Burberry’s Rose Comes to Macy’s

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the British actress-model, and face of Burberry Body, made a personal appearance at the retailer's Herald Square flagship.

NEW YORK — Ten minutes before Rosie Huntington-Whiteley bounded onto the stage for a personal appearance at Macy’s Herald Square, the British actress-model, and face of Burberry Body, was sitting upstairs in a wood-paneled boardroom wondering aloud if anyone would show up.

This story first appeared in the September 13, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A handler quickly assured her a crowd was forming, and Huntington-Whiteley shot back with a grin, “What, all two of them?”

She needn’t have worried — from the looks of the 300 to 400 people waiting for her on Macy’s main fragrance floor, cash registers humming in the background to the tune of about $15,000 to $25,000 in retail sales of Body, according to estimates by industry sources.

Prior to the appearance, Huntington-Whiteley — who has also served as the face of Burberry Prorsum — noted that Body was her first TV fragrance commercial. “Christopher [Bailey, Burberry’s creative director] and Mario [Testino, who shot the campaign] wanted to capture a true British brand image, which is why they chose the trench,” she said, of the article of clothing that is more off her body than on in both the print and TV ads. In contrasting the differences between appearing in advertising for beauty versus fashion, she said the objective in fragrance advertising is “more about capturing emotion in an image.”

She noted that seductive tune playing in the background of the Body TV commercial — “Rosé,” by The Feeling — came from a band discovered by Bailey, who is known for finding new British musical talent. “Chris is always telling me about bands and new talent, and when I heard the album, I knew ‘Rosé’ would be his choice,” said Huntington-Whiteley. “It’s a beautiful song, very lovely, sweet and seductive.” Its topic? “Drinking,” she said with a smile.

A former Victoria’s Secret model, Huntington-Whiteley landed her first movie role, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” this past spring, and noted she’s currently reading scripts in search of her next role. While she especially loves action films, she said no matter what the genre, she’s drawn to characters who are “strong, independent women.”

Muriel Gonzalez, executive vice president and general merchandise manager for cosmetics, fragrances and women’s shoes at Macy’s, said Macy’s began selling the scent last Wednesday. “It’s doing very well so far,” she said. The new fragrance will be rolled out to 667 Macy’s doors.

Stanislas Archambault, chief operating officer of Inter Parfums, said the fragrance would be available in about 2,500 department and specialty stores in the U.S. He said the Burberry brand ranks number 12 in the U.S. but is lacking a pillar women’s fragrance brand. He refused to discuss figures, although industry sources calculate that the company is aiming for a sales target of $20 million to $25 million at retail for the fall season alone. To accomplish this, industry sources estimate that about $7 million will be spent on advertising in the launch season.