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Celine Cousteau Touts Ocean Conservation, La Prairie

Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau and La Prairie spokeswoman, visits Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of oceanic explorer Jacques Cousteau and international program coordinator of conservation group Ocean Futures Society, made her first public appearance in the U.S. for La Prairie’s Advanced Marine Biology collection at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills last week.

The 36-year-old signed with Beiersdorf AG-owned La Prairie as its “special ambassador” in fall 2007 after meeting with the brand’s president, Lynne Florio.

“I’m kind of the grassroots, tree hugger, usually hang out in the Amazon, never wear this much makeup [type],” she said. “[Florio] has really become a mentor and shown me that I really have done right following my instincts and collaborating with this company.…I don’t really talk about the products, [but] I know what I like and don’t like. What La Prairie has done is create a platform to talk about what I do.”

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For every product from the three-item Advanced Marine Biology collection sold, La Prairie donates one euro, or $1.47 at current exchange, to Ocean Futures Society, which was founded by Cousteau’s father, Jean-Michel.

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Céline Cousteau, who was scheduled to fly today to China and is featured on the PBS program “Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures,” has been traveling around the globe to speak about perils facing the world’s oceans and the Advanced Marine Biology collection, but is not slated for a major U.S. tour until next year.

Even though she indicated she shies away from the nitty-gritty of product development, Cousteau said La Prairie takes into account her lifestyle when planning expansion of the Advanced Marine Biology collection. Because she spends a lot of time in the sun, the collection will incorporate a day cream with SPF 20 in spring. A Marine Biology Youth Protection Facial is also slated for next year.

The Advanced Marine Biology collection was introduced for spring 2007 with a 1.4-oz. cream for $175. Two products — a 5-oz. tonic for $95 and a 1.7-oz. night solution for $175 — were added in the spring of this year.

The line is carried in roughly 220 doors in the U.S., including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and industry sources estimate it will generate $8 million domestically this year. Worldwide, the collection is carried in some 5,000 doors in 82 countries.

Fermented algae extracts are key to the Advanced Marine Biology products and are harvested via a sustainable land-based aquaculture technology.

“It is attracting a different clientele for us,” said Holly Genovese, La Prairie’s vice president of retail marketing, of Advanced Marine Biology. “It is a younger client, a more male client. It is a growing brand as more and more [people] become aware of it.”