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Sep 04, 2019

Hungarian cosmetics brand takes China by storm

Skincare products created by Ernő László, a Hungarian dermatologist who died back in 1973, are now among the market leaders in China, one of the world’s most discerning markets of cosmetics.

Skincare products created by Ernő László, a Hungarian dermatologist who died back in 1973, are now among the market leaders in China, one of the world’s most discerning markets of cosmetics.

The Erno Laszlo brand – currently headquartered in New York and owned by a British entrepreneur, Charles Denton – is positioned as an upmarket brand with a solid heritage and commensurate pricing.

“Chinese customers are well-informed, knowledgeable and aware,” Denton says, adding that Asian women who ten years ago may have chosen Chanel have since changed their opinions. The brand launched its products in China in 2014 and this year it expects sales of 350 million Yuan (EUR 44.5 million).

Rmx.news points out that the founder of the brand, Ernő László was born in Budapest in 1897, studied medicine in Budapest and completed his clinical studies in Berlin. He opened the Ernő László Institute for Scientific Cosmetology in Budapest in 1927.

He achieved fame when he created a special foundation cream for Princess Stéphanie of Belgium who lost her self-confidence due to an acute case of acne. His reputation was further solidified after he treated Hungarian actress Frida Gombaszögi's facial scars after being shot in the face by a man she rejected. Soon, women from all ranks of society wanted to see László for skin and make-up advice.

At the onset of World War II he moved his institute to New York. His clients included Gloria Vanderbilt, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, who even went public with her praise of the institute.

László was reluctant to release his products on the retail market, and only did so in 1966 at the insistence of his business partners who eventually bought the entire institute.