Goutal's Latest Scent a Dream
PARIS — Annick Goutal has dreamed up a romantic reverie for Songes, its latest women's scent.

Songes (Reveries in English) is the Paris-based fragrance house's 31st women's scent, a highly concentrated floral Oriental that's meant to boost the brand's lineup of "sensual" fragrances, including Passion, Gardenia Passion and Grand Amour.

"Our bestsellers, such as Eau d'Hadrien, tend to be fresher fragrances, so we wanted to enlarge our range and to work more with exotic flowers and single notes," said Frederique Picard-Giannesini, general manager of Annick Goutal Parfums. Goutal launched the scent exclusively at Le Bon Marché department store here Monday and is set to roll out Songes in France and the U.S. over the next two months.

Songes was inspired by the aroma of white frangipani flowers at dusk, which Camille Goutal, daughter of the house's founder and now the brand's creations adviser, experienced while vacationing on the island of Mauritius.

"I knew exactly what I wanted to re-create," she said ­­— "the sensuality and the smell of those flowers filling the air as soon as the sun sets."

Songes' top notes consist of accords of frangipani flowers, combined with tiare and jasmine notes. For the middle and base notes, Goutal said she took creative inspiration from the works of English painter John William Waterhouse, in particular his "Ophelia" painting. Heart notes include incense, vanilla, copahu balm, pepper and ylang-ylang absolute. At the scent's base are vetiver, sandalwood, amber and styrax notes.

"We have used exotic flowers, which are carnal, almost Oriental, to evoke passion," said Isabelle Doyen, the perfumer from Aromatique Majeur, who worked for five years on the project with Goutal.

"It's definitely the most complex, sophisticated fragrance [Camille Goutal] has done," said Alison Farn, president of Gary Farn Ltd., which distributes Annick Goutal products in the U.S. Speaking at an interview there, Farn noted the Goutal business has gained momentum as U.S. consumers have become more familiar with the brand over the past year.

Industry sources estimate Songes could generate retail sales of $1.2 million in its first 12 months worldwide.Songes will be available as a 100-ml. pour bottle of eau de parfum, priced at 120 euros, or $143.25 at current exchange rates, and a 50-ml. spray version for 80 euros, or $95.50. The eau de toilette will retail for 82 euros, or $97.90, for a 100-ml. spray, and 60 euros, or $71.60, for a 50-ml. spray. Ancillaries include a body cream and shower gel.

For Songes' eau de parfum bottle, Goutal tweaked the spherical flaçon used for the 1996 fragrance Grand Amour. The Songes bottle is yellow and gold and features a moon-shape cap.

Goutal's distribution strategy calls for Songes to be rolled out to the brand's 80 points of sale across France this month and to the U.S. in March. Germany, Spain and Italy will get the scent in fall and the U.K., in March 2007.
Ellen Groves with contributions from Matthew W. Evans, New York

L'Oréal Wins Knockoff Suit
PARIS — Commercializing copycat fragrances just got a little trickier. In a landmark decision, an appeals court here last month ruled that copyright protection can be applied to a fragrance's olfactive composition.

The court ordered Dubai-based Bellure NV to pay L'Oréal 1.48 million euros, or $1.77 million at current exchange, for manufacturing fragrances with juices that were found to closely resemble 13 of the French beauty giant's.

"To date, a juice, which is the most important element of a perfume, didn't benefit from any protection," L'Oréal said in a statement. "With the Paris Court's Bellure ruling, the situation changes completely, as does our ability to defend our brands."

L'Oréal added that going forward, the ruling will allow it to take action against manufacturers who imitate its scents, even if the counterfeit products' packaging and brand names do not imitate those of the fragrance copied.

The court ordered that Bellure stop manufacturing fragrances, including Valeur, Pink Wonder and Cheek to Cheek, upholding L'Oréal's claim that Bellure's juices were copies of L'Oréal's bestsellers such as Miracle, Trésor, Anais Anais and Acqua Di Gio, among others.

"For our industry, which suffers terribly from counterfeiting problems, a new hope is born and a serious warning is sent to those companies like Bellure who think they can profit with impunity from our companies' enormous effort and investment in the development and the launch of a new fragrance," L'Oréal said in the statement.The beauty behemoth won a similar case against Dutch manufacturer Kecofa in the Netherlands in 2004.
E.G.

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