Mathilde personalising a scrub for Ken Lim, founder of Ken’s Apothecary in Malaysia, which carries Caudalie.
A French skincare brand sets its sights on Asia by opening its first stand-alone store in Hong Kong.
EIGHTEEN years after creating the Caudalie brand, I am delighted to present our first Asian store,” says Mathilde Thomas. The tall, elegant Frenchwoman is giving Malaysian press members a tour of the brand new Caudalie store, located on Gough Street in Central, Hong Kong.
As she makes her way through the two-storey boutique – striding in heels and towering over the Asians – Mathilde is articulate and confident in her answers. After all, as the co-founder of Caudalie, she knows her brand inside out.
Where Caudalie is concerned, Mathilde is extremely hands-on, from the store aesthetics to the product conceptualisation.
For the uninitiated, Caudalie is a family-run company created by Mathilde and her husband Bertrand Thomas in 1995. The duo, who graced the Hong Kong store opening last November, make a handsome couple. Also at the event were Ken Lim and Hubert Hoi, respectively founder and business development manager of Ken’s Apothecary, which carries Caudalie in Malaysia.
The store’s design was inspired by the architecture of the family vineyard of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux. The larger-than-life entrance embodies the shape of the cellar – the stone arch underscores the monumental gate that opens to the secrets and stories drawn from the vine.
The visitor’s journey in Bordeaux begins as one steps inside the store; the presence of large flat screens show the vineyards for as far as the eye can see. This is intentional, according to Mathilde, so that it makes the visitor feel like one is strolling through a wine-growing estate.
The wall is adorned with rattans, wrapping materials that pay homage to the ancient traditions of the harvest where baskets were used to collect grapes.
In the store’s centre, the Barrel Beauty Bar (Mathilde affectionally calls it the “BBB”) invites visitors to discover the products by themselves or with a “Vinotherapist” who offers personalised consultations by appointment.
For each collection, Caudalie’s products are displayed and explained in an artistic way. “Much like the work of an artisan, the choice of materials and textures used for each range accentuates the characteristics of every ingredient,” enthuses Mathilde. Fans of Caudalie know that the brand owes its success to its unique products and Vinotherapie Spas which make use of all the benefits of vines and grapes and allow one to have it all: science, glamour and ethics.
Also, for the first time in Asia, customers can enjoy a selection of five Caudalie treatments. Designed for busy folks who are time-crunched, Beauty Under An Hour provides a quick-fix way to benefit from the spa. Customers can also beautify their nails with nail polish from French brand Kure Bazaar, touted as the first eco-natural nail lacquer.
At the back of the store, Caudalie provides a sensory experience: the Fresh Crushed Cabernet Lab enables customers to create a tailor-made scrub with their choice of natural ingredients. To illustrate this, Mathilde personally attended to all of the journalists’ requests, blending the ingredients to their liking and scribbling their names on the jar labels.
Amongst Caudalie’s products, Mathilde is especially proud of Premier Cru, which took eight years to develop. She unabashedly calls it the “creme de la creme”.
Premier Cru is a blend of the Caudalie patents – Resveratrol-Oleyl, Viniferine and Polyphenols – and active ingredients at their highest concentration to correct all signs of ageing.
“It corrects signs of skin ageing, wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, dark spots and skin dryness,” explains Mathilde. “Wrinkles are smoothed, facial contours are firmer and more defined, and the complexion is radiant and even.”
Recently, the ever-busy Mathilde also joined forces with style icon L’Wren Scott to create a collector’s edition Beauty Elixir bottle.
The boutique, which opens daily, is located at 3, Gough Street in Central, Hong Kong. In Malaysia, Caudalie is available at Ken’s Apothecary outlets and Sephora stores.
Expanding its reach