By  on June 5, 2009

Gap Inc.’s Banana Republic brand is aiming to capture a sporty set of consumers with a men’s and women’s fragrance duo called the Republic Collection, which is due out in the retailer’s 500 stores in late summer.


Republic of Men and Republic of Women, as the two scents are called, are the first fragrance ventures for Simon Kneen, Banana Republic’s executive vice president of design and creative director, since Kneen joined the brand 18 months ago from Brooks Brothers, where he spent four years and was formerly vice president and creative design director.

“It sits within the Banana Republic family — from a fragrance point of view — and [is meant to] appeal to a sportier, khaki-pants guy and white-shirt girl,” said Kneen. “It’s a very accessible perfume, the kind of thing everyone should have in their tote or messenger bag in the urban adventure of today.”

The scents are scheduled to be launched in early September at Banana Republic’s 450 stores in North America and 50 international stores, including locations in Asia and a recently opened shop in London.

New York-based Inter Parfums Inc. produces scents for the Banana Republic and Gap brands under an exclusive agreement with San Francisco-based Gap Inc. While the scents both come in 50-ml. cylindrical bottles that were designed via a collaboration between Kneen and Inter Parfums, the women’s scent is priced at $48 and the men’s is priced at $45.

The prices are slightly lower than those of Banana Republic’s existing scents, which include Malachite, Alabaster, Jade, Rosewood and Classic for women, and Slate, Black Walnut and Cordovan for men. “That’s the accessibility factor,” Kneen said of the prices of the Republic Collection. He added that Classic has been the retailer’s bestseller for 14 years.

While the company does not break out sales projections, industry sources estimate the two Republic scents could combine to generate upward of $15 million during their first year on the market.

Perfumer Harry Fremont of fragrance supplier Firmenich blended Republic of Women, an eau de parfum that has top notes of sweet osmanthus, juicy lychee and spicy bergamot. The heart of the scent includes peony, pink jasmine and Moroccan rose, and it dries down into a base of soft musks and precious woods.

Republic of Men, an eau de toilette, was composed by Laurent Le Guernec of International Flavors & Fragrances. An opening accord of Sparkling Clementine, wet plum and dewy fig leaf mixes with middle notes of sambac, rosemary, basil, sage and freshly crushed hazelnut, while base notes include fresh sandalwood, cedar wood and creamy skin musks.

The men’s bottle has a gray hue, while the women’s has a plum color, and each is topped with a textured-fabric and polished-silver cap embossed with the BR logo. Secondary packaging, a linen box, features a transparent door through which the scents are visible.

The scent will primarily be promoted with visuals appearing in store windows, as well as with tester bottles in stores, according to Allison Zamora, director of licensing for Banana Republic, who noted that an advertising and promotional campaign is to reach 47 global markets.

There also will be a direct-mail campaign and e-mail blasts. Said Zamora: “The strategy is to get to our specific consumer.”

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