To Oscar de la Renta, fragrance is not much different from fashion. Now, with Essential Luxuries, a new sextet of women’s scents launching in September, he has created a collection which references his most loved people, places and things.
Why six, as opposed to one? “We don’t change the way we look on a daily basis, but we may want to change the way we smell,” said de la Renta during an exclusive interview at his Manhattan offices this week. “A woman now wants to represent herself in many different ways, at different times. There is a world that is wide open to women, with a lot of choices. I no longer think a woman is married to one fragrance.”
Over the years, the charismatic designer’s name has certainly had staying power in the beauty space as well as the fashion space. De la Renta’s original women’s scent, Oscar, was launched in 1977 and is considered an American classic. Over the years, his fragrance license has been held by a series of licensees, culminating in a court fight with L’Oréal, and an arbitration, which de la Renta won. He and Alexander Bolen, chief executive officer at Oscar de la Renta, took the license back in house and immediately set out to reinforce the brand’s high-end luxury positioning.
In 2011, de la Renta made his reentry into the business prior to Mother’s Day with the introduction of an updated eau de parfum version of his Oscar scent called Esprit d’Oscar Eau de Parfum. “We’ve been very pleased with our progress,” said Bolen. “Our intention with this is to continue the rehabilitation and elevation of our [beauty] brand, which had lost its way a little bit over the last decade or so. It’s a very personal collection that tells the consumer not only are we a prestigious fragrance house, but what that means. Who better to tell that story than Oscar?”
Each of the Essential Luxuries fragrances have important meanings to de la Renta. Santo Domingo, a tabac-based scent named for the designer’s birthplace in the Dominican Republic, opens with citrus notes, which blend into notes of sweet and spicy mandarin, coriander, patchouli and tobacco.
Granada, inspired by the gardens of the Alhambra in Spain, is what the designer calls a romantic citrus floral, with key notes of bigarade and bergamot, supported by jasmine, orange and rose. “It’s a magical place that has great romantic memories for me,” de la Renta said, adding that he proposed marriage to his wife there privately, after the gardens were closed for the day. The neck of the fragrance bottles have a intertwined symbol which is based on a tile at the Alhambra, he added, and it is used throughout the de la Renta design universe.
Oriental Lace, a dark oriental with gourmand elements, references his ready-to-wear collection. It has notes of hoya carnosa, a chocolate-scented vine which de la Renta grows in his Punta Cana home, as well as honey, bitter almond, dark cacao, clove and patchouli notes.
Mi Corazon, inspired by the designer’s daughter Eliza (the company’s creative director of licensing) and their shared love of ylang ylang, is a floral juice with a lush accord of tuberose, hand-picked ylang ylang and peach.
Sargasso, named for the deep blue-green sea surrounding the beach of the designer’s Punta Cana home, has juniper, lemon and cucumber notes, referencing the beachy scent of the abundant marine vegetation which washes up on his beach there. “You can extract a lot of different, really good things out of it,” he said, suggesting it could form the base of a future skin-care line.
Coralina is a ladylike floral named for a coral-colored stone indigenous to the Dominican Republic, which is used in abundance in the designer’s home there and in his boutiques. It is a blend of violet, mimosa and orris, with woody green notes.
All six were concocted by Givaudan’s Calice Becker working with de la Renta. A digital quiz, Scent Stylist, is intended to lead consumers to their perfect de la Renta scent match.
Each scent will retail for $150 for 3.4-oz. bottles. All are eaux de parfum except Sargasso, which is an eau de cologne. The scents, which will launch on Sept. 6 at Fashion’s Night Out, will be exclusive to Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fifth Avenue flagship, saks.com, Oscar de la Renta boutiques and oscardelarenta.com to start.
“We want to launch a truly prestige product and we want to launch it in important wholesale accounts around the world, but not a broad distribution,” said Bolen, adding that additional scents are likely to join the collection going forward. It will enter additional Saks doors next year. “This is by design a niche product,” said Bolen.
While executives declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the collection could do between $500,000 and $1 million at retail in its first year on counter.
Eventually, Bolen and de la Renta plan to branch out into additional beauty categories. “We have a little nail lacquer experiment right now,” said Bolen of the limited-edition collection of three shades — which were shown on models at de la Renta’s rtw show in February — with Who What Wear, a fashion Web site and blog.
“It’s a way for us to really see how customers think of the Oscar de la Renta name in beauty products,” said Bolen. “We think color is a natural — Oscar is so known for his use of color. I expect that for the runway in September that we will have more shades, as well as some lip shades. The great thing about the digital world is that it does allow for some experimentation, if one is not afraid to have something not work out. I think that a full color cosmetics line is complicated, but the idea of lip and nail is tremendously appealing. It’s a competitive world, but it seems to us a logical fit for our brand.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews