Call it counter intelligence: YSL Beauté will unveil its newest retail concept at Bloomingdale’s with a soft launch on Sept. 17.

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

“A perfect storm really drove this effort,” noted Marc Rey, chief executive officer and managing director of YSL Beauté in the U.S. “Bloomingdale’s was updating its 59th Street store, and we were looking to create an optimized identity at point of sale. It was also very important to us to increase our capabilities to serve customers at the counter.”

Although YSL’s previous space at Bloomingdale’s was nearly identical in size — the old space was 256 square feet, while the new space is 248 square feet — the new design and location allows the brand to use its square footage more effectively, said Gillian Gorman, vice president of marketing for YSL Beauté in the U.S.

The new counter, designed by French architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, is centered on the retailer’s Broadway aisle and allows full access to the counter from all four sides. “Our old space only allowed access on two sides, so we will be able to capitalize on a 360-degree approach,” said Gorman, adding the space features shiny black exteriors and rich gold logos, a switch from the brand’s previous gray and white counters.

Downlighting from overhead mirrors is intended to provide a natural light on the tester units. Each island has a glowing display area highlighting products; skin care and fragrance displays also have pinpoint lighting under each tester product. Consultation areas feature individual trays lit from underneath, and glowing columns feature fragrance videos.

YSL’s two newest product introductions will be prominently displayed, Gorman said. Mascara Singulier, out in October, is a multieffect formula which uses a patented brush to lengthen, volumize and curl lashes, said Gorman. “The formula is built around our exclusive Modelling Stretch Complex,” she said, adding that the proprietary brush design, comprising molded spikes formed into spirals, allows for maximum mascara distribution. “Microspheres add volume length, and acacia gum ensures that the microspheres adhere to the lashes. Our proprietary Curling Wax then gives the lashes long-lasting curl, but allows them to stay soft and supple.” Four shades — deep black, deep brown, deep green and deep violet — will be offered, each retailing for $30.

Teint Resist, the brand’s newest foundation which will debut in October, is said to last 14 hours without a touchup. The cornerstone of the formula is a silicone-enriched emulsion, with color pigments encased in a protective coating and a film-forming polymer to set the shade, said Gorman. “The formula glides on the skin and forms a mesh of color on the skin’s surface,” he said. “A network of links then lock it onto the skin.” Nylon microsponges work to control excess oil, delivering a matte finish throughout the day, she said.

Ten shades, from ivory to deep brown, each priced $55, will be offered globally, eight in the U.S. YSL’s color cosmetics and skin care are in about 300 U.S. specialty store doors, while fragrance is in 2,500 department and specialty store doors. While Rey and Gorman declined to discuss sales projections for the new products, industry sources estimated Mascara Singulier would do about $1 million at retail in its first year on counter in the U.S., and the foundation would do about $1 million at retail in the same time frame.

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