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Caudalie Partners With Jason Wu, Expands Retail Presence

Jason Wu designed a limited-edition Caudalie Beauty Elixir.

Jason Wu is giving a designer spin to Caudalie’s best-selling Beauty Elixir.

“I gave him total freedom and he came up with crazy ideas. He wanted to change the material of the bottle and that wouldn’t have worked,” Mathilde Thomas, cofounder of Caudalie, said with a laugh. “Because it has essential oils and rare plants, it has to be in a specific bottle. It’s quite fragile and we couldn’t put it in plastic.”

Next Wu wanted to dress the bottle in actual lace. But because he had very little lace (it was left over from a collection he just designed) and it was extremely delicate, this became an impossibility as well.

Finally, the two comprised and decided to “draw” the designer’s lace of choice onto the bottle and the Wu-clad version of the signature product was born.

Starting this week, the limited edition, $49 Beauty Elixir hits Caudalie boutiques, caudalie.com and Sephora. Only 50,000 bottles were produced.

This marks the second time the French skin-care brand has teamed with a designer. In 2013, the late L’Wren Scott created a bottle for the brand, which sells about half-a-million bottles of its Beauty Elixir a year, or one bottle every 30 seconds, according to Thomas. She developed the formula in 1996 and sold the first one in 1997. The elixir — a blend of bitter orange, grapes, rosemary, myrrh, rose and peppermint — hasn’t changed since Thomas introduced it to the range almost 20 years ago.

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Next week also marks the opening of Caudalie’s fifth U.S. boutique and second in New York City. A 500-square-foot shop will bow at Westfield World Trade Center on Wednesday. Thomas said the store concept is more interactive than that of existing doors, and the space will have a “DIY Recipes” experience (inspired by her book that came out last year, “The French Beauty Solution: Time-Tested Secrets to Look and Feel Beautiful Inside and Out”) that lets customers select masks and blend a corresponding face oil.

A second Miami door will open in the Brickell City Center in November, which Thomas called a response to launching in Sephora Mexico last year.

“Those are big markets for us [New York City and Miami]. We have a lot of Brazilian and South America consumers. We like to focus on big cities,” Thomas said of her decision to open two new stores in cities where the company already maintains a retail presence.

Caudalie is expanding its product range too. In September, a new Resveratrol Lift Soft Cream will launch, the result of several years of research and a patent from Harvard Medical School. Thomas said the $76 cream, which contains a healthy dose of micro hyaluronic acid and Vine Resveratrol, helps to firm, plump and produce “long chains of hyaluronic acids similar to what injections would do.”

Caudalie operates 24 boutiques worldwide with 10 spas that carry the brand exclusively. Distribution globally is roughly 11,000 doors across 25 countries, including the brand’s native France where the range is sold in about 4,000 pharmacies.