From Premium beauty news, extract of the Research on Trends lead by Les Persiennes Consulting, by Nilufar Khalessi
After 35 years of isolation, Iran is making a comeback on the international stage. This little-known country, which already represents 29% of the beauty market in the Middle East, is often described as the ‘new eldorado’ for cosmetics brands. Nilufar Khalessi, the French-Persian Founder of trends and consulting agency Les Persiennes Consulting, has taken a look at this country for a first qualitative, forward-looking deciphering. She gave Premium Beauty News an overview of the study The New Faces Of Iran - Fashion, Beauty & Paradoxes, to be presented next May.
With a population of 80 million inhabitants, including 55% under 30, Iran is a growth-driving, dynamic market. The fact that international sanctions have been lifted and that the economic situation should therefore improve have made it even more attractive. But this country is not without its own paradoxes.
For a thorough understanding of unknown Persia’s trends and lifestyles, the study The New Faces Of Iran - Fashion, Beauty & Paradoxes first describes the historical, geographical, cultural, and social pillars that define the Persian civilization. As a tremendous cultural and historical cradle, the country that became an Islamic Republic after the 1979 Revolution, mainly defines itself according to its ancient origins. “It is a Muslim country, but people consider themselves Persians and Iranians above all. It is essential to understand this subtlety,” Nilufar Khalessi explains.
Despite an embargo that lasted for decades, the major cities of Iran have been experiencing much progress, driven by the dynamics of a 2.0, highly-connected, Western-oriented young generation. However, the choices made by these young people show they will not let foreign countries dictate their consumption habits, as they actually prefer national goods. “Young Iranians deliberately have not completely assimilated the Western culture, although they do know and master its codes, since they have integrated them. And we would make a mistake if we tried to force them into a mould,” Nilufar Khalessi adds.
Iranian women, a status apart
As they are extremely educated – so is most of the population in large cities - Iranian women enjoy an important part in society. They are very present in institutions and play a crucial role, whether in the family or society. “The status of women is different from what can be observed in many Arab countries. Even the way they wear their veils is more lax, as it does not completely frame their faces and allows for much femininity to be seen,” Nilufar Khalessi explains.
The study used portraits of women from Isfahan, Tehran, and Shiraz to shape the contours of a generation that has been playing with the paradox between their public lives, as they comply with the established Islamic laws, and their private lives, subverting these laws for more freedom, whether in terms of beauty or fashion. Women are deeply committed to this young generation’s active and creative development, in all artistic fields.
The face at the core of femininity
“Iranian women hardly go out without makeup on, because the relationship with aesthetics is strongly developed,” Nilufar Khalessi affirms. Therefore, it is essential for them to beautify their eyes, eyebrows, lips, and hair. “In the city, the veil does not completely frame women’s faces. It is a real distinguishing feature: half the hair is uncovered, so women work a lot on it, often dying it blonde, and they are not keen on naturalness”. Facial care focuses on “zero defect” choices to fight against pollution-related problems, acne, or oily skins. In addition, the study highlights the very strong relationship with plastic surgery, in particular rhinoplasty.
“They choose L’Oréal, Dior, Lancôme, and many other well-established brands for their daily consumption, although they also buy other products by interesting local brands to be studied,” Nilufar Khalessi concludes.
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