Chinese mobile internet company Meitu, Inc. is celebrating its popular virtual try-on MakeupPlus app with a beauty hub in London’s “most Instagrammed venue” – the Lights of Soho gallery and member’s club, which features dozens of colourful neon lights.
“The Ultimate Beauty Destination” pop-up is running for the duration of London Fashion Week (until Tuesday 21), and is open to members of the public who download the beauty app and display it on arrival.
The pop-up boutique aims to translate the app’s virtual beauty capabilities (i.e. its augmented reality overlays) into real-life experiences, such as free makeovers, tutorials and expert panels.
“We believe that London is the perfect city to host ‘The Ultimate Beauty Destination’, the city where creativity and technology are celebrated,” says Frank Fu, SVP and managing director at Meitu, Inc, who also mentions that the London connection is even stronger due to recent partnerships between MakeupPlus and British make-up artists Charlotte Tilbury and Lisa Eldridge.
For the event, the company is working in partnership with Clinique and Revlon Professional for free beauty makeovers, while East London-based Imarni does nails. A chill out lounge also invites guests to enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks, encouraging visitors to use the venue as their go-to spot in between the shows, all of which are being live-streamed on a big screen.
When attendees first enter the venue they are greeted by a friendly rabbit statue, with which they can pose for selfies and trial the beauty app on Meitu’s new T8 smartphones, launching in China later this month. The phones are on display for play, and are well-suitable for selfie-takers with advanced camera technology, as well as an artificial intelligence feature for face recognition, age and gender identification.
In 2016, the company emerged as one of the leading internet platforms focusing on beauty apps, generating over six billion photos and videos every month. Its app portfolio, which also includes other editing platforms, BeautyPlus, AirBrush, MeiPai and Meitu Pic (also known as just Meitu), is now used on more than 1.1 billion unique mobile devices, with a global user base outside its native China amounting to over 430 million users.
“We believe that 2017 will be a big year for mobile VR and AR. And millennials will increasingly look to lifestyle and beauty brands to leverage this technology and give them more opportunities to try on and experiment with products from the comfort of their own phones,” said Fu last month.
The Meitu app, which has been listed in the top 10 of the App store for eight years running, has seen particular global growth in early 2017; an enormous 480% increase in new users outside of China driven by the launch of its hand drawn animated effect on January 11. It has reportedly been used more than 320 million times since, but has driven serious press coverage around data and security concerns.