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April 20 2014

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A Caudalie Flagship Grows In The West Village

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Since being exposed to the antioxidant treasure trove found in the grapeseeds that were being discarded every season during her family’s wine harvest in Bordeaux, Mathilde Thomas has built an empire on the power of polyphenols. Her skincare line, Caudalie, launched in France in 1995 and quickly became known as “a solution-solver brand,” according to Thomas, who skyrocketed to renown on the back of the range’s original best-seller, Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, which brought to market the long-held tradition of slathering pruned-grapevine sap onto the skin to even out tone. There have been many revolutions—and revelations—since, including the creation of Vinothérapie spa destinations; a line of fine fragrances; the Vinexpert antiaging line, which combines a stabilized form of resveratrol with oleaic acid; and the heavenly scented Huille Divine dry oil, which Thomas worked on with a pre-Louis Vuitton-enlisted Jacques Cavallier.

A flagship store has remained the one notch missing from Thomas’ belt, but that all changes this winter. “It’s not just the first store in the U.S., it’s the first store in the world,” she boasts of Caudalie’s new home in New York’s West Village, which is set to open its doors tomorrow. Every single product in the brand’s arsenal will be available at the Bleecker Street outpost, which Thomas describes as having “good vibes”—and good neighbors; Marc Jacobs, NARS, and Jo Malone have all recently set up shop on the stretch of prime real estate. Inspired by the iconic Les Source de Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa in Bordeaux and Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, the 600-square-foot space will offer Instant Beauty Facials (a ten-minute “refresher”) for walk-ins and will ultimately include two or three treatment rooms for more in-depth services. There will also be a Fresh Crushed Cabernet bar, where guests will have the chance to devise their own scrubs using grapeseeds from Bordeaux, brown sugar, honey from Gironde, and a blend of six organic essential oils, including lemongrass, lemon, cypress, juniper, rosemary, and geranium.

But the real treat will be the opportunity to chat with Mathilde herself, who has all intentions of popping by the store with regularity—as she has been doing at its smaller, sister location that just opened on 74th and Lexington. It’s an opportunity for people who don’t know anything about the brand to come in and discover it, she explains—a business plan that seems to be working. One such customer wandered in, attracted by the new bright, airy space, while we paid Thomas a visit there last week, and after trying her first Caudalie product, she was hooked. “You must try this, too,” Thomas offerred with marked excitement, grabbing a bottle of Premier Cru The Eye Cream. Service doesn’t get more personal than that.

Caudalie, 315 Bleecker St., NYC, www.us.caudalie.com.

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