Two collaborative projects involving students from MSc Cosmetic Science, BA (Hons) Fashion Contour and BA (Hons) 3D Effects for Performance and Fashion have resulted in a sunscreen and perfume summery getaway photoshoot that tackles serious issues around skin cancer and a fantasy novel Perfume by Patrick Suskind. We explore the results below.

MSc Cosmetic Science Course Leader Gemma O’Connor was approached by two students earlier in the year about the projects and why they might be interesting for her students. BA (Hons) Fashion Contour student Sophie Beet, who is in her fourth-year, collaborated with second-year Cosmetic Science students Samita Verma, Khooshnoor Pandey and Maria Gason Cavestany, while final-year BA (Hons) 3D Effects for Performance and Fashion student Jenny Ryder-O’Regan collaborated with Cosmetic Science students Anastasia Hall, Natasha Malhi and Daisy Woodly.

We spoke to the students involved in the Fashion Contour and Cosmetic Science collaboration below, including Sophie Beet who was featured in this year’s BA season.

Cosmetic Science x Fashion Contour, how did the collaboration come about and how did you meet?

Sophie Beet: As part of my graduate swimwear collection I decided to focus on why we as individuals feel the need to tan our skin, and the complications this brings with it. I created a range of UV protective swimwear and thought it would be amazing to illustrate the concept of educating safe behaviour whilst in the sun with an ‘Ultimate Holiday Care Package’, which is made up of a body sunscreen, face sunscreen and an after sun.

What’s the story behind the perfume and what you wanted to achieve… 

Samita Verma: We wanted to bring Sophie’s vision for her suncare range to life. She was focused on raising awareness of skin cancers, especially melanoma. Her focus was to encourage the reapplication of sunscreens by providing a visual aid of when to reapply. We decided to add pigmented glitters to the formulations as an indicator of product application. The idea is that as the glitter or glow wears off, one should be able to notice that they must reapply the sunscreen. Sophie had also asked for us to combat the typical negative feedback regarding sunscreens, such as ashiness, stickiness and scent of chemical filters. Our goal was to create formulations with ease of spreadability, that did not leave your skin feeling greasy or smelling like medicines. Additionally, the products are fragranced to emulate the sense of being at a beach, enjoying tropical environments. The colours we chose were to compliment the soothing scents and feel of the sun setting at the beach. Lastly, the packaging is key for the appropriate application of products. We chose to put the sunscreens in opaque bottles to protect the UV filters from degradation. The aftersun lotion was put in a clear bottle to show the bright colour of the formulation. The body sunscreen was placed in a spray bottle to allow for quick application to a provide easy coverage of a large body area.

Fashion Contour x Cosmetic Science. Photography credit: Swimwear designer by Sophie Beet and photographer Hamish Croker.

Fashion Contour x Cosmetic Science. Photography credit: Swimwear designer by Sophie Beet and photographer Hamish Croker.

Is there something that makes it unique?

Sophie Beet: What makes these products unique is the idea of visibly showing that the sunscreen you’ve applied to your skin has worn off. Therefore to show this, a subtle shimmer glitter has been added to the formula.

Samita Verma: The pigmented glitter we added to the sunscreens fit the beauty trend of having glowy, bright skin. When one applies the sunscreen, their skin is left with a slight sunkissed look with a glimmer of gold shimmer. Just as Fenty launched their body lavas to illuminate the skin for the summer, our sunscreens provide a similar effect while protecting the skin against UV damage. The fruity fragrance is also unique to sunscreens, as most typically smell of their UV filters.

We also spoke to the students involved in the 3D Effects and Cosmetic Science collaboration to find out more about the project and the Collaborative Unit at LCF.

Cosmetic Science x 3D Effects, how did the collaboration come about and how did you meet?

Natasha Malhi: The university has always encouraged collaborations between students of different degrees. We received an email from our course leader informing us about this potential collaboration project. Having previously taken part in similar projects I was very keen to be part of it, and so expressed my interest, alongside how I would contribute to the project.

Cosmetic Science x 3D Effects for Performance collaboration.

Cosmetic Science x 3D Effects for Performance collaboration.

What’s the story behind the perfume and what you wanted to achieve…

Jenny Ryder-O’Regan: The project is based on the fantasy novel Perfume by Patrick Suskind. The novel explores the sense of smell and its relationship with the emotional meanings that scents may have on an individual. We planned to formulate perfumes to encapsulate the essence of the two main characters of the novel Jean Baptiste Grenouille and a young woman, to be incorporated into the costumes she was making.

Natasha Malhi: Grenouille has had an unfortunate life, born an orphan and lived a solitary, unloved life with an exceptional sense of smell. He becomes enchanted by the perfume and natural scent of a young women, so obsessed with the women he encounters he murders them. To capture his character in the form of a perfume, a combination of earthy, musky, woody scents such as patchouli, sandalore, herbal rosemary were used. The cutting and acidic angles of Birch Tar highlighted Jean Baptiste’s malicious tendencies, while the addition of Herbal Rosemary and Pine Albies echoed the empty life he led. The second costume is of one of the women mentioned in the book who is supposed exude the most exceptional scent – the perfect balance of feminine, sexy and sophistication. To achieve this, we used fragrances from the gourmand, floral and fruity family. Using a floral combination of ylang-ylang, rose absolute and labdanum and amber notes to achieve the sophistication of the woman as described in the novel.

Is there something that makes it unique?

Natasha Malhi: When formulating the perfumes, we realised that our own interpretations to what a certain characteristic would translate to in terms of smell were very subjective to the individual. Therefore, trying to create a perfume which would personify the character to the audience was one of the biggest obstacles for us to overcome as what I felt mirrored sophistication may not have the same effect to my peers. Although one of the most unique aspects of this project was brainstorming how we would incorporate the fragrance into the costume itself. This involved a lot of trial and error, fragrances traditionally come in a variety of concentrations, 5%, 10% 15% etc. depending on their function, finding a balance between the perfume concentration and using different materials to infuse the perfume with.

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