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Isaac Mizrahi is about to make his maiden voyage into the fragrance world — with an eye to expanding into additional categories, including color cosmetics, as his beauty reach grows.
This story first appeared in the August 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Mizrahi, now creative director of Xcel Brands Inc., is set to launch a women’s scent named Fabulous, the first fruits of a beauty licensing deal inked with The Cloudbreak Group in November. The deal — one of roughly 34 licenses covering more than 70 categories in which Mizrahi is involved via Xcel — gives Cloudbreak the authority to develop, manufacture and distribute fragrance, bath and body, home fragrance and other related beauty products for the Isaac Mizrahi New York brand.
Mizrahi noted that while he has worked on other fragrance ideas before, this is “the first time I’m actually launching one,” he told WWD with a laugh. “I feel like if you get married too young, it rarely works out. It’s the same thing with this — you get really very few chances at [creating a scent.] You have to get it right. There has to be care taken. That’s what all these years of experience have brought to this. I really want it to mean something and be special. Good perfumes are more cultural than product.”
Mizrahi — who noted that his mother often wore tuberose and bergamot scents when he was growing up — said “there’s a lot of sensitivity and a vulnerability in these notes. There’s a great deal of bergamot in the top of it, and I was really strong about that orange-y bergamot smell. I was really strong about the scent of jasmine. I just adore the scent of jasmine — and the peony. One of the fragrances I tried to develop early on was a peony fragrance, and it didn’t work. It just was very cloying after awhile. You don’t notice things until you actually get what you want.”
The Fabulous juice, concocted by Mizrahi with Firmenich and Cloudbreak, has top notes of mandarin, nectarine and bergamot. The heart is of jasmine, tuberose, freesia and peony, and the scent’s drydown is sandalwood, vanilla and cedar.
Two eaux de parfum will be sold: a 1.7-oz. for $65 and a 3.4-oz. for $78. The clear glass bottle is topped with a hot-pink atomizer with a polka-dotted neck, while the juice inside is tinted a pale pink.
The scent will launch first on QVC on Sept. 6, as part of the channel’s Fashion’s Night Out programming; samples will be distributed in QVC customer orders in the two weeks leading up to the channel’s launch of Fabulous, with about one million samples expected to be given away. In early October, it will roll into 35 Bloomingdale’s stores, with wider distribution expected to top about 750 department and specialty store doors in the next year.
Mizrahi will make an Oct. 18 personal appearance at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street to promote the scent, and an extensive social media plan is also in the works. “I like getting feedback from the customer,” he said of doing personal appearances. “I don’t go to hear all of that ‘I-love-you’ stuff. I go to actually hear people [express their opinions.] It’s a really good way of learning more about your own brand and it’s the greatest focus group you could ever wish to have.”
National advertising, shot by Terry Richardson, will break in select September fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, with additional national advertising planned for October issues, said Tom Butkiewicz, chief executive officer and managing partner of Cloudbreak.
While Mizrahi and other executives declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the scent could do $30 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter.
Mizrahi hopes to eventually move into doing color cosmetics and skin care in addition to fragrances. “I love the idea of beauty because it then leads into makeup,” he said. “I do feel that I have a specifically good kind of sense about makeup. First, it’s all about color. And then, it’s about this idea of a subliminal connection with somebody. And I’ve been working for so many years with so many great people in that area, I feel I have a great deal of expertise that I can share. I’d also like to do skin care. Beauty starts with skin care.”