As you may know, I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. On the one hand it's usually the first place I spot new collections so it helps keep me head of the curve; on the other hand, occasionally I see things I want for the Museum and can't acquire. So when I saw this lovely Thailand-exclusive collection from Shiseido on their feed, I was overcome with sadness since I figured there was no way I could get my hands on it. Just to exhaust my options I emailed my personal shopper in Japan to see if he had any contacts in Thailand, and lo and behold he put me in touch with someone who was able to get it for me! I now present the Princess Hanayaka collection, a collaboration with Her Royal Highness Sirivannavari Nariratana, princess of Thailand. The "Hanayaka" moniker apparently means “the lady with joyfulness and beauty of a princess.”
Sirivannavari graduated with a major in Fashion & Textile at the Fine and Applied Art department of Chulalongkorn University in her native Thailand, then earned her MA at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale De La Couture Parisienne. She launched her own clothing line in 2005, which quickly became a favorite among Thai's elite and includes ready-to-wear, couture and accessories. A makeup collaboration was the next logical step. While the likes of Vogue and Glamour think otherwise, I have to say I personally think the fashion line is little more than a pet project for Sirivannavari. However, I admit the packaging for the Shiseido collaboration is beautiful, and given that it took two years to come to fruition, I believe the princess put some serious effort into it.
I purchased the full collection, which came in a gorgeous printed box.
The inside was lined in velvet with compartments for each of the 4 pieces. I felt so special and fancy opening it, it's the kind of thing I imagine other beauty bloggers get as a PR item.
The color story of the makeup itself was driven by a desire for versatility to accommodate, you know, all your princess needs. I'm kidding, of course - it does sound like Sirivannavari tried to ensure the collection would have something for everyone, and in looking at the makeup there's a nice range of textures and shades. “For this collection, my intention is to create the beauty products that are compact, easy and convenient to apply. The colors in the palette must be beautiful and highly flexible for various combinations of mix and match for different occasions, from daytime natural look to nighttime glamour. One palette can be applied for eyes, cheeks, and lips makeup while the texture of the cosmetics must make it easy for different color combinations. I chose all the color schemes and different shades for this collection myself based on what color combinations I think will best bring out women’s beauty," Sirivannavari explains. This vision, she adds, aligns perfectly with Shiseido's. "[I've] always wanted to create beauty products that can fully answer the needs of women in Asia. This is also what Shiseido wants as a premium makeup brand that understands the needs of Asian women well. That’s how our collaboration started. I’m delighted that we both share the same intentions, which is to create what will enable the beauty of women in Asia to glow from inside and out naturally.” Once she had the color story down, she used them as reference point for the packaging. "I then used [the] colors to work with the graphics and drawings inspired by previous Sirivannavari collections to design the packaging. The drawings of rice ears, bees, and lovebirds are used as the main designs. When combined with a Japanese touch, the lines and feels become perfect for the packaging designs of this collection."
The main motifs on the packaging were borrowed from several recent collections and combined to form some truly beautiful prints. Here are some closeup shots of the shopping bag and lip collection box so you can see the details a little better. I found the outer cases of the palettes very hard to photograph, so I think the bag and box work better in terms of getting a good look at the designs. The embroidered wheat sheaves and bees on the palettes were key elements in the spring/summer 2015 collection. Sirivannavari used her study of Napoleon-era uniforms as the jumping off point for the collection. "This latest collection began with the review of my dissertation I did at the Ecole De La Chambre Syndicale De La Couture Parisienne, which was about the Napoleonic uniforms. As I was looking at my works, I had the idea to turn the sketches to reality with a modern touch and add some Neoclassic and Roman details into the collection. For example, there is embroidery of motifs such as the ear of rice, bee, olive wreath, leopard and stars. Traditionally, these symbols signify all great meanings."
The origami-esque birds also figured prominently in the spring 2015 collection.
The vibrant floral prints found throughout the packaging are best exemplified by the spring 2016 collection, which was inspired by the gardens of Versailles as well as the work of Monet and Renoir.
Finally, the constellations and star patterns, which are the highlight of the eyeshadow palette, come from the spring 2017 collection.
(images from @sirivannavari_shop)
In looking at Sirivannavari's other work (which was relatively hard to find given that the website still appears to be under construction) I don't think she's particularly groundbreaking as a designer, and if she wasn't a young, attractive member of a royal family I doubt she'd make it very far in the cutthroat world of fashion. Not to mention that she doesn't have to worry financially if her line fails or if she doesn't feel like working on it, which explains why she took a few breaks since she established it over a decade ago. Having said all that, I think she did an admirable job with the Shiseido collaboration. The various prints and motifs she uses in her fashion pieces translated well to makeup packaging and were a good fit for the Shiseido brand. Additionally, I think it was a wise choice to mainly use her signature delicate yet colorful floral prints instead of, say, the darker themes that dominated her spring 2014 collection. The fact that the Shiseido lineup was so exclusive is also very appealing to collectors like me, although it would have been nice to see it around the globe so that everyone could purchase it if they wanted. Then again, I'm not surprised a collection designed by a princess with seemingly little understanding of how regular people live would be accessible only to a few. I guess you could say I'm a bit conflicted with this one.
What do you think about this collection? What's your favorite print or item?