PARIS — Lancôme is poised to juice up its women’s scent category with the launch of La vie est belle, starting in mid-August.
“What’s missing is a big iconic fragrance, like Trésor,” said Youcef Nabi, president of Lancôme International, speaking about the L’Oréal-owned brand’s portfolio and referring to its blockbuster scent introduced in 1990.
As with Trésor, La vie est belle — fronted by actress Julia Roberts — is meant to be “a kind of declaration of the brand, a point of view on the world,” as well as a taste of its future, the executive continued.
Nabi outlined broad fragrance trends over the past few decades, saying the Seventies were about emancipation; the Eighties, a quest for power; the Nineties, gender-bending and minimalism, and the 21st-century’s first decade, materialism’s victory.
Today is about “the subtle triumph of being over possessions and appearances,” said Nabi. “It’s the era of personal fulfillment and self-realization. We feel women pave their own winding pathways of happiness in new directions. And this is clearly something that we can summarize into one expression — we say ‘less but better.’ It’s really the philosophy behind this fragrance.
“If La vie est belle — life is beautiful — it’s because we choose it to be so,” continued Nabi, interweaving the scent’s name in English translation.
Also in the less-but-better vein, the new fragrance includes just 63 ingredients, rather than the typical hundreds. International Flavors & Fragrances perfumers Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo created the juice.
“We decided to concentrate on the most noble ingredients,” said Nabi.
La vie est belle contains iris (which resonates through the whole scent and incorporates Florence iris pallida concrete and iris aldehyde) and absolutes of sambac jasmine and Tunisian orange blossom, and fractionated Indonesian patchouli essence. There’s also a gourmand accord, including vanilla, tonka bean, praline, black currant and pear.
“We call it the first tasty iris,” the executive said, of La vie est belle.
For its bottle design, Lancôme executives mined the brand’s archives. In 1949, its then-artistic director Georges Delhomme created a miniature bottle only offered to VIP clients, since it was difficult to produce industrially.
“It was a square, and into the square there was a smile,” said Nabi, referring to an arc curving inside the linear flacon. “It was called ‘the crystal smile’ at this time.”
La vie est belle takes that form and around its neck is an organza ribbon with loose ends.
“We did these two organza wings that for us represent freedom,” said Nabi.
Roberts is seen as a fitting ambassador.
“The only person that could embody this kind of joyful femininity, this woman that could be all women at the same time — in their honesty, truth and diversity —is Julia Roberts,” explained Nabi. “She is sincere, had a life full of commitment and [is] a person that made clear choices. She…wrote a path to happiness that doesn’t look like anyone else’s.”
Lancôme signed on “Mirror Mirror” director Tarsem Singh to lens La vie est belle’s advertisement, which “could be a fairy tale of modern times,” said Nabi.
In the film, Roberts’ character arrives at a party chockablock with beautiful people. She’s increasingly ill at ease until she sees, reflected in a mirror, that no one acts on their own free will; their movements are directed by diamond-studded strands attached to their wrists, like puppets. Roberts notes that she is manipulated, too.
“Her decision is to break these threads and go for the path of her happiness,” said Nabi.
The film, destined for TV and the Internet, comes in 60-, 45- 30-second versions.
Carter Smith photographed the single- and double-page print ads, featuring a smiling Roberts and the fragrance bottle.
The actress, who is Lancôme’s global ambassador, has also appeared in ads for Hypnôse Precious Cells mascara, Teint Miracle foundation and Absolue skin care.
La vie est belle’s launch will start in mid-August in markets worldwide except Asia, where the fragrance is to be introduced in October.
In the U.S., the 30-, 50- and 75-ml. eau de parfum versions will retail for $55, $75 and $95, respectively. Ancillaries are to include a body lotion and a shower gel.
Lancôme executives would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate La vie est belle will generate $90 million in retail sales through the end of 2012.
The fragrance joins the brand’s other women’s scents, which include O de Lancôme, Miracle and Hypnôse alongside Trésor.
Lancôme has been off to a strong start already this year, when it’s been posting double-digit gains, spurred by the sale of products including Visionnaire, which since September 2011 has been the best-selling prestige skin care product in Europe. Other drivers include Rouge in Love lipstick and Lancôme’s nail polish.
The brand will build on its Génifique franchise with the introduction of Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl, which has a drop-shaped, rotating applicator in stainless steel. Billed as a 360-degree treatment to illuminate eyes, it is to be introduced in the U.S. in August and in Asia and Europe the following month. A 20-ml. bottle will sell for $68 in the U.S.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion