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Beauty Beat: Bond No. 9 Channels Chinatown … Wella Net Up, Sales Down

<STRONG>Bond No. 9 Channels Chinatown</STRONG><BR><BR>NEW YORK — In May, Bond No. 9 will take a cue from the world’s fastest-growing market with the launch of its newest scent, Chinatown. Chinatown, the company’s 22nd fragrance, was...

Bond No. 9 Channels Chinatown

NEW YORK — In May, Bond No. 9 will take a cue from the world’s fastest-growing market with the launch of its newest scent, Chinatown. Chinatown, the company’s 22nd fragrance, was inspired by a New York neighborhood and it has a decidedly Asian flair — from the Ming Dynasty-inspired graphics printed on the bottle to its notes of peach blossom and cardamom.

Much like the country from which many of its residents originated, Chinatown is growing rapidly, according to Laurice Rahme, founder of Bond No. 9. “On the periphery of Chinatown, you’re finding new designer shops and fashion and [the fragrance] is in that spirit,” she said. “It’s a destination neighborhood for both tourists and New Yorkers.”

Created by Aurelien Giuchard of Givaudan, Chinatown features top notes of peach blossom; middle notes of peony, gardenia and tuberose, and base notes of cardamom and dark woods. “This is for a young girl, an avant-garde woman,” said Rahme. “It’s not a classic fragrance — it’s for more of a young crowd, someone who is adventurous in fashion, food and fragrance.”

Rahme said that it was important to feature “edible notes” in the fragrance, such as cardamom and peach blossom, an edible flower. “In Asia, they eat a lot of flowers,” said Rahme. “And people love the idea of food — it’s about comfort.”

For Chinatown, the signature Bond No. 9 star-shaped bottle is decorated in a plum blossom pattern, inspired by a porcelain ginger jar dating back to China’s Ming Dynasty. The original jar, explained Rahme, features a navy blue and white pattern, while Chinatown’s bottle is covered in contrasting colors of fuchsia and pearl. One side of the Chinatown bottle features fuchsia flowers with a pearl background, while the other side features pearl flowers with a fuchsia background.

Rahme said that the bright pink color was chosen as an alternative to red, the color that many people associate with China. Bond No. 9’s subway token insignia is included on the bottom right corner of the bottle.

This story first appeared in the February 16, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Chinatown will retail for $178 for a 3.4 oz. bottle. It will also be available for $45 per ounce, either in a 2-oz., $25 spray flacon or in an assortment of Bond No. 9 decorated bottles, which range in price from $40 to $70. A variety of vintage or art bottles, ranging from $60 to $200 each, will also be available. The fragrance will be carried at Bond No. 9’s three New York boutiques, as well as in Saks Fifth Avenue and about 100 boutiques and spas nationwide, according to Rahme. Industry sources estimate Chinatown could bring in up to $500,000 in first-year sales.

Bond No. 9 recently expanded its distribution to include eight Harvey Nichols doors in the U.K., will hit Middle Eastern markets in March and is currently in negotiations to launch in Italy, Germany and Spain in April, according to Rahme.

Upcoming plans for the company include custom fragrances inspired by specific New York addresses, which will be available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue in the fall. Rahme said that she has her eye on several locations for new Bond No. 9 boutiques, including the West Village and Harlem. The company has slated the launch of a signature makeup line, called Talk of the Town, for spring 2006. — Bryn Kenny

Wella Net Up, Sales Down

Berlin — In the first half of the fiscal year ended in December, Wella grew operative earnings in its core professional hair care and prestige cosmetics and fragrances businesses by 10.9 percent.

Earnings before interest and taxes reached 204.5 million euros, or $265.6 million at current exchange rates. Adjusted for currency effects, EBIT in these core segments grew 18.6 percent, Wella said.

First-half sales in the professional and prestige divisions, on the other hand, slipped a nominal 6.5 percent to 1.21 billion euros, or $1.57 billion. Adjusted for currency and consolidation effects, sales for the period rose 1.8 percent.

Wella’s acquisition by Procter & Gamble in 2003 — and the company’s subsequent reorganization — make it more difficult to compare group sales and earnings for the period, Wella noted. The consumer hair care division was transferred in stages to P&G and, in October 2004, Wella sold its North American business to P&G.

Due to the latter transaction, group profits after taxes surged 140 percent to 215.6 million euros, or $280.1 million.

Group EBIT and sales picture were less positive, however. Operative earnings for the group declined 35.3 percent to 135.6 million euros, or $176.1 million. Adjusted for currency effects, EBIT slipped 2.7 percent.

Consumer sales fell a nominal 43.2 percent in the first six months of the fiscal year, and total group sales dipped 16.3 percent to 1.48 billion euros, or $1.92 billion. — Melissa Drier