NEW YORK — Donna Karan plans to mix things up at fragrance counters this fall.
That's when Karan and her fragrance licensee, the Estée Lauder Cos., will launch Donna Karan Essence, a collection of four single-note fragrance oils intended to allow women to "be their own perfumers," said Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, senior vice president and general manager of Donna Karan Cosmetics.
Karan says this latest project goes to the essence of her personality.
"These are the oils that are close to my heart," she told WWD during a recent phone interview about the collection, calling nature "the world's best perfumer."
"I love oils — I'm oil-obsessed," Karan said. "I really do think oils are the purest essences there are — unspoiled, untainted, luxurious."
For the first Essence collection, Karan chose two notes that are probably familiar to consumers — lavender and jasmine — and two that probably aren't, wenge and labdanum.
Wenge, a dark African wood with a spicy scent, is Karan's favorite wood; since it isn't distilled for fragrances, it has been recreated in the fragrance labs, noted Trudi Loren, vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide for Donna Karan Cosmetics. Labdanum is a wild shrub found in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea; the resin of the plant, which is used in this fragrance, is a deep, intense scent, she added.
"I'd love to keep adding to the line, but this was the group that I had to start with," said Karan. "First of all, I am wenge-obsessed. It's such a wonderful, warm, spicy scent. It takes you on a journey to Africa, just by smelling it. I have furniture made of it all over the place. Lavender is so calming, and I love the color. Jasmine — there isn't a person in the world who doesn't love it. It's intoxicating. And labdanum is so grounding and sensual."
The Essence collection will be sold in several ways: as singular oils, eaux de toilette sprays, body lotions and candles, and also as a set of the four essences. Karan noted that the oils are particularly versatile: "You can use them in the bath or a steam shower, rub them on your wrists or layer a couple of them on your body," she said. "I play with them all the time — there are so many ways to use them."The oils, each packaged in an amber glass vial enclosed in a leather necklace pouch, are $90 for 0.25 oz. The eaux de toilette are each $165 for 3.3 oz., while the body lotions are $55 for 6.7 oz. Candles are $95 each, and the Essential Oil set is $185 for four 0.25-oz. vials.
In the U.S., the Donna Karan Essence lineup will be available in October at Neiman Marcus and Donna Karan freestanding stores. At launch, the brand will be in under 50 specialty store doors. While none of the executives would discuss sales targets or advertising and promotional spending, industry sources estimated that the line would do about $500,000 at retail in its first year on counter. In-store sampling and co-op advertising are planned, added Diane Kim, vice president of global marketing for Donna Karan Cosmetics.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast