The invite to join Noble Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart for “The Art of Chemistry: An Evening Experiencing A Skincare Revolution” was almost cryptic in its simplicity. It mentioned the introduction of something called Noble Panacea, which was to include a cocktail hour and a proper seated dinner. The venue: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The dress code: Black tie.
And yet, the intrigue was enough to lure a who’s-who of the fashion and beauty community uptown in the rain last night. Guests including supermodel Helena Christensen, art star Chloe Wise, and lifestyle entrepreneur Julia Restoin-Roitfeld gathered over market vegetable “terrariums” while Stoddart took the podium in the Sculpture Garden in the museum’s American Wing. Only five months earlier, Cher stood on a similar stage, in the same room, belting out hits to a packed Met gala crowd while Harry Styles cheered her on.
“I guess it’s obvious I am not a typical skincare brand founder,” the Scottish-born 77-year-old chemist and the Director of the Center for Chemistry of Integrated Systems at Northwestern University said with a smile. “A decade ago, my team and I were not thinking specifically of discovering technology with skincare applications,” Stoddart continued. “But inventing things with the goal of having a positive impact on people was always my intention.” The technology Stoddart was referring to is something called Organic Molecular Vessels (OMVs), a “new and remarkable material” that he designed to protect active ingredients at the molecular level as a means of preserving their potency until they are released in a controlled and precise way. Engineered out of totally natural starches, which Stoddart noted are even edible, OMVs offer an unprecedented preservation and delivery system for volatile complexion-boosting mainstays, such as retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, and peptides. “Serendipity has led to many of the greatest breakthroughs in science,” he went on of the unexpected efficacy his team was able to achieve in clinical trials, which was so impressive, Noble Panacea successfully attracted beauty veteran Celine Talabaza as CEO; New York-based dermatologist Anne Chapas, M.D. has also signed on as dermatological advisor.
Officially launching today with two separate lines—The Absolute and The Brilliant, each of which contains four separate, refillable pods packaged with a 30-day supply of individually dosed day cream, eye cream, night cream, and serum, as well as a bag from TerraCycle to collect the waste for national recycling—the reveal raised more than a few eyebrows. “Does it actually work,” models including Elsa Hosk and Georgia Fowler murmured as dinner was served? Makeup artist Hung Vanngo seemed convinced after an early sample of The Brilliant line helped turn his skin around following a few weeks of heavy travel.
In addition to its commitment to sustainability, Noble Panacea will also have a social impact initiative at launch—a must for any brand hoping to endear itself to consumers (and avoid social media backlash) in 2020. The brand has committed to a 3-year partnership with Girl Up, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and worldwide. I will have plenty of other news to share in the coming months as well, Stoddart promised. “Per aspera ad astra,” he proclaimed before descending the stage. “With hard work, to the stars.”