Monday, February 19, 2007

Introducing 29 Cosmetics

Winter Collection from 29 Cosmetics
I spoke by phone with Lydia Mondavi of 29 Cosmetics while she was on the floor of Neiman Marcus in San Francisco for the promotional launch of 29 Cosmetics, her new color line formulated with grape seed extract (“29” refers to Route 29 in Napa Valley, the premier wine country in the U.S.). The line only debuted at Neiman Marcus on February 16.

Lydia is originally from Atlanta and is a fifth-generation Atlantan. She developed skin care lines for spas all around the world. The spas were interested in color cosmetics with benefits for the skin.

Lydia met Robert Mondavi, a scion of the Mondavi wine-making family, through a grade school friend who is now a chef in Napa. Lydia and Robert married soon after, and now have been married for five years.

Robert is the vintner for both Spellbound and Medusa wineries. While Spellbound specializes in wines at $15 a bottle (the Petite Sirah is their flagship brand, the first of its kind in Napa Valley), Medusa is a boutique label with wines at $38 a bottle.

All products in the 29 Cosmetics color line are formulated with grape seed extract. Grape seed extract is a powerful anti-oxidant, and as Lydia noted, is a by-product of the wine-making process.

29 Cosmetics will expand into skin care. This raised the inevitable question about competition with Caudalie, the skin care line in which the products are formulated with grape extract. Lydia said that the people who run Caudalie are dear friends, and 29 Cosmetics’ skin care products would not compete directly with Caudalie’s skin care range.

Check out the sophisticated shades of 29 Cosmetics at its website Names for the product colors and palettes were inspired by wine and areas in and around Napa Valley. Special products include lip treatments (see photo above) and Napa Mist. All products are formulated, manufactured and packaged in Milan, Italy.

You may buy 29 Cosmetics on its web site, or at 29 Color on Neiman Marcus’s web site, beginning February 20. 29 Cosmetics is exclusive to Neiman Marcus, and will be rolled out in NM stores in LA, Chicago, Palm Springs, Atlanta, and Las Vegas this spring. It might eventually come to Washington, DC (where I live!) and King of Prussia, PA.

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