WWD May 2014
111 Skin Debuts in the U.S.
By JAYME CYK
111 Skin Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask and 111 Skin Y Theorem Repair Serum NAC Y².
Photo By John Aquino
While the ability to protect an astronaut’s skin in orbit has been historically difficult, 111 Skin is taking on the challenge.
111 Skin, an antiaging skin-care line containing a formula given to astronauts to protect their skin while in orbit, is already a hit with Barneys consumers, according to Bettina O’Neill, the store’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager of cosmetics and fragrances.
The U.K.-based brand, which made its debut at Barneys in early April, was developed by plastic surgeon Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, MD, in collaboration with two scientists from the Soviet space program.
In September the brand will launch its Celestial Black Diamond range. Combining its proprietary ingredient, NAC Y² — a blend of peptides, vitamin C and escin —with black diamonds, the formula is said to penetrate more easily into the skin and can carry the ingredients directly into the cells.
Alexandrides explained that NAC Y² increases glutathione, an antioxidant that naturally occurs in the skin cells and decreases during aging.
“Skin care is getting more and more scientific,” said Dr. Alexandrides. “And [consumers] are looking for skin care that has some science behind it.”
According to O’Neill, the 13-piece line is exceeding expectations, especially at the Madison Avenue flagship. As for the best-selling item, it’s the eye serum [Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel NAC Y²], $190, and the face serum [Y Theorem Repair Serum], $350.
In a crowded skin-care market, this line’s differentiation, according to Alexandrides, is the fact that the ingredient was created for astronauts in extreme space conditions where the aging process accelerates.
“[The scientists] gave NAC supplements to astronauts who are exposed to extreme radiation in space as well as the lack of gravity, which is detrimental to the skin,” he said. “They had to come up with products and ingredients that protect skin from these extreme conditions. We realized this is something that can work and protect the astronauts in their day-to-day life.”
Introduced in Harrods in 2012, the company is the brainchild of the two scientists who were exploring the effectiveness of patents created to protect skin in otherworldly environments.
“One of the major challenges we have in skin care is not only understanding the ingredients but giving them to the cells,” said Alexandrides, adding that some ingredients are unable to penetrate the skin.
The formula seems to be working, at least at Barneys, where if sales continue as they have been, the brand will be rivaling some of the store’s best-performing skin-care lines, according to O’Neill.
“We’re very pleased with the launch results so far,” she said. “I think it fills an area that we don’t have. It’s preventative and restorative.”
The products are available exclusively at Barneys Madison Avenue, San Francisco, Chicago and Beverly Hills for one year and range from $70 for an exfoliating cleanser to $350 for a serum. “At present we are in four Barneys doors, and we hope to expand after that,” said Alexandrides, referring to other retailers.
While executives declined to talk figures, industry sources estimate 111 Skin will generate $1 million in its first year at retail in the U.S.