CULTURE

Sephora’s philosophy in Athens

Beauty is a language with a familiar alphabet at Sephora outlets around the globe: A like Armani, B like Bulgari and C like Chanel. A leading international chain of fragrance and cosmetic stores, Sephora has just made its entry into the Greek market. Situated on the pedestrian part of Ermou Street, the flagship outlet features the trademark lacquered black and white interiors, with a splash of red. Established in France in 1993, Sephora was acquired in 1997 by LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton), the luxury giant which owns, among other brands, Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart and Krug champagnes; fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Celine, Kenzo, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Fendi and Emilio Pucci; watchmakers Ebel and TAG Heuer, as well as jewelers Fred and Chaumet. Sephora outlets include shops in France, the US, Italy, Poland, Spain, Britain, Portugal and Luxembourg – though in the last few years units operating in Germany and Japan were forced to shut down. In Athens, the mood is upbeat, however, and Sephora is the result of a joint venture between LVMH and the Marinopoulos group of companies. For those familiar with big Sephora outlets (such as one on the Champs Elysees in Paris), the Ermou store might seem rather small-scale, but the company’s signature philosophy of freedom (free to touch but also to ask for advice), beauty (a wealth of products to choose from) and pleasure (an inviting environment) is intact. The journey begins with men’s fragrances on the left and women’s on the right – all in alphabetical order – while Sephora’s own series of colorful bubble baths and salt baths, among others, in magnolia, lavender, orange blossom, ocean and sky, to name but a few, are followed by Sephora makeup in all shades and textures; practical makeup tools are further down. World cosmetic brand players follow – from Christian Dior, Estee Lauder to Clinique, among others – with skin and body care products on the mezzanine. Besides the established mega-brands, the new store also offers a selection of beauty products made in Greece by the Marinopoulos group, including Priorities (up to now sold exclusively at Beauty Shop outlets around Greece, they are currently making their way into Sephora shops abroad as well), Crazy Girl and Life on a Rainbow makeup. Meanwhile, Sephora addicts will be pleased to find items from the brand’s White and Brown body care series as well as Essentiels skincare.