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Viktor & Rolf Aiming for ‘Mega’ Hit

Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are storytellers. So is it any surprise the starting point for their second women's fragrance was the name?

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PARIS — Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are storytellers. So is it any surprise the starting point for their second women’s fragrance was, just like their first, the name?


“We thought of the name Eau Mega because we wanted something that would complement Flowerbomb,” said Horsting, referring to the debut scent launched for the label in 2004 with Viktor & Rolf’s beauty license-holder L’Oréal. “Whereas Flowerbomb was a very sensual, gourmand and oriental fragrance, we wanted to create a fragrance that is fresh but not sporty or natural.”

“In the perfume business, an eau is often connected to something sporty or natural,” added Snoeren. “And we thought it would be nice to have a mega eau that is an eau but very feminine and glamorous.”

“So that’s how we thought of the word ‘eau,’ and, by association, we thought of Eau Mega,” explained Horsting. “We also like the play of words.”

A brief for a fresh, feminine and glamorous scent was given to International Flavors & Fragrances perfumers Olivier Polge and Carlos Benaim, who also conceived Flowerbomb’s juice.

“We wanted to create a big perfume that had the quality of freshness and fluidity of water,” said Ladan Lari, international managing director of Viktor & Rolf Fragrances. So there’s an aquatic entry with green notes, such as violet leaf, green basil and pear.

“The ‘mega’ part is about the flowery heart,” continued Lari. There, notes include peony, sambac jasmine and Italian primofiore lemon. “And then, it finishes up with something very warm, very creamy and enveloping,” she said, of the cedar, cashmere wood, sandalwood and white musk notes. “As always, Viktor and Rolf wanted contrasts. So the perfumers came up with something very cold at the start that finishes up with a warm end.”

Horsting and Snoeren, who have a penchant for old-time bulb spray atomizers, worked with Fabien Baron of Baron & Baron to come up with a newfangled version, encapsulated in their signature V&R seal. The pump system integrated into the gold-colored cap was patented under the name Megamizer.

“I think we were specifically looking for the feminine touch, because the name has a slight masculine touch,” said Snoeren. To spritz Eau Mega, either side of the seal is squeezed.

Said Horsting: “It’s like you press on the symbol of our universe.”

“And the imagination comes out,” added Snoeren.

Viktor & Rolf’s particular brand of surreal imagination seeps into Eau Mega’s advertising image. It features the Eau Mega bottle and Raquel Zimmermann swathed in wafting gold fabric. She’s like a superhero, towering above New York’s skyscrapers. The single- and double-page ad was shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

“We wanted to express this feeling of ‘megafying’ yourself, like when you use this fragrance, you become the best, biggest megaversion of yourself, whoever you are,” said Horsting.

Eau Mega, which Viktor & Rolf executives liken to ready-to-wear, versus Flowerbomb’s more couture positioning, is nonetheless priced the same as its predecessor. A 30-ml. Eau Mega eau de parfum spray will sell in the U.S. for $75; the 50-ml. version, for $100, and the 75-ml. edition, for $140.

Eau Mega is to be introduced in the Netherlands in mid-September and the rest of the world in October. The scent will be in 4,500 stores globally, or about one-quarter of the selective market’s total distribution.

Viktor & Rolf executives would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate Eau Mega will generate $25 million in wholesale revenues during its first 12 months worldwide.

Meanwhile, Flowerbomb keeps building momentum. For instance, in sell-out terms, it was up approximately 20 percent in France, 50 percent in the U.S. and 30 percent in Spain for the January-to-June period, according to Lari. She added it ranks first in U.S. specialty stores.

A second men’s fragrance for the brand, after Antidote, is in the works.

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