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As summer sun approaches, fragrance triplets and new scent partnerships are born, while seasonal flankers get zesty with citrus and spicy with peppercorns.
This story first appeared in the April 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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.
Affordable, unpretentious luxury is the concept behind CELINE DION’s April offering, Chic, is one of two new celebrity scents from COTY this season. Chic is available in four sizes priced from $16 to $50.20; sales are expected to each $30 million globally, with up to $15 million from the U.S. “The Celine Dion fragrance brand has consistently ranked in the top five within popular distribution,” says Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty. “Chic is a classic twist on Celine’s evolving sense of style, with a modern, sophisticated packaging design and a fresh, luminous scent.” The combination of aquatic greens, watermelon, green violet and blond woods was created by Patricia Choux of SYMRISE. Coty’s other leading lady is HALLE BERRY and executives couldn’t be more excited. “What makes this fragrance so unique is the creator herself. Halle Berry is a natural beauty with an underlying passion for life,” says Mormoris. “We wanted to capture her personality: sexy, confident, natural and approachable.” The woody oriental, housed in a hammered-glass bottle, features some of the actress’s favorite notes, including mimosa and fig. The fragrance, which retails for $17 for .5 oz and $35 for 1.7 oz, launched at Kohl’s, J.C. Penney and Sears in March and will roll out to Wal-Mart, CVS and Walgreens in May.
A fresh new scent takes VERSACE out into the open air with a juice created to express luxury with a lighter feel. Versense is formulated with Mediterranean citrus notes of bergamot and green mandarin, along with prickly pear, woods and musk to express the salty and mineral feel of soil and stones. “It’s based on a fresher concept, in harmony with the brand’s evolution and concepts,” says Claudio Tenan, export director for licensee, Euroitalia. “Versense is intended to evoke a kind of aura or sparkling trail between luminous freshness and delicate sensuality. Its name suggests a ‘promise’ for the senses.” The fragrance, which retails for $65, is expected to generate $50 million globally in first-year retail sales, with the U.S. accounting for about 20 percent of that.
For its new scent, Unconditional Love, PHILOSOPHY aims to spread the love and make connections. “This is about the emotion of unconditional, all-encompassing love, one that stays with you in good times and bad,” says Leslie Snavely, vice president of marketing. To that end, Unconditional Love launched alongside philosophygiveslove.com, a Web site designed to connect consumers with each other and with the brand. The site features love stories and offers space to pass on love notes, download love songs, share comments and get free samples; thus far, over 800 love stories have been uploaded since its Valentine’s Day launch. The scent, which retails for $40, is a blend of black currant, Bulgarian rose, white lily and cashmere vanilla.
From the indoor/outdoor architecture to the sun overhead, APOTHIA boutique founder Rob Robinson’s goal for his fourth scent, Pearl, was to capture the experience of shopping in his store. “It’s about the whole experience, the California scene,” says Robinson, who is marking 30 years in business with the fragrance launch. The pearl, the symbol for a 30th anniversary, inspired the cool, classic feeling of the scent. The juice, which took two years to develop with GIVAUDAN perfumer Stephen Nielsen, is housed in a simple glass flacon with a single pearl floating within, and features top notes of shiso leaf, plum blossom and yuzo lemon, middle notes of pink jasmine, honeysuckle and white peony and a base of ivory musk accord and amber. Pearl, $95, is expected to generate $1 million in first-year sales.
PRADA’s Infusion de Fleur d’Orange, launched in March, is scheduled to be on counter for a scant four months. “By offering customers a fragrance that is limited in nature, we hope to communicate the innovative and unique Prada experience,” says Didier Maine de Biran, general manager of Puig USA. The scent is the first in the Ephemeral Infusion Collection. Notes of orange blossom absolute and neroli fuse with mandarin oil, jasmine and tuberose, with packaging that incorporates an iconic print from Prada’s 2003 collection. The fragrance, $100, is sold in Prada boutiques and about 250 specialty store doors including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s and Barneys; industry sources expect it to ring up $5 million in sales in the U.S.
Three is the magic number for fragrance this season, with no less than four launches debuting in trio form. From PUCCI comes the Vivara Variazioni collection, based on its Vivara scent. The scents, $59 each, are an ode to the colors of the sand, sea and shores on the island of Vivara. KENZO PARFUMS’ Les Eaux de Fleurs Collection interprets three flowers from traditional Japanese trees. Eau de Fleur de Magnolia, created by Francis Kurkdjian of TAKASAGO, is based on the magnolia blossom; Eau De Fleur de Thé, by Aurélien Guichard of Givaudan, was formulated with green tea and the aroma of tea flowers, while Eau de Fleur de Soie, created by Jean Jacques of Takasago, interprets the silk tree. Each retails for $55. STRANGE INVISIBLE PERFUMES has introduced three floral scents with a twist, formulated by Alexandra Balahoutis. Aquarian Roses, Epic Gardenia and Urban Lily, $175 each, were made to reveal the eccentric nuances of flowers and are formulated with organic, wild-crafted or biodynamic essences set in an organic base of grape alcohol. Finally, Eau de Sisley, SISLEY PARIS’ April fragrance offerings, include a trio of scents, simply named 1, 2 and 3, inspired by the idea of three faces on the same woman. Each scent, $165, is housed in a rounded glass bottle with an abstract cap designed by Polish sculptor Bronislaw Krzysztof.
ANNICK GOUTAL’s May launch of Un Matin d’Orage, (translation: “A Stormy Morning”) interprets the sights and smells of a Japanese garden in the morning after a storm. “It is based on intense emotional moments,” says Alison Far, chief executive officer. “It’s an artistic and visionary direction that translates to a beautiful fragrance.” The juice, comprised of jasmine sambac, magnolia, Sicilian lemon and Indonesian champaca, was created by perfumers Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen. “Trends come and go, but emotionally based, real products are timeless,” says Far. “We are planning this to be one of the top three in the line and feel it will stay there.” Industry sources expect Un Matin d’Orage to generate $2.5 million in first-year sales.
Summer images of lemonade stands and juicy orange ice pops are evoked in this season’s zesty, citrus-infused scents. “There’s this burst of freshness that a citrus can bring you and a natural association with summer,” says IFF’s Favel. “It’s bright and sparkling.” MARC JACOBS Lemon, which launched in March, is the newest addition to the designer’s Splash collection and offers a refreshing medley of crushed mint leaves, Italian lemon, mandarin and cotton musk. “We captured such a slice of summer,” says Lori Singer, group vice president for global marketing for Coty prestige designer fragrances. Citrus gets a little fruity with SHISEIDO’s limited edition Zen Eau de Parfum. The combination of citrus notes, black currants, ripe raspberry and fresh fruit makes for a light scent that can be worn alone or with the original Zen fragrance. DIOR offers consumers an olfactive vacation to Portofi no with its April offering, Escale a Portofi no, a blend of orange blossom, citron, bergamot and cypress essence. The fragrance, $56, is the first in a collection that will link scent to various travel destinations and is available exclusively at Nordstrom. Omnia Green Jade, BULGARI’s February offering, shows off the flowery side of citrus with a mix of green mandarin, jasmine and white peony. Industry sources estimate it could reach $6 million in first-year retail sales. In May, YVES ROCHER will unveil Naturelle, inspired in part by a martini. The scent, created by Michel Girard for Givaudan, retails for $36 and unites California lemon, Italian bergamot and green apple. “Naturelle is very fresh, feminine and crisp,” says Claude Dir, vice president, executive perfumer at Givaudan. “The florals and fruit open up the fragrance.”
Essence, NARCISO RODRIGUEZ’s second fragrance, may smell flowery and light, but it comes in a bold bottle. Industrial designer Ross Lovegrove collaborated on the reflective, weighty flacon. “The mirrored bottle is a perfect reflection of the sunlight that helped inspire the fragrance,” says Nicholas Munafo, president of BPI USA. “The curvaceous, organic, almost futuristic design really is a work of art.” The juice, created by Alberto Morillas for FIRMENICH, is a ménage of rose petals, iris and amber, designed to smell differently on everyone who wears it. Industry sources expect Essence, which retails for $100, to hit global retail sales of $20 million.
This summer will reveal the spicier side of classic fragrances, with flankers that showcase notes of peppercorns. “Peppercorn is very interesting with floral notes, also fresh notes, woody notes or orientals,” says Givaudan’s Dir. “Perfumers love to utilize it because it’s a top note with a sparkling effect.” BURBERRY the Beat fuses quince flower with pink pepper and bluebell for an energetic scent, of which British model Agyness Deyn is the face. LANCÔME’s classic Trésor will be given a refreshing spin with a fresh medley of bergamot, bright freesia and white pepper in a new Sheer version, while ESTÉE LAUDER’s summer scent, Pure White Linen Pink Coral, fuses Chinese berry with pink peppercorns, waterfruits, cherry blossom and heliotrope. “Pepper is a fresh spice, an initial burst that you smell right away,” says IFF’s Ferval. “It brings a very distinctive freshness and new aura to florals.”