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.

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