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Armani Set to Launch Sensi

MILAN — Giorgio Armani has always said women should not just be noticed but also remembered.<br><br>Taking this cue is Giorgio Armani Sensi, a women’s fragrance that L’Oréal executives describe as a lasting sensorial discovery,...

MILAN — Giorgio Armani has always said women should not just be noticed but also remembered.

Taking this cue is Giorgio Armani Sensi, a women’s fragrance that L’Oréal executives describe as a lasting sensorial discovery, thanks to a strategic layering of notes. Earlier this week here, the designer presented Sensi in conjunction with a fashion show.

“If you were to talk to Mr. Armani, he would tell you that he hates the ‘fragrances of elevators,’ ” said Patricia Turck Paquelier, international brand president for L’Oréal’s Prestige & Collections division. Sensi is not a lingering affront, said Turck Paquelier, noting that “you see the woman, then you discover her in a subtle and fine way.”

“The way [Armani] expresses sensuality is different,” added Guillaume de Lesquen, international brand president for Giorgio Armani Parfums. De Lesquen and Turck Paquelier said Sensi is structured in such a way that it is hard to pin down the notes or families. Sensi’s juice, by Firmenich, has top notes of kaffir lime and cassie flower, followed by cape jasmine and barley at its heart. Base notes come from palisander wood, which has vanilla and benzoin undertones.

Sensi, which is produced and distributed through L’Oréal’s Prestige & Collections International, will arrive on European shelves, including travel retail, in October. The eau de parfum will roll out globally during the first six months of 2003. Sources indicate that a major U.S. launch is being planned for spring.

Turck Paquelier would not talk numbers, but industry sources say Sensi, could ring up $79 million in worldwide sales its first year. All figures were converted from the euro at current exchange rates.

Turck Paquelier said steady growth was more important than a first-year splash. Case in point is Acqua di Giò for Men, which she said has grown 20 percent annually since its 1995 launch.

Randy Raju, a London-based analyst for Merrill Lynch, noted that L’Oréal has done well in fragrances compared with other players in the sector. “Despite the downturn in travel retail and the economic downturn, L’Oréal fragrance sales [excluding Lancôme] still grew by 7 percent. L’Oréal is still putting resources behind its major brands and not letting them flounder.”

Still, while wholesale sales for L’Oréal fragrances excluding Lancôme grew 7.4 percent in 2001, that number is down from the 11.2 percent gain registered in 2000.

Among Armani fragrance launches, Mania, which bowed in 2000, directly precedes Sensi and is ranking within the top-five women’s fragrances in key countries, according to de Lesquen.

Armani women’s fragrances rank 12th worldwide, according to de Lesquen, who noted, “We have a high potential to develop the brand. It is an aspirational brand for women. It expresses sensuality in the Armani way by awakening the senses. It is like the thrill, the excitement when you wear a cashmere jacket.”

Fabien Baron designed Sensi’s outer packaging and transparent leaf-shaped bottle. The name of the fragrance appears in gold on the back of the bottle, and the brand name appears on the front. Viewed from the front, the names appear to overlap slightly. The gold cap and packaging have a fabriclike effect and were inspired by a Giorgio Armani dress. Sensi is available in two sizes of eau de parfum — a 50-ml. for $58 and a 100-ml. for $80 — and no ancillaries are planned.

Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou created the advertising campaign, which is a first for the director of “Raise the Red Lantern” and “Shanghai Triad.” The spot features the curvy movements of model Erin Wasson — who’s wearing a red Armani dress — in contrast with a rigid and simple wooden table. The TV and print campaign, which includes some billboards, will break in October.