Marc Jacobs Gives a Fig

NEW YORK -- Now that he's made his mark on the women's fragrance market, designer Marc Jacobs is ready to take on the men's.<P>"This is not your father's or grandfather's cologne," said Jacobs during a recent interview with WWD. "I wanted something...

NEW YORK — Now that he’s made his mark on the women’s fragrance market, designer Marc Jacobs is ready to take on the men’s.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“This is not your father’s or grandfather’s cologne,” said Jacobs during a recent interview with WWD. “I wanted something classic, but with a twist. It’s green, masculine and not heavy — it’s something that I would, and will, wear.”

Jacobs entered the fragrance market last September with Marc Jacobs for Women, produced by the American Designer Fragrances division of Parfums Givenchy, his fragrance licensee. The scent is a nontraditional riff on gardenia — “like gardenias in water,” he explained.

In fact, Camille McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Givenchy, American Designer Fragrances and Guerlain, expects Jacobs’ men’s scent to take its key note — fig — to a new level. “What Marc did for gardenias with his women’s scent, his men’s juice does for figs,” said McDonald, noting that in both cases, Jacobs took a note and “pushed it to an extreme place and made it addictive. The men’s scent, like the women’s, is unexpected in its execution. It’s a gourmand approach to simplicity. And this is a scent that will not only appeal to the artistic guys from TriBeCa, but also the guys from Ohio.”

The juice, by Givaudan, is built around a rich fig note. The top note includes Italian bergamot, Tuscany cypress, cumin, cardamom and ginger; a heart of clear, watery fig leaves with rose de mai and cyclamen, and a drydown of earthy tonka bean, cedarwood, nirvanolide musk, Provence fig, Indonesian patchouli and moss.

The lineup includes two eau de toilette sprays, a 2.5-oz. size for $50 and a 4.2-oz. size for $60. One ancillary will be released with the sprays — a 4.2-oz. aftershave splash for $50 — with three additional ancillaries, a 5.1-oz. aftershave gel for $45, a 6.8-oz. hair and body shampoo for $30 and a 2.7-oz. deodorant for $22, coming in January 2003.

The fragrance’s heavy glass rectangular bottles are reminiscent of the women’s bottles — minus the patent-leather bows — with rounded edges topped by glossy black caps engraved with the Marc Jacobs logo. The aftershave splash is packaged in the same type of bottle, while the aftershave gel and hair and body shampoo are in white tubal containers with black flip-top caps. The deodorant is in a white package.

The collection will launch in a tightly edited lineup of specialty stores in mid-September. About 300 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Marc Jacobs’ boutiques and select Marshall Field’s locations, will get the scent at that time. Beginning in spring 2003, the scent will roll out to department stores, and by yearend 2003, McDonald expects the collection to be in upward of 900 doors. While McDonald wouldn’t say what she expects it to do dollarwise, industry sources estimated that the collection would do about $2.5 million at retail between mid-September and the end of December of this year and about $20 million at retail next year, when it is in its full distribution.

An advertising and promotional plan is slated to begin in October. While the print advertising campaign is still in development, it will be shot by Juergen Teller and will have scented strips of both the men’s scent and the women’s. “It won’t be conventional,” promised Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs International.

While neither Jacobs nor McDonald would comment on advertising spending, industry sources estimated that upward of $5 million would be spent during the first year to advertise the new men’s scent. The campaign is intended to get more than 60 million scented impressions into the hands of consumers during the first year, including the scented strips, vials on cards and in-store collateral.

Now that he’s done with Marc Jacobs men’s and women’s scents, Jacobs isn’t quite ready to slow down in the beauty world — or anywhere else, for that matter. In addition to a raft of apparel and accessory products, Jacobs is adding yet another project: He’ll next start working on a Marc scent masterbrand named for his secondary fashion line. “This is all a natural progression,” said Jacobs of his Marc Jacobs for Men scent and his future fragrance projects. “We don’t do elaborate market studies. We work from the gut. We try to do things with integrity, and that works. I hope all this will too.””