La Prairie's Iconic Cobalt Blue Is Deeply Rooted In Art History

It celebrates feminist artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

La Prairie's Cobalt Blue Is Deeply Rooted In Art History

La Prairie/ InStyle

Alexander McQueen’s 1998 coup de théâtre runway moment with a certain spray-painted dress, Cher’s “Mom, I am a rich man” interview, Angela Davis’ afro, Cartier’s “love” bracelet, Frida Kahlo’s unibrow. Apart from being iconic, each of these moments in history also demonstrates a certain boldness to act outside the box and push the limits of what was perceived as the norm — both to impact change and make history.

In the art world, Niki de Saint Phalle was known for the same audacity. The self-taught French-American sculptor and painter famously pushed the limits through her art — both in their message and size. She told stories of violence and unconventional standards of femininity through larger-than-life sculptures and breathtaking performance art which, eventually, cemented her place as the first and only female artist in the Nouveau Réalisme movement of the ‘60s. The work of her “Tirs” and “Nanas” series became synonymous to her name through the ‘70s, and in the ‘80s, she embarked on a mission to develop an eponymous fragrance that would help fund her Tarot Garden project. Unbeknownst to her then, but in that process her work would serendipitously cross over into the world of luxury skincare.  

niki de saint-phalle la prairie cobalt blue

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1982, Saint Phalle found herself working on her perfume in a Manhattan atelier with a shared design studio. There, she met La Prairie’s creative team. After spending some time together, the team behind the skincare brand became enamored with Saint Phalle’s cobalt blue, which the artist described as the color luck and joy. It became obvious that this shade had to belong to La Prairie’s upcoming, iconic skincare collection.

At the time, such bold colors weren't used in popular beauty packaging. Think: Coco Chanel's No. 5 fragrance, Elizabeth Arden's glass bottles with gold lids, Helena Rubinstein's muted pink "Silk-Tone" liquid makeup, Wella Balsam's cream-colored haircare. Everything was more subtle and quiet. So, for La Prairie, leaning into cobalt blue was a statement that cemented its place in beauty's history.

Today, luxury lovers and skincare enthusiasts are all too familiar with La Prairie’s Skin Caviar collection. Its cobalt blue packaging is unmistakable, its cutting-edge formulations unmatched. It only made sense to house such groundbreaking, luxurious science in packaging as equally elevated. Every vial and jar is minimalistic and sleek. Their aesthetic is as rich, deep, and alluring as the brand’s commitment to innovation.

La Prairie Skin Caviar Collection

La Prairie

Each product in the collection harnesses the power of Swiss caviar to lift, tighten, and contour the skin. Launch after launch, La Prairie pushes the boundaries on what groundbreaking anti-aging technology is. Between that and the elevated sensory experience that comes with touching each formula, it's no wonder they've amassed such a cult-following. To La Prairie, every minuscule detail matters — whether that be in the formula, its packaging, brand messaging, and beyond.

“When it comes to the bottle design, the question we asked ourselves was how to visually represent harmony. We were inspired by Bauhaus proportions and strived to create two bubbles suspended in a pressed glass jar — I think it took hundreds of trials,” shares Laurent Christin, La Prairie Chief Brand Officer. “We wanted to create this sensation of harmony, but most importantly perfection.”

It's those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it details that speak to the brand’s dedication to art and architectural perfection. Take Harmony L’Extrait as an example — Christin points out the pipette. “It’s unnoticeable — only turn it slightly and it self-loads,” he explains.

la prairie cobalt blue

Courtesy of La Prairie

Every La Prairie product is a work of art, and that artistry extends to the brand's commitment to supporting artists. It has been an Art Basel sponsor for years, promotes emerging female artists through programs such as The Women Bauhaus Collective, prioritizes art preservation via Fondation Beyeler, and much more.

La Prairie's trailblazing pursuit of art and science through the prism of innovation and audacity is unmatched. And what began as a partnership between an avant-garde female artist and a skincare company eager to push the limits has endured the test of time and remains more relevant and impactful than ever before.

Related Articles