By  on April 10, 2009

As summer sun approaches, fragrance triplets and new scent partnerships are born, while seasonal flankers get zesty with citrus and spicy with peppercorns.


Globally, the fragrance category grew 9.9 percent last year, with an increase in every market except North America. “This is a saturated market, which isn’t very feasible businesswise,” says Oru Mohiuddin, company analyst for EUROMONITOR, about the United States, which saw a sales decline of 4 percent. “To compensate for market saturation it makes sense to expand towards [markets] with growth opportunity.” Mohiuddin says that emerging markets are driving the marketplace, particularly Latin America, where sales grew 25 percent; Eastern Europe with a 16.7 percent increase and Asia Pacific, which saw growth of 9.4 percent. “There aren’t as many layoffs abroad,” says Mohiuddin, who named Avon, Chanel and Kenzo as last years’ top sellers in emerging markets. Although many Americans are feeling the pinch in their wallets, Mohiuddin says it’s not just lack of money that is keeping fragrances on store shelves. “It’s not just because they don’t have money, it’s because they are not interested,” she says, blaming too many launches and a lack of exclusivity for the lack of interest. “Fragrance was once a prestigious, premium product and it’s lost that. With too many options, people are confused and can just do without it,” she says.

This month, Flora, a younger, flirtier GUCCI fragrance, launches. “Flora is another side of the multifaceted Gucci woman,” Frida Giannini, creative  director for Gucci, told WWD earlier this year. “The strategy is to capture younger new customers eager to buy into the brand.” The juice, a blend of rose, osmanthus flower and peony laced with an earthy base of sandalwood and patchouli, was inspired by a Gucci print found on a silk scarf designed for Princess Grace in 1966. “I decided to keep the same floral pattern but [use it in] black and white, more graphic and correct for the project,” said Giannini. The print can be found on the scent’s packaging. Flora, priced at $52 for 1 oz., $65 for 1.7 oz. and $90 for 2.5 oz., is expected to generate $220 million in fi rst-year worldwide sales.

With AVON’s April launch of Spotlight, Courteney Cox can add fragrance spokesperson to her list of accomplishments. “We felt very strongly about introducing Courteney into the Avon family,” says Tracy Roe Haffner, vice president of global fragrance marketing and strategic alliances. “We envisioned a fragrance for 2009 to give Hollywood glamour at an accessible price point.”  Cox’s position as an actress, philanthropist, mother and wife lends itself to the scent’s promise of offering women the feeling of being in the spotlight in their own lives. Created by Jean-Marc Chaillan and Loc Dong of INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES, the scent is comprised of frozen bergamot blended with a silver accord, mimosa, white freesia and vanilla musk. Priced at $22.50, industry sources estimate Spotlight could generate between $10 million to $15 million in first-year retail sales. “This fragrance is about contrasts between effervescent citrus and romantic feminine florals,” says Helen Murphy, director of fragrance development group for IFF.


HERMÈS has amped up its fragrance business, with no less than three new launches. February saw the introduction of Kelly Caléche Pure Perfume Rechargeable Jewelled Natural Spray, a blend of jasmine, mimosa, tuberose, iris and leather notes, housed in a small steel padlock. The scent, available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Hermès boutiques, retails for $90. That same month, the brand rolled out Vanilla Galante. The eighth fragrance in its Hermessence collection, it blends vanilla extract, cognac, spice and smoked wood. In May, a trio of unisex fragrances called Les Colognes Hermès will launch. The brand’s classic Eau d’Orange Verte, initially created in 1979, has been reinterpreted and is being introduced with two new scents, Eau de Pamplemousse Rose and Eau de Gentiane Blanche, conceived by Hermès perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. Prices start at $125.

Who said anything about men being from Mars and women being from Venus? Spring fragrances blur lines between the sexes with gender-neutral offerings. “There is a palette of raw materials and fragrance ingredients that can apply to both men and women,” says Veronique Ferval, creative center manager for IFF. “Orange flower, woody notes, amber and incense, for example, can go in both directions.” TOM FORD’s newest, Italian Cypress, $180, unites mandarin, Calabrian bergamot, galbanum and Moroccan spearmint. “Tom Ford rejects the idea that scents are masculine or feminine, which led him to design fragrances that can be enjoyed by men and women without the stigma attached to the label,” says Diana Waldron, vice president of global marketing for Tom Ford Beauty. SERGE LUTENS’ Nuit de Cellophane blends mandarin orange peel and jasmine and launched in February at Barneys for $120, while KIEHL’s offers the convenience of roller-ball packaging with its highly concentrated Portable Essence Oils, available in Musk 1921, Coriander 1946, Vanilla 1968 and Grapefruit 1976. The fragrances, $25 each, are a nod to Kiehl’s original classic essence oils, which date back to the early 1920’s.

VALENTINO’s first eponymous fragrance is an aldehydic-floral. “This scent communicates the heart of Valentino the fashion house to a broader audience,” said Andrea Petochi, global marketing director for licensee holder, P&G Prestige Products, to WWD earlier this year. The pink-hued juice, with top notes of pear blossom and magnolia and a heart of violet leaves and orange flower, comes in a crystal-cut bottle designed to recall the lines and embroidery techniques of a Valentino gown. Industry sources expect the scent, priced at $80 to $100, to generate over $50 million in first-year retail sales.

The organic trend is making its way into the world of fine fragrances with two new lines. WHOLEARTH will unveil its USDA certified organic fragrances, No. 4, No. 7 and No. 10, on Earth Day, April 22, also company founder, Danny Seo’s birthday. Seo, who is a contributor on The CBS Early Show, also has a green mattress line, Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo, sold at Crate and Barrel. The traditional Korean ingredient kimchi acts as the preservative in the fragrances, which will retail for $65 each and will be available at wholearthbeauty.com. Meanwhile, U.S. distributor LUSH OASIS will introduce ecocertcertified ACORELLE ORGANIC EAU DE PARFUMS, a collection of scents with aromatherapy benefits. From stimulating the nervous system to soothing a stressed mind, each of the six fragrances, developed by perfumer Philippe Collet from Expressions Parfumées, serves a function. “There are health benefits with the essential oils,” says Marjolaine Hernandez, export zone  coordinator for the Americas and Asia. “Each moment there is a perfume to use, depending on how you feel or want to feel.” The fragrances, $75, are launching on lushoasis.com and are expected to generate $400,000 in first-year sales.

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