Marc Jacobs is showing off his sunny new attitude with Daisy Marc Jacobs, his latest women's scent.
"I feel very good," said the designer during an exclusive phone interview Wednesday afternoon. He has just returned to the East Coast after a stint in rehab.
"I just got back to New York and I'm trying to get back into the gym and doing yoga. Lately, most days I've spent taking care of myself, but there's a lot to do [in the office], and I'm ready to get it done. I'm on top of the world."
His new positive mood wasn't even dented by a minor run-in with a glass door in his office. Minutes before the interview, Jacobs — engrossed in other thoughts — walked straight into a sliding door and injured his nose. "Actually, when I'm not running into doors, I have a pretty good sense of smell," he quipped.
Daisy, due this August, takes style cues from Marc by Marc Jacobs, the designer's diffusion line — but Jacobs is adamant that it isn't a secondary fragrance.
"I don't want to get too artsy about inspiration, but there is a sense memory, a reference, in fragrances," said Jacobs. "Daisies don't smell, but I wanted to evoke the feeling that you get when you see them — happy and youthful. My gardenia and jasmine scents [Marc Jacobs for women and Blush Marc Jacobs, respectively] are more singular and definitely more ‘designer' scents. I don't want to say they're older, but they're more sophisticated."
Daisy, a sparkling floral created with Firmenich's Alberto Morillas, has top notes of wild strawberry, violet leaves and ruby red grapefruit; a heart of gardenia, violet petals and jasmine petals, and a drydown of musk, vanilla infusion and white woods. The collection includes eaux de toilette in two sizes, a 1.7-oz. bottle for $55 and 3.4-oz. version for $70; a 5-oz. body lotion for $32; a 5-oz. shower gel for $30, and a 5-oz. Velvet Body Butter for $35.
Jacobs' first scent, an eponymous floral juice with gardenia, was launched in September 2001. Its target market is women thirtysomething and up, noted Michael D'Arminio, vice president of global marketing for the Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang fragrance brands at Coty Prestige. D'Arminio believes that 18- to 24-year-olds will be the "sweet spot" for Daisy.However, Jacobs doesn't believe in putting too narrow an age target on his scents.
"I think customers are a variety of ages, and they know what's right for them," he said. "It's never about age, but about a spirit and sensitivity. Any creative choice isn't done by math or focus groups. You do something that has integrity and you make creative choices, and you get it out there and see what happens."
Jacobs' fragrance business also includes Marc Jacobs Men, launched in September 2002; Blush, a women's scent with jasmine, launched in September 2003, and Splash, a multiscent lineup introduced in spring 2006. "For the past three years, we have been keenly focused on our global distribution strategy rather than a lot of launch activity," said Catherine Walsh, senior vice president, American Fragrances for Coty Prestige, adding that in-store activities have been a particular strength. "In North America, our business in specialty stores and high-end department stores has grown 21 percent in the past year alone. In Europe, we have had three years of double-digit increases, with the average being 53 percent — the U.K. being the key market for us in Europe. Now, it is time to go big with Daisy. Our goal is to more than double our global volume."
For his part, Jacobs is 100 percent behind these efforts. "It's really been rewarding to make this foray into fragrance," he said. "I keep running into strangers who come up to me and say my fragrances are their favorite, and it's fun to smell them on people on the street. We've had a nice relationship with Coty. It all feels very in sync [with the Marc Jacobs collections.]"
Daisy's distribution will be wider than that of its sister scents. While Jacobs' higher-end fragrances are currently available in about 900 doors in the U.S., Daisy will be sold in 1,500 to 1,800 U.S. department and specialty store doors. Bloomingdale's will have a one-month exclusive on the scent, which will then roll out to the remainder of the planned distribution. Daisy will make its debut in the U.S., the U.K. and France simultaneously and will be global within six months, said D'Arminio.The fragrance is topped by three flexible plastic daisies affixed to a gold cap. "I love how tactile the cap is," said Jacobs. "It's really a juxtaposition with the bottle, which is sophisticated. It's bold and playful at the same time, as is the fragrance." Outer packaging is a daisy-chain-edged black box with gold printing. "The project is all about sunshine and happiness, and we wanted a classic carton," said D'Arminio.
Print advertising, shot by Juergen Teller in Hawaii and featuring model Irena K., will break in September fashion, beauty, teen and lifestyle magazines.
While D'Arminio declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimated that the scent would do about $55 million at retail globally in its first year on counter, about half of that figure expected to be generated by U.S. sales. Industry sources estimated the brand's advertising and promotional budget at about $15 million in the U.S.
Sampling will include deluxe miniatures, vials on cards and scented pieces, said D'Arminio.
Jacobs planned to leave Thursday for Provincetown, Mass., where he and business partner Robert Duffy are opening a seasonal Marc by Marc Jacobs store. "It's great that Robert and I continue to trust our whims and instincts and pursue them," said Jacobs. "We really believe in the community. Robert has a house up there, and while I've only been once, I loved it. I appreciate the artistic community and, of course, I have an affinity to the gay community. We're excited to open there."
Next, Jacobs will concentrate on his upcoming resort line, and has just launched children's clothing and a tabletop collection with Waterford. "It's a lot of fun to set my table with it all," he said.
Jacobs is also rocking a new look, headlined by a close-cropped haircut that he introduced during a birthday shopping outing with Naomi Campbell on April 9. (He just turned 44.)
"I supported my fellow designers that day," he said wryly, adding that Dior jackets and Lanvin shoes were among his purchases.
Are more fragrances on the horizon for Jacobs? "I'm famous for saying we'll see," he said, "but we'll see what happens with this one. I think it will do well, and I'd like to do others."
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