Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

August 22, 2006
Chemistry class 505


Andre Price, left, a regional training exeutive for Chanel, could just as well be my chemistry teacher. (And I didn't do so hot in that class.) But Price has a ton more personality than my former prof, and his recent "lecture" to a group of cosmetic-department associates from Nordstrom Arden Fair on the line's newest skin-care product made me sit up and take notes.

I was invited to hear his talk about a fascinating anti-aging product called Sublimage, which has been six years in the making and has taken a team of scientists, dermatologists and others to the island of Madagascar in search of one of 117 varieties of vanilla from which is extracted an ingredient that Chanel hopes to seek three patents.

Whew! I'm not going to get much more technical with this because it also has to do with a process called "polyfrationing" and something called "polyketones." What I will say is that getting this variety of vanilla is like pulling teeth. It's slow-growing and can only be harvested one month out of the year - in an organic field with constant vigilance and tender care. Sort of like a rare vineyard.

Chanel's main research lab in France is where the product came to exist. Now, it has officially arrived in the United States and will be sold in very select stores -only 25 Nordstrom venues nationwide. And one of those is Nordstrom Arden Fair where - and don't burst a blood vessel - it will sell for $350 for 1.7 ounces.

Therefore, training about this product is crucial. And not too soon; word is already out about the product. Apparently, Jennifer Aniston is bathing in it. Others - not so well known - are pre-ordering and paying on the spot, sight unseen.

I got a chance to take a whiff and to dab a little Sublimage on my hands. And I can say this with certainty: My left hand looked light years better (read: younger) than my right. And the smell is heavenly. Something to do with camellia oil, if I listened closely enough.

For more information about Sublimage, check out the Looking Good section on Page 3 in Wednesday's Scene. You'll get details on how to use it and who should use it. And how you might be able to get your hands on a sample.

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