By and  on January 13, 2006

PARIS — Delices de Cartier, a women's fragrance due out this spring, was created as a nod to some of the high-end jeweler's most celebrated creations.

"We wanted first of all to have something representative of Cartier — something recognizable that leaves a wake," said Annalisa Loustau-Elia, managing director of marketing and communication at the house in Paris.

She added that a contrast of textures was key for the project. "Think of the panther," she said, referring both to the cat and Cartier's famed diamond- and sapphire-studded jewelry creation. "It is a sublime animal that can also be dangerous."

During an earlier interview with Cartier executives in New York, the significance of the launch was explored. Delices de Cartier, the first women's scent Cartier has launched since Le Baiser du Dragon in 2003, is targeted at a slightly younger customer and represents an entry for Cartier into a new olfactory family, the fruity floral category. The scent was concocted by perfumer Christine Nagel while at Quest International (she's now at Givaudan).

Frederic de Narp, president and chief executive officer of Cartier for North America, noted, "This one is more feminine, younger and accessible." According to executives, the target customer is in her 30s.

He added that the timing of the launch underscores the importance of the U.S. market to Cartier worldwide. The scent will make its debut Feb. 6 in the U.S., a launch that will include Cartier boutiques, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. In March, the fragrance will go on counter in Cartier boutiques internationally. In April, it will appear in non-Cartier stores, including the bulk of North American distribution — namely, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Sephora, Macy's and Holt Renfrew. Cartier has a U.S. distribution base of about 350 doors. The scent will go on sale in Italy in September.

De Narp noted that the launch schedule reflects the importance of the U.S. to Cartier internationally. Martin Gatins, senior vice president of the wholesale business for North America, added that Cartier's fragrance business has been very successful in the U.S.

The launch plan contains a vigorous marketing component, including a debut on the Web and a national magazine ad campaign. In North America, the fragrance will be advertised in four young women's fashion magazines in May and the ads will include scented strips, according to the company.During the Paris interview, Nagel, the perfumer, noted that her creative process was inspired by the classic Cartier Trinity ring, made of yellow, white and pink-gold bands.

"Each ring is unique," she said, "so I thought, 'Why not work on jasmine in three ways?'"

In keeping with the Trinity theme, Nagel selected notes of pink, white and yellow jasmine, each of which has a different character, for the fragrance's heart.

Delices de Cartier has among its head notes pink pepper, frozen Morello cherry and Sicilian bergamot.

"I asked myself how to add dimension to the head," said Nagel. "I wanted to find a simple thing, but also something slightly different."

Delices de Cartier's heart contains notes of freesia and violet. And the base has Tonka beans, amber and sandalwood notes.

"The effect is of a magic potion," said Nagel.

While the eau de toilette and perfume versions of Delices de Cartier contain the same notes, she highlighted some particular ingredients of the perfume.

The new scent's name, interpreted as Delights or Delicious as a reference to the formula's gourmand nature, harks back to one of the house's best-selling jewelry lines, Delices de Goa.

"Delices" was also chosen for its own merits."The word 'delight' transports the body and mind," said Loustau-Elia.

Delices de Cartier's bottle was created in-house. Its design — particularly its roundness and beveling, like a precious stone's — took a cue from a Cartier brooch dating from the Twenties. A cabochon (another of Cartier's symbols) tops both the fragrance's eau de toilette and its parfum versions, which differ in color.

While the eau de toilette flacon is signature Cartier red with a primarily clear top and red cabochon, the perfume's bottle is red, as well, but with a red top and a clear cabochon.

Delices de Cartier will be the sixth women's fragrance in the house's portfolio. "It fits in the portfolio in a complementary way," said Loustau-Elia.

Although Cartier executives would not divulge sales projections, industry sources estimate Delices de Cartier will generate between $10 million and $12 million in retail sales in the U.S. during its first year.Cartier worked with advertising agency Mazarine to create the single- and double-page campaign, which includes a prominent image of the new fragrance and a splash of the signature Cartier red forming a jasmine plant design. There also will be posters in some markets, plus sampling.

Industry sources say Cartier earmarked a budget of $1.5 million to $2 million for advertising in the U.S.

The Delices de Cartier lineup includes a 30-ml. eau de toilette spray for 33 euros in Europe and $60 in the U.S.; a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray for 47 euros, or $75; a 100-ml. eau de toilette spray for 69 euros, or $105, and a 30-ml. perfume for 85 euros, or $160.

There are also three ancillaries. A 200-ml. body cream will be retailed in the U.S. for $100, a body milk will be $55 and a shower gel will be $50.

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