By  on January 7, 1994

PARIS -- For its first major fragrance launch in seven years, the Cacharel division of L'Oreal has gone back to the beginning -- all the way to Genesis.

Called Eden and billed in ads as the "forbidden fragrance," Cacharel's new women's scent will make its debut in 10,000 doors in Europe and the Mideast April 15.

In the U.S., however, Eden will not bow until at least 1995, according to executives at Cosmair Inc., the U.S. licensee of L'Oreal. The European Designer Fragrances Division is planning the launch of another fragrance for 1994, said a Cosmair spokeswoman in New York, and a decision on Eden will not be made until the following year. She declined to elaborate.

"In fine fragrances, we have two big launches this year," said Georges Klarsfeld, international managing director of L'Oreal's prestige unit. "In Europe, this is the big push, and in the U.S., it will be Ralph Lauren Polo Sport." Klarsfeld said he expects Eden to hit $40 million in sales in Europe and the Mideast this year.

"We consider that the threshold for success is $60 million once the scent is rolled out worldwide," Klarsfeld said.

He declined to specify how much L'Oreal will spend to support the launch, but sources estimated an advertising and promotional budget equaling 60 percent of sales -- $25 million -- including TV. "I can't imagine not doing TV, given the prices and target of Cacharel," Klarsfeld said.

Eden, which is available in eau de parfum only, is aimed at the same 18-to-35-year-old audience as Anais Anais and Loulou, previous Cacharel women's scents. Like those fragrances, Eden is priced below the most expensive brands. At $36 for a 50-ml. eau de parfum pour, Eden is priced well below Chanel No. 5, which sells for $53.

For the TV spot, which features actors posing as Adam and Eve in a surreal, jungle-like Eden, Cacharel tapped Spaniard Javier Vallhonrat as photographer and director.

Although Eve will be shown bare-breasted in the European version of the commercial, Klarsfeld said, the film will be edited for the U.S.

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