A ‘strong comeback’ to travel retail: L’Oréal debuts Valentino Beauty in Dubai and Seoul

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Valentino Beauty makeup collection features a range of bold lipsticks and fun compacts designed to appeal to all genders, ages and cultures [Image: L'Oréal Travel Retail/Valentino]
The Valentino Beauty makeup collection features a range of bold lipsticks and fun compacts designed to appeal to all genders, ages and cultures [Image: L'Oréal Travel Retail/Valentino]

Related tags: L'oréal, valentino, Travel retail, Prestige beauty, Makeup, inclusive beauty, Dubai, Apac, EMEA

L’Oréal couture brand Valentino has launched its first makeup collection in Dubai and Seoul airports, laying the path for a strong return to beauty travel retail for the conglomerate, an executive says.

The Valentino Beauty collection – a bold range of inclusive colour cosmetics, including bright lipsticks, refillable eye-and-cheek palettes, and a ‘go-clutch’ powder compact – had been launched in Dubai and Seoul duty free areas. L'Oréal had also launched the range in select stores in the UK, France, US, Russia and China, with more countries soon to be added. 

“The versatile range is an array of blazing hues – an ode to a key pillar of the couture fashion house; exquisite textures and high-performance formulas,”​ L’Oréal said. The makeup collection had been designed to drive self-expression and celebrate the extraordinary in individuals, it said – “a couture makeup opened to all genders, ages and cultures”.

Permanent travel retail presence in Dubai and Seoul, next stop Hainan

The makeup launch marked Valentino’s first ever beauty presence in EMEAI and APAC travel retail and gave a strong signal on wider plans L’Oréal had for this category.

In Dubai, Valentino Beauty had launched via a pop-up store, set to be in place until the end of December featuring a range of interactive experiences, and a permanent corner where the new collection sat alongside established fragrances. In Seoul, it had launched under a permanent beauty store at Shinsegae Duty Free, featuring furniture and life-size replicas of star products.

Valentino Beauty's Dubai pop-up store features interactive gaming stations [Image: L'Oréal Travel Retail/Valentino]
Valentino Beauty's Dubai pop-up store features interactive gaming stations [Image: L'Oréal Travel Retail/Valentino]

L’Oréal said Valentino Beauty would continue to be expanded across travel retail in APAC, with Hainan in China pegged as the next location – a move Emmanuel Goulin, MD at L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific, previously said aligned well with the trend towards premiumisation amongst Chinese travellers.

Travel beauty reset? Valentino launch signals a ‘return to growth’

Gianguido Bianco, general manager of travel retail for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India at L’Oréal, said the company was especially proud of the Dubai launch.

“This iconic novelty reasserts our long-term partnership with Dubai Duty Free and lays a path for the strong comeback of beauty in travel retail,”​ Bianco said.

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and airport shutdowns and reduced travel worldwide for the best part of 2020, travel retail had been a channel especially hard hit for makeup, fragrances and skin care, for all brands, including L’Oréal. More recently, though, the beauty major had succeeded in growing this segment and saw great potential in APAC growth moving forward​. In July 2021, L’Oréal reported a net profit rise of more than 20% for the first half (H1)​, with sales up 16.2% to €15.9bn.

Sharon Beecham, senior VP for purchasing at Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are delighted to be the first airport retailer to showcase this new makeup collection from Valentino Beauty. Dubai Duty Free and L’Oréal Travel Retail have been building a strong partnership for many years, and 2021 has seen it translated into an innovative and interactive experience which is sure to signal a return to growth on beauty products.”

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