Kanebo Cosmetics Inc started life in the early 19th century as a successful cotton trading and textile company, shifting later to the production of silk and thread. In 1936, the company launched 'Savan de Soie', its first skincare product, a luxurious soap formulated with silk oil extracts.
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of its entry into the cosmetics industry, Kanebo Cosmetics Inc tasked Gwenaël Nicolas of the Franco-Japanese design studio Curiosity – responsible for the design of the Uniqlo Megastore, the Nikkei Media Wall and the Sensai Select Spa at Interlaken's Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa – with the rebranding of the company. Now simply named ‘Kanebo’, the packaging of the skincare line is unashamedly and unapologetically sensuous.
When asked about what influenced his fluid, tactile lines, Nicolas explains, ‘I was inspired by nature. The skincare line represents the flow of water you can find in a garden in Kyoto... full of endless energy. The idea of movement and energy are very important to me.'
He continues, ‘The Kanebo line is an opportunity to introduce modern women to other cultures, to discover possibilities and the intrinsic uniqueness of different traditions and techniques. Kanebo embodies the connection between traditional Japanese aesthetic and modernity.'
These days Nicolas sees Kanebo as more of an ‘attitude’ than a brand. ‘I wanted Kanebo to be the embodiment of refinement. I wanted to create something timeless that would look as if it has always been there but with a modern twist.’