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It’s a man’s world at Parfums Givenchy this fall: The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton unit will add a new facet to its successful Pi fragrance franchise, as well as a new music-related concept called Play.

This story first appeared in the August 1, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

First up: Givenchy Pi Neo, duo out in the U.S. at the end of this month. The fragrance, which is being billed as a Space Age scent, is a riff on Pi, which the house launched in 1998.

“We revisited all of the elements of Pi,” said Alain Lorenzo, president of Parfums Givenchy. “The initial story of Pi was about a pioneer who happened to be an astronaut. We thought this story is still very current, except that today the unknown world is not space, but the virtual world.”

He also pointed out that the new scent’s name can be interpreted in a number of ways. For instance, it can refer to an asteroid, mean something “new” or “recent” in Greek and even give a nod to “The Matrix” movie, whose lead character is named Neo, he said. Continue reading…


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Givenchy Pi Neo’s juice, said Lorenzo, is a combination of natural ingredients and synthetic molecules exclusive to Givaudan. Concocted by Givaudan’s Antoine Lie, Pi Neo has top notes of Italian bergamot and mandarin orange, a heart of cedar and patchouli and a base of amber and vanilla. As well, each of the accords includes a patented, futuristic note. The top note carries Toscanol, an anise-like ingredient intended to give the fragrance energy. In the heart, Safraleine is intended to enrich the woody accord and to add hints of leather, spice and tobacco. The base of the fragrance has Cosmone, which lends a fluidity and hint of ambergris to the scent. 


Eaux de toilette in two sizes, 1.7 oz. for $47.50 and 3.4 oz. for $64, as well as a deodorant roll-on, $18, and an aftershave lotion, $45, will be sold. Prices are for the U.S. market.

Givenchy Pi Neo will be introduced starting this month in a few dozen countries, including the U.S., where it is to be launched in 1,500 doors such as Macy’s, Dillard’s, Sephora and some regional department stores, with additional markets to get the scent next year. Industry sources estimate that Pi Neo could rack up sales of more than $10 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter. Globally, sources estimated that it would generate first-year wholesale revenues of $40 million.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Parfums Givenchy is playing a double hand for the launch of another men’s scent slated to start rolling out this month in Europe.

In developing the scent, called Play, Lorenzo said perfumers were told: “Develop a note that’s going to be really original, and once you’ve got it, make two versions of it — one which will be pushing it even more toward originality and the other which is pulling it toward accessibility, making it fresher, easier.”

As a result, two iterations of the woody fragrance were formed — Play and Play Intense — created by Symrise perfumers Lucas Sieuzac and Emilie Coppermann with Françoise Donche, creative director for fragrance at Parfums Givenchy.

“In the head, there are two elements in the version we call Intense and four elements in the fresh one,” explained Lorenzo, referring to bergamot and mandarin, versus bergamot, mandarin, Seville orange and grapefruit.

To visually differentiate the two, Intense has black outer packaging and Play, white. Ditto for the bottles, created by Serge Mansau, who was inspired by today’s portable multimedia technology, such as MP3 players.

Justin Timberlake fronts the advertising for the new scent. Print versions of the ads, shot by Tom Munro and appearing as single and double pages plus outdoors, will feature Timberlake in a recording studio or in his private jet; in both, he’s listening to music. Online, a two-minute video clip is planned in which Timberlake describes the fragrance concept.

Play is to premier on Tuesday in Sephora’s Paris flagship. At the end of this month it will be introduced in France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.K., Russia, Greece and Kuwait. The rest of the world will get the fragrance in about a year.

Givenchy executives would not discuss sales estimates, but industry sources believe Play will generate about $30 million in wholesale revenues during its first 12 months.

The new line will include a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray for 49.50 euros, or $77.30 at current exchange; a 100-ml. edt spray for 70 euros, or $109.30, and a 100-ml. edt Intense spray for 75 euros, or $117.10. The bath line is to have a 75-ml. roll-on deodorant for 21.50 euros, or $33.60; a 150-ml. spray deodorant for 24.50 euros, or $38.25; a 100-ml. aftershave lotion for 46 euros, or $71.80, and a 100-ml. aftershave gel for 36 euros, or $56.20.


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