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For Taylor Swift, her life and her music are one in the same. Now Elizabeth Arden hopes that the superstar’s horde of fervent fans will view Wonderstruck — her first fragrance — as part of that continuum.
This story first appeared in the July 15, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The name of the women’s scent came from “Enchanted,” a Swift song about meeting someone: “Wonderstruck, blushing all the way home.”
Reached via e-mail in Los Angeles Wednesday, where she was nursing a bad case of laryngitis, the 21-year-old four-time Grammy Award winner stated: “I share personal life experiences through my music, and my fragrance will allow me to share these experiences with my fans in a completely different and new way. Falling in love is a moment every girl daydreams about and Wonderstruck represents that magical feeling of promise and hope and intrigue. It was fascinating to learn that you can layer so many different scents to create a beautiful end result.”
Arden, Swift’s fragrance licensee, expects to cut a swath through the fragrance market, considering that the country crossover superstar has more than 23 million Facebook fans and many millions on Twitter. Clearly Arden expects to take advantage of her cyber ranking as a digital superstar. The singer has her own social media platform so that she never is out of touch with her fans. As a further outreach, the company is preparing an extensive sampling campaign, including 37 million scented strips. There even is a sampling effort planned for Facebook.
“She has global star power,” said Lori Mariano, director of global marketing at Elizabeth Arden Inc. “That, coupled with her fan adoration, shows she’s really going to make an indelible mark in this fragrance industry.”
Arden is thinking so big that the company has planned the launch in two phases, taking two years to cover the world. The fragrance will be shipped in September for the October on-counter date to about 3,400 doors in a short list of markets: the U.S., Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. introduction will include stores such as Macy’s, Belk’s and Dillard’s, as well as specialty chains Sephora and Ulta. The full overseas rollout will follow 12 months later in the fall of 2012. The company’s strategy is to get traction in the U.S., then spread out to the rest of the world.
Arden executives declined to give projections, but industry sources estimate the fragrance could generate as much as $50 million in retail sales on a global basis in the first year.
The product itself is a composite of the singer’s tastes. The scent is a gourmand floral, designed to appeal to not only her tastes, but to her fan base of 12- to 34-year-olds. Working with Givaudan perfumer Olivier Gillotin, Arden came up with a scent featuring freesia, green tea, apple blossom, raspberry and dewberry on top. The middle notes include Hawaiian White Hibiscus, hibiscus and honeysuckle. Vanilla runs through the structure reinforcing the gourmand aspect. The midrange is designed to give “a natural, modern feel,” Mariano said, while the bottom is meant to seem “warm, cozy and sensual” with musk, peach and sandalwood.
Taylor observed in her e-mail: “Writing songs is a process unlike anything else, and I’ll never experience anything like it. However, coming up with ideas for this fragrance and the packaging and message of it reminded me of what it’s like to plan an album launch. You come up with a theme that represents all these tiny moving parts, a sum of all the planning and creating. Then it goes out into the world and becomes a part of people’s daily lives.”
The Arden executives said Taylor was involved in the process, giving direction in the beginning, then commenting throughout the trial process. Ultimately, she tried the final two submissions and ended up picking, coincidentally, the one that had tested the best and that Arden executives were leaning toward. “She said, ‘This is the one I want,’” Mariano recalled.
Taylor also worked closely with vice president, creative at Elizabeth Arden Paul McLaughlin, combining her penchant for collecting fabrics from around the world, her love of purple and objects that have meaning for her, such as a Moravian star, birdcage and dove. “She loves this idea of hidden messages and codes,” Mariano said. The number 13 was included in the design because Swift is one of the few people who consider it lucky. The surface of the bottle was given an iridescent glow.
The scent will be priced $49.50 for a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum and $59.50 for a 3.4-oz. size; there will also be an $18 roller ball, $29 body lotion and $25 bath gel in 6.8-oz. containers.
Once she nurses her throat back to health (after missing concerts, Swift was scheduled to resume performing Thursday night), the singer will continue finishing the final U.S. leg of her world tour. Since January, her statuesque figure has been a familiar sight in 50,000-seat stadiums. Asked what fashion looks put her at ease, she replied, “I love to wear dresses. I like red lipstick and winged eyeliner.” She lists her favorite shopping spots as Free People and Anthropologie.
“Usually, I just wear my hair curly or wavy because my hair is naturally curly,” she adds. “My comfort hairstyle is a messy side braid.”