L'Oreal Partners With Armani On Skin Care

Italian designer Giorgio Armani is stepping into the skin care category with a new line made from volcanic rock. Armani introduced the line, a partnership with L'Oreal, last week in Paris. It is due in stores this September.

This is the designer's first foray into the facial care category--although Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics, through a license with L'Oreal, already has color cosmetics, and for a longer time has lent his name to fragrances. The Armani scent collection is widely distributed and includes Acqua Di Gio, Armani Code, and Emporio, all in men's and women's versions. L'Oreal does not break out sales of Armani products.

The new Armani volcanic rock-infused moisturizers enter a market filled with skin care products boasting unusual, healthy-sounding or decadent ingredients such as sea extracts, mushroom extracts, crushed minerals and caviar.

Two lines will be introduced--one for men, and one for women. Crema Nera (or Black Cream), is a moisturizer for females, while the men's will be called Skin Minerals for Men.

Packaging on both is likely to include the products' exotic-sounding key ingredient: extract of obsidian--not from just any volcano, but from volcanic rock found on Pantelleria, an Italian island located between Sicily and Tunisia where Armani has a home.

Like the mushroom extract in Origins' products and Aveeno's, as well as other high-priced skin care serums and lotions from Estee Lauder, Lancome and others, Black Cream and Skin Minerals for Men are meant to be an anti-aging cream to help skin regeneration. Other products to follow include a full men's line including cleanser and shaving balm.

Fragrances bearing designers' names--including Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Bvlgari--are often intended to appeal to consumers who can't--or won't--spend the money on the designers' other wares, but want a piece of the status.

The Armani skin line is primarily targeted to consumers who already use Armani's color cosmetics. The price may be part of the reason. A 1.75-oz. jar of Black Cream will retail for $350--making it one of the highest-priced non-prescription skin care products.

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