By  on June 8, 2007

The Giorgio Armani brand has become a beauty powerhouse, particularly in men's fragrances. But the designer's youthful, trendier label, Emporio Armani, has been another story. Now Armani's licensee, L'Oréal, intends to put Emporio on the fragrance map in September with the launch of its new Diamonds women's scent, with a boost by Beyoncé Knowles, who will sing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in a TV spot.

L'Oréal is shooting for a top-five global ranking. While L'Oréal does not break out figures, that high a ranking would require a global retail volume of 150 million euros, or $201 million, for the first full 12-month period.

"I wanted a fragrance that reflects the sparkle, strength, brilliance and sexiness of the Emporio Armani woman," said Armani in a statement. "It is for a 21st-century woman who is independent, confident, strong and feminine."

Giorgio Armani Parfums, a division of L'Oréal, hopes to build on the beachhead established in the women's market by the last feminine launch, Armani Code for women. "We established a leadership position in the men's category and a strong foothold in women's after the launch of Armani Code. This project allows us to reach a whole new audience," said Serge Jureidini, president of the Designer Fragrances Division, L'Oréal USA. "The Giorgio Armani brand has such great equity, and this launch includes the most ambitious plans for a women's fragrance under the Armani umbrella."

While Armani Code for women ranked in the top 15 at the end of last year, the fragrance climbed to ninth by Mother's Day. Ava Huang, vice president of Giorgio Armani Parfums, added that there is "an opportunity to build the overall Armani empire beyond what just Giorgio stands for." L'Oréal executives did not provide numbers, but industry sources estimate that the women's Code did more than $30 million at retail in 2006, the year after its launch. On the men's side, Armani has three fragrances in the top five.

"This feminine fragrance is a new vision for the Emporio line and it expresses a new vision of femininity with a seductive, dynamic and assertive way that is complimentary to Giorgio Armani women," said Renaud de Lesquen, international brand president of Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics.De Lesquen added that although Armani has experienced some difficulty in the women's category, Armani Code proved to the market that the brand was able to attract new customers.

"Armani Code for women in Europe ranks as top five in some of Europe's major markets including Germany, Italy and the U.K.," de Lesquen said.

Jureidini attributes the Emporio's struggle to gain traction in the U.S. to the company's focus on developing the Giorgio collections. "There's so much potential under the Giorgio Armani name, so we wanted to build the fragrance category," said Jureidini. "Being in such a strong position now, we feel it's the right time to build the Emporio brand."

Emporio Armani Diamonds will launch globally in about 20,000 doors and make its debut in 2,500 U.S. department store doors in September. Industry sources estimate that the massive launch could place Diamonds among the top-five fragrance brands with $50 million in first-year U.S. retail sales. Huang said the launch is also an attempt to reintroduce the Emporio brand to the American market. "Although Emporio Armani has a large presence across Europe, the U.S. has an extremely limited distribution in boutiques, select Sephora doors and online," said Huang.

"Emporio Armani is about a relationship and lifestyle," said Huang, who added that Emporio targets a slightly younger demographic, between the ages of 25 and 40, while Giorgio aims at consumers 35 and older.

Created by perfumer Thierry Wasser of Firmenich, Emporio Armani Diamonds is categorized as a gourmand floral, featuring top notes of lychee and raspberry; middle notes of rose, freesia and lily of the valley, and bottom notes of vetiver, cedar wood, patchouli and vanilla. De Lesquen added that this launch is a reinterpretation of the diamond symbol as an "excess of luxury, but with more audacious, optimistic, irresistible and irreplaceable facets."

The clear fragrance bottle and colorless juice were designed to emulate a diamond gem. Emporio Armani Diamonds will be available in three sizes: 1 oz. for $39.50, 1.7 oz for $49.50 and 3.4 oz for $69.50. The fragrance will also be available in an ancillary shower gel for $35 and a body lotion for $39.50."In the same way that [Marilyn] Monroe's song 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' is a classic, so is the femininity of a rose," said Nathalie Duran Thienot, vice president of international marketing of Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics. "We're using the rose but in a very gourmand way, like a flower that can be eaten."

As the face of the fragrance, Knowles will be featured in the print and television advertising campaign.

"Beyoncé is pure sensuality," said Armani. "She has that ability to mix it up: young and sexy or elegant and sophisticated, but always with incredible charisma and magnetism. She's been so successful at crossing boundaries from music to film to fashion, and as a result, she's become an icon for the generation."

The TV advertising campaign, shot by Jack Nava, and the print campaign feature Knowles wearing an Armani dress and shoes encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Industry sources estimate that the print and TV advertising campaign will cost around $10 million.

The TV campaign will appear mainly on cable, while the print campaign will launch in about 15 September women's fashion, beauty, lifestyle and entertainment books. Some 50 million scented impressions will also be distributed.

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