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Marc Jacobs Talks Honey Fragrance

The new scent is intended to be a flanker to Jacobs’ August 2012 launch, Dot.

Marc Jacobs is saying hi to Honey, his latest fragrance, due out this summer.

This story first appeared in the May 17, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Honey is intended to be a flanker to Jacobs’ August 2012 launch, Dot. There are some design similarities between the two fragrances.

That he has launched 11 fragrance collections since his 2001 scent debut — and that he has a color cosmetics line on the horizon this fall with Sephora — is something Jacobs never expected, he told WWD.

“When we did the first fragrance, I felt I had arrived as a designer somehow,” he said. “I felt really legitimate and very credible because I had a designer fragrance. It was like a rite of passage, like a benchmark to being a designer. Now, it seems like every other couple of months we’re having another fragrance meeting about a new fragrance or a flanker or something. I never thought it would go this far, but I’m very happy that it has. I feel like beauty and fragrance really go hand in hand with any kind of look. I just feel the ritual of getting dressed and perfuming one’s self and applying makeup is part of the joy of fashion and getting dressed. I think of it as a finish, something that people love to indulge in. It’s part of the whole package.”

Jacobs loves all of his fragrances but said the whimsical Daisy still ranks as one of his favorites.

He and Ann Gottlieb concocted the Honey juice with Firmenich’s Annie Buzantian. It has top notes of pear, fruity punch and juicy mandarin; a heart of orange blossom, peach nectar and honeysuckle, and a drydown of honey, golden vanilla and smooth woods.

Eaux de parfum in three sizes — 1 oz. for $52, 1.7 oz. for $72 and 3.4 oz. for $92 — will be retailed, as will a 5-oz. body lotion, $45, and a 5-oz. shower gel, $40.

The whimsical Honey bottle sports white dots on the glass, glass butterflies with shimmering faux pearls at their centers; the juice is tinted pale gold. “The bottle is playful and polished, yet classic and elegant,” said Lori Singer, group vice president of global marketing at Coty Prestige, Jacobs’ scent licensee. “Like all of Marc’s other scents, it has a real point of view, driven by Marc’s love of polka dots and stripes.”

In the U.S., the scent will launch as a Sephora exclusive in July, entering Bloomingdale’s in late August. The remainder of the U.S. distribution, about 3,000 department and specialty store doors, will begin rolling out in September.

Singer noted that digital will be a major driver for the scent, adding that the brand spent close to 30 percent of its media budget for Dot on digital. In the U.S., Coty plans to up that to 50 percent for Honey. “We changed the game a bit on Dot,” said Singer, noting that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest were major drivers of the campaign. “We’re benchmarking off the key learnings from Dot for Honey.” Honey’s digital campaign will begin running in July.

Advertising, shot by Juergen Teller, will begin running in July fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. No model is featured; instead, a hero shot of the fragrance dominates the page. Sampling will include deluxe miniatures, scent seals and vials on card, Singer added.

While Jacobs and Singer declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Honey could do $80 million at retail globally, with about $35 million of that done in the U.S. The global advertising and promotional budget is estimated at $40 million globally, with about half of that spend to be done in the U.S.

Jacobs doesn’t rule out additional beauty categories, but he’s not actively seeking them out at the moment. “I feel like my dance card’s full right now,” he said. “We’re pretty booked. But we go forward as needed.” That doesn’t mean he won’t go back and freshen up some of his past projects, however. “Any kind of opportunity to design or to rethink, relook at things, I welcome and rise to the challenge of,” he said. Jacobs added that his first fragrance — a self-named offering originally launched in 2001 by the now-defunct American Designer Fragrances division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — was also undergoing a cosmetic makeover. “It will be the same fragrance, but we’re going to do a big redesign on the bottle,” he said. Coty Prestige acquired Jacobs’ scent license in 2003.