Decorté is betting on North America.
The Kosé-owned Japanese beauty brand is celebrating its 50th year with a handful of initiatives aimed at expanding its North American presence. Decorté launched in the U.S. in 2016 with Saks Fifth Avenue. It found a spokesperson in Kate Moss, who created a kit of her favorite makeup products, available exclusively at Saks. In 2019, the brand held a press event with Moss in New York City to drum up excitement Stateside.
Decorté is now widening its approach: It has signed Brie Larson as its muse to promote the launch of its fragrance category in North America.
In a statement, Kazutoshi Kobayashi, president and chief executive officer of Kosé Corp., said Larson embodies Decorté values “with her intelligence, dignity and beauty with honor.”
“We look forward to Decorté’s next 50 years, and to bringing consumers all over the world the best of Japanese beauty that balances art and science as well as tradition and innovation,” he said.
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“[Larson] is the embodiment of a modern woman and a woman whom Americans can relate to because she’s not just a pretty face, she’s complex, multifaceted, incredibly authentic and down to earth,” said Sharon del Valle, general manager, North America, Kosé America Inc., on the phone with Beauty Inc. Del Valle joined Kosé in April and was previously at Revlon, where she oversaw marketing for Elizabeth Arden in the U.S.
In a statement, Larson said she was “amazed” upon learning the history of Decorté’s Moisture Liposome, which launched in 1992.
“As nerdy as this sounds, it’s given me a real appreciation and understanding of how artistry, innovation and technology are all key ingredients to the success of a high-quality beauty product,” Larson said. “It’s not dissimilar to filmmaking, in that way.”
Though it has yet to find its footing in the North American market, Decorté has done $1 billion in retail sales globally, according to industry sources. The company was founded by Kosé founder Kozaburo Kobayashi in 1970 with a focus on skin care that incorporates antiaging technology and proprietary delivery systems. Its hero products include the Moisture Liposome Serum, $95; Prime Latte, $45; Vita de Reve, $45, and the Guasha Plate, $30, which has sold out twice during the pandemic.
Del Valle declined to comment on Decorté’s to-date sales. She said North America accounts for a “small percentage” of the overall business, adding the company is “looking to have aggressive growth.”
Decorté has seen triple-digit growth during COVID-19 on its direct-to-consumer and other channels, according to del Valle.
“Our brick-and-mortar was affected [by the coronavirus pandemic], but we pivoted to focus on our e-commerce,” she said. “As a luxury brand, we’ve always been focused on delivering bespoke experiences in-store. We’ve been redesigning our customer engagement techniques so it’s irrespective of choice of channel. We’ve accelerated our digital capabilities, which includes technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, big data, all with the end of making sure we can better communicate our brand story, as well as offer more fulfilling brand experiences for our customers.”
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Decorté is rolling out a global digital initiative, Virtual Voyage, meant to familiarize users with its brand story, ingredients, technologies and Japanese heritage. It will also unveil a partnership with Baccarat for its AQ Meliority Intensive Cream, which retails for $1,000. The Baccarat Edition includes two creams, a spatula made of resin and a Baccarat crystal stand designed by Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders. Each cream in the limited-edition collection comes with a serial number.
Additionally, Decorté will release a 50th anniversary edition of its Liposome Serum, which has been its best-selling serum for more than 25 years.
“Decorté is one of the best-kept secrets in Japan,” del Valle said. “It is well-known for embodying the best of Japanese beauty, but it elevates it because of its balance of art and science, as well as tradition and innovation. The selection and agreement of [Larson] partnering with the brand is underscoring the commitment that Kosé has to developing the North American market with Decorté in particular.”
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