On Wednesday January 28, 2015, I had the opportunity to meet with the talented Korean makeup artist Seong Hee Park at the Korea Society of New York. Seong Hee is a fashion industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in creating innovative looks for top tier clients all around the world. Her work has been featured in various publications such as, Vogue (Korea, Taiwan), W (Korea), Harper’s Bazaar (Korea, China), ELLE (Korea), Marie Claire (Korea), DAZED & CONFUSED (Korea), Allure (Korea), Nylon (Mexico, Korea), German Glamour, the gentlewoman (UK), Double Magazine (UK), AMICA Italy, etc. Seong Hee was born in South Korea and obtained an educational background in color from two of the world’s most prestigious creative industry schools, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and Hongik University in Seoul. Coherent in both the understandings of fashion and the usage of color, Seong Hee’s presentation on the Images of Korean Female Beauty explored how the traditional ideals of Korean beauty as depicted in the Chosun (조선)era has influenced the modern day ideals of beauty as showcased by the Korean female stars in the entertainment industry.
During the Chosun era, it was a favored practice for women to part their hair down the middle. This middle parting of the hair symbolized purity, grace, femininity, and innocence. The royal princesses of the palace had completed this look with a braided ponytail, while the queens wore large braided wigs accessorized with beautiful pins. Makeup was kept at a minimal, to emphasize natural beauty. There is no doubt that the remnants of these traditional ideals of beauty have reemerged into today’s public sphere. Seong Hee believes that the image of Korean female beauty has been most accurately portrayed through Korean Actresses. In comparison to the looks of Korean Actresses, female Korean Pop idols showcase looks that stray from the natural and is more heavily influenced by the western media. Seong Hee explains that this phenomenon is due to the fact that Korean Pop idols must cater their looks to suit their album’s current theme. Ruby red lips, extended eyelashes, and smokey eyes are just some of the many elements that create the popular sultry image. In the case of K-POP, the concept of beauty is always changing and is less consistent with the society’s preference towards natural beauty.
Based on observations and experiences from her line of work, Seong Hee believes that the natural look is the true definition of Korean female beauty. The cosmetic industries of Korea have been for some time, manufacturing products made from natural ingredients. First came herbal plants, then snail extract, and now honey. The BB cream was first crafted in Germany, but the Koreans ran with the idea and created a huge hype in Asia. After much success the CC cream emerged and both products continue to be widely received all throughout the world. With the whole world shifting towards the healthy and organic trend, Seong Hee believes that the concept of natural beauty will only continue to flourish in growth and in popularity.
Much align with Seong Hee’s confirmation of natural beauty; Wishtrend carries an array of products that are made from natural ingredients such as facial masks and skin creams. These products include anything from herbal plants, snail extract, to the now growing trend of bee’s honey! In terms of make-up, Wishtrend carries a great line of BB creams and CC creams from brands great quality brands such as Klairs and Eliasha Coy. The Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream has been an all time best seller on Wishtrend. Klairs has always been a favorite brand of mine, which was first introduced to me through Wishtrend. The Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish BB cream holds true to the statement of natural beauty and in the belief that, “Because you are beautiful the way you are, there’s no need to cover it up with cakey makeup.” I believe that this brand philosophy by Klairs defines the true meaning of beauty in that the function of beauty and makeup products should be for the purpose of enhancing a person’s current facial features.
I was very much intrigued by Seong Hee’s presentation on the Images of Korean Female Beauty, so I proceeded to ask if she had ever thought about starting her very own makeup line. Seong Hee informed me that while she was working with Banila Co. back in Korea, she had thought about it. However, she had lacked the resources and wasn’t sure how she’d be able to market and manufacture her brand. Seong Hee has now set up her base in New York City and continues her career as an innovative makeup artist by working alongside with some of the fashion industry’s great individuals. Seong Hee’s creative talent, professional poise, and above all else, her resounding intellect has made her a figure to be much admired and well respected.