NEW YORK, United States — Crispy fried eggplant, stir-fried chicken in hot-and-sour sauce and shrimp and wood-ear mushroom shumai might not be the things one should eat to maintain a good complexion. But a group of fashion and beauty industry insiders — including Carolyn Murphy, Kim Kardashian, Karen Elson, Kendall Jenner, Jane Lauder, Gucci Westman, and Anna Sui — indulged in such menu items at a dinner Tuesday at Chinese Tuxedo in New York, hosted by the Estée Lauder Companies to celebrate The Business of Beauty, a new initiative from the Business of Fashion. Guests were not to worry: moody dark lighting, accented with pink neon, was especially forgiving.
On the day after the Met Gala, the proceedings — as administered by co-hosts John Demsey, the executive group president of The Estée Lauder Companies, and Jane Hertzmark Hudis, the group president of the same organization — were especially casual and low-key.
But that’s the beauty industry’s way, said Moj Mahdara, the chief executive of BeautyCon.
“It’s amazing how nice everyone is,” she said, especially compared to the fashion world. “It’s so much more communal.”
Case in point: when Jerrod Blandino, a co-founder of Too Faced, met Elson over some steamed baby bass, he immediately told her, “You’re my new best friend. Call me every ten minutes.”
That’s not to say there isn’t room for the new.
“This community has an opportunity to change the dialogue with the culture, when it comes to things like gender and sizes,” explained Mahdara. “We need more forums for old and new to play under one roof. We need to push ourselves.”
“I’d like to see more realism in advertising,” said Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger. “I think it should go further.”
Her husband, Tommy, said he feels the beauty industry needs to experiment more with technology and virtual reality. “There are definitely new things to explore there,” he added.
“We can always use a fresh perspective and point of view,” said Demsey. “And a new boy and girl in town.”
Kardashian said she thought the beauty industry was in a great place. “I don’t think it’s missing anything,” she said.
When Demsey toasted the evening's guests, he remembered meeting Imran Amed, the founder and chief executive of BoF, for the first time and encouraging him to one day tackle the beauty industry.
"We are building a really amazing team so that we can provide the same kind of authoritative, insightful, analytical coverage for the beauty industry that we have done for fashion," added Amed in his own toast celebrating BoF's latest print issue covered by Kardashian and Sinéad Burke.
“When we were thinking about who represents beauty today, we have mega-influencers like Kim who can build a beauty business rapidly and then we have influencers like Sinéad who are redefining the way we think about beauty and inclusivity,” said Amed. “I really love the juxtaposition of those two things because it is emblematic of what we are trying to do at BoF."