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Follow the Scent

For designers, branching out into fragrance is a way to expand their brands and to heighten consumers' awareness of them.

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For designers, branching out into fragrance is a way to expand their brands and to heighten consumers’ awareness of them. “Fragrance is a form of brand extension that is really complementary to designers,” said Milton Pedraza, chief executive officer of the Luxury Institute, based in New York. “Names like Thierry Mugler, Cartier and Boucheron — when people see these names, they instantly ascribe higher value to them. It’s yet more proof that luxury branding is something very special.” Luxury also is targeting youthful consumers. WWD reported last week that an increasing number of fragrance brands, such as Thierry Mugler Parfums and Boucheron Parfums, has the younger sect on its radar. In the institute’s Luxury Brand Status Index survey, the following fragrances ranked highest in luxury consumer awareness.

VERA WANG THE FRAGRANCE
Respondents who said they were aware of this fragrance: 36 percent
Vera Wang’s first fragrance was launched five years ago to rave reviews. As a result, the designer has continued to expand this arm of her brand. Initially known in the fashion industry as an expert in bridal, Wang felt this signature fragrance could lend even more emotion and importance to a wedding day. She is quoted on nordstrom.com as saying, “Fragrance provokes the senses and conjures up memories in inexplicable ways. Incredibly intimate yet nearly imperceptible, a bride’s fragrance remains with her long after the ceremony is over.”

JOY BY JEAN PATOU PARFUM DELUXE
35 percent

It’s one of the best-known fragrances in the world, and the longevity of the brand is proof that it’s sure to stick around. French designer Jean Patou launched Joy in 1930. Patou created the fragrance as a gift to his American customers after the stock market crash in 1929. The fragrance, unchanged since 1930, is a mixture of jasmine flowers and roses. The bottle was inspired by the principles of Divine Proportion — a mathematical formula that reflects perfect proportions in architecture.

PURE TURQUOISE BY RALPH LAUREN
34 percent

Ralph Lauren Pure Turquoise was launched in September 2005 in 926 department store doors, according to WWD. The $350 fragrance features one-of-a-kind turquoise bottle tops. Heather Simmons, vice president of global marketing for Ralph Lauren Fragrances, told WWD that the stone “really ties into the heritage of Ralph Lauren,” who has used turquoise in his collections for years. She also noted that the scent was developed for “a sophisticated, elegant and chic woman” in the 20- to 45-year-old age range. Nordstrom deems the bottle and its contents to be “a true collectible.”

This story first appeared in the March 8, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

MICHAEL KORS PERFUME
21 percent

Described on the design house’s Web site as “a chic, luxurious, sexy fragrance for women,” Michael Kors’ signature scent was launched in September 2000. The scent encompasses florals combined with exotic spices. It is “a fragrant creation with a wealth of personality that will capture the heart of every woman,” according to the site. Kors has since introduced Island by Michael Kors, and he also chose to create a men’s signature collection because of the success of this first fragrance.

YVES SAINT LAURENT CINEMA PARFUM
21 percent

This fragrance, launched by Yves Saint Laurent in 2004, has a style that’s known as luminous, feminine and sensuous, according to sephora.com. The site describes Cinema as a scent that “lingers with bottom notes of ambergris, white musk and bourbon vanilla that warm the skin and the senses.” The print ad campaign for the fragrance stayed true to its title by connecting the movie world to the fragrance: The ads featured a model posing as a glamorous movie star, surrounded by her adoring male fans.

CARTIER PANTHERE PARFUM
17 percent

Cartier’s Panthere is an homage to the “unsettling, unattainable, languishing woman,” according to the brand’s Web site. Launched in 1987, the sharp, floral scent includes hints of rose, anise, honey and orange, and the inclusion of jasmine adds a dimension of sweetness. But its packaging is probably the most captivating aspect of this scent. Sitting atop the bottle is a gold panther, sculpted into the glass — a treasure unto itself.

BOUCHERON PARFUM
14 percent

Categorized as a feminine, floral scent, Boucheron’s signature fragrance was launched in 1988. The next year, the fragrance won two FiFi Awards, one for Most Successful Women’s Fragrance Introduction of the Year in Exclusive Distribution and the other for Best Women’s Package of the Year. The company defines the fragrance using three choice terms: classicism, elegance and richness. The bottle was directly inspired by the Place Vendôme workshops, according to the house.

CARTIER LE BAISER DU DRAGON PARFUM
12 percent

Introduced in fall 2003, Le Baiser du Dragon is packaged as vintage Cartier: A round, glass bottle features the black Chinese symbol for longevity. Stanislas de Quercize, then-president and chief executive officer of Cartier, told WWD prior to the launch, “We see this scent as the first step toward the rebirth of Parfums Cartier.” He added, “Le Baiser du Dragon is centered around unexpected woody notes, which are not commonly used in women’s fragrances.”

ANGEL BY THIERRY MUGLER ETOILE COLLECTION
10 percent

From French designer Thierry Mugler comes this “heavenly” fragrance that is part of the house’s best-selling Angel collection. Etoile is a limited edition scent that is sold in a one-of-a-kind, refillable blue star-shape bottle. Retailing for $170, the fragrance is in a category called the “oriental gourmands,” and combines citrus, vanilla, honey and berries together, according to sephora.com.

FLOWERBYKENZO LE PARFUM
10 percent

Nature has its place in the city — or so goes the theme of this fragrance, launched in 2000 by French design house Kenzo. The bottle is transparent and “features a single red poppy blossoming in the city, representing the vital link between people and nature,” according to nordstrom.com. The scent is devoted to the poppy. The fragrance is a blend of roses, vanilla and violets. Kenzo won the award for Best Packaging of the Year — Prestige at the FiFi Awards in June 2004.

ANGEL BY THIERRY MUGLER MYSTIC STAR
8 percent
This celestial purple crystal bottle is a clear representation of the fragrance’s name. Yet another classic from Thierry Mugler, Mystic Star also is a limited edition extension of the Angel collection, which sephora.com describes as a mixing of mystical fantasy with haute couture. “Each scent bears an unmistakable stamp of his creative spirit….Mugler’s magical potions are undeniably out of this world,” the Web site said.

BLUSH MARC JACOBS PERFUME
8 percent

The latest fragrance in Marc Jacobs’ line up, Blush was launched in 2004 and retails for $250. The scent is a mixture of jasmine, orange and musk. Jacobs wanted to create a product that resembled the scents of his garden in Paris. For Blush, Jacobs focused on finding a connection between the scent of jasmine and femininity. The fragrance’s bottle has a sleek feel and is topped off with a silver cap. Also included in the collection are body cream, body lotion and shower gel.

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