RABANNE GOES TO XS FOR WOMEN

Byline: Sarah Raper

PARIS--Paco Rabanne Parfums is betting that Europeans will be so overwhelmed by the fall blitz of new fragrances that when they finally reach for their wallets at Christmas, they'll buy the newest one--XS Pour Elle.
Arriving last on perfumery shelves in a season boasting 10 major fragrance launches is key to the success of Rabanne's new women's scent. It will make its debut Nov. 8 in France, the U.K., Ireland, Belgium and the Middle East.
A rollout to other countries, including the U.S., is set for spring.
In France, where XS Pour Elle will be launched in 1,800 doors, sales for 1994 are expected to total $5.7 million (30 million francs), according to Mariano Puig, president of Paco Rabanne Parfums and scion of the Barcelona family that owns the Rabanne fragrance and fashion businesses.
The men's XS had achieved worldwide sales for its first year, which ended in June, of just under $50 million, outpacing the company's previous bestseller, Pour Homme. As with that successful launch, Rabanne is targeting an 18-to-25-year-old customer for the women's fragrance and emphasizing the bold graphics of the XS logo.
However, the look of the women's scent has been softened to make it more feminine, explained international marketing director Andrea Zanconato.
"We're playing with the same values, but the men's is much more direct," he said. "The women's is more subtle and the main concept is about light."
For example, the bottle has the same elliptical shape as the men's bottle, but has a removable cap rather than the flip-top hinged lid on the men's version. The glass is frosted and the logo is wrapped around the bottle to make it more abstract.
In addition, the designer, who is passionate about astrology, has added symbols on the top of the bottle that represent woman flanked by Pisces and Aquarius.
These touches were designed to make the product, a blend of tangy citrus notes and white flowers, more appealing to women, Puig said.
"A men's scent for Paco--that we know how to do, but we're less at ease when it comes to doing a women's fragrance," he added.
Rabanne has three other women's fragrances--Calandre, Metal and La Nuit--which are mainly distributed in France, Spain and South America. Together, they represented less than 10 percent of Rabanne's total sales of $130 million last year.
The four stockkeeping units in the XS Pour Elle line are eau de toilette sprays in 100-ml. and 50-ml. versions, a 75-ml. eau de toilette pour and a 100-ml. spray deodorant.
Prices range from $74 (390 francs) for the 100-ml. spray to $27 (145 francs) for the deodorant.
Puig said the French media launch budget, which includes print and TV advertising, would equal his sales objective of $5.7 million (30 million francs).
The TV commercial features special effects by Pitof, who won a prize at the Cannes festival in May for his work in a French film called Grosse Fatigue. The soundtrack is by Goran Bregovic, who did the score for the men's TV commercial.
There will also be a print advertising campaign, which includes magazine inserts featuring the XS products for men and women.
According to Rabanne and Puig, if the new launch proves a success, the next project might be an XS fashion line.

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