Darphin is serving up a new cocktail for stressed skin this spring.

This story first appeared in the March 21, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

With its Intral Collection, slated for a May launch, the brand is aiming to offer a luxurious option for consumers with extremely sensitive skin, said Beth DiNardo, general manager of Darphin North America.

The collection is powered by the brand’s proprietary Calm Complex, which includes chamomile, polysaccharides, hawthorn, peony and panthenol and is intended to protect skin from external stressors, explained Laurance Cassereau, director of research and development for Darphin. Glycosaminoglycanes, another key inclusion, are intended to keep enzymes responsible for collagen destruction at bay. As well, bisabolol and resveratrol are included for soothing and anti-irritant properties, and bran extract for its reparative properties.

The Darphin Intral lineup includes Anti Redness Smoothing Serum, $110 for 1.6 oz.; Soothing Cream, $90 for 1.6 oz.; Redness Relief Recovery Cream, $90 for 1.6 oz., and Redness Relief Recovery Balm, $90 for 1.6 oz., said Anne Supplisson, director of global marketing, training and spa development for Darphin.

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In addition to the Intral line, the brand will release two additional products for sensitive skin in May. Lipid Enriched Soothing Cleansing Cream, $50 for 6.7 oz., is a gentle bath and shower cream with licorice and mimosa, and Lipid Replenishing Soothing Balm, $65 for 6.7 oz., includes shea butter, vitamin E and glycerin to seal moisture into the skin.

In addition to its lineup of new products, the brand, which is sold in pharmacies in its native France, is reorganizing its U.S. distribution strategy. The brand is currently working to develop a more comprehensive spa program in the U.S., which DiNardo notes is “a very important priority” for Darphin. “We’re putting our money where our mouth is on that subject,” said DiNardo. “In the past, we’ve been very driven by department store distribution. Now, we’re building on two pillars: retail distribution and spa distribution.”

To that end, the brand’s new vice president of spa development, Carol Ruiz, is evaluating the spa market, with a target of increasing Darphin’s distribution to 150 spas within the next three years. “Going forward, this strategy validates our authenticity,” said Ruiz. The brand is currently in 17 Neiman Marcus doors in the U.S., as well as Bergdorf Goodman in New York and 25 high-end spas and 30 Blue Mercury stores nationwide. DiNardo noted that the brand is also narrowing its retail doors, choosing to focus on flagship locations. “We don’t need to be everywhere,” said DiNardo. “We want to be very focused on the best doors.”

That’s a strategy that Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, the Estée Lauder Cos. group president who oversees Darphin, is fully in support of. “This line has a lot of appeal to the niche consumer,” he said. “We are cultivating high-end consumers and helping them discover the products.” Bousquet-Chavanne noted that he believes the brand has a great deal of international potential. “We’ve just launched in South Korea and Taiwan, and we see terrific opportunities in the Asian market, as well as here in the U.S.,” he said.

While none of the executives would discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that the Intral Collection could do upward of $1 million at retail in its first year in the U.S.