By  on November 15, 2002

PARIS — In a nod to extreme luxury of yesteryear, Swiss high-end beauty manufacturer La Prairie and French silversmith Christofle have jointly created a limited-edition, handcrafted Necessaire du Soir cosmetics case, replete with a lipstick and pressed powder.The case’s beaded exterior is meant to be evocative of caviar — a key ingredient for La Prairie."We are always trying to find ways to produce Caviar in luxurious forms," explained Nadia Miller, La Prairie’s director of international brand development, referring to the firm’s Skin Caviar products that are produced in an artisanal fashion, by people sporting white gloves.Miller said La Prairie and Christofle worked together because they have numerous common denominators, including brand image and a focus on quality. Silver also plays an important role for both — it’s the color of La Prairie’s packaging and Christofle’s metal of choice. And there’s also the Orient Express link, among others. Early travelers on the train often carried Christofle silverware in their trunks and La Prairie recently gave Orient Express passengers complimentary beauty products.Each minaudière takes hundreds of hours to create, explained Maurizio Borletti, chief executive officer of Christofle, which dates back to 1830 and has had a following among the likes of Napoleon III and the czar of Russia."If we find an impurity, we have to start again," he explained. Every case contains one exclusive La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Lip Colour lipstick, including caviar extract for firming and a plumping complex, and an adjoining Skin Caviar Luxe Pressed Powder, with minute, spherically shaped polymers billed to create a soft focus effect.Three-hundred numbered, signed editions are being produced for a suggested retail price of $2,009 each. Dollar prices are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.The Necessaire du Soir is currently being rolled out in highly selective distribution. In Paris, that includes Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché plus the Rue Royale’s Christofle. In the U.K., it is sold in Harrods and in the U.S. at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. The case is also being introduced in Germany and Italy this month and Russia in December.The item comes in a tarnish-resistant velvet bag and a jewelry box containing six additional lipstick shades and two pressed powders — to be snapped into the minaudière — and powder puffs.For queries or refills, Necessaire du Soir customers can contact La Prairie directly or through the Web site.

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