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Dali Scent Spearheading U.S. Relaunch

With a new scent called It Is Love, Parfums Salvador Dali looks to build upscale distribution in U.S.

The new Dalí fragrance.

Les Parfums Salvador DalI is being re-launched in the U.S. with a new women’s scent, called It Is Love, and a focus on upscale specialty store distribution.

This story first appeared in the August 29, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The new fragrance was introduced at Henri Bendel last month — along with about a dozen existing Dalí scents — by Paris-based Cofinluxe, which holds the license for Dalí fragrances.

So far, the retailer has been happy with the brand’s performance.

“It’s done really well,” said Claudia Lucas, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Henri Bendel. She noted that Bendel’s windows displayed Dalí imagery earlier this month, adding, “The new fragrance was our bestseller during our two-week [Dalí] event.”

The launch dovetails with a Dalí exhibition, called “Dalí: Painting and Film,” at MoMA through Sept. 15. “Given that something was happening culturally with Dalí,” said Lucas, “we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to [have] something at the store?’”

Philippe Dumas, area manager for the Americas at Cofinluxe, noted that Dalí fragrances were first introduced in the U.S. several years before the surrealist painter’s death at the age of 84 in 1989. The brand was handled by distributors in the U.S. until the business was eventually curtailed and the scents were taken off the market about 18 months ago.

“We’re focusing now on more [upscale] distribution,” said Dumas, “and being personally involved in the control of our distribution in the U.S.”

He added that It Is Love is intended to “brush up the brand and take it to the level we never should have left — bring back the glamour of Salvador Dalí fragrances.”

Three versions of It Is Love have been developed, an eau de toilette, an eau de toilette Intense and an eau de parfum. The eaux de toilette come in 30-, 50- and 100-ml. sizes, while the eau de parfum will come in 50- and 100-ml. sizes. While all prices have yet to be finalized, the 100-ml. bottles are to be priced at between $80 and $105.

Bendel’s will carry the eau de toilette on an exclusive worldwide basis until October, when distribution of the scent is expanded internationally, including to markets in Central and South America, Russia, Asia and Europe. The brand is distributed in 110 countries worldwide and duty free.

For holiday, Bendel’s will carry the eau de parfum exclusively.

Subsequent plans call for It Is Love to be rolled out to specialty store doors and independent boutiques in the U.S. beginning next year, venues that “will value it, display it properly and not discount it,” said Dumas, who said he believes the brand could reach 2,000 doors by next fall.

A distribution network of that size could net U.S. sales of about $20 million, according to industry sources.

It Is Love, an oriental-floral fragrance that was blended by Robertet perfumer Michel Almairac, combines top notes of grapefruit, pomegranate pearl and pink pepper with a heart of everlasting flower, Spanish narcissus and heart iris powder and base notes of crystal musk, vanilla, sandalwood and sweet amber.

The scent’s bottle, whose design was approved by Spain-based Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, features Dalí’s iconic lips, just as the brand’s first scent — and many in between — did. (Today there are upward of 21 Dalí fragrances, whose bottles feature elements of his paintings.)

The inaugural scent, called Salvador Dalí, which came out in 1983, was designed by the artist himself, after he signed a worldwide license the year before with Jean-Pierre Grivory, chairman of Cofinluxe.

Cofinluxe, which also has the license for Morgan de Toi fragrances, has annual revenues estimated to be between 30 million and 50 million euros, or $43.9 million and $73.2 million at current exchange. Dalí is said to generate between 65 and 75 percent of sales.