By  on July 1, 1994

NEW YORK -- Saks Fifth Avenue has engineered yet another exclusive fragrance launch: a French line of mix-and-match scents called Octee.

Steve Bock, senior vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Saks, said he expects Octee to be "a very big business for us.

"We just think that it's unique," Bock said. "It's today, it's Nineties, it's clean, it's crisp, it's innovative."

With exclusive launches such as Casmir from Parfums Chopard and L'Eau d'Issey from Issey Miyake, Saks has captured the industry's attention. On June 7, Saks was presented with a FiFi award by the Fragrance Foundation as best retailer in the specialty and department store category.

Saks has an 18-month exclusive with Octee, which also markets a skin care collection. The store plans to launch the line in September in its New York flagship and in its Chicago, Atlanta and Bal Harbour, Fla., stores.

In November, Saks will roll out the line to Beverly Hills and Short Hills, N.J.

Bock and Josiane Daudon, president and director general of three-year-old Octee, said they expect the fragrance and treatment line to do at least $750,000 in sales its first year in those six stores. Bock predicted Octee would be among those stores' top 10 lines.

Both the skin care line and the fragrance collection are personalized systems.

"Standardization is passe," said Daudon. "In the 21st century, we'll see a return to personality and individuality."

The fragrance line consists of 12 eaux de parfum and nine "pure scents," which are single-note solid or liquid perfumes meant to be used in combination with the eaux de parfum. The pure scents, which include jasmine, patchouli and sandalwood, are intended to enhance the customer's favorite note in one of the more complex eaux de parfum or to create a new fragrance.

"You can reinforce the perfume in the same style, or you can change it," Daudon said, adding, for example, "You may warm it or sugar it with vanilla."

The dozen eaux de parfum are divided equally into four groups: Gourmet, Florals, Sensuous and Fresh. The bottles are identical, but each scent has its own cap color. That color is carried through to the soap and the bath and shower gel.

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