Diesel chief Renzo Rosso has definitely overcome his lifelong dislike for perfumes — which he openly admitted to only three years ago. “I always thought that nature and our skin give us a scent, and that a fragrance would alter it,” Rosso says during an interview in April at the company’s sprawling Milan headquarters.
Rosso credits the late Patricia Turck-Paquelier, international brand president of the L’Oréal Prestige & Collection International division, who died in January, and her “open mind” for first establishing a connection between the two companies. Setting up a team exclusively dedicated to Diesel helped win over Rosso, and he has been growing a global fragrance business for his company — with best-selling scents distributed in more than 19,000 doors in 51 countries — with L’Oréal ever since.
Rosso — head of the $1.94 billion Only the Brave Srl empire, which owns the Diesel brand — was actively involved in the creation of the scents and said that to personally test them was “the only way to understand” if they would work. Now, he says, he wears his fragrances every day. “So many people tell me they like them, so I am myself a testimonial.”
More practically, Rosso, a shrewd marketing wiz, was well aware that “to diversify was a natural and obligatory step to channel Diesel’s lifestyle and enhance the brand.” As with his other licenses, though, Rosso did not want to compromise on what Diesel stands for, and says that, while “L’Oréal is the best company in the world,” he admits he was “afraid” of the new venture, given L’Oréal’s multinational scale. Diesel, founded by Rosso in 1978, formerly had a fragrance license with Germany’s Marbert Holdings that ended in 2004.
In summer 2007, Rosso swept into the market in his typical unconventional way. He put in motion a viral Internet marketing campaign to spark interest in the new fragrances, Fuel for Life for Her and Fuel for Life for Him, and reached 50 independent blog sites. As a teaser, L’Oréal created an anti–marketing campaign: a fake activist organization on the Internet urged viewers to join a movement opposing legalization of what was referred to as Fuel for Life. The signed-up members were later redirected to the Diesel Web site, which morphed into an e-commerce proposition. It was estimated at the time that L’Oréal spent nearly $20 million in the U.S. alone for ads and promotion.
L’Oréal and Diesel translated the idea of jeans into packaging. For Fuel for Life, slender oval-shaped flacons are “dressed” in covers as diverse as a fishnet ivory stocking or a tan canvas slipjacket, with a side zip, stitching and leather tab. For the launch, 20,000 additional bottles were allocated for customization on Diesel’s Web site, and customers could order from 8,000 possible combinations of pouch fabric and color, flacon caps and logos.
Last fall, Diesel launched a women’s flanker, Fuel for Life Unlimited.
Diesel’s first solo men’s fragrance, Only the Brave, was presented in January. The scent is bottled in a flacon shaped like a clenched fist, sporting a silver Diesel ring on the third and fourth fingers. The hand was inspired by Rosso’s own — particularly his RR finger tattoos.
Diesel did not provide sales for its fragrance business under the 10-year license, but, upon the launch of Fuel for Life, Rosso said the company aimed to build this business to represent 35 percent of the company’s volume.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
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)