MILAN — For Roberto Cavalli, the meaning of the word “wild” doesn’t stop at split-to-the-thigh animal-print dresses. At the recent unveiling of his latest fragrance, called Roberto Cavalli Man, the star of the show was a black and yellow striped python.

While the snake intrigued and scared guests at the entrance of the cafe that Cavalli owns in a park in downtown Milan, the designer himself declared that a definite streak of wildness made a man sexy. “Women like wild. Sexy is not something that comes from sophistication, I feel wild, I love to be wild,” Cavalli laughed.

Animal theatrics aside, both Cavalli and his licensee, ITF, are hoping that Roberto Cavalli Man will reach the same echelons of success as Roberto Cavalli Woman, which has pulled in an estimated $25 million to $30 million at retail globally in its first year, according to industry estimates. The woman’s positioning also hasa snake motif.

Sources estimate that the men’s scent could hit $12 million to $15 million globally at wholesale in its first year.

“We are confident in this project because it all has the mark and personality of Roberto Cavalli,”said ITF president Roberto Martone. “The fragrance will immediately attract and lure consumers because of its innovation and scent.”

The fragrance, which will be launched in most of Europe in September and rolled out to Spain, France, Switzerland, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Canada in early 2004, is the first men’s scent for designer Roberto Cavalli.

In the U.S., the scent will be launched in September, with a limited distribution swelling toabout 300 doors by the end of the year.

Initially the scent will be available at 5,000 points of sale. Following a worldwide rollout, the number will increase to 12,000.

Created by Firmenich, Roberto Cavalli Man has top notes of bergamot and lemon, middle notes of cedar wood and lavender and bottom notes of musk, sandalwood and liatrix. The formula isfresh, floral and woody.

Winding up the bottle’s sides is a glass snake designed by Serge Mansau. The bottle is packaged in a blue, black and gray snakeskin print box, reminiscent of a Cavalli print.Accompanying the launch will be a TV commercial showing a bearded, muscular barefoot man played by model Tony Ward, lying on a busy road while toying with a snake.

The campaign was created by the advertising agency Les Gitanes and was filmed in Brazil under the direction of Erik Ifergan.

The spot will be shown in Italy, Germany, Austria and Russia. According to industry sources, the budget for advertising in Italy alone is $2.3 million.

Roberto Cavalli Man’s lineup includes three sizes of eau de toilette spray: A 100-ml. size, $77, a 50-ml. version, $56 and a 30-ml. size priced at $34. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates and are for Italy.

An aftershave and bath line is also available and includes a 100-ml. shave lotion for $55, a 100-ml. aftershave emulsion for $55 and a 75-ml. Hydra Mineral Face Treatment for $43.

The line also extends to the bath with a 200-ml. shampoo and shower gel for $27, a 100-ml. deodorant spray for $25, a deodorant stick for $25 and a soap for $23.

In the U.S, the eaux de toilette will be priced $79 for the 100-ml. size and $53 for the 50-ml.

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