By and  on September 29, 2008

LONDON — Azzaro has tailored its latest fragrance to complement its couture fashion line.

Dubbed Azzaro Couture, the scent is meant to create an olfactive bridge between the brand’s fashion and beauty businesses, according to Gerard Delcour, president of Parfums Azzaro, which is owned by Groupe Clarins.

“We wanted to show couture and fragrance working together,” he said. “It is the soul of couture.” Azzaro is owned by Reig Capital.

“I’ve wanted to build a history of fragrance at Azzaro for a very long time,” said Azzaro’s artistic director, Vanessa Seward, who chose Jemima Khan — a client and a friend — as the face of the new scent.

Seward added that the idea was to “reestablish all the codes” of the brand. Azzaro Couture is an updated take on a scent of the same name created in 1974 that has been absent from the brand’s portfolio for about 15 years. Its bottle, a glass flacon suspended within an outer ring, is a tweaked version of the original’s, which was designed by Loris Azzaro and Pierre Dinand and for many years was displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. While the first fragrance had a black ring, Azzaro Couture features white accents and a Swarovski crystal-encrusted cap.

Its juice is also a modern take on the earlier scent. While both are fruity chypres, the new fragrance is “more modern and maybe less powdery” than its predecessor, according to Delcour. Azzaro Couture’s formula, composed by Givaudan’s Aurélien Guichard, includes five absolutes — mimosa, May rose, iris, ambrette seed and galbanum essence.

“Cost was not an issue,” said Delcour, adding that the juice is composed of a plethora of pricy natural ingredients. “We wanted something in line with couture.”

While the fragrance’s price tag — 140 euros, or $204.60 at current exchange, for a 75-ml. eau de parfum spray — is a snip compared with a couture ensemble, it positions Azzaro Couture at the more expensive end of the prestige fragrance spectrum. The lineup also includes a 75-ml. edp with an atomizer and a 100-ml. refill, which in France will be priced at 170 euros, or $248.44, and 90 euros, or $131.53, respectively.

Underscoring its prestige positioning, Delcour plans to take an extremely selective approach to retail. The scent, which bowed earlier this month at Neiman Marcus, will hit shelves in a handful of stores in October, including Sephora’s Champs-Elysées flagship, Le Bon Marché and Azzaro’s boutique in Paris, and 15 doors in the Middle East. Distribution will be widened slightly next year, according to Delcour.

Industry sources estimate that Azzaro Couture will generate about $1 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year.

To buoy the launch, an advertising campaign featuring Khan will bow in November. Comprising single- and double-page spreads, the ad was shot in Azzaro’s boutique in Paris. Khan also recently codesigned a fashion collection with Azzaro, which was shown during the couture shows earlier this year.

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