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Thomass Set to Launch Fragrance in U.S.

NEW YORK -- Paris in the spring, New York in the fall. That's how lingerie designer Chantal Thomass' first scent is slinking onto the fragrance scene.<P>The fragrance, launched in Paris in March, will arrive in the U.S. in September. Following a...

NEW YORK — Paris in the spring, New York in the fall. That’s how lingerie designer Chantal Thomass’ first scent is slinking onto the fragrance scene.

The fragrance, launched in Paris in March, will arrive in the U.S. in September. Following a six-to-eight-week exclusive at Saks Fifth Avenue’s 30 top-performing doors, Sephora will carry the scent chainwide.

Intended to be as fun as its design is sexy, the scent embodies the “spirit of lingerie,” which includes “femininity, humor, insolence [and] romance,” according to Thomass. She interprets the shape of the bottle, which features a lace “garter” around its neck, two ways: As representing either a woman’s shoulders with a ruffle or a leg with a garter.

The new fragrance is Thomass’ first, but it is not her first fragrance license. “I had the opportunity before, but it didn’t go to the end,” she said, of two previous efforts — one with Elizabeth Arden 20 years ago, then another a decade later with L’Oreal. Ultimately, due to differences over timing and image, according to Thomass, they never came to fruition.

Chantal Thomass is the first fragrance license for Paris-based marketer P&B Euro Beauty Agency, founded by Jerome Palatin and Alain Bothorel. Former colleagues at Beaute Prestige International during the early Nineties, the two eventually decided to create P&B in 1999. In April of last year, the license was signed with the blessing of Sara Lee Corp., which owns 66 percent of Thomass’ lingerie business through its subsidiary DIM.

Creations Aromatiques’ Christophe Raynaud combined “sweet” top notes of raspberry and apple; a “feminine” heart of red rose and black violet, and a “sensual” base of crystal amber and musk for the floriental. Three eaux de parfum — in 1-oz. ($39), 1.7-oz ($58) and 3.7-oz. ($78) sizes — as well as a 1-oz. perfume ($120), will be available following the U.S. launch. Industry sources estimate retail sales of the line could range between $2 million and $3 million during its first year in the U.S.

Sharon Connolly, chief executive of EurPartner, which is handling U.S. distribution for P&B, is thinking about expanding distribution early next year. “It would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day rollout,” she said, adding that ancillaries — “more like boudoir items” — are also planned for that period.

An advertising and promotional strategy is in the works, and $1 million has reportedly been budgeted to back the launch, but no plans have been finalized.”