Henri Bendel is out to make a splash in fragrance with the introduction of the store’s own collection of six women’s eaux de parfum — and the retailer has even built shop-in-shop boutiques to show off the scents.
The Henri Bendel Fragrance Collection follows the 2008 introduction of a scent called Bendelirious, which was a collaboration between the retailer and French fragrance house Etat Libre d’Orange that marked Bendel’s return to the fragrance marketing business after 28 years.
But while Bendelirious was a collaboration, the scents in The Henri Bendel Fragrance Collection, which was launched Feb. 2, were created by in-house perfumer Yves Calderone, who worked with fragrance suppliers Givaudan, Firmenich, Symrise and Belmay to compose the scents.
“This is really our first foray into a fine fragrance collection,” said Ed Bucciarelli, chief executive officer and president of Henri Bendel.
The Henri Bendel Fragrance Collection scents are meant to be a modern interpretation of what Henri Bendel started in 1915 when he launched his first scent, called Un Peu d’Elle. That fragrance was followed by 22 scents, including 10 West, which was a reference to the store’s 10 West 57th Street address from the Sixties through the Eighties.
Other private label fragrances marketed by the retailer between 1915 and the early-Eighties included Checkmate and No. 7, which was a friendly response to Chanel No.5 by Bendel’s friend Coco Chanel.
With their brown, white and purple motifs, the design of the bottles and boxes in The Henri Bendel Fragrance Collection emulate the look of Bendel fragrances of yore. They have details like ribbon-wrapped necks and purple faceted caps and bottle labels and box graphics are placed in the same way they were on the vintage fragrances.
The amethyst hue of the new bottles’ caps pays homage to Bendel’s favorite color, store executives noted. And the inside of the boxes feature the store’s signature brown and white stripes.
“Fragrance is a very big part of the Bendel’s story,” said Bucciarelli. “[Henri Bendel] was an interesting man and a fashion trailblazer. He wanted to brand himself and felt the best way to do that was with fragrance. This is a reintroduction as we build our brand. It speaks to the heritage in a hip way.
“10 West was the most famous [fragrance] and the one in our history that we’ve sold the most of,” Bucciarelli added.
The Henri Bendel Fragrance Collection includes Gardenia & Vanilla, Rose & Oud, Orange Blossom & Jasmine, Persian Lime & Pepper, Pink Grapefruit & Vetiver and Incense & Musk. Each edp comes in a 1.7-oz. bottle for $65. The collection targets a 25- to 35-year-old woman.
Gardenia & Vanilla led the way as the biggest seller soon after the scents were introduced, according to Bucciarelli. It’s described as a floral fragrance; was blended by Givaudan, and features notes of peach blossom, lily of the valley, gardenia and vanilla.
Firmenich composed Incense & Musk, an Oriental musk that has notes of patchouli flower and lotus blossoms, while Symrise did Rose & Oud, a floral chypre with notes of strawberry leaf, violet, pink jasmine and oud.
Belmay blended the balance of the collection. Orange Blossom & Jasmine, a floral citrus, includes notes of sugary clementine, tangerine and Sumatra lily, while Persian Lime & Pepper, a citrus floral, has notes of Rio red grapefruit, black pepper and basil. Finally, Pink Grapefruit & Vetiver, a citrus chypre, features notes of cypress, musk, pink grapefruit, Meyer lemon and orange.
The shop-in-shop concept for The Henri Bendel Fragrance Collection is just under 100 square feet.
“We have these in all  of our stores in this shop format,” said Bucciarelli. “We think it’s going to be a significant fragrance [business] for us — our number-one fragrance collection in the store.”
While Bucciarelli declined to provide sales projections, industry sources estimate the collection could generate between $500,000 and $1 million in first-year retail sales.
The collection is being promoted on Bendel’s Web site, as well as the retailer’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and via Bendel’s weekly e-mail “style bulletin,” called the Little Bendel Book.
The collection may be kicking off with six fragrances, but Bucciarelli hinted the line might be expanded during the holiday season, saying, “We plan to build on it.”
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