SK-II Taps Priyanka Chopra, Olivia Palermo to Launch Essence, #ChangeDestiny

Rachel Strugatz
WWD



SK-II is today unveiling the holiday version of its bestselling Facial Treatment Essence — producing more units than ever before to meet consumer demand.

The brand looked to ancient Japanese marbling technique Suminagashi, or “floating ink,” to create the three limited-edition bottles, painted in either a vibrant red, green or blue. Each one retails for $229, the same price as the original Essence.

“We wanted to be a little closer to our Japanese heritage [with Suminagashi], but also tell the story about change,” said Markus Strobel, SK-II global president.

The brand is hosting an event in New York tonight that’s a two-for-one: to unveil the holiday collection and toast its global #ChangeDestiny initiative in the U.S. Actress Priyanka Chopra and influencer Olivia Palermo are hosting the event, identified by  Strobel, as inspiring women “who had something to tell.”

“We started this whole thing with special designs [for the holiday season] two years ago. It took off like a rocket, and we ran out of stock at the beginning of December,” Strobel said during an interview Nov. 15. The first collaboration in 2014 was with Taiwanese digital art designer Po-Chih Huang, who created a series of digitized flowers that were printed on bottles. Because the product sold out weeks before plan — the number of bottles were supposed to last through the holiday season — SK-II upped production for last year’s run by 40 percent.

“We said, ‘OK, this is something we’re going to do every year and come up with a new design and story each year,” Strobel said. Chinese New Year and Cherry Blossom limited-edition bottles are also produced annually, but they aren’t promoted in the U.S.

Stock of last year’s butterfly motif Essences, a metaphor for change and a tie-in to the #ChangeDestiny campaign that kicked off last fall, lasted a bit longer, but still sold out before it was intended to. This year, Strobel explained, the brand produced just 15 percent more than last year’s — to meet demand but still keep distribution limited to give a feeling of exclusivity.

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