Roberto Cavalli's Serpentine Style
MILAN — For Roberto Cavalli, the snake is a symbol of good luck.

The story goes that when Cavalli was trying to get his fashion line off the ground, he kept stumbling on the sign of the snake, which led him to believe that it brought him good fortune.

That's why the Tuscan fashion designer has used it as a motif for his fragrances — namely in the imagery and packaging of his original fragrances, Roberto Cavalli Woman and Roberto Cavalli Man. The scaly reptile also has inspired his latest scent, called Serpentine.

Cavalli's new women's scent, Serpentine, will be launched in Europe this fall. The fragrance was presented to a select group of Italian press by the designer's wife, Eva Cavalli, at the couple's Tuscan villa in June.

Roberto Martone, president of ITF, the distributor and manufacturer of Roberto Cavalli fragrances, said the company, in collaboration with the designer, had utilized the image of the snake at every level of the perfume's conception — including the bottle design, the scent's juice and the advertising campaign.

"The bottles, depending on their size, each feature a number of snakes intertwined with one another," said Martone. "We selected one of the fragrance's notes, mango blossom, because in Brazilian tradition it is the food of the snakes." He added that the particular floral note was known for its long-lasting qualities.

The scent will be rolled out to 6,400 doors globally beginning in September and will enter the U.S. market with ITF's new American distributor, Clarins, in early 2006. Martone said he hopes that Clarins will be capable of doubling sales of the Cavalli fragrance brand in the U.S. next year.

"It's a difficult country to manage, and we know with this agreement with Clarins we are in the best hands to drive the potential of Roberto Cavalli," said Martone. "We will benefit from their consistency, organization and persistence."

Serpentine could generate between $27 million and $32 million in first-year retail sales volume globally, according to industry sources.

The scent's transparent, rounded flacon features as many as three linked snakes on its front that have been gilded with gold leaf. The bottle, designed by Serge Mansau, is topped with an antique gold-colored stopper.

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