Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers have touched off a flurry of activity at Coty, creating five new juices, new outfits, optimistic tans and pedicured toes.
This story first appeared in the November 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The newest incarnations — dubbed Sunshine Cuties — are limited edition summer scents, which will hit stores in February.
“We wanted to change up the outfits, because that’s what they are — little fashion plates,” said Stefani during a recent interview. “We did that first with the Snow Bunnies [an earlier flanker project], and then we started thinking, ‘Let’s change up the fragrances.’ So we did, and we based the scents on their personalities and a sort of summer fun feeling.”
Stefani was excited to get back into the fragrance labs. “I find [the fragrance development process] difficult but a lot of fun,” she said. And she had a built-in testing group: “I was on tour earlier this year, so I had a whole group of wives and girlfriends to try the fragrances out on,” she said, noting she also developed her spring apparel line while on tour. “There’s not one that I wouldn’t wear. And what’s fun about having five is you have five chances that people will like at least one of them!”
Love, a fruity floral by Ilias Ermenidis of Firmenich, has top notes of nectarine, passion fruit and lemon blossom; a heart of plumeria, osmanthus and rose petals, and a drydown of vanilla orchid, coconut water, sensual musk and sandalwood. Love is dressed in a vintage-inspired one-piece with modern wraparound removable sunglasses. She also sports a red hibiscus flower.
L’il Angel, a citrus gourmand by Carlos Vinals of Fragrance Resources, has top notes of Meyer lemon, mandarin and blackberry; a heart of pink rose, vanilla orchid and tropical sampaquita blossom, and a drydown of sugared patchouli, vanilla bean, skin musk and golden amber. L’il Angel is attired in a navy blue bikini with yellow and white hearts and a headband scattered with plumeria flowers.
Music, a sensuous floral by Richard Herpin of Firmenich, has top notes of juicy pear, Granny Smith apple and dewy freesia, a heart of tiger orchid, jasmine petals and honeysuckle, and a drydown of cashmere woods, creamy musk and precious woods. She is dressed in a navy and white striped bikini trimmed in cherry red and accented by bows and, in her hair, a red hibiscus.
Baby, a dewy floral by Clement Gavarry of International Flavors & Fragrances, has top notes of crisp mandarin, wet neroli and bright sunflower; a heart of white poppy, living valencia, orange flower and jasmine absolute, and a drydown of soft musk, rich vetiver and creamy birch woods. She is attired in a pink polkadot bikini with a ruched top and string bottom; she wears plumeria in her hair.
G — as in Gwen — is a creamy musk by Gabriela Chelariu of Fragrance Resources. It has top notes of coconut water, mandarin and bergamot; a heart of white peach, heliotrope, exotic tiare flower and orange flower, and a drydown of vanilla bean, tonka, skin musk and creamy sandalwood. G is wearing a tuxedo bandeau bikini top and turquoise boyshort bottoms. “It’s the Alice in Wonderland version of a bathing suit,” said Stefani with a smile. G sports a headband with a mix of tropical plumeria flowers.
Each doll is packaged in a turquoise carton — intended to evoke swimming pools — with the Harajuku Lovers logo and scattered tropical blooms.
Each of the Sunshine Cuties will retail for $30 for 10 ml. They will be available in about 2,200 department and specialty stores, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, HSN, macys.com and sephora.com.
While executives declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated the scents could generate sales of more than $20 million globally at retail. Industry sources estimated Coty will spend about $10 million globally on advertising and promotion. Gifts with purchase will include a beach towel and a drink cooler.
Like the originals, the Sunshine Cuties will be promoted heavily online and in-store. A dedicated site, HLfragrance.com, has been designed to provide an interactive entertainment experience and changes with each incarnation of the Harajuku Lovers fragrances, noted Carlos Timiraos, group vice president of global marketing for celebrity fragrances at Coty Prestige. For Sunshine Cuties, the site will feature the fragrances and their inspirations, as well as a dedicated social networking area, an avatar maker, a scrapbook section and a number of associated tools and widgets, added Leslie Oglesby, global marketing director for the fragrance brand.
So will Stefani go into additional beauty categories? Never say never, but the married mother of two notes she has her hands full with her family, her fashion business, her fragrances and her music at the moment, not to mention a second stab at jewelry for spring and a stationary and novelties deal expected to bear fruit in August 2010. “Eventually, I’d love to do everything,” she said. “But I want to do it right — I want to be totally involved with it all.”