Beyoncé Knowles has lit a media bonfire around the launch of her first fragrance.
Fueled by Sunday evening appearances on “60 Minutes” and the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards — where Knowles picked up a record six awards, making her the most celebrated female artist at a single Grammys — the media swelter thrown around by Beyoncé Heat, the entertainer’s debut fragrance, will be felt well beyond this week. The entertainer will make an appearance at Macy’s Herald Square at 5 p.m. Wednesday. She is due to appear on the “Today” show Friday and on “The Tyra Banks Show” Feb. 15.
This story first appeared in the February 2, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But the main onslaught is scheduled for tonight, when Knowles’ fragrance licensee, Coty Inc., will illuminate much of Union Square Park with flickering projections of flames, steam and fog onto trees and the outside of 15 Union Square, where the launch party will be held. The building is the site of the original Tiffany’s and is being renovated. On the building’s spa level, Coty chief executive officer Bernd Beetz will make the main fragrance presentation, followed by Stephen Mormoris, senior vice president of global beauty in the Coty Beauty division, who will unveil the advertising. His presentation is expected to culminate with the star herself appearing out of the advertising.
An after party is scheduled to follow upstairs with various aspects of the fragrance projects being discussed and dramatized in different rooms. Photographer Michael Thompson and Trey Laird will talk about the ad campaign in one room, while perfumers Claude Dir and Olivier Gillotin of Givaudan will talk about the fragrance in another. Packaging designer Lutz Hermann will discuss the bottle design in another room decorated with flacons, which will be bathed in red light. But the heart of the heat wave is expected to swell out of the fourth room, where Knowles’ sister, Solange, will be DJing.
Knowles will not lack for company. The guest list includes husband Jay-Z and friends Usher, Kanye West, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Iman, David Bowie, Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys. Journalists, expected to number 120, have been invited from 40 countries.
On Wednesday afternoon, Macy’s is preparing to do some business even before Knowles makes her appearance. According to the plan, the first customers to purchase the Beyoncé Heat three-piece fragrance set for $122 will be given the chance to meet and pose for a photo with Knowles. Neither Coty nor the Knowles organization would talk numbers, but according to industry sources, 100,000 units of open stock have been shipped into the chain with 100,000 kits to make gift sets. Although the official launch was Monday, Macy’s started selling the fragrance two weeks ago, and it reportedly hit number one inside the chain.
Knowles can’t wait for her fans to get their hands on her scent. “I’m so happy with it,” she said in December during an exclusive interview with WWD. “I’ve been working on it for a while now. I was on tour for a year, and I have meet-and-greets with fans. I’ve never in my life gotten so many compliments. Coty has their own testing, but that was my testing! The fans loved it. They were like, ‘I love that, I’m getting that, why isn’t it out right now? I need it!’
“This was my first time starting from scratch, although I’ve worked with a few other fragrance projects,” said Knowles, who has also been the face of Tommy Hilfiger’s True Star and Giorgio Armani’s Diamonds. “Everything from the bottle design to the name and the ideas for the commercials — that’s me. When I commit to something, I do it 100 percent, and I’ve never had [creative control over a fragrance] until this project. I learned a lot of great things from the past — but I always asked myself, ‘If I could have my own scent, what would it be?’ I wasn’t worried about deadlines. It could have taken me three, four, however many years — this was my first fragrance, and I wanted to make sure that it was something I would love forever.”