MONTE CARLO, Monaco — Coty Inc.’s skin care business is rebooting, and to kick that off the Lancaster brand has revamped and will relaunch its most premium skin care collection on March 17.
Called Ligne Princière, the line was originally the official beauty brand for Princess Grace of Monaco and her family in the ’60s. The updated range today has four products, including an essence, a serum, moisturizer and eye cream.
“It’s a royal secret that comes to life in a few days in China, which is the most premium skin care market,” said Sue Nabi, Coty’s chief executive officer. ”We are putting into Ligne Princière the company’s best know-how that is tested and confirmed by consumers to be best in class.”
She said Ligne Princière is the only range to have such a heritage and triple combination of technologies to activate skin’s self-repair. These include exclusive cationic liposomal retinol, patented oxygen in a matrix and patented double liposomal skin enzymes.
The brand will first launch in tight brick-and-mortar distribution as well as travel retail and online.
Lancaster is already known in China, where its 365 skin care was tested on the island of Hainan in the midst of the coronaivrus pandemic.
On Thursday, Nabi was in Monte Carlo, the birthplace of Lancaster in 1946. Sitting in a boardroom of the lush Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Nabi talked strategy with WWD just hours before taking Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Grace’s son, on a walk-through of Lancaster’s laboratory and factory, based in the principality.
Monaco was the first place Nabi traveled to for business after becoming Coty’s CEO in 2020.
“I was visiting the Lancaster facility to understand its know-how in skin care,” she said. “It is where I had this incredible moment of truth, where I discovered that we own patents, know-how and expertise in probably the four or five key areas that are going to shape the world of skin care.”
This includes protection against light and pollution. Lancaster has the only patent covering the largest spectrum of both visible and invisible light emissions, according to Nabi. The brand was also a pioneer in formulating the use of retinol, starting in the ’70s.
“This was the first line to launch DNA repair in the ’80s, the first line to launch what we call oxygen therapies,” she continued.
“It’s all about delivering the actives to the right place, at the right dose, with the right scientific know-how,” said Nabi, adding that was what the facility has been working on over the last 20 years.
When Nabi first joined Coty, people had lauded Lancaster’s high-end sun care, which ranks first in Europe, and suggested she launch skin care to match that. (Two decades prior, the brand was already a category leader, alongside Lancôme and Estée Lauder.)
That planted a seed, which blossomed. When Nabi met the Lancaster team, they quickly showed her products from the Ligne Princière line coming in royal blue-and-gold packaging. They never thought it would go to market, but were mistaken.
Nabi said: “We have a great idea, with a fantastic, true story.”
During the royal visit, she would share with Prince Albert Lancaster’s know-how and eco-conscious mission that’s multifaceted. Recently, the brand debuted the Sun Sensitive Protection SPF 50 line, the only sun protection doubly certified by Cradle to Cradle, for instance. And Coty uses carbon-captured emissions from factories to produce its fragrances.
“We are going to create with the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco probably what’s to be the most advanced sun care/sustainability formulation and packaging that can exist,” Nabi said. That should happen in the coming months.
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Meanwhile, Lancaster is rebranding. The word “Monaco” will ultimately appear on all product packaging, under the Lancaster name.
“We are going to unify the end look of the full line, so that there is one story between cleansers, classical moisturizers, 365 and the jewel in the crown, Ligne Princière,” Nabi said.
Simultaneously, Lancaster cleansers are being revamped, and the brand will likely launch other products, such as lifting and firming creams.
“We are reconstructing the must-haves if you want to become a contender in this very competitive skin care market with very unique stories — be it technologies or heritage,” Nabi said.
After she took the reins at Coty, Nabi and her team set out to transform the company, morphing it into a triple-axes beauty powerhouse. That included tackling opportunities in fragrances, especially with the creation of an ultra-premium portfolio; makeup, with high-end color cosmetics brands Gucci, Burberry and Kylie Cosmetics, and consumer beauty.
“The growth of the company is balanced between the two divisions,” said Nabi, referring to prestige and consumer beauty.
“What was missing at Coty was skin care,” she added. “Skin care is the queen category in Asia, but also in many markets. It’s the second-largest category in the U.S. and in Europe. This was a huge opportunity for the company.”
Coty has recently confirmed that it will double its skin care business by the fiscal year 2026.
Nabi would not discuss sales projections for Ligne Princière, however.
“The way I see the KPIs of success of skin care are the rankings of productivity per store,” Nabi said. There are also endorsement by skin care experts, awards and word-of-mouth.
“What’s important in skin care is reputation and trust,” she continued. “Sales are a consequence.”
Coty’s other skin care brands are Orveda, in the ultra-premium segment, which should be relaunched in the fall, and Philosophy, the entry-level prestige brand being reintroduced in the U.S.
“These are three strong stories that will help us to start this skin care transformation,” Nabi said.