By  on November 10, 2006

LONDON — Stella McCartney is branching into treatment this spring, with a line called Care, and she's doing it organically — naturally.

The move by McCartney, who grew up on an organic farm and is a longtime campaigner for animal rights, is billed to be the first time a luxury fashion label has taken the organic route with skin care.

"This launch is a big deal for this industry," maintained McCartney, who, with her beauty license holder, YSL Beauté, is gearing up to introduce the eight-unit treatment line starting in spring 2007.

"Big people are waiting to see how this is reacted to," she added. "If Stella McCartney can't succeed, I don't think anyone is going to bother."

That being said, YSL Beauté isn't the only major beauty player taking interest in the natural beauty market — and organic products, in particular. In October, beauty giant L'Oréal announced its acquisition of Laboratoire Sanoflore, an organic beauty manufacturer, and, also in October, Groupe Clarins announced plans to take a stake in the Kibio natural brand, with which it will collaborate on an organic cosmetics line.

Indeed, the nascent organic beauty market isn't without its attractions. Sales of organic personal care products are estimated to have reached $282 million in the U.S. last year, representing 28 percent year-on-year growth, according to the Nutrition Business Journal's research with the Organic Trade Association. While still representing a mere 0.5 percent of global personal care sales, it is a segment with promise, according to executives.

Amarjit Sahota, director of London-based Organic Monitor, a business-research firm, said McCartney's move into the organic beauty market likely will raise the segment's profile. "It will be definitely beneficial for the industry," he said. "It will broaden the market and open it to demand from customers who otherwise wouldn't buy [organic products]."

McCartney and Chantal Roos, YSL Beauté's president and managing director, insist, however, Care is not part of a fashion fad. "We've been in development for three years; we're not jumping on a trend," said McCartney. "I'm doing this for genuine reasons."

"She lives like this," said Roos, alluding to McCartney's organic lifestyle. "She's very sincere."

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