La Prairie Taps Survivor Plants for New Line

The Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal skin-care line, is due out in February worldwide, except in China.

PARIS — With the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal skin-care line, La Prairie aims to put aging on ice.

This story first appeared in the December 6, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Its cream and dry oil, whose formulas use plants culled from the Swiss Alps, are due out in February worldwide, except in China. The products are considered “age-delaying fortifiers” by the company.

“La Prairie has discovered a powerful way to help your skin acclimate to the continuous assaults of the environment and aging,” explained Holly Genovese, vice president of training and motivation at the firm. “What we discovered were two seeming fragile plants and a tiny algae that were found growing in a crystalline world of ice, snow and relentless sunlight.”

La Prairie calls them “survivor plants” due to powerful inner systems that help them adapt to extreme environmental stress.

Purple saxifrage grows just below the summit of Dom, among Switzerland’s highest mountains, “at conditions so extreme that survival seems impossible,” said Daniel Stangl, La Prairie’s director of innovation.

The plant surrounds itself with ice crystals to combat effects of cold, ice and altitude. Meanwhile, soldanella alpina, a flower, melts ice and snow with fuel stored in its leaves so it can blossom. And Swiss snow algae — first used in La Prairie’s Cellular Power Complex — remains dormant in wintertime then becomes a crimson blanket on snow in spring.

“Our scientists have harvested their DNA protecting power, and now we sustainably grow these plants and have created a revolutionary Swiss Ice Crystal Complex, which includes advanced hydration technology, plant stem cell technology and more,” said Genovese, claiming: “We have found the secret to extreme survival for the skin, and we are the first.”

The Swiss Ice Crystal Complex “fortifies, renews and supports our skin in a myriad of ways,” continued Stangl, citing as an example its ability to protect mitrochondrial DNA from external stress, therefore securing the cellular energy supply. “[It] tested really beyond our wildest expectations.”

The new products are billed to help skin become more resilient against the signs of accelerated aging due to stressors including climate, UV light, pollution, lack of sleep and anxiety.

Alongside the complex, the cream (which can be used morning and night) also contains the likes of hyaluronic acid, shea butter, extracts of mallow, coffea bengalensis cultured stem cell and raspberry plus photo-reflecting agents.

Among its ingredients, the dry oil has the complex, pure lightweight oils — from sweet almond, sunflower seed and sea buckthorn berry, for instance — and plant extracts, such as from yellow gentian and mountain arnica. It may be used alone or mixed with a moisturizer in the morning and evening, and is said to strengthen skin’s natural lipid barrier. The 50-ml. cream and the 30-ml. dry oil will each retail for 260 euros, or $354 at current exchange, a new price point for La Prairie, according to Peter Gladel, global brand vice president.

While company executives would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal line could hit a target of $65 million in first-year retail sales worldwide.