With its new White Caviar Illuminating Systeme, La Prairie is hoping to make age spots a thing of the past.

This story first appeared in the December 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The three-stockkeeping-unit collection is due out in the U.S. in February and is intended to address age spots and pigmentation patches, as well as moisturize the skin, noted Lynne Florio, president of La Prairie Inc.

“Many hyperpigmentation products come and go because they don’t live up to their promises,” added Holly Genovese, vice president of retail marketing and sales education for La Prairie. “This one does.”

White Caviar Illuminating Cream, the centerpiece of the line, is intended to brighten and even out skin tone by controlling hyperpigmentation, as well as firm the skin. “The composition of the Illuminating Cream is completely unique,” said Genovese. “The cream is a water-in-oil powder emulsion with key ingredients held in water. Upon application, the water releases functional ingredients into the skin leaving a layer of soft-focus powders to give a smooth appearance, and emollients to protect and hydrate. The microsized powder spheres act as reflective mirrors to disguise imperfections.”

Key ingredients include white truffles, said to provide essential amino acids; Rare White Honey, collected by bees from the nectar of the Hawaiian Kiawe tree, said to create a protective barrier around dry or damaged skin; Tremella Mushroom Extract, said to increase superoxide dismutase, the most powerful antioxidant occurring naturally in the skin; Clarifying Whitening Complex, a blend of antioxidant Larch Tree Extract and a tetrapeptide complex; microencapsulated tragranate licorice extract, said to enhance whitening and brightening effects, and Indian Frankincense, said to firm skin. It retails for $450 for 1.7 oz.

White Caviar Illuminating Serum is an antipigmentation serum intended for facial use, designed to interrupt the cycle in the skin that creates dark spots and patches, as well as firm and lift the skin. It is said to prevent age spots and discoloration by decreasing activation of tyrosinase, an enzyme needed to produce melanin; slowing down the production of melanin and also lowering the transfer of melanin to the skin cells, said Genovese. Its key ingredients include Oligopeptide-34, said to provide brightening benefits, as well as dioic acid to slow down melanin production and microencapsulated Tragranate Licorice Extract, purported to enhance whitening and brightening effects. It will retail for $450 for 1 oz.

White Caviar Illuminating Eye Serum, $250 for 15 ml., is intended to lighten and brighten undereye circles and firm undereye skin, and can also be used on the eyelid to address hyperpigmentation. According to Genovese, it slows down pigment formation to prevent dark spots and patches from forming. “It detoxifies and boosts micro-circulation to help brighten undereye darkness, diminishes undereye puffiness, and gives a relaxing effect that smooths expression lines and wrinkles,” said Genovese. Its key ingredients include Clarifying Whitening Complex; microencapsulated tragranate licorice extract, and Swiss Garden Cress Sprout Extract, said to inhibit melanin-inducing agents. The formula also includes the proprietary Deep Moisturizing Complex, comprised of very low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, hydroxyproline and glycerol, said to provide deep moisturizing benefits.

All three of the new products include Golden Caviar Extracts, noted Florio. While all caviar extracts used in La Prairie products contain Omega-3 fatty acids, said Florio, the White Caviar products have three times more Omega-3s than their counterparts, because the Golden Caviar Extract being used in this formula is more concentrated and more extract is being used.

In the U.S., the collection will be available in about 240 specialty store doors, including Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as laprairie.com. While neither executive would discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated the collection would do $50 million in retail sales globally in its first year on counter, with about 15 percent of that figure expected to come from U.S. business.

While admittedly business is challenging for higher-end items, Florio noted La Prairie has had a relatively strong year. The brand is said to be down single digits globally. “We lost the cycle of constant replenishment, but we’ve held on to our customers,” said Florio, noting core items have maintained their volume; ancillaries have sustained most of the blows. “We’ve had lots of in-store events designed to keep us close to our customers, and are offering deluxe samples now and in the spring so that our customers can have a set for travel or can extend their product usage by a week or so. The market will settle down eventually, and when it does, we want to be in a position to be there when the customer is ready to spend again.”

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