By  on February 22, 2002

NEW YORK -- From the compulsiveness of Obsession to the shifting sentiments of Contradiction, Calvin Klein has offered a kaleidoscopic view of masculinity over the years with each successive fragrance launch.

Now, get ready for the manly man.

Beginning in May, Calvin Klein Cosmetics Co. will begin rolling out Truth Calvin Klein Men, the male version of the Truth women's fragrance launched in 2000. The new scent is expected to finish making its debut in all of Klein's 2,000 doors by Father's Day in June, according to Hilary Dart, who has been president of the Unilever-owned Klein licensee for over a year. Truth is Klein's second-largest women's fragrance brand behind the 1988 Eternity on a global basis, with industry sources estimating its volume at $55 million wholesale.

Dart explained the differences in positioning between the Truth fragrances: The women's scent is meant to represent a more reflective, inner beauty while the new product is designed to "speak to the masculinity and sexuality of men in today's world," Dart said, adding that this positioning indicates more than a nuance of difference with Klein's other male fragrances. As the world has changed, so has shifting social mores. This product "is for men who want to be men; they are proud of their gender."

In addition, Klein will launch a second men's fragrance in the fall that will be aimed at a completely different audience, Dart said, refusing to give further details.

Dart described the imaginary Truth man as one who is "sturdy, relaxed, with his arms folded and with a confident stance." Appropriately, Fabien Baron designed a broad-shouldered bottle that is leaning backward.

The fragrance, developed by Givaudan, is a woody, sensual aromatic combination, that Dart described as conveying the "misty, woody green of a rainforest." She noted that the formula features a canopy green accord and includes basil, cardamom, white patchouli, red cedar and wacapou. She described a second accord as "sun-struck sap."

The line will be launched with three stockkeeping units. A 1.7-oz. eau de toilette will be priced at $35, a 3.4-oz. version will retail for $48 and a 6.7-oz. body wash will be priced at $18.50. A $14 deodorant will be added in September.While Klein executives would not discuss sales projections or advertising budgets, industry sources estimate that the new fragrance could do $22 million at retail between Father's Day and Christmas. That includes a distribution encompassing the U.S., Canada, Latin America, American travel retail and Asia-Pacific.

An advertising campaign is in the process of being formulated for inclusion in men's and women's magazines, beginning with June editions. The advertising budget has been estimated at $3 million to $4 million.

Dart said there are no plans for a TV campaign in "the first instance."

She added the target audience for the fragrance is men between the ages of 25 and 49, a slightly older group than most Klein scents.

Since taking the helm at Klein, Dart, a former British retailer, has embarked on a bold strategy of reinvigorating the brand with a wave of newness. During February, the company launched an Eternity Rose Blush, a limited edition interpretation of the Klein standard-bearer that was designed to put extra fizz in the franchise. In May, the company will launch Lush, a permanent interpretation of the Truth women's scent. In June and July, Sheer Obsession will be launched as an another one-time limited edition effort.

Dart said that so far, the reaction of retailers and consumers to Eternity Rose Blush has shown that the strategy is working "spot on." Sales for January were 18 percent ahead globally and up 26 percent in the U.S. And February "looks positive."

Dart said she is merely responding to consumer desire. "We plan to pulse the business with newness and innovation to drive interest."

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