Scent of a Showdown: Slew of Launches Set For Milan Men’s Shows

The only thing not launching a fragrance during the upcoming Milan men's fashion week appears to be the mosquitoes.

The only thing not launching a fragrance during the upcoming Milan men’s fashion week appears to be the mosquitoes.

This story first appeared in the June 20, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Starting Sunday, some of the biggest fashion names around will begin to roll out megaprojects that will only heighten the crescendo of what already has been a packed launch season. As the economy bites, retail sales sour and consumers become more cautious, beauty companies all seem to be shouting the same anthem: new, new, new.

The scale of ambition, particularly for Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men and Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme fragrances, has inspired global sales expectations that can only be described as cosmic. Retail volume targets, as estimated by industry sources, are flirting with a previously unimaginable $200 million. Here are the main players in next week’s fragrance takedown in Milan and New York.

– Emporio Armani is certain that Diamonds for Men will dramatically heighten the designer’s already dominant position in the global men’s fragrance market. The target for the U.S. alone is number one.

– Hyperactive trailblazer Tom Ford will open his new 10,000-square-foot men’s wear store in Milan while thinking of the fall launch of White Patchouli, as a counterpart to his other women’s scent, Black Orchid. “I wanted to reinvent patchouli,” said Ford. “I loved the idea of mixing patchouli with white florals.”

– Gucci is betting that Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme will emulate fall’s women’s version, which is on track to do $200 million in its first year, according to industry sources.

– Up-and-coming designer Victoria Beckham and husband David are coming up in the world. Their fragrance licensee Coty Inc. is so impressed by their rising profile that the company will distribute the Beckhams’ new Signature masterbrand in prestige outlets for the first time, instead of the mass market, as in the past.

– Prada will unveil its latest men’s scent, Infusion d’Homme, at its men’s fashion show in Milan on Sunday. “This scent is an important next step in our quest to build our fragrance business,” said Jose Manuel Albesa, general manager of Fragrance and Skincare SL, a venture between Prada and Puig.