Santa Monica, Calif. — For the design enthusiast, there’s much to get giddy over at the new Dermalogica Skin Center here on Montana Avenue, the casually tony shopping thoroughfare that is home to the skin care brand’s first namesake and very cutting-edge flagship. Yet, it’s the two giant freestanding treatment rooms that resemble semigloss molars — yes, as in teeth — that really grab the spotlight.
“We started calling them pods and it just stuck,” said Jane Wurwand, the lithe, brunette British expat who in 1986, along with husband Raymond, founded the Los Angeles-based skin care line known for its no-nonsense philosophy, minimalist white-and-gray packaging and cult-like following. The new center also marks the end of the U.S. operations of Leonard Drake, the 32-unit worldwide retail arm of the company, which carried multiple lines. It represented “very much a Nineties concept,” believed Wurwand.
With the mushrooming of the Dermalogica brand into what industry sources estimate is a $100 million-plus company employing a staff of 500 in some 45 nations, its founders decided to reinvent its retail business into the Skin Center concept. This 1,662-square-foot unit celebrated its grand opening with much fanfare last Wednesday, following a soft opening this spring.
“What we wanted to do is get away from what exists at most salons and spas, which is a front area that is retail and then this secret netherworld that’s very quiet where everything goes on,” said Wurwand. “Snooty is not who we are. We wanted something with less pressure, with more energy. We wanted to bring the kitchen into the restaurant.”
With the architectural partnership of Abramson Tieger, the space’s openness extends beyond the limits of the shop front. Part of the facade was cut out a few feet off the ground and replaced with a glass wall that slides open and into the adjoining wall, providing a truly open link between outside and inside. On the inside of the grand window, a bench allows visitors to take a load off and read quirky titles on aesthetics and style stocked in a tall bookcase. A neighborhood’s sense of community attracted Wurwand to the 1923 building, which was thoroughly modernized inside, complete with polished concrete floors.The spirit and a few elements of a library also were invoked. Besides the narrow case of books, there are horizontal rows of chalky white shelves stacked deep with product and a floor-to-ceiling ladder that rolls across shelves to access items up high. “Just as essential as books are, so is skin care,” noted Wurwand. “It’s not a luxury. You should be able to touch it, read the back, see the price.” Customers are similarly encouraged to play at the Product Pool, a four-foot-long chalky white rectangular table with a wave-like indentation, where products can be sampled.
Products can be tried on at the Skin Bar. Here, seated at turquoise-colored jelly stools, customers can look in a mirror and, with the guidance of a therapist who supplies a hot towel and Japanese bento box filled with their custom samples, they can experiment on themselves. They also can be set straight on how to correctly use products. Tea brewed from flower petals also is served. From there, follow an expanse of stained walnut which curves along the east and south walls and leads to changing rooms, appointed with sarongs instead of heavy robes, and the front doors of the pods.
The treatment pods, of course, are the centerpiece. Skinny rectangular windows go opaque when a treatment is in service. Inside, the sci-fi quality continues: recessed lighting gradually, randomly changes from 40,000 combinations of colors. Instead of commonly used fluorescent lamps for the treatments, therapists sporting magnified specs spotlight skin with the crisp, white light used in dental offices. Clients can control the adjustment of the duvet-covered bed, along with the volume and genre of music: Men tend to tune into rock, while women want the lull of new age or world music.
As for the treatments, the focus is skin care. “A big problem in this industry is everyone follows the spa route,” said Wurwand. “They offer these 15-page menus of services. But you end up doing everything in an average way. I wanted to be really great at one thing. No makeup. No wax. Just skin.” The 45-minute skin treatment is $60. Fifteen-minute “touch therapies” of the face, scalp and back — along with foot reflexology — can be added at $15 a pop.While Wurwand is excited to roll out more Skin Centers, she doesn’t expect the next location to open until Spring 2006. Destination is New York, although no lease has yet been signed.
In the meantime, the company is consolidating its headquarters, laboratory, distribution center, warehouse and post-graduate training facility, called The International Dermal Institute, to a 150,000-square-foot compound it’s building in Carson, Calif. The move is expected in May 2005. The Institute, founded in 1983, espouses Wurwand’s mantra of education: “We don’t sell on the Internet. We don’t do direct sales catalogues. We don’t do infomercials. We believe in personal interaction between the trained skin care professional and people.” In August 2005, Dermalogica will host its quasiannual international conference in Barcelona, aiming to attract 3,200 Dermalogica-using professionals.
“My goal is to really change the whole perception of professional skin care and the environment skin is treated in,” said Wurwand. “I really hate that it’s still seen as something mysterious done in Pamela’s Pamper Palace. It’s not just about a ‘beauty treatment.’ It’s so much more essential than that.”
Saks’ Brush With Greatness
NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue hosted its first “Brushes With Greatness” event Wednesday night, a soiree that featured an array of beauty industry personalities, including Laura Mercier, Trish McEvoy, designer Diane von Furstenberg and Gregory Bays Brown, founder of the Ré Vive skin care brand. The philanthropic effort benefited Mount Sinai Hospital and, despite rainstorms, attendance topped 800. McEvoy, whose husband is on the staff at Mount Sinai, roughed the weather in a helicopter from the Hamptons. The event raised $10,000 for the hospital.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)