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Fragrance and personal care

‘Coty Protopia’ sees beauty conglomerate taking start-up approach to R&D

May 18, 2023

News of the beauty group’s latest project has arrived, signaling a shift toward internal incubation in an era dominated by licensing agreements. Image credit: Coty Inc. News of the group’s latest project has landed, signaling a shift toward internal incubation in an area of business dominated by licensing. Image credit: Coty Inc.


U.S. beauty group Coty is plugging a fresh point-of-view, extending the product line of an existing luxury brand while introducing an entirely new one altogether.

Led by the company’s prestige category, the launch of a concept called “Coty Protopia” made waves on May 13, kicking off with an announcement timed against the start of the Cannes Film Festival. In an era dominated by licensing agreements, Coty's project holds the potential to push the industry at large toward internal incubation, arriving alongside implications for beauty players across the board.

“At Coty, we firmly believe that no one can control or dictate what is, or is not, beautiful,” said Sue Y. Nabi, CEO of Coty, in a statement.

“The future of beauty we strive to create is one anchored in a deep respect for, and commitment to, infinite expressions of individual beauty and experiences,” Ms. Nabi said. “This ethos is embodied in our latest innovations, Orveda’s new Omnipotent Concentrate serum, which I believe is perhaps the most potent serum of all time.

“Infiniment Coty Paris, our most ambitious fragrance project to date, aims to usher in a new era for fragrances and perfumery, representing to fragrance what Orveda is to skincare.”

Redefining R&D
Prompting a Sunday start to the week, leaders at the beauty behemoth brought an exciting reveal to one of the world’s biggest celebrations, of which both beauty and innovation are deeply intertwined.

An effort defined by the conglomerate as a “vision for empowering bold and creative expressions of beauty” was subsequently unveiled. The first two products procured by Coty Protopia help ground it.

French luxury skincare line Orveda is getting a boost, as mentioned during launch event programming, which featured over 100 VIP guests, product samples, musical performances and a dining experience curated by a multi-Michelin starred chef.

One topic of discussion? The addition of a serum that boasts biotechnology while maintaining the same properties that the brand has become known for — vegan formulations that support the microbiome of the body’s most expansive organ to Orveda's line.

“As part of our continued quest to power beauty with cutting-edge science, Orveda has created OmniPotent Concentrate, a new serum that sits at the crossroads of scientific innovation in the areas of microbiome and cellular longevity,” said Nicolas Vu, CEO of Orveda, in a statement.

“OmniPotent Concentrate has shown very strong clinical results and is expected to further cement Orveda’s leading position at the nexus of innovation, beauty, and wellness.”

The product is reportedly set to arrive in August of this year.

With aspirations to carve out a lane for underrepresented creatives, a new partnership between Orveda and the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation focused on the sponsorship of aspiring fashion designers from across Africa and Asia seals the deal.

Coty’s next advisory involves a never-before-seen ultra-premium offer, one that the company claims is the first fragrance with patents pending for both the formulation and the packaging.

Slated for a global rollout in 2024, the 14-scent-wide perfume collection will go by the name “Infiniment Coty Paris.”

The second pillar of Coty’s development arm infuses modern art, linking with the first and only international art fair dedicated to highlighting contemporary art from the continent and its diaspora, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, to aid in the exhibition of works from the region’s artists.

“Infiniment Coty Paris is a creation that marks a natural progression for the company, fusing beauty, science, and art,” said Ms. Nabi, in a statement.

Protopia prevails
Whereas in the past, Coty has opted to loop partners into updates of this nature — the April debut of Gucci’s The Alchemist’s Garden Where My Heart Beats eau de parfum, the first fragrance made with 100 percent recycled carbon emissions, serves as an example (see story) — Protopia’s purpose prioritizes new innovations from Coty’s own brands.

Looking to a set of ultra-premium names that lie fully within the conglomerate’s domain to drive growth, in a pivot from more traditional models which tap external entities for bestsellers across fragrance and cosmetics.

The move recalls the company’s heritage.

Messaging positions founder François Coty, widely considered the founding father of the perfume industry, as a pioneer in the adaptation of synthetic scents.

At a time when prestige beauty is driving earnings at the firm (see story), the public will bear witness as the company stands in this image using skincare and scents nestled under the Protopia umbrella.

“Today’s announcement is a small teaser of all that is to come in the coming months, when we unveil the full extent of this exciting project to consumers across the globe,” said Ms. Nabi, in a statement.