When it comes to fragrances, Artisan is more than just a name on a bottle for John Varvatos. It’s a statement about how he views both his scent portfolio and his apparel business and what he fears may be slipping away from the world of luxury — the timeless practice of handcrafting objects that can embody “special little treasures and hidden details.”
“From the start, we’ve always tried to go back to making fragrances the way they used to be made — all by hand, with the best ingredients in the world, artisanal fragrances with smaller batches,” Varvatos said on the set of the ad shoot for his new men’s fragrance, Artisan Acqua. “If we feel there’s a need and there’s something new to say, we’ll do it,” he added, drawing a sharp contrast with some companies that regularly pump out product to satiate their P&L. “It’s really more ‘Are we missing something? Is there a customer we’re not talking to?’”
Artisan Acqua is the fifth Varvatos scent and the third in his Artisan pillar. The designer’s first signature fragrance bowed in March 2004, followed by Vintage in August 2006, Artisan in March 2009 and Artisan Black in April 2010. As he has done with all of his previous fragrances, the designer collaborated with Rodrigo Flores-Roux, senior perfumer at Givaudan. Varvatos asserts that this highly unusual practice of sticking with one perfumer gives his scents a cohesive point of view. “He’s very intimate with my brand,” said Varvatos. “When we talk about a new fragrance, we start off by saying, ‘What’s the message we want? Where are you dreaming of with this fragrance?’ He’s like a psychiatrist in that regard.”
Varvatos views Artisan Acqua as a “lighter, beachy, summer kind of fragrance” that gives you that wind-blown feeling of walking along the shore, he said during a subsequent interview. “You have to have something within your brand DNA, and you have to have something unique and compelling to get someone to buy your fragrance today.”
The Mediterranean-inspired fragrance’s top notes are of tangelo, mandarin, paradisamide, galbanum, lentisque and angelica root; the heart is of clary sage, lavender, coriander, toscanol, basil, geranium, palmarosa and jasmine sambac, and the drydown is of moss, patchouli and fir balsam. Eaux de toilette in two sizes will be offered — 2.5 oz. for $64 and 4.2 oz. for $84. The flask-like glass bottle has a handwoven twine covering. “Every one is slightly different,” said the designer, adding that the coverings are woven directly on the bottle itself. “We’re telling a story of an artisanal heritage and craftsmanship, and there’s very little of that today. There’s so much mass-produced. We’re doing things like that throughout the [apparel and accessories] collections — limited-edition things that we’re only making small quantities of. People want unique.”
National print advertising shot by John Balsom for the Yard agency will begin running in March men’s and lifestyle magazines. The advertising and promotional plans also include a digital campaign and extensive sampling, said Robin Mason, senior vice president of global marketing for Elizabeth Arden, which holds Varvatos’ scent license. Mason added that the fragrance will be sold in about 1,500 department and specialty stores in the U.S. beginning in January, followed by rollouts in Europe, Asia and travel-retail.
While Varvatos declined comment on projected sales, industry source estimated that the limited-edition Acqua, which is expected to be on counter for a year, could do $18 million to $20 million at retail globally.
It’s been a busy year for Varvatos, who has also just launched a book, “Rock in Fashion” (HarperDesign/HarperCollins) which he cowrote with Holly George-Warren. He’s opened several new stores, including a Boston flagship in September. Toronto and Mexico City locations are in the works, as are several other global doors. An opening in Bangkok is slated for February, and his biggest store in the world — measuring 10,000 square feet — will open its doors on London’s Conduit Street in late spring. Varvatos started 2013 with 13 stores and will have 20 by the end of 2014, he said.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty