PARIS — Biën, a Japanese beauty and lifestyle boutique, is opening Friday in the heart of Paris.
Step inside the streamlined, light-filled store located at 10 Rue Casimir Delavigne, a stone’s throw from the Luxembourg Gardens, and a sense of peace descends.
To the right, there’s a wall decorated with Japanese beauty products cherrypicked by Keiko Suyama, who runs a consulting company and has created Japan-related retail concepts for the likes of Le Bon Marché department store, where she opened the Bijo beauty and wellbeing bar, and the Maison de la Culture du Japon.
To the left, on Biën’s ground floor, delicate ceramics are on display, while up one flight of stairs is a table set for workshops and treatments, such as hand or head massages.
Downstairs, central to the 755-square-foot retail space, is a bar made of Japanese cypress, where people can taste teas and get personalized advice. Hanging from the ceiling is eye-catching bulbous white lighting made of puckered fabrics treated with a tie-dye technique, without the dye.
Suyama cofounded the store with creative director Sadaharu Hoshino. Their idea is to connect brands, craftspeople and artists all linked by an aesthetic sense of beauty.
Suyama explained they would like people “to feel the real Japanese minimalist aesthetic,” and “the beauty of usage. We really want to [have] some new experiences here.”
Biën is a concept store. “We are also the distributor and agent of small niche beauty brands,” said Suyama. “Almost all the brands are exclusive to us.”
Here, beauty products, clothes, edibles and other lifestyle products are being sold. The lion’s share of the offer is focused on beauty and well-being brands, which are a combination artisanal and high-tech labels. The 25 carried by Biën have been chosen for how they reflect the Japanese sense of beauty. An emphasis is placed on clean products, with formulas chockablock with natural ingredients, especially plants from Japan.
Some examples of those are Eau de Ki, a purifying and moisturizing lotion dating from 1926; Ruhaku, billed to be the first organic skin care brand from Okinawa, and Ipsum Alii, with formulas infused with Kampo medicinal herbs. Selected for their luxurious active ingredients are Makanai gold leaf facial masks and Cokon Lab, with products enriched with silk from Yamaga. Suyama honed in on Waphyto for its combination of phytotherapy- and biomethodology-culled ingredients.
Biën’s beauty mix also includes a healthy quotient of tools — such as the Suwada artisanal nail clipper, Shaquda brushes made in the traditional since the end of the Edo period, and beauty rollers from Ya-Man and Slim Cera.
The textile collection was created by Hoshino, and that will be expanded with exhibitions by Japanese artists and artisans, such as Hosoo creations from Kyoto. There are Japanese teas enriched with antioxidant plants, collagen beauty drinks and other snacks.
Biën’s lifestyle selection encompasses Kaikado tea canisters and tea utensils from the Asahi Yaki house, which has been operating for 16 generations.
“I am really glad to work with those artisans because the new generation is around 40, 45 years old, and they are still continuing to bring their heritage, but they are [also] trying to make something very new and [usable] in modern life,” said Suyama.
Exhibitions of various designers and artists will be regularly showcased at Biën, which also might house a beauty institute in the future.
The boutique is open Monday to Wednesday from noon to 6:30 p.m. by appointment only, then open to the public from Thursday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.