By  on June 25, 2010

FLORENCE — Guess Inc. is gunning for a fragrance revival with its forthcoming women’s scent dubbed Seductive.

Unveiled in this renaissance city last Friday, during the Pitti Uomo men’s wear trade show, Guess tried to create a historic moment of its own by trumpeting the first fragrance to comeout of its new license with Coty Inc., signed in August 2009. Parlux Fragrances Inc. previously held the license.

In what is likely to become part of the Coty office folklore, Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty Inc., recalled how he flew uninvited with his team to Guess’ headquarters in California to convince chief executive officer and creative director Paul Marciano to collaborate with Coty. Mormoris waited two hours in the lobby before getting a 15-minute slot with Marciano. “I rarely stay longer than 10 minutes in meetings, but I was seduced into staying two hours,” said Marciano. Guess piqued Coty’s interest because of what was perceived as an underdeveloped business. “The whole area of seduction — what Guess owns — wasn’t addressed in the fragrance market,” said Mormoris.

The American lifestyle label has taken aim at Europe. Marciano said by the end of 2010, the brand will have 414 freestanding stores in Europe, and 92 in the Middle East, part of an ambitious growth strategy to expand the footprint of its Guess-branded stores in Europe. As of May, Guess operated 433 stores in the United States and Canada and 817 stores outside of the United States and Canada, of which 137 were directly owned. “Six years ago we had a $42 million business in Europe, we plan to reach $1 billion in sales in three years,” Marciano said.

Retail expansion plans include a 330-square-meter freestanding store in Paris on Place de Opera, slated to open in August, and a 700-square-meter store in London’s up-market Knightsbridge, set to open its doors in July.

In December, the company plans to open a 12,000-square-foot store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Asia also tops the company’s burgeoning plans. Former Levi Strauss & Co. managing director Kitty Yung started her role as Guess president for greater China on Wednesday to expand the Guess business in Asia, especially Greater China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, India and Japan.

Later this year, the brand will celebrate its 30th anniversary, a long way from its humble denim roots in downtown Los Angeles, to where it is now a global lifestyle company which recorded $5 billion in retail sales worldwide in 2009.

“Lifestyle is a trend. Just look at the success of this brand. It’s exactly why we wanted this brand in our portfolio and we’re exploiting it with this move,” said Bernd Beetz, Coty ceo, of the new fragrance set for global rollout in September.

“We plan to reach 30,000 doors globally by the end of year. I think we’ll have more demands but we want to keep distribution tight and upscale,” said Renato Semerari, president of Coty Beauty Inc.

The fragrance will be launched first in Sephora in Europe and the German drugstore chain Mueller. According to industry sources, the new eau de toilette could have a first-year sales target as high as $80 million at retail. “As a company, Guess is going through a renaissance with a huge sales push in Europe, and a broadening of its portfolio,” said Mormoris. “Seductive will easily make the fragrance top 10 in a year and be a significant player in the category.” He underlined plans to elevate the Guess fragrance house, starting with Seductive, by launching upscale fragrances at higher price points. Seductive is priced 6 percent higher than existing Guess fragrances, and is available in three sizes: $40 for 30-ml., $52 for 50-ml. and $62 for 75-ml. A 200-ml. body cream and 200-ml. shower cream will retail for $28 and $26, respectively.

The fragrance’s juice, created by perfumer Veronique Nyberg of International Flavors & Fragrances, was designed to mirror the experience of seduction. It has a luminous accord with light, sparkling top notes of bergamot, blackcurrant and crispy pear, with jasmine, orange flower and Florentine Orris — a historic note harvested in Florence and used in perfumery for centuries — as its middle notes. Base notes include vanilla, spicy olibanum and a musky cashmere wood.

The bottle plays on Guess’ signature triangle logo, translated in the implied shape of the bottle and the cap completed by an embossed crocodile print panel that reflects the company’s signature animal prints. It’s accessorized by a ribbon charm composed of two gold hearts — a nod to Guess’ accessory business — whilst a color palette of cream, black and gold give it a timeless appeal.

Seductive’s print campaign takes a page from Guess’ history of bombshell babe advertising. The ad features newcomer Alyssa Miller, who resembles a young Sophia Loren, although she in fact hails from California. The black-and-white print campaign was shot by Vincent Peters in Rome and portrays a sexy encounter meant to echo a retro Italian film.

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