Hermes Taps Heritage for New Scent

When it unveils its Wall Street boutique on June 21, Hermes will also raise the curtain on Kelly Caleche, a women's fragrance.

PARIS — When it unveils its Wall Street boutique on June 21, Hermès will also raise the curtain on Kelly Calèche, a women’s fragrance.

“This new story is based on Hermès’ patrimony,” said Catherine Fulconis, Hermès Parfums’ managing director.

Kelly Calèche sprung from Hermès’ savoir-faire in leather goods and fragrance. Of all of its bags, the Kelly is the most emblematic, said Fulconis. The “handbag for women,” introduced in the Thirties, broke all molds.

For Kelly Calèche’s juice, in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena became inspired by Hermès’ finest skins that smell of flowers, such as mimosa, narcissus, iris and lily of the valley.

“One of the first things I wanted to do when I entered Hermès was work with leather,” said Ellena. He also kept in mind a passage from French author Jean Giono’s “Jean le Bleu,” in which the narrator speaks of his departed father, a cobbler, as “making soles in angel leather.”

“Jean-Claude wanted to do a floral leather,” explained Fulconis. To that end, Ellena combined notes of iris, mimosa, tuberose and climbing rose to create Kelly Calèche.

Philippe Moquet, who also works in-house at Hermès, designed the Kelly Calèche bottle. Its form echoes that of the original Calèche scent from 1961. However, it’s been refined and this iteration also has a band around its neck meant to resemble the clasp on a Kelly bag.

“Calèche has been a classic for Hermès for many years, and [Kelly Calèche] is not only a way to rejuvenate a classic name, but a way to create something iconic for the house,” explained Robert Chavez, president and chief executive officer of Hermès U.S.A.

Calèche — the name of a light carriage driven by its owner — comes from a Czech word meaning movement and suggests a feeling of liberty. The moniker Kelly Calèche is meant to be feminine and audacious.

In keeping with this theme, the single- and double-page advertisements shot by Camilla Akrans and created with Publicis Et Nous’ artistic director Philippe Chanet show a woman striding with a whip over a shoulder. That whip is wound around nothing other than Kelly Calèche.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The fragrance is to be introduced in Hermès stores in August, following its launch in Hermès’ new New York location. Kelly Calèche will also bow in the U.S. at high-end specialty stores. At the end of that month, Kelly Calèche will be launched in the rest of the brand’s doors worldwide.

Hermès executives would not discuss projections, but industry sources estimated Kelly Calèche would generate $60 million worldwide in first-year retail sales.

The new fragrance’s lineup includes a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray for $75, a 100-ml. edt spray for $110, a 200-ml. body lotion for $65, a 200-ml. bath and shower gel for $45 and a 100-ml. spray deodorant for $40. Prices are for the U.S.