PARIS — Showing a desire to build on the rarity and craftsmanship of its most exquisite baubles, Van Cleef & Arpels is launching a fragrance line this fall that is resolutely more upscale and exclusive than its past scents.
Called Collection Extraordinare, it is being billed as a perfumer’s offering as opposed to Van Cleef’s other scents, including First and Gem, which shine more emphasis on the house’s jewelry heritage. Comprising six fragrances, the Extraordinaire line is rather meant to capture an aura of ultimate luxury.
When it rolls out worldwide in September, each 75-ml. eau de parfum spray will retail for 130 euros in Europe and $175 in the U.S.
The scents’ minimalist packaging, designed by Carret Basset, also shows a desire to communicate luxury through absence and discretion plus pared-down, old-style chic with a simple label and script on simple rectangular bottles, according to Philippe Benacin, chief executive officer of Inter Parfums SA, which holds the Van Cleef fragrance license.
Moreover, there will be no advertising campaign to promote Extraordinaire, which — according to industry sources — is expected to generate between 1.5 million and 2 million euros, or $2.1 million to $2.8 million at current exchange, in retail sales worldwide between its September launch and yearend.
“Luxury is sometimes about absence, detail and discretion,” said Benacin.
The fragrances’ distribution will be limited to about 1,000 doors worldwide, including Van Cleef’s 50 shops.“This project was really about the juices,” said Benacin. “It’s not a marketing product. It’s an artistic endeavor. In fact, I don’t know what the market for it is.”
“It’s high perfume,” continued Van Cleef ceo Stanislas de Quercize. “It’s the equivalent of our high jewelry. The goal was to surprise and be creative and not do what people would expect. That’s why there are six fragrances being launched at once.”
De Quercize explained the starting point for the scents was a recent Van Cleef high jewelry collection based on types of gardens. But as the project played out, no obvious references were imposed and the line assumed an identity of its own, he said. It would take a very keen Van Cleef aficionado to even know the fragrances had more than a veiled reference to any one of the house’s particular products.
The results are: • Gardénia Pétale (or Gardenia Petal), by Symrise’s Nathalie Feisthauer, a light, feminine juice that plays not on the fruity side of the flower, but more on its petals.
• Orchidée Vanille (or Vanilla Orchid), by Symrise’s Randa Hammami, an orchid-based fragrance with notes of vanilla and a hint of almond.
• Lys Carmin (or Carmine Lily), by Givaudan’s Nathalie Cetto, mixes the heady odor of a lily with spicy notes, such as pink peppercorn and cinnamon.
• Muguet Blanc (or White Lily of the Valley), by Givaudan’s Antoine Maisondieu, playing lily of the valley off hints of musk.• Bois d’Iris (or Iris Wood), by Symrise’s Emilie Coppermann, a woody scent with notes of iris, myrrh, labdanum, incense and gray amber • Cologne Noire (or Black Cologne), by Symrise’s Marc Buxton, a woody cologne including notes of pepper, bergamot, bitter orange and mandarin. Another fragrance will most likely be added to the line and a limited edition box set with all six scents is to be sold in Van Cleef stores.
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