-set" my way of thinking! The bestsellers were not always what I had predicted. This time, I created a powder foundation, which is a product that is a necessity in the Japanese market. But I wanted it to live up to the same high standard as the Tinted Moisturizer. I started by thinking about the times in which I used powder foundation. What's special about the Glow Powder Foundation is that despite being a powder, it gives a glowy finish. It also makes it very easy to achieve a polished appearance. I like the Glow Powder Foundation just as much as the Tinted Moisturizer. And indeed, the Glow Powder Foundation sold very well! That made me very happy.

Q: That's a good collaboration with the company.

A: For example, Addiction has a red Eyeliner Pencil. It's not something that would sell very well but having that shade was necessary as a representation of a brand that I had created as a makeup artist. I'm gratified by this collaboration with Kose as they could understand that.

Q: You could create great products as there is a sense of respect. And the line does have some edgy shades.

A: Of course there are differences occasionally. (laughs)

Q: There are always necessary battles as it is a creative job and also a business. I've often encountered that myself.

A: If you don't fight for it, it's not possible to create a brand or one's own vision. There were times when I thought I would be disliked.

Q: I see. You've worked with many celebrities. Are there shades that you think would be suitable for different women?

A: Of course! Addiction is a brand that allows one to find the shades that are most suitable for oneself. It is a brand that makes you think, "If I go there, I can find shades that suit me", as it has a wealth of basic shades. When I was creating the eyeshadows, I wanted to start with ten shades each of white, beige, brown and black. When the brand debuted, it had six shades of each. Given the wide range of basic shades, any woman would be able to find shades that were suitable for her. Pink, blue and green shades could be released as trend colours. I wanted to return to the basics and create a complete line-up of basic colours.

Q: So you saw Addiction as a brand that could offer women anywhere in the world the chance to discover shades that were suitable for themselves.

A: Yes, that can be 10 shades, 20 or even 30! It's not just for celebrities but anyone of any age... For example, I wanted women to feel like if they go to Addiction, they will definitely be able to find a beige shade that they wanted. It's a brand that can meet the needs of different women. Anyone can pull off a red lip like Scarlett Johansson, or look sexy, elegant, carefree.

Q: That's very persuasive! It's not a brand that geared towards celebrities but rather towards helping all women look beautiful.

A: The message that I want to convey is that through Addiction, anyone can easily use makeup to look beautiful. The brand's target is "jetsetter". When I think of that, I think of women who lead very active lives and who want to look good effortlessly as they are people who want to use their time efficiently. For example, women who travel a lot for work, or students who have to study and work part-time, or busy mothers who have to look after young children. I wanted to create products that made it easier and quicker for such women to look good. To be honest, I'm not that interested in increasing the shade line-up and focusing on new shades.

Q: Is the Cheek Stick something that you just need one of it? It is shaped like a lipstick but can be used on both the cheeks and the lips.

A: When working on photo shoots, I often use lipsticks on the cheeks. Hence, I did not like lipsticks that were scented, too glossy or fade easily. As the name suggests, Cheek Stick is a blush in the form of a lipstick. Blush gives one's face an instant lift and makes one look more feminine.

Q: Instead of carrying a lipstick, just having one Cheek Stick is better as it can be used on both the cheeks and the lips.

A: That's right! It is designed to be used on not just the cheeks, but also the lips and the eyes.

Q: There have been stick products that could be used on both the cheeks and the lips but this may be the first time that a product can also be used on the eyes, cheeks and lips. Putting it in a lipstick form also makes it feel more womanly.

A: Hence, we decided to make the packaging fuschia pink so that it would not be mistaken for the lipstick.

Q: The shade line up is new and lovely!

A: The theme of the Cheek Stock collection is "Rose Bar". At that time, I went to a hotel that I liked in Miami with my dog. A friend was trying to think of an orange-themed name and I suggested "pumpkin". That day, a friend invited me to go to the beach. We were supposed to meet in a bar. We were talking about colours and suddenly I noticed that the bar's name was "Rose Bar". At that time I thought one can choose from many wines at a bar and similarly at a nail bar. A bar connotes the image of a line-up of shades that one can select from. Since blushes are rose toned, I decided on the name "Rose Bar" for the collection.

Q: I can picture that!

A: The Cheek Stick is a very convenient product to have in one's clutch. I'd like to continue creating products that can be used in different situations.

Q: You mean products that are useful for different situations in women's lives?

A: Yes. For example, the amenities in hotels usually have a very masculine feel. It would be nice to create amenities for women.

Q: Like a balm that could be used anywhere would be good.

A: Yes, like that would be something that you could take on a plane. The kits on board airplanes tend to be geared towards men.

Q: I look forward to your future creations for women.

A: Yes, I will work hard! There is still some way to go from achieving what was in my original proposal for the brand.

Q: You mean Addiction is still in the process of being developed?

A: Yes, it is still on the development path.

Q: What will you be doing next?

A: That is a secret but I hope you will look forward to it.

Q: We'll end here. I hope to be able to chat with you again in the future. Thank you for spending time with us amidst the aftershocks.

(You can read Part 1 here).


Rachel said...

Thanks for the great translation. I really enjoyed reading about the brand philosophy, and would really love to try it, especially as I favour a nude/natural base and easy to use but fun and high-quality products.

Hannah said...

Hi Iris, thanks for sharing the interview with us! It has been a very interesting read and has further piqued my interest in this brand. I'm now very interested in the upcoming Cheek Sticks. Would you be able to recommend Japanese websites where I can find info (swatches/reviews/application tips) on Addiction's products?

Btw, do you know what is the correct application sequence for Addiction's primer, tinted moisturiser, concealer compact and compact powder?


Haru said...

hi Hannah,
The only Japanese website I know of would be Addiction's own website which has videos from the shooting of the various ad visuals: is a popular Japanese website where people can post reviews on individual makeup products but they don't include swatches and application tips.

The sequence should be primer, tinted moisturizer, concealer compact and then the powder. Powder is always the last step.

Elaine said...

Hi Iris, Thanks for this post! I am very tempted to get the blusher in Gorgeous & Lipgloss in Dear Liar but Addiction is only available in Japan. I may have to buy it from Ichibankao since it is not easily available...

Hannah said...

Thanks, Iris. I was hoping you might know of some Japanese beauty bloggers. I'll check out I hope I can still make some sense of what I read.