Lacoste Essential: Relaxed and Free
PARIS — Lacoste is going back to basics with its latest fragrance.

Lacoste Essential — as the men's scent is called — will be introduced starting in August by La Chemise Lacoste's beauty license holder, Procter & Gamble Prestige Beaute.

The product channels the relaxed chic of a Lacoste polo shirt, said Gerd Finke, a global marketing director for prestige products at P&G Prestige Beaute.

"We're now at the heart and soul of the brand and are paying tribute to its founder, Rene Lacoste," Finke said, adding the launch opens the new "freedom" segment for the label. "Lacoste Essential is all about freedom, enjoyment and relaxation — not just specifically relaxation and enjoyment as regards activities, but also freedom of mind."

The brand's portfolio has been bolstered by a number of launches since P&G took over the Lacoste license in 2001. In 2002, P&G introduced Lacoste Pour Homme, a scent that kicked off its high-end "Club" segment. That was followed by Lacoste Pour Femme in 2003. One year later the brand focused on more "energetic" scents — coming out with a signature men's fragrance and Touch of Pink for women.

P&G executives declined to comment on forecasts. However, industry sources estimate Lacoste Essential could drum up $50 million in wholesale volume in its first year.

The fragrance's heavy glass bottle, created by Qu'On Se Le Dise agency, is rounded on one side and a curved square on the other to evoke a tennis ball. Lacoste's signature crocodile is cut into the back of the bottle, so it can be seen from the front, above the scent's name.

"The fragrance is the crocodile, and the crocodile is the fragrance," said Finke. A brushed aluminum cap tops its flacon.

Essential's outer packaging also sports a crocodile logo and is green, the signature color of the brand's logo.

The fragrance's juice, concocted by P&G Beaute's in-house creative team in association with International Flavors & Fragrances, comprises top notes of tomato leaves, plus citrus, fruity and watery notes. The scent's heart is made of black pepper and a floral accord, including rose notes, inspired — according to Lacoste executives — by the fact that men don't hesitate to sport the brand's polo shirts in traditionally feminine colors, like pink. Sandalwood and patchouli notes are in the fragrance's drydown.

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