MILAN — Building on the success of last year’s award-winning Valentina, Valentino and Puig are launching Valentina Assoluto, which departs from the floral notes of the original eau de parfum and offers instead a deeper, more sensual absolute fragrance.
“This perfume is a real creation,” said Olivier Cresp of Firmenich, the nose who worked on both Valentina (with Alberto Morillas) and Valentina Assoluto. In a phone interview, Cresp explained that instead of starting off with the same olfactive group and changing a few ingredients, he chose an entirely different olfactive family — chypre — and then developed a bridge to the original fragrance. Valentina Assoluto, he said, is “much more nocturnal, more seductive,” than Valentina.
A majority of fragrances are floral, Cresp noted, but he chose chypre for its power and elegance, and deliberately included many Italian ingredients in the edp: the top notes include Italian bergamot, white Alba truffle from Piedmont and Smeggia peach from Sicily, with a heart of Mediterranean jasmine, tuberose and delicate vanilla from Madagascar, and a drydown of silky cedar, oakmoss, patchouli and chypre.
“The white flowers in question are hot and enveloping,” said Cresp. “It’s a strong perfume, one that brings a sense of mystery and noir. It’s also inspired by Valentino fashion,” he added, noting that designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli had been very involved in the fragrance’s conception. “They are very intuitive,” he said.
Puig, which signed a license agreement with the fashion house in 2011, prides itself on building intricate story lines behind each of its fragrances.
When fans last saw Valentina, a fictitious beauty portrayed by Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen, she was sneaking out of a swanky party at her parents’ Roman palazzo in favor of a night on the town with her friends. This time, the elusive young woman is absorbed in a private moment alone, quietly preparing for what is sure to be another stylish soiree.
“The concept is more linked to the evening, more intimate, more private — more haute couture,” explained José Manuel Albesa, chief brand officer at Puig. “It’s a more unique, upscale fragrance: the ultimate statement.”
Rome, where the Valentino fashion house was founded, is central to the plot in the new advertising campaign, shot at historical Villa Parisi by David Sims, who also worked on the original Valentina fragrance campaign. Designer Piccioli said that both Valentina’s home and the city are “full of secret places, hidden behind the facades of the ancient aristocratic palazzos.”
Chiuri, the brand’s other designer, said Villa Parisi is “full of mystery and charm, the same elements you can feel walking around the streets of Rome. Villa Parisi is a place of stunning beauty and rich history. It’s a one-of-a-kind location that evokes perfectly the Valentino style.” Valentino’s fall 2011 ready-to-wear campaign was shot at the same location.
Piccioli added that Erichsen — who modeled in the Valentina fragrance campaign and appears frequently on Valentino’s catwalk — “embodies the combination of sophistication and restlessness that is the essence of Valentina….She cannot be categorized. As soon as you think you understand her, she will surprise you.”
“She seems in total sync with the new generation, with what is happening today, and she has such a graceful allure,” agreed Albesa. “She embodies the femininity of Valentino.”
The fragrance bottle retains the gently rounded, ethereal shape of the original, but this time it is made of brown opaline glass with amber reflections. A single, pale pink rose graces the front, while the cap is in copper and topped with a black pearl. Chiuri and Piccioli have often combined nude and dark tones in their fashion designs, and the bottle is consistent with the duo’s color scheme. The 1.7-oz. version will cost 85 euros, or $107 at current exchange, and the 2.7-oz. version, 108 euros, or $137. Albesa would not disclose sales estimates, but industry sources speculate Valentina Assoluto could generate 30 million euros, or $38 million, in retail sales during its first year on the market.
Harrods in the U.K. will have an exclusive in July, and the rollout worldwide will take place in two phases: the first, which kicks off in August, will deliver the fragrance throughout Europe, Iberia, Russia, the Middle East and assorted travel retailers, before reaching Asia in October. The second wave will bring the scent to the U.S. market by April 2013 and throughout Latin America from March to September of that year.
“The U.S. is one of our main markets. The brand recognition there is huge,” Albesa affirmed, noting that Italy, the U.K. and Asia — where Valentino is expanding its fashion business — are other top markets for Valentino fragrances.
Total worldwide distribution will be more selective for Valentina Assoluto than for the original Valentina scent, starting off with about 4,200 doors and reaching an estimated 9,800 total over time.
Albesa emphasized Puig’s close rapport with Valentino and the cultural kinship between Italy and Spain that makes communication between the companies easier.
“For us, it’s important to translate the DNA of the fashion house. We are in constant contact with [the designers],” he said. “We love the Valentino woman, and we’re in absolute synchronization.”