Agent Provocateur had a clear vision when crafting its eighth scent, Fatale.
“We [were inspired by] a woman like Kim Basinger in [the film] ‘9 1/2 Weeks,’” said Sarah Shotton, creative director of Agent Provocateur. “She’s really girly and sexy, yet very soft. She’s also enticing, but with a bit of an edge.”
On Thursday, the lingerie brand will house its newest scent in a 370-square-foot Agent Provocateur boutique within Saks Fifth Avenue. The permanent shop, which opens today, has a Seventies inspiration with a nod to Art Deco design. It will also include Agent Provocateur’s newest lingerie collection, swimwear and hosiery. Additionally, the scent will also be carried on the Saks’ fragrance floor.
“A lot of things are changing at Saks,” said Garry Hogarth, chief executive officer of Agent Provocateur. “We worked very closely with Marigay McKee over at Harrods for a long time. [To launch at Saks] was a very obvious choice for us.”
Things could be changing at Agent Provocateur, too. The company is set to undergo a strategic review that could result in a sale. The company’s owner and private equity investor, 3i, which has owned the company since 1997, has been talking to banks including Goldman Sachs and Rothschild about conducting a review of the British brand that could see it sold for upward of $340 million, according to an industry source. No bank has been handed a mandate yet, and reportedly 3i is considering all options — not just a sale — and nothing will happen until 2015 at the earliest. Another source said it is routine for 3i to be exploring its options after a seven-year investment, which is long by industry standards.
For Fatale, Agent Provocateur, whose licensee is Inter Parfums, worked with Jean-Marc Chaillan of International Flavors & Fragrances. The scent, described as an oriental floral, opens with top notes of Madagascar pink pepper, succulent mango nectar and exotic blackcurrant over a heart velvet gardenia, royal orris absolute and Indonesian patchouli, and a drydown of sultry skin musk, vanilla orchid aphrodisiac, chocolate gourmand addiction and Spanish labdanum.
The square-shaped, clear flacon consists of sharp angles and edges to represent the many facets of a woman. The shiny black cap is showcased in a crystal casing.
“[Fragrance has] always been very strong in Europe [for Agent Provocateur],” said Andy Clarke, president of Inter Parfums. “We’re really targeting where their strength is. [But] we think the U.S. is a strong foundation for growth.”
Hogarth added that the company will be exploring more retail openings toward the end of this year in Las Vegas, Dallas and possibly a few other East Coast locations.
Fatale comes in 30-, 50- and 100-ml. spray versions, which are to retail for $52, $72 and $95.
The fragrance will be carried exclusively at 37 Saks doors for six months. Also, the brand will have four show windows for the launch, one for the fragrance and three for fashion.
To kick off the launch, Spanish actress and dancer Mónica Cruz, as the fragrance’s spokesperson, will be at Saks on Sept. 3.
The print campaign was shot by Tim Pope and features Cruz swinging from a chain clad in Agent Provocateur’s Whitney lingerie collection. The visuals will be in the windows of Saks and in-store. Also, they will appear in Agent Provocateur’s boutiques and will be advertised in The New York Times this month.
Inter Parfums executives would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate Fatale will generate $30 million in first-year retail sales globally.
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