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Halston’s New Scent Formula

As it is doing with its fashion, Halston is hoping for a revival in fragrance.

As it is doing with its fashion, Halston is hoping for a revival in fragrance.

This story first appeared in the July 1, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Halston was acquired by Hilco Consumer Capital and The Weinstein Co. in 2007. Since then, the brand has been working on a revival — and has tapped designer Marios Schwab as its new creative director, an appointment that became effective today. Next on the agenda: resurrecting the brand’s once-thriving scent business.

“Every one of our markets have been asking about fragrance since we restarted the line,” said Bonnie Takhar, president and chief executive officer of Halston. “Offering fragrance also allows us to expand awareness of the brand, and allows consumers to buy a part of the brand at an affordable price point. We would like to use the scents as a springboard to expand to additional licensed categories.”

The fragrance license is held by Elizabeth Arden Inc.

In fact, said Takhar, the company finds the fragrances so influential that they have inspired Schwab’s first collection for the brand, spring 2010’s Pure Metallic.

“This is the most exclusive launch [in terms of distribution] that we have ever done,” said Ron Rolleston, executive vice president of global marketing for Elizabeth Arden, adding of the masterbrand, “Rarely do you get a chance to remake classics so successfully.”

The team tapped Carlos Benaim of International Flavors & Fragrances to update the original scents. Benaim was a junior perfumer, working side by side with Bernard Chant, when the first Halston women’s fragrance was created in 1975. Benaim said he updated the fragrances by adding modern versions of the original ingredients and tweaking the structures of each scent.

“I followed the basic idea, but added ingredients that were not available when the first scents were launched,” he explained.

Halston Woman, a floriental woody, has top notes of Sicilian bergamot, marigold and black currant; a heart of precious roses, orris, jasmine petals, rose absolute and rose essence, and a drydown of patchouli, sandalwood and deep amber.

Halston Man — an update of Halston Z-14 — has top notes of citrus, artemisia and juicy passion fruit; a heart of lavender, pennyroyal mint and cardamom, and a drydown of patchouli, labdanum and musk.

The bottles are platinum-hued versions of the original bottles, which were designed by Elsa Peretti.

The Halston Woman fragrance will be available in three sizes: eau de toilette in 1 oz. and 1.7 oz. for $50 and $70, respectively, and a 3.4-oz. eau de parfum spray for $100. The Halston Man collection will include two eaux de toilette, 2.5 oz. for $50 and 4.2 oz. for $75, and a 4.2-oz. aftershave spray for $50.

The scents are already drawing buzz from the two retailers with launch exclusives on the masterbrand: Neiman Marcus (including Bergdorf Goodman) in the U.S. and Harrods in the United Kingdom.

“Without question, the historical bottles coupled with these unique fragrances will be greeted enthusiastically by our Neiman Marcus customer and for many, will evoke the fondest of memories for the original Halston Fragrances launched over 30 years ago,” said Jonathan Joselove, senior vice president at Neiman Marcus Inc.

Added Marigay McKee, fashion and beauty director of Harrods: “Halston’s fragrance was a pillar product of the Seventies, and this summer the introduction of new ingredients sees the relaunch of an icon….We expect the new fragrances to evoke memories in those who remember the original, as well as appealing to a new generation of customers.”

While none of the executives would discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated the scents could do upward of $3 million at retail globally in their first year on counter and that Arden would likely spend about $1 million on advertising and promotion in that time frame.