By  on August 8, 2014

Fossil is a brand steeped in midcentury America. Its leather goods, jewelry and watches harken back to the Fifties with “modern-vintage” design, but the reference isn’t simply about an aesthetic. For Fossil, 1954 is a “company rallying cry,” said Tom Kennedy, executive vice president, Fossil brand product development. “It represents energy, exploration and optimism.”

So when the time came to create the brand’s first men’s and women’s fragrances, Kennedy and his team could think of no better name. The fragrances, which will be launched on Aug. 17, have been in development for two years, said Kennedy. He describes the project as Fossil’s next frontier in its quest to connect with its customers. “They’re adventurous and curious about the world around them. We want to be their partner as they explore it,” said Kennedy.

Fossil tapped International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. to create the two scents, $60 each for 50 ml., but also relied on its employees for input. “Our team really understands the spirit of the company, so we had them test iterations of the scent, asking ‘Does this capture who we are?’”

The men’s potion, 1954 for Men, is a woody oriental that opens with a burst of freshness lent by lemon and cardamom, drying down to sandalwood and vanilla that are meant to allude to the brand’s signature leather accessories. The heart is black pepper, juniper and sage.

As for 1954 for Women, it is a brighter mixture: Mandarin and grapefruit make a splash on top followed by a rosy middle and cedar, white amber and bamboo on bottom. “Our women are a little tomboyish,” said Kennedy. “She wears her boyfriend’s watch not just because it looks good but because it’s easy to read. We represent that spirit by adding sandalwood and cedar to her fragrance.”

Decanter-inspired, pressed glass bottles were designed to conjure a time when “a drink was a thing of cultural significance,” said Kennedy. The cap is a nod to the teak wood often used in midcentury furniture design. In a move aimed to protect 1954’s in-store “cocktail service bar” presentation, the duo will only be available in the company’s 316 doors and at fossil.com.

Though Fossil declined to comment, industry sources project fragrance sales of $67 million over the next five years. Fragrance may be small category for a company with more than $3 billion in net sales last year, but Kennedy insists it’s an important one. “We’re a lifestyle brand, and our future depends on building a deeper relationship with the customer,” he said. “There’s nothing more personal than accessories — they’re a way of expressing oneself. And fragrance is a natural extension of that expression.”

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