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Beauty Beat: Coty Takes a Page From the Past For Latest Jil Sander Fragrance

Coty Prestige has gone back to the roots of its flourishing Jil Sander fragrance franchise with Scent 79 Man and Scent 79 Woman, a new take on the German...

BERLIN — Coty Prestige has gone back to the roots of its flourishing Jil Sander fragrance franchise with Scent 79 Man and Scent 79 Woman, a new take on the German designer’s first men’s and women’s perfumes launched in 1979.

This story first appeared in the December 6, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

It’s the rebirth of a legend, Coty executives said of the men’s and women’s scents, which are each 125 ml. and priced at 129 euros, or $189.25 at current exchange. Distribution of the scents includes only 130 to 150 selected perfumery doors in Germany as well as Jil Sander fashion boutiques.

“Our goal is to go from the original to an original — or back to the future,” said Nicole Nitschke, marketing director of Coty Prestige Germany.

The Scent 79 scents are similar to their 1979 forebearers but feature new facets and nuances, Nitschke said. The women’s chypre amber floral has a sunny, fresh top note of cranberries and peach leaves, with a heart of May roses and jasmine and base notes of white leather and musk. The woody men’s scent has a head of angelica root, clary sage and incense; a floral heart of jasmine, violet wood and iris, and a black leather, sandalwood and vetiver base.

The original scents’ bottle design, by Peter Schmidt, has also been tweaked. The white (women’s) and black (men’s) opaque, polished glass bottles are formed of two symmetrical, stacked cubes and a rounded cap.

“Jil Sander has become such a large brand in fragrance,” said Steffen Seifarth, managing director of Coty Prestige Lancaster Group GmbH, adding the brand is number one in Coty Prestige’s German portfolio.

Sander’s departure from the fashion scene “was not felt in fragrance,” Nitschke noted. The lasting mythos of the German designer has continued to generate strong demand at various price levels. “Over the last three years, we’ve gone from the universe of Jil Sander Sun — the most democratic — moving up a notch with Sport and then another step up with Style Essence. Scent 79 now brings us the closest to the level of Jil Sander fashion.”

With distribution at about 5 percent of the normal selective distribution of 2,500 German doors, both Coty executives emphasized the Scent 79 launch is not primarily sales driven. “Of the 60 million [euros, or $88 million] we make with Jil Sander,” said Seifarth, “this will be a tiny niche. But one which lifts the brand.”

“This launch is not about maximizing turnover, but I’m sure that in terms of sales, we’ll be surprised,” Nitschke concluded.

With no advertising planned for Scent 79, point-of-sale displays will be employed to support the fragrance.

A British rollout of Scent 79 is in the pipeline but further launches have not been finalized.