MILAN — Gucci’s iconic floral print, Flora, is a good luck charm for Frida Giannini.
This story first appeared in the December 5, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Three years ago the creative director of Gucci splashed the colorful design from Gucci’s archives over canvas bags to produce a knockout commercial success. This time, Giannini named Gucci’s latest women’s scent after the feminine floral pattern and, together with Gucci’s licensee Procter & Gamble Prestige Products, hopes Flora’s magic will create the biggest-grossing fragrance in the Gucci stable.
Industry sources were also bullish about Flora’s potential, estimating that first-year retail sales could hit $220 million.
Flora is the second Gucci women’s scent, following Gucci by Gucci, created under Giannini’s creative reign at the Florentine fashion house. Flora is aimed at a younger customer. Comparing the scents, Giannini said Gucci by Gucci channeled the powerful Gucci woman, while Flora addresses a sensual, younger woman.
“Flora is lighter, the floral scent of course evokes a younger consumer, and she has a hedonistic, daring side. I don’t want to say that Flora is the daughter of Gucci by Gucci but maybe the younger sister,” said Giannini.
Asked how Flora fits into her lifestyle, Giannini added: “I will wear Flora in the morning and Gucci by Gucci in the evening.”
Flora was designed to open a door for the future development of a new category of Gucci fragrances intended to cater to a younger customer. “Flora is another side of the multifaceted Gucci woman,” Giannini said. “We have a huge space for the development of new scents, and now we are trying to build a new category. I want to re-create an entire panorama of scents under my vision.”
Markus Strobel, global president, Procter & Gamble Prestige Products, said Flora’s launch was part of a long-term strategy to build the Gucci brand.
“That strategy is to capture young new customers eager to buy into the brand, and we will be doing other projects geared toward a younger customer,” said Strobel, and added “Flora hits that target group — this is a very light and optimistic fragrance.”
Set to launch globally in early April next year, Strobel admitted he was apprehensive about rolling out a new scent in the current economic climate. “Anybody who’s not nervous hasn’t read the papers, but we are in it for the long term and Gucci perfumes’ volume has grown 40 percent from July to December — it’s on a roll,” he added.
Strobel described Flora as an optimistic proposition, and said the lighter, younger fragrance would have bigger appeal in Asia.
Turning to the archived Flora print for inspiration for the scent’s concept came naturally to Giannini. First used on a Gucci scarf made for Princess Grace in 1966, Flora was also utilized on many different Gucci apparel and accessory items — some of which Giannini’s mother wore.
“I was in love with the idea of a floral fragrance, and having the idea of naming the perfume Flora, everything was consequential. I wanted to give Flora a new freshness, so I decided to keep the same floral pattern but make it not so literal with all 25 colors, but black and white, more graphic and correct for the project,” said Giannini.
The black-and-white Flora print is featured on the scent’s packaging, but Giannini also printed it onto a butterflylike long silk chiffon gown worn by Australian model Abbey Lee in the scent’s advertising campaign. Shot by Chris Cunningham in a cornfield in Latvia, Lee is depicted in the middle of more than 40,000 silk flowers moving in tempo with the wind to the tune of an original remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” Inez & Vinoodh photographed Flora’s print advertising visuals.
Strobel said Flora would be backed by a dedicated Web site for the scent that will go live concurrently with the launch of the fragrance.
Flora’s olfactory pyramid is composed around the floral theme, with top notes of citrus and peony, a heart of rose and osmanthus — a Chinese flower with a distinct floral fruit and leather aroma — and sandalwood and patchouli on the base. Giannini and the P&G fragrance team developed the scent with Firmenich.
To design Flora’s hexagon-shaped clear glass flacon, Giannini recalled the architectural lines of the Gucci by Gucci bottle. Giannini also chose to accent the juice a champagne color and incorporated another of the Gucci motifs in the small bamboo gold tassels trimming the ends of the black ribbon bow tied around the flacon’s neck.
“We needed to communicate richness in a different way, but there are synergies with Gucci by Gucci, the gold, the distinctive Gucci signatures — I like to play with the iconic symbols of the house,” she said.
Priced slightly lower than Gucci by Gucci, Flora’s line includes eau de toilette spray, 30 ml. for $52, 50 ml. for $65, and 75 ml. for $90; deodorant, 100 ml. for $35; body lotion, 200 ml. for $45, and shower gel, 200 ml. for $38.