by Lue Wei
Chinese netizens are going nuts for a lipstick brand launched by the Forbidden City through its Taobao account of 3.82 million followers.
The Forbidden City, the Chinese monument built in the 15th century and known as the Palace Museum, released six different colored lipsticks just in time for the “Double Twelve” shopping festival and Christmas. The lipsticks combine traditional Chinese aesthetics with modern makeup trends.
The lipstick cases feature unique patterns including butterflies, cranes, and blossoms which come from traditional royal embroidery. The designs were created using 3D printing technology. The set of six new lipsticks is said to be inspired by the colors in the museum’s special collections. Bestseller Lang Kiln Red (郎窑红) was inspired by a red Lan Yao pottery glaze from the Qing Dynasty.
Targeting middle and high-end consumers, the lipsticks sell for RMB 199 yuan each (USD 28.90),and will be delivered in 1-3 months due to high demand. Reports say that 50,000 lipsticks and other makeup products were sold during the first ten hours after the collection’s launch, and total sales reached over RMB5 million. One quarter of the orders came from overseas customers.
Yet this isn’t the first time the Forbidden City has launched a product which became a hit on social media. Other such products were paper tape, a set of folding fans with the Chinese characters “朕知道了 (I know)” originally written by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. A series of iPhone cases and umbrellas featuring designs inspired by temple roofs also became quite popular.
Phone cases and umbrellas
The Forbidden City itself has been featured in a series of TV programs. Masters in Forbidden City (《我在故宫修文物》) and National Treasures（《国家宝藏》）have featured antiques from the Palace Museum. The latest TV show New in Forbidden City (《上新了！故宫》) has not only revealed the production process of its new products, but also tried to sell the products better.
The very reason that these products are popular is that they closely resemble the artworks that were once only available to the royal families. Today, modern consumers can take these majestic symbols home with them. “Sales of creative and cultural products related to the Forbidden City surpassed RMB1 billion in 2017,” said Wang Yamin, vice director of the museum. “We have trademarked nearly 10,000 items under the IP of the Forbidden City.”
On January 5, the Forbbiden City Taobao store announced to suspend its trending lipsticks and other cosmetic products due to minor quality issues. Hopefully, we could expect other exciting products from the 600-year-old Forbidden City in the near future.
(Photos from The Forbidden City)