Alexander Bolen, chief executive officer of the Oscar de la Renta fashion house, pitched the unthinkable to the designer several years ago when he suggested they bring the fragrance operation in-house.
“So, are you nuts?” was reportedly de la Renta’s response to Bolen’s idea.
But Bolen, who said that the company’s fragrance business had seen sales fall 39 percent from 2005 to 2010 to $15 million, really didn’t have any other option. Launched in 1977, de la Renta scents generated $300 million at retail in 1990. But, the business changed hands many times over the years, first to Avon Products, then Sanofi, then YSL Beauté and, finally, L’Oréal, losing its focus. And the brand also was at risk for losing its cachet. As one department store buyer said to Bolen, “The brand isn’t right for my store since the fragrance is available in every drugstore in Texas.”
The fashion house, on the other hand, has seen a 17.7 percent growth in sales over the same time period, which includes everything from gowns to swimwear to sunglasses.
“Fashion and fragrance were moving in opposite directions,” said Bolen.
So, 18 months ago, Bolen brought in the fragrance business, ended all licenses with partners and began clearing out scents from the drugstores and mass chains that carried them.
This year, de la Renta made his reentry into the business prior to Mother’s Day with the introduction of an updated eau de parfum version of the brand, complete with a contemporary interpretation of the famous 1977 perfume bottle, called Esprit d’Oscar Eau de Parfum. Distribution is being kept tight, prices have doubled and synergies between the de la Renta fashion and fragrance business are being carried out, such as the placement of a red Oscar de la Renta gown within the fragrance department at Harrod’s.
Bolen envisions a future that includes launching limited-edition scents, such as a solid fragrance ring, and new offerings for the fourth quarter. Even lip and nail lines are being considered. But he doesn’t want to do anything too ordinary, such as the typical “model with the bottle” print ad format, and he discounts strategies that call for a $25 million ad campaign to reap $50 million in sales. “A race to the bottom is not what brand marketing is about.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews