For some lucky girls, the first makeup they receive is a very special hand-me-down: their mother’s Guerlain Perles. Iridescent, soft, and delicate, the shimmery Météorites Perles last long enough to be given to another generation. Founded in 1828, Guerlain is one of the oldest cosmetic lines in the world. Heritage products such as the Perles, and its classic fragrances such as 1925’s Shalimar, comprise the base of the brand, with formulas essentially untouched since their famed introductions.
Even with such pedigree, the line does not shy away from change and innovation. At a recent product preview, Guerlain international beauty artist Maxime Poulin showed a selection of new items including its coveted holiday collection, this year created in collaboration with model Natalia Vodianova and creative director Olivier Echaudemaison. Named after its landmark fragrance (of which Vodianova is the face), the collection is inspired by the love story of Shah Jahanand his wife, Princess Mumtaz Mahal, for whom the Taj Mahal was built. Gold and sapphire elements adorn the packages, and even real ruby dust is used in the Rouge G lipstick. And in a blend of the Shalimar’s fragrance and the Perles’s glimmer, the Souffle d’Or de Shalimar is a fragrant powder to be spritzed on to the back of wrists, elbows, and décolletage for a wink of scent and shine.
But Guerlain’s big reveal for the holiday season is an item worthy of more than a stocking. The Orchidée Impériale Black Cream is touted by the brand as the “talisman of youth”. The formula uses Nobel Prize-winning science based on toll-like receptors or TLR: proteins that protect the skin against external aggressors that can prematurely age the skin. The result is a cream that 100 per cent of women in self-assessment studies found made their skin look younger, suppler, and more elastic after one month. “It’s really for the client that wants top-of-the-line, high-performance, more action,” Poulin explains. “It’s not for everyone, that’s why it is a very select distribution.”
That select distribution means there are only about 20 items available in Canada, and in Vancouver they are only at Holt Renfrew. Retailing for over $1,000, the cream is bound for a very special place in the beauty cabinet—but along with that hefty price tag come fringe benefits, as well. “With the Black Orchid there is the full skin consultation, facials, and you get all the massage techniques and how to care for your skin,” explains Poulin. “So it’s more than just the cream. It’s a full service.” The product promises a lot, but with over 180 years of credibility, Guerlain has the ability to follow through.
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