If a drop is all it takes to discover La Prairie’s best-kept secret, then one glance is all you need to recognize the highly coveted collection of caviar products housed within the signature silver and cobalt packaging. The world-renowned Swiss beauty brand is a true pioneer in studying the way we age and trying to cease that process.
La Prairie is still riding high after commemorating last October’s milestone as its famous caviar treatments, the company’s signature, turned 25. “To grow a category year after year and find ways to produce and perform in that category is a testament to the company and the scientists,” says Lynne Florio, global brand president of La Prairie, speaking passionately about the company she has been with for over 23 years from the United States headquarters at 680 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
The concept of applying caviar to your face rather than digesting it started as an expensive but innovative riff in 1987 with the launch of Skin Caviar Dermo Beads. “We stumbled across the idea that caviar was nourishing and provided proteins,” says Florio, “and we were able to technologically create these beautiful beads in that golden colour, which was a true departure for us. No one was doing anything in a bead category. People loved it.”
When the Skin Caviar Luxe Cream launched in 1998, gasps could be heard when customers learned that 50 millilitres of the Skin Caviar Luxe Cream would cost $300 (U.S.); today, it goes for $410 (U.S.), with a price tag of $500 (Canadian) north of the border.
“Caviar is our largest and most successful line. It’s what we’re recognized for,” says Florio. “Packaging the product with a small spoon was a playful nod to a doctor who said eating a spoonful of caviar had all the nutrients you needed for one day.”
The beads were indeed a breakthrough; they are rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that penetrate instantly into the skin and work to improve the skin’s tone and texture, helping rebuild collagen. Over the past 25 years, more than 10 caviar products have been released. Along with accounting for approximately 25 per cent of La Prairie’s business worldwide, the decadent caviar products represent five of its 10 bestselling products in North America. (La Prairie was the first brand to do an eye serum, the Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex, which tops the list.)
Conception of the company started in the 1930s when professor Paul Niehans, a renowned Swiss surgeon, created Clinique La Prairie in Montreux, Switzerland. Borrowing from the practices of ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, he created a line of cellular therapy products.
“What makes us special and undoubtedly La Prairie is our DNA, which is innovation, inspiration, and magic,” Florio says. “Innovation in terms of packaging, product performance, and technology; inspiration because what drives our customers inspires us—their needs and desires; and of course magic.” She pauses, then adds, “I know that sounds unscientific, but it’s when the right combination of things happen that give you a real sense of pleasure, of wow and excitement.”
Today, La Prairie offers eight skin-care collections: Skin Caviar, Radiance, Cellular Power, Swiss Moisture, Anti-Aging, Platinum, White Caviar Illuminating Système, and Advanced Marine Biology. La Prairie’s skin-care range accounts for over 60 SKUs, and then there’s the makeup line, which is enriched with anti-aging and cellular properties. There are also three fragrances: Midnight Rain, Silver Rain, and Life Threads Gold.
“What we’ve been able to do is create a marriage between luxury and science,” Florio explains. “We did that very early on in our history, and we still do that now. Customers want a product that when you put it on, there are immediate results, which are paired with long-term benefits.”
This past May, two new products were added to the repertoire: Cellular Emulsion Matte Pore Minimizer, a unique lightweight daily moisturizer that both addresses skin-care concerns (like redness and wrinkles) and creates and maintains a beautiful matte finish, and its counterpart, Cellular Oil Control Tonic. Fans will be delighted to know that September will bring Anti-Aging Eye and Lip Contour Cream and Anti-Aging Eye and Lip Perfection à Porter; Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask and Skin Caviar Luxe Soufflé Body Cream will be released in October.
“We have the best of both things for fall,” says Florio. The Sleep Mask, a deep-drenching rescue mask and intensive night cream in one formula, “is a rich, intensive cream that melts into your skin, which you leave on overnight.” The anti-aging products are “for the person who wants a quick on-the-go fix,” she adds. “We’ve addressed the two areas [of the face] that are most vulnerable by immediately filling in lines and offering long-term protection.”
Perhaps a drop of Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold is all it takes for one to become a fan. Perhaps a mini-spoonful of Skin Caviar Luxe Cream is all you need to fall in love. Clearly, if anyone can do that in the beauty industry, it’s La Prairie.