Page 1

Upfront

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE

Gangnam style Amelia Lester

L

D R E A M D E S T I N AT I O N

Sheldon Chalet ALASKA

Perched on a glacier outcrop surrounded by towering peaks clad in ice and snow, Sheldon Chalet is the first and only luxury accommodation in Alaska’s Denali National Park. The only way in and out is via helicopter, with remoteness the ultimate attraction. Only 10 guests can stay at one time, spending their days glacier-trekking, heli-skiing and rappelling. Evenings are reserved for Alaskan seafood feasts, sauna sessions, star gazing and – from September to March – watching nature’s most exquisite show, the aurora borealis. Tatyana Leonov

E AT / D R I N K

THERE’S SOMETHING about facing an entirely plant-based dinner at Alibi, from consulting chef Matthew Kenney, that makes a strong cocktail seem like a good idea. Like the #hashtag – Peruvian pisco, tangy yuzu and mandarin liqueur ($23), blackened with activated charcoal (for its ability to absorb toxins), devised by bar manager David Green. It’s drama all the way, from the Stoelzle Olympic cocktail glass to the fruity edible lipsticks on the side that you can pop open and eat. Vegan, of course. Jill Dupleix

14 GoodWeekend

ALIBI AT OVOLO WOOLLOOMOOLOO 6 COWPER WHARF ROADWAY, WOOLLOOMOOLOO ALIBIBAR.COM.AU

AST WEEK, I told you the only thing anyone in Seoul wanted to talk about was the upcoming nuclear talks. That’s not strictly true. They also want to talk about skincare. In the past five years, South Korea has become the indisputable global capital of all things beauty. Move over, France – Marianne wishes she had the invisible pores of pretty much every young person wandering around Gangnam. But unlike the French beauty industry, which is predicated on luxury, Korea’s is all about accessibility. Just look at its most widely exported and coveted product: the sheet mask. For those unfamiliar, sheet masks are skin treatments in a face-shaped “sheet” form. The masks are made of fibre, cotton, cellulose or coconut pulp, and are drenched in liquid, the “serum.” There are holes for your eyes, nose and mouth, and consequently, for the 10 to 20 minutes you’re wearing one, you look a little like Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Take it off, though, and your skin is radiant, hydrated. Although the first sheet masks, popularised by the Japanese, were an expensive indulgence, Korean brands have turned them into an everyday luxury. There are retail chains that only sell masks, and hawkers on street corners give away free masks like they’re Boost Juice samples. The cheapest are only a dollar or so; add a premium ingredient, like ginseng, royal jelly or even placenta, and the price will increase. Still, even the most costly mask usually won’t exceed $10. It used to be that “doing a mask” was something for which women set aside Sundays at home. They were made of clay, or some other unpleasantly sludgy stuff, and left the embarrassed user housebound. Nowadays, though, devotees don a sheet mask for long flights – one Korean beauty blogger famously wears seven over the course of a trip – or on their morning commute. For the most part, we seem to have agreed not to stare

and point at how funny they look. What’s more, South Korean men take their skincare regimen as seriously as women. It is men who feature in almost all the advertisements – usually a K-Pop star, of which at any given time there are hundreds, with skin moisturised and polished to an almost reflective sheen. It’s long been observed that South Koreans are particularly looks-obsessed. Job candidates must include a headshot with their resumé; Gallup Korea says one in three South Korean women between 19 and 29 have undergone cosmetic surgery. The facial ideal, which you can see in the men on the billboards and the women on the street, is ivory skin, round eyes and a V-line jaw. A Caucasian double-fold eyelid is also popular, but increasingly it’s Korea exporting beauty to the world, rather than the other way around.

“ ‘Doing a mask’ used to be something for which women set aside a Sunday.” At one point, Incheon airport considered putting a plastic surgery clinic inside a terminal so travellers from China and Japan wouldn’t have to go into Seoul to get their procedures. Global sales of South Korean skincare products are projected to reach $US7.2 billion by 2020, according to market research firm Mintel. And anecdotally, even though Korean sheet masks are now available everywhere, I had multiple friends beg me to stock up for them in Seoul, where the variety remains staggering. So: possible apocalypse and sheet masks. In a time of high anxiety, a product which promises relaxation and transformation seems pretty seductive. Is it any wonder K-beauty exports to the US doubled between 2014 and 2016? Don’t we all want to turn the clock back, even if it’s only by 20 minutes or so? ■

WOLTER PEETERS; ILLUSTRATION BY SIMON LETCH

BY

Tatyanaleonov goodweekend dreamdestinationsheldonchalet 5may18  
Tatyanaleonov goodweekend dreamdestinationsheldonchalet 5may18  
Advertisement