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Ralph’s Feeling Blue

Ralph Lauren Fragrances hopes to increase its share of the women's fragrance market with Pure Turquoise.

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NEW YORK — In September, Ralph Lauren Fragrances is hoping to increase its share of the women’s fragrance market with the help of a certain semiprecious stone: Pure Turquoise.

The scent was developed for “a sophisticated, elegant and chic woman” in the 20- to 45-year-old age range, according to Heather Simmons, vice president of global marketing for Ralph Lauren Fragrances. She added that the stone “really ties into the heritage of Ralph Lauren,” who has used turquoise in his collections for years.

Launching in Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus in mid-September, the Pure Turquoise fragrance will be available both in a lower-priced eau de parfum spray version and as a $350 parfum, which features one-of-a-kind “pure” turquoise bottle tops — and, incidentally, the highest price point in the brand’s history. The fragrance will roll out to Bloomingdale’s in late September and then all other U.S. doors in October for a limited distribution of 926 doors. Despite the fragrance’s limited distribution (the normal distribution for Lauren’s other fragrances is generally around 2,200 doors), executives are counting on Pure Turquoise to significantly strengthen the company’s relationship with female customers.

“This [fragrance] is a very important key to helping us get to that 15 percent share of the women’s market,” said Jack Wiswall, president of the designer fragrances division of L’Oréal USA. Wiswall added that Ralph Lauren currently holds a 10 percent share in the women’s fragrance market and a 30 percent share in the men’s market. While Wiswall would not comment on sales figures, industry sources expect Pure Turquoise to do up to $25 million in its first three months on-counter.

Pure Turquoise eaux de parfum spray will retail at $55 for 2.5 oz. and $72.50 for 4.2 oz., respectively, and the scent is priced slightly higher than Ralph Lauren’s current highest-priced women’s fragrance, Romance. In addition, a $40 Body Lotion and a Shower Gel for $37.50 will be available. Simmons said the positioning of Pure Turquoise signals the designer’s increased focus on boosting his image in the luxury market and compared the fragrance’s positioning with that of Purple Label, the brand’s upscale men’s cologne with a limited distribution. “Ralph has been trying to enhance his image lately, and we’re positioning this as the luxury fragrance in our portfolio,” she said.

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Developed by Annie Buzantian of Firmenich, the Pure Turquoise juice is described as a floral chypre and was inspired by the cool blue stone, according to Jennifer Mullarkey, assistant vice president, global fragrance development for Ralph Lauren. “It was easy to work off the whole idea of turquoise,” she said. “The Navajo Indians believed turquoise was a piece of the sky that fell to the earth, so we started to look at the fragrance through layers; a journey of the turquoise falling through the sky.”

Mullarkey described the notes in terms of such a journey: Cool Sky, the top note, consists of dewy cassis, indigo violet petals, lily of the valley and cactus flower; the middle note, Sun-Kissed Flowers, features night-blooming cereus, orange flower absolute, Bulgarian rose absolute and desert lily, while the bottom note, Rich Earth, contains earthen patchouli, silver birchwood, polished amber, vanilla bourbon and rum. “[The juice] brings in turquoise’s stone color itself, but also its sensuality, as well,” she said.

The company has planned both print and television advertising for Pure Turquoise, featuring dark-haired Russian model Valentina donning Ralph Lauren turquoise jewelry and simple Ralph Lauren gowns. The print campaign will make its debut in the September issue of Vogue, followed by the October issues of women’s fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Both the TV and print ads were shot by photographer Bruce Weber.

In addition, the launch will be supported by 20 million-plus scent strips and 20 million scented co-op blow-ins over a three-month period, according to Wiswall. And, while he would not comment on specific figures, industry sources estimate that the company will spend between $12 million to $15 million on advertising.

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