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Jean Paul Gaultier Explores The Power of Two With Scent

Jean Paul Gaultier has always been a master of gender bending, creating kilts and makeup for men and pinstriped suits for Madonna. His new fragrance, due out this fall, is no exception.

PARIS — Jean Paul Gaultier has always been a master of gender bending, creating kilts and makeup for men and pinstriped suits for Madonna. His new fragrance, due out this fall, is no exception.

The scent, Jean Paul Gaultier to the Power of Two, is not specifically for women or men.

“I wanted to go back to my first idea of a perfume for humans — not a gender,” said Gaultier, referring to his original fragrance idea 15 years ago that (to his chagrin) never came to fruition. “The perfume is about the idea of sharing. It is not unisex. It is a fragrance for couples, a togetherness perfume.”

Perhaps the most tangible evidence of this is the scent’s packaging. Its rectangular flacon is studded with tiny magnets enabling it to “connect” to its other half, should the user desire. 

The outer boxes’ faces have fragments of the fragrance’s name, which is spelled out in full when the containers are put side by side.

Gaultier uses the word “attraction” to describe the force uniting the two parts of his scent.

Its name is meant to convey the strength derived from togetherness.

“The name says everything,” said Eric Henry, chief operating officer of Beauté Prestige International, Gaultier’s beauty license holder.

“It came rather rapidly,” continued Sylvie Polette, vice president of Parfums Jean Paul Gaultier, who explained that the ideas of duality, meeting and one-plus-one were discussed.

“The name touched upon the math formula and alchemy. For Jean Paul, perfume is about alchemy,” she said.

For the new fragrance’s juice, Gaultier wanted a scent that doesn’t evolve.

“I get frustrated sometimes when I buy perfume that doesn’t smell the same when I wear it as it did in the store,” he explained. “I wanted one smell.”

So Francis Kurkdjian of Quest International concocted a scent incorporating leading notes of ambergris, musk and vanilla.

“From the outset, you smell all three,” said Polette.

BPI executives believe the market is ready for another Gaultier fragrance.

“It was high time we came out with a new launch,” said Henry. “We haven’t introduced anything major for Jean Paul Gaultier since 1999 with Fragile.”

In the Gaultier portfolio, the new scent will join the women’s fragrance Classique, which ranks fifth in Europe and in the top 10 in the U.S. doors where it is sold, and the men’s fragrance Le Male, which tops the charts in Europe and is number one and number two in the U.S. stores carrying the fragrance, said Henry. The brand also has the men’s makeup line, Tout Beau Tout Propre.

Henry said the introduction of Gaultier to the Power of Two will be backed by “one of the highest levels of advertising spent at BPI since it started,” but did not break out figures. He added the scent is to have high visibility at sales points.

Advertising, which was shot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, stars two ballerinas from the Paris Opéra corps de ballet. In the still, they embrace; in the video, they move toward, away and then toward each other again, until they end as a couple.

Web, print and TV ads will run, with the emphasis on the latter, in 7-, 15- and 30-second spots. Sampling will include Liquatouch, Sophisticates and mini sprays.

Gaultier to the Power of Two will be launched exclusively in France’s Galeries Lafayette on Sept. 19. The fragrance’s introduction elsewhere in France and in other European markets will start on Sept. 26; the U.S., Canada and Mexico are slated for 2006.

BPI executives declined to discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate Gaultier to the Power of Two will generate $45 million in wholesale volume in its first 12 months. 

Its launch lineup is to include one 120-ml. eau de parfum spray for 82 euros, or $100 at current exchange rates; a 40-ml. eau de parfum spray for 53 euros, or $65; two 40-ml. eau de parfum sprays for 72 euros, or $88; a limited-edition 20-ml. eau de parfum spray for 38 euros, or $46, and a 100-ml. massage oil for 35 euros, or $43.