Given its Greta Garbo-like founding designer, Maison Martin Margiela’s first perfume, to be unveiled in Paris in October, is a subject of great curiosity and mystery, sure to prompt L’Oréal to take some new steps — clad in Margiela’s signature cleft-toed boots, perhaps? — in designer fragrance marketing.
“We are trying to do a real Margiela project,” says Giovanni Pungetti, Margiela’s chief executive officer, dressed in a rough-hewn leather jacket, faded jeans and white, vintage-looking sneakers that are among the Belgian designer’s signatures. For example, while there will surely be advertising — a first foray for the 20-year-old brand, Pungetti assures, “We won’t have a billboard in Times Square or Piccadilly Circus.”
Nor will the scent be based on patchouli, an earthy and heavy fragrance that has been wafting through Margiela’s unconventional, all-white boutiques since the mid-Nineties. “It would be too obvious,” he sniffs. The executive declines to give many details, but says the fragrance, an eau de toilette for women, is “not something in line with trends, which is very Margiela.” Indeed, the brand’s quirky and clever fashions range from vintage to futuristic, from rustic to synthetic, suggesting the fragrance could come from anywhere left field — albeit not too far. Fabien Baron, a close ally of L’Oréal, designed the bottle, in concert with Margiela’s creative team.
“We want it to be a very selective project, even if the business plan is ambitious,” Pungetti says. “Of course, we can’t do something too extreme.”
At the time of the interview, L’Oréal and Margiela were still defining the promotional effort behind the scent, due on counters in February or March, recognizing that traditional approaches wouldn’t work for a brand whose fashion-show invitation last season resembled a scratch-and-win lottery ticket, and whose idea of a holiday present ranges from all-white dice to a wishbone, painted white.
Next up will be a men’s fragrance, possibly as early as 2011, depending on market conditions and reaction to the women’s scent.
Margiela’s fashion business, controlled by Italian industrialist Renzo Rosso since 2002, has been on a strong growth track, having expanded its retail network and introduced an array of new product lines, from leather goods and eyewear to fine jewelry and men’s suits. Last year, revenues rose around 20 percent to 70 million euros, or $103 million at average exchange.
The house’s elusive founder and creative director recently reduced his day-to-day involvement in the business, but remains closely involved in the fragrance project, Pungetti says.
Pungetti credited the late Patricia Turck-Paquelier, international brand president of L’Oréal’s Prestige & Collection International division, for spearheading the project and articulating the brand essence within the conglomerate. “We are challenged to do something never done before,” she told WWD at the time the deal was struck. “The DNA of Martin Margiela is intimate and personal.
“The best tribute we could give to her is to be successful,” Pungetti says.
To be sure, the fragrance will bring an off-the-mainstream brand to the attention of a wider public. “There’s a lot of intelligent people in the world who don’t know us yet,” he says. “I love the idea of opening this little door.”
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