Bulgari is building on its fledgling line of luxury skin care this fall with a new group of antioxidant hydrating products called Source Defense.

This story first appeared in the October 4, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A serum retailing for $190, plus an emulsion moisturizer and cream for dry skin, each selling for $185, have landed in stores, and a $70 tinted cream is due in November.

“Source Defense is for all ages, and strangely enough while it is focused on women there is also appreciation from men,” said Patrizio Stella, managing director of Bulgari Perfume and Cosmetics, which is based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, where he company has its own research team.

The jeweler, which launched beauty treatments in late 2007 in Italy and last year in the U.S., incorporates its signature Gem Essence formula into all products. The complex contains extracts of sapphire, malachite, tourmaline and citrine that are rich in minerals and that have an antioxidant effect and restore radiance, according to company research.

Bulglari’s skin care products are narrowly distributed in about 250 doors worldwide, including 10 of its own boutiques and about 150 stores in Italy, Stella said. In the U.S., they are exclusive to Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

“Today, we are one of the top 10 worldwide brands in fragrance,” Stella said. “Our objective with the skin care line is to continue and grow to a top 10 position within the extensive beauty care market.”

It’s a big goal for a division that isn’t yet profitable and has a quiet marketing strategy that relies mostly on introducing individual clients to the products via facials, word of mouth and press relations.

“We want to build the business long term, and we don’t have hundreds of millions like Estée Lauder or P&G to push a lot on classic advertising,” Stella said. “We believe a true prestige proposition needs to be served on a one-to-one basis.”

The product range includes the Precieuse label that incorporates polypeptides to diminish wrinkles; the Lumiere line for brightening; a series of Radiance cleansers; and the Merveilleuse group, which was launched in January and focuses on firming the skin of women aged 50 and up.

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