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A Closer Look: Fragrance

This fall, look out for oriental hybrids.

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This fall, look out for oriental hybrids, a chypre revival andecstasies in violet. But the usual suspects – celebrity and fashiondesigner scents – will launch in droves, too.

ORIENTAL EXPRESS
U.S. consumers are getting “more adventurous” with their fragrance preferences. According to Karen Grant, NPD senior beauty industry analyst, the market has seen a movement away from florals toward mossy wood and soft oriental scents. Traditionaland soft florals now make up half of the top 20 women’s fragrances,down from 73 percent in 2003. “People are looking for more variety, especially when it comes to new fragrance families,” says Grant, addingthat the oriental category has experienced continuous growth over thepast three years, as the top 20 women’s fragrances include 8 percentfloral orientals and 24 percent woody orientals.

GENDER BENDERS
What is masculine and what is feminine? The lines are blurring. Instead ofchallenging gender norms by launching unisex scents – a conceptexplored by Calvin Klein with CKOne in 1994 and Jean Paul Gaultier with Gaultier2 just last year-the industry is now offering women’sfragrances featuring traditionally masculine wood notes and men’sscents with edible and floral notes often associated with the fairersex. “There’s more creativity with the borrowing of male and femalenotes. You’re seeing notes now crossing the line,” says Kate Greene,vice president of marketing at Givaudan, who cites Abercrombie & Fitch has a new women’s scent with a fougère note, something usually reservedfor men’s colognes. As for the boys who are raiding girls’ drawers, shenames Jean Paul Gaultier’s latest men’s introduction, Fleur du Male,which has an orange flower note, and DKNY BeDelicious for Men, which prominently features an apple note. “The rulesare going away a bit,” Greene observes. Which is not to say thatmasculinity is on the wane. “The trend to release floral scents intothe men’s world offers a new and refreshing option without being anyless masculine,” said Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation.

EAU NATURAL
“Go green!” might be the fragrance industry’s next rallying cry. Oil houses from Givaudan to Symrise are seeing their clients tap into a movement gaining momentum. “Variousbrands are positioning themselves to meet consumers’need to be touchedby nature,” says Isabel Lopes, vice president of evaluation at Symrise.”Consumers are seeking products with natural expression and what betterway than to capture the natural world in fragrance?” Be that as it may,she acknowledges the challenges of including natural ingredients in acommercial fragrance. These include cost and safety restrictions aswell as the availability of natural essential oils. “The safety profileof natural ingredients have limits on the amount that can beincorporated into a fragrance,” Lopes said. “The palette of materials aperfumer can use is smaller in comparison to the wide variety availablefrom other sources.” Still, incorporating naturals might be worth theeffort. Consumers can be captured by a single natural note, such as arose, that delivers “a natural signature” to the fragrance, she says.

Coty Beauty is one company attempting to address increasingly environmentally awareconsumers and has solicited fragrance houses to support this initiative. “We’re looking at new brands that could embody the greenmovement to give a more authentic message and product to consumers,”says Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for CotyBeauty. “We’re going beyond celebrity and luxury fragrances byinventing a new form of fragrance that is a lighter olfactoryexperience and uses natural essential oils and recycled cartons. The challenge is marketing all these concepts to consumers in a way thatmakes sense, but we believe the bulk of our product offering cancontain more natural ingredients than other classic fragrances in themarket.

CHYPRE & CHIC
Chypre fragrances are back in full force this fall, according to Veronique Ferval, International Flavors & Fragrances’director of fragrance development. “It’s a revival of old elegance butin a way that’s more sensual and darker,” Ferval says, citing Euphoriaand Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely as recent examples ofthe trend. She notes that chypres are now in a range of new fragrances,from textured florals to spicy blends to scents that contain subliminaledible notes. “People are looking for a level of sophistication,elegance and sensuality that chypres can bring.”

Lynn Kaufman, marketing director of fine fragrances at Robertet,concurs. “Today’s chypre scents are less animalistic. The new chypresare paired with much cleaner woods, mosses and rich floral notes now,”she says, pointing to Badgley Mischka, Lanvin Rumeur and Serge Lutens Chypre Rouge as examples.

Luxury accessories company Leiber is embracing chypre with the launch of its first fragrance thisSeptember. The eponymous scent, featuring Italian bergamot as well as jasmine and rose notes, was created by Karine Dubreil of Mane and was inspired by Leiber’s new fine jewelry line. The bottle (in30-ml. and 50-ml.sizes) resembles an Asscher-cut diamond and will besold at Saks, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Leiber boutiques.

Michael Simpson, Fragrance Resources’ vice president of marketing, says that thanks to chypres, gourmandfragrances are growing up. “We see gourmand fragrances broadening thisfall, as edible scents evolve from fruity expressions toward scentswith more depth. Woody and chypre aspects will dress up classicgourmand notes.”VIOLET FEMMES
Retro flowers, such as rose, violet and iris, are also making a comeback, notes Dara Quinlan, Firmenich’svice president of fine fragrance evaluation North America. “The use ofclassical flowers, which became old-fashioned, is now chic again,” shesays. “These notes were a luxury that had been lost a little bit.”Classic flower notes can be seen in launches for Le Labo’s Rose 31 and Iris 39, Chanel’s La Pausa, and Black Violet from Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection.

To celebrate its 50th birthday this fall, Parfum Givenchyis restaging six of its masculine and feminine scents that helpedestablish the fragrance house a half century ago. While still packagedin their original flacons, each formula has been tweaked by itsoriginal perfumer. The collection includes L’Interdit, a perfumecreated in 1957 for Audrey Hepburn, containing notes of rose, jasmineand violet, along with a blend of woods and grasses. Eau de Givenchy,Givenchy III, Le De, Monsieur and Eau de Vetyver round out thecollection.

In October, the most classic of classic floralfragrances, Chanel No. 5, will gain a hip young sister. Dubbed byexecutives as an “everyday luxury,” Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiére willincorporate all of No. 5’s original ingredients – including roseabsolute, jasmine, neroli and ylang-ylang – but rebalanced in alighter, airier formula by Jacques Polge. Housed in a 5-oz. clear glassbottle that’s reminiscent of the classic silhouette but taller, it willretail for $125.

CELEBRITIES RULE
Celebrityscents continue to be of importance for major retailers. This season,they’re hailing from the world of music, film and fashion, saysMicheline Jordaan, vice president divisional merchandise manager offragrances at Macy’s East. “A lot of attention hasbeen paid to both the bottles and outer cartons of new celebrityfragrances,” she notes. As a result, the look of the new brands “willrefresh the selling environment.”

Coty Beauty has a busy fall ahead with the launches of Starlight by Shania Twain, Intimately Beckham, Kate by Kate Moss and Nautica My Voyage. According to Coty Beauty’s Mormoris, the company is also relaunching Stetsonthis fall with an ad campaign starring Patriots quarterback Tom Bradyand new packaging. “It’s a whole new concept appealing to a more moderncustomer around the brand’s Western positioning,” he says. “Theoriginal Stetson fragrance will stay the same, but we’re broadening itsoffering and adding different fragrances under the Stetson house.” Inthe prestige women’s market, Coty is launching Covet by Sarah JessicaParker, Marc Jacobs Modern Gardenia, and L, a L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani fragrance. The company is also introducing a still-to-be named Calvin Klein men’s fragrance.

DESIGNER NEWS
Ahost of other fashion designers are launching scents this fall. ShelleyRozenwald, senior vice president and general merchandise manager ofcosmetics and beauty services for Canadian retailer Holt Renfrew, is also excited for the fall launch of Dsquared2 Perfumesnew men’s scent. Dsquared2’s fashion sense is apparent in the fragrancebottle and packaging, which features a wooden frame around the glassbottle, she says. “Their first fragrance has a wide appeal to men fromtheir 20s to 50s since it’s contemporary and sexy.” Rozenwald is alsolooking forward to a new Prada women’s launch. WWDhas learned through other sources that it will be called Prada Infusiond’Iris. “Its elegant green packaging is really refreshing and willstand out among other brands,” she says, adding that the original Pradawomen’s fragrance has ranked in the top five at Holt Renfrew. “Itreally reflects the house of Prada in every touch point of the brand.”

Saksalso has a collection of luxury designer fragrances at the ready. “Thebrands are all reflective of our store’s matrix since they aresynergistic to the ready-to-wear collections we carry at Saks,” saysKate Oldham, vice president and divisional merchandise manager ofcosmetics and fragrances. She’s excited by a new Fendi fragrance and Pucci’s whimsical entry. “It’s going to resonate with our customers. The new Estée Lauder’sPrivate Collection Tuberose Gardenia is very pretty and Aerin Lauderwill get a whole new customer into the business.” Other Saks fallfragrance launches include D&G’s The One, Tom Ford’s women’s and men’s scents, Eau de Star by Thierry Mugler, Narciso Rodriguez For Him and Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiére.

IN THE MIX
Other fall launches for women include Unforgivable Woman by Sean John, Nina by Nina Ricci, Belle en Rykiel by Sonia Rykiel, Guerlain My Insolence, Midnight Poison, Usher She, Emporio Armani Diamonds, Diesel Fuel For Life Women, Missoni Acqua, Very Michael Kors, DKNY Be Delicious Art, Jo Malone White Jasmine and Mint, World of Your Own by Grassroots, Avon’s Christian Lacroix Rouge, Banana Republic’s Malachite, Muse by Oilily, Jaeger London, Bulgari Omnia Améthyste, Monique Lhuillier , Leiber, yet-unnamed Roxy , Vivienne Westwood, Lacoste , Anna Sui , Valentino, Gucci , Escada , YSL scents, plus La Part des Anges by Thierry Mugler . Also, Procter & Gamble will be introducing a yet unnamed Christina Aguilera scent that is scheduled to launch by yearend. For men, fragrance launches this fall include Tom Ford for Men, Usher He, Polo Explorer, Diesel Fuel For Life Men, Mustang, Azzaro Legend, Banana Rebublic’s Cordovan, Zegna Intenso by Ermenegildo Zegna, Narciso Rodriguez For Him, Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme Intense and to-be-announced Lacoste, Paul Smith and Escada scents.

GETTING PERSONAL
For consumers seeking a path less traveled, Henri Bendel is bringing in Memorie Liquide,a bespoke perfume collection by Robin Coe-Hutshing, owner and creativedirector of Studio at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif., and hersister Jennifer Coe next month. Its blending bar will house 150essential scents that can be mixed and matched to the individual. “It’sabout having a signature fragrance that’s completely unique to you,”says Claudia Lucas, senior vice president and general merchandisemanager of beauty for Bendel’s. “This offers a menu of fragrances [thatcustomers can] choose from and then tweak, adapting it for individual[taste].” Bendel’s will be the only retailer to carry the collection onthe East Coast. Prices range from $45 for a 0.5-oz. pure perfumeroll-on to $75 for a sampler box set with three 0.25-oz. pure perfumeroll-ons. A body moisturizer and shower gel will also be available for$28 each.

Bergdorf Goodman is banking onexclusive fragrances, too. “The whole idea of niche and luxury brandsis still going, which will lead to an exciting season,” says EdBurstell, senior vice president and general merchandise manager ofbeauty, jewelry and accessories. “It’s more about rare ingredients withTom Ford’s Private Blend collection and other brands like Guerlain andJo Malone.” Bergdorf will offer women Tom Ford Voile de Fleur, MoniqueLhuillier, Hermès’ Kelly Caleche and Guerlain’s L’Art de Materials Iris Ganache, in addition to the unisex Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa. New brands include Emilio Pucci Vivara, Ormonde Jayne, and natural pheromone enhancer Escentric Molecules from London. “It barely has a [smell] to it, but it’s designed to work with your body’s individual fragrance,” says Burstell.

The trend toward more alternative scents is something that Martha Basanta, Drom Fragrances marketing manager, is definitely noticing. Consumers are longing for a unique fragrance experience, she says, citing Le Labo, Frederic Malle, Juliette has a Gun and CB I Hate Perfumeas examples of out-of-the-box thinking that she believes will challengethe fragrance industry. “Niche perfumery is opening doors toalternative brands where philosophies are different from the norm,” shesays.

LIMITED EDITION
Finally, the 136-year-old French oil house Maneis breaking the mold by marketing its own women’s fragrance, a $5,000 abottle creation called Yü, the Chinese word for rain or precious drops,according to Lori Mariano, general manager of Perfect Sense, a divisionof Mane responsible for fragrance concepts, products and distribution.”We won’t be replacing the existing market’s traditional manufacturers,but we think there are opportunities for fragrance houses to do such athing,” she says. Only 500 crystal bottles of the “woody floral” scent,numbered and housed in a solid birch box lined in leather, is availableworldwide. The ingredient blend includes champaca from Indonesia,jasmine absolute from India, genet absolute from Italy and Mysoresandalwood from India. “This is an opportunity for us to showcase ourheritage and ability to blend rare natural ingredients,” says Mariano.”We have a desire to bring perfumery back to what it once was.” Thefragrance, exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman’s personal shopper programsince April, will launch in Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford in June plus select Nordstrom stores and NYC’s Aedes de Venustas in September. 

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