BERLIN — Meet the new Boss, all suited up for success and smelling like a billion bucks. At least that’s the hope at the P&G Prestige division of Procter & Gamble.
The Cincinnati-based consumer products giant has retailored its strategy for Boss with plans to reenter the U.S. market as if for the very first time.
Hugo Boss fragrances have been powerful performers for years in Europe, especially in its home turf of Germany, but license holder P&G believes most American shoppers know Boss as a fashion — not a fragrance — brand. “It’s the next big untapped opportunity for us,” said Don Loftus, president and chief operating officer of P&G Prestige U.S., who anticipates slow but steady and significant growth.
P&G’s global fragrance volume is estimated by industry sources to be at least $4 billion in retail sales; the target is to make Hugo Boss the company’s next billion-dollar brand. According to sources, Boss is now in a neck-and-neck race for that honor with Dolce & Gabbana fragrances and SK-II skin care.
For Hugo Boss, P&G has carefully woven its own take on luxury with Boss The Collection. The five scents are in fall roll-out mode at a handful of high-end retailers, including Berlin’s KaDeWe, Milan’s La Rinascente and El Corte Inglés Serrano in Madrid, after spring releases at Heinemann Travel Value/Duty Free in Frankfurt Airport, Harrods in London and Paris Gallery in Dubai. The eaux de toilette, 50 ml. for 110 euros, (priced at $140 in the U.S.), take their inspiration from fine fabrics paired with classic perfume notes — Cotton-Verbena, Silk-Jasmine, Wool-Musk, Velvet-Amber and Cashmere-Patchouli. Display stands incorporate swatches and scents, and sales staff are on hand to explain the finer details of the concept.
“We really brought the fragrance and the fashion together as a megabrand, which illustrates the scale and the potential of Hugo Boss,” explained Bill Brace, P&G Prestige vice president. Boss The Collection aims to appeal to the man who is a discerning curator of cuff links, a veritable titan of ties. Niche-knowledgeable, he might lean toward Creed, Tom Ford, Bond No. 9, or other collections of luxe scents. To add to the exclusive effect, each bottle comes swathed in a drawstring pouch of the coordinating textile and encased in a fabric-adorned slipcase, almost an accessory in its own right.
In the U.S., the scents will launch solely at four Nordstrom doors on Nov. 25, and on the department store’s Web site. Presentation and sales will be mainly in the men’s fashion and suiting section of stores, with outposts in the fragrance department. Loftus concedes the average American male might not have the sophistication to appreciate the fine pairing of scents and suiting, but Boss-buying executives in the cities will. “If nothing else, they’ll at least think it’s cool,” he laughed. And at least double the cost of other Hugo Boss scents, Boss The Collection also appears aspirational. While The Collection may not become a chart-topper in terms of sales, Brace said it will elevate the brand into the luxury realm, and a halo effect from its launch could help drive shoppers to other Boss scents. In order to go big and move forward with the Hugo Boss brand in the U.S., P&G pulled back and regrouped.
Starting last fall, scents were removed from wider distribution in the U.S., departing retailers such as Macy’s, Dillard’s and Belk. Boss will probably reenter department stores in about two years, said Loftus.
Boss Bottled, the brand’s most valuable player and workhorse — with an estimated 60 million bottles sold since its 1998 launch — bowed at Nordstrom doors and online Thursday along with its flanker, Boss Bottled Night. The second scent is credited with growing the Bottled franchise by 60 percent when it was launched in 2010. Sephora offers a small selection of Hugo Boss men’s fragrances, and will later likely add recent European favorites Boss Orange for men and women, and the newly launched Hugo Just Different, fronted by actor-musician-provocateur Jared Leto. It is a spin on the classic Hugo fragrance and is slated by industry sources to bring in an estimated $200 million retail sales in its first year.
Just as Boss The Collection brings P&G Prestige’s fragrance offerings into the material world with a literal tie to the very fiber of the fashion house, a strong thread between the two companies has been key for growth, maintains Brace. For his part, Jan Loewen, license director at Hugo Boss, admits the intensive connection “sometimes leads to the fact that we have to discuss longer, but at the end of the day, the decisions are better and we avoid misleading activities or clashing messages.” Referencing the spring Hugo Just Different launch, Loewen said teams from Hugo Boss and P&G Prestige met about every two weeks for almost two years to work on the project, which includes an interactive video campaign.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye