MILAN — The Dsquared fashion brand is celebrating its 15th birthday this year with the fall launch of a men's scent called He Wood, the house's first fragrance.
"We decided to start with a men's scent because that's how the label began," said Dan Caten, who founded and designs the Dsquared line with identical twin brother Dean Caten, in an interview at the brand's new flagship boutique in Milan.
With its wood-encased flacon and prominent woody notes, He Wood draws on the designers' Canadian roots.
"He Wood has core notes that represent Canada, who we are and where we come from," said Dan Caten. "It's so personal."
"Now you can smell us," quipped Dean Caten.
He Wood will be launched this fall in 2,900 doors in Italy, Germany, Austria, the U.K., Portugal, Greece, Russia and Eastern Europe, Spain, Canada, the Middle East, Japan and Indonesia. The scent will then be rolled out in April to the U.S., Asia, other European countries and Central and South America.
Roberto Martone, president of ITF, which announced a fragrance manufacturing and distribution license with Dsquared in spring 2006, said the fashion brand's perfumes would be launched under a highly selective distribution plan.
"We chose doors that are in line with our strategy to grow the brand gradually over a long period of time," said Martone. "Those doors we will be in, we have an agreement that will ensure the brand's position, visibility and presence in store."
Martone said he expects He Wood to register 15 percent of its first-year sales volume within the first four months of its launch. Though he wouldn't discuss that number, industry sources estimate that He Wood could rake in $20 million in retail sales in its first year on the market.
Martone added that Dsquared, in conjunction with ITF, had begun working on a follow-up women's scent, set to launch in fall 2008.
"We worked so well together creating this scent," said Martone. "Dan and Dean are both extremely creative, intelligent and really in tune to what the consumer is attracted to. They are attentive to all of the details and that's what counts in this business."According to the designers, He Wood took a year to develop and was created in collaboration with Firmenich perfumer Daphné Bugey.
"We went through 26 versions until we finalized the right one," said Dan Caten.
He Wood is classified in the woody-vetiver olfactive family. The olfactory structure is divided into air, water and wood accords. At the top of the blend, the air accord combines with white fir, vegetable amber and musk. It is balanced with the middle, water accord, which combines violet leaves, blossom and water-transparent accord. Finally, the wood accord at the base of the scent consists of vetiver and cedarwood.
When designing the He Wood flacon, Dan and Dean Caten decided to wrap the scent's square glass flacon in wood. Canadian Red Alder was sourced from renewable forests in the U.S. for the bottles, the brothers noted. Each raw-cut piece that frames the scent's bottle has a unique grain and tone. The bottle is topped with an off-center black stopper.
Photographer Steven Meisel shot an evocative print advertising campaign for the scent. The visual depicts American model Leandro Maeder embracing a tree trunk in water. Print advertising will accompany the launch in key European, U.S. and Asian markets.
The scent, an eau de toilette, will be available in three sizes: a 30-ml. version for 32 euros, or $43.10 at current exchange; a 50-ml size for 54 euros, or $72.75, and a 100-ml bottle for 72 euros, or $97. A 100-ml moisturizing aftershave balm will accompany the scent and will retail for 50 euros, or $67.40.
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