Speed Racer

Groupe Clarins is adding some horsepower to the Porsche Design portfolio, which is expanding into fragrance.

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Groupe Clarins is adding some horsepower to the Porsche Design portfolio, which is expanding into fragrance. A new men’s scent, called The Essence by Porsche Design, has been developed jointly by the beauty firm and the Porsche SE subsidiary that produces high-end accessories. The scent could generate up to $23.4 million in global retail sales during its first four months.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The first olfactive creation — a men’s scent — from Porsche Design Group is revving up to bow this fall.

Called The Essence by Porsche Design, it was developed jointly by the Porsche SE subsidiary producing high-end accessories and Groupe Clarins’ Parfums Azzaro. As reported, the two companies signed a long-term beauty license agreement in June 2006.

Gérard Delcour, president of Parfums Azzaro and Porsche Design Fragrances, explained Porsche Design had been searching for — among other criteria — a family owned company with savoir faire in fragrance. Parfums Azzaro, meantime (under the Clarins-Courtin family’s auspices), had been looking for a another strong brand to add further muscle to its scent business.

“It is a name everyone knows; next to ‘Porsche’ is the word ‘design,’ which is something modern and in the l’air du temps,” said Delcour, adding that the pairing of names “gives a strong brand.”

Porsche Design, based near Stuttgart, Germany, was started in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of the famed carmaker. A trained designer, he first worked in his family’s car company, where he designed the fabled 911, and then began the design firm, where he remained until retiring in 2003.

Since then, Porsche Design has focused on growing its brand visibility through enlarging its mostly accessories selection, which already runs the gamut from sunglasses to watches to pens, and also its door count. (The plan is to double its sales points in the next few years from around 60 today.) The company has numerous projects to create everything from high-rise buildings to cell phones, as well.

“It is based on refined design,” said Brigitte Lacaze, international marketing manager for Porsche Design Fragrances, who added that Porsche Design’s creations are always functional, timeless and masculine.

One molecule — Artical, from International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) — was the starting point for The Essence by Porsche Design’s fresh aromatic woody juice.

“We wanted an ultrafresh fragrance, but not with a marine freshness,” said Lacaze, who explained Azzaro executives had envisioned an urban, cultured, intelligent, sporty, sensual man in the 25-to-50 age range as the user.

The idea is to take him on an olfactive journey to the polar north through the scent created by IFF’s Anne Flipo and Bruno Jovanovic. Its top notes include Artical (for a fresh though not an icy scent), juniper and blueberry. Among heart notes are Russian coriander, black pepper and Siberian pine, and in the base are notes of fir balsam, patchouli and incense.

Porsche Design Studio, Porsche Design’s creative center in Zell am See, Austria, was given the remit of creating a fragrance bottle that likewise transports consumers. Its color — glacial blue — is meant to evoke the feeling of ultrafreshness, said Lacaze. The brushed aluminum detail gives a nod to technical elements found in Porsche Design products.

The agency behind the advertisement, featuring The Essence bottle, is K.E.K. The single-page ad was photographed by Karsten Thormaehlen and the 10- and 20-second films, currently destined for TV, were shot by Olivier Maier.

In-store merchandising includes a uni-dose fragrance dispenser resembling a coffeemaker.

Starting in around early October, the scent will be introduced in selective distribution, plus Porsche Design sales points and travel-retail locations in Europe, the Middle East and North America. In the U.S., the scent will be launched in Bloomingdale’s during the first week of October, followed by Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom during the first week of November. The second phase of The Essence rollout, starting in early 2009, will include Latin America, Asia and Africa.

While Azzaro executives would not discuss sales projections, industry sources say the scent will generate $21.1 million to $23.4 million in retail sales during its first four months. Of that, the U.S. should generate $1.5 million. For 2009, The Essence should generate up to $41.8 million at retail worldwide.

In the U.S., the Porsche Design collection will include a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette spray for $54; a 2.7-oz. edt spray for $70; a 6.7-oz. hair and body shampoo for $28, and a 2.5-oz. stick deodorant for $20. A 2.7-oz. “luxury” edt spray (in black glass) for $80 is due to come out in the U.S. in November.




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