Emperor’s New Clothes

Original Penguin, founded in 1955, is getting into fragrance.

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Pete the Penguin is getting a signature fragrance.

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

An Original Penguin by Munsingwear, a men’s scent slated to be launched at Nordstrom later this month, is the 56-year-old brand’s first fragrance.

The eau de toilette, which is described as an oriental, was produced by Original Penguin’s licensee, Falic Fashion Group. It will come in two sizes: A 3.4-oz. version for $65 and a 1.7-oz. size for $50.

Jerome Falic, chief executive officer of Duty Free Americas, parent of Falic Fashion Group, said the deal with sportswear and accessories firm Original Penguin puts the fragrance marketer “more into specialty brands.

“We have expanded distribution with the various brands we’ve signed,” said Falic. To name a couple, Falic Fashion Group markets Eva Longoria’s fragrance (her second is in development, according to Falic) as well as Perry Ellis scents.

After a “short” exclusive stint at Nordstrom — and a debut at Original Penguin’s own stores — An Original Penguin by Munsingwear is to roll out to Dillard’s and Lord & Taylor. Falic said the scent could reach full distribution of about 800 doors in the second half of this year.

Industry sources speculate the fragrance could do upward of $10 million in first-year retail sales, with some $4 million earmarked for a national print ad campaign in men’s fashion and lifestyle magazines.

Fragrance Resources composed the scent, which has opening notes of purple sage, neroli and golden apple; a heart of black pepper, fir needle and lavender, and dries down into notes of red patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla noir and dark musk.

Falic noted his firm and Original Penguin worked “closely” to design the packaging and the formulation.

The clear scent’s bottle is transparent at the base and features a gradient from its base to a brown hue at the top of the bottle — brown combined with blue is a popular motif of the brand. A magnet holds the metal cap onto the collar.

The Original Penguin fashion brand, which was relaunched in 2003 by its owner Perry Ellis International, is planning retail growth, driven by a strategy of store openings in the U.S. and abroad.

“We’re looking to become stronger in our retail business,” Ann Payne, senior vice president of merchandising and design, told WWD earlier this year. The firm is expecting to open about five stores in key U.S. cities, as well as seven to 10 overseas units, within the next year.

Original Penguin currently operates seven full-price stores and three outlets around the country and 27 stores globally, in South America, South Africa, the Philippines and the U.K. “We’re also looking at growing in Canada and Europe,” Payne added.

With Pete the Penguin as its logo, Original Penguin had its beginnings in the Munsingwear underwear factory in Minneapolis and started out as a golf brand, worn by athletes such as Arnold Palmer and celebrities including Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

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