BERLIN — Inspiration is the name of the game for the new women’s scent, Joop Muse.

The latest in Lancaster’s Joop family of scents is due to bow in 2,500 doors in Germany in October 2003, plus about 3,000 more in Austria, Benelux, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Greece. Muse’s debut in Australia, the U.K. and Scandinavia is set for March 2004, while plans for the fragrance’s U.S. launch are still being developed.

Lancaster executives would not disclose sales targets, but industry sources estimated Muse could run up to $40 million in first-year retail sales. The four-stockkeeping-unit range comprises 50- and 100-ml. eau de parfums priced at $57 and $82, respectively; a 200-ml. Inspirational Shower Gel for $25, and a 200-ml. Inspirational Body Lotion for $33.50. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.

Created by Quest’s Francis Kurkdjian, Joop Muse has an unusually sparkling top note of Cointreau and champagne, countered with a sensual heart and base of white lilies, heliotrope and white musk. Kurkdjian said he was aiming to concoct a juice with sensuality and transparency, but with something “round” on top. “That’s the tricky part, to build something on top that’s part of the structure of the fragrance. I wanted something big, but with delicacy and refinement.”

Kurkdjian, who also has Gaultier’s Le Mâle and Fragile, Miracle Homme from Lancôme and Armani’s Mania pour Homme to his credit, recalled he had to “learn” the Joop perfumes when he was in perfume school. In 1988, Joop was one of the first German designers to have a fragrance line, he pointed out, “and Joop set up German taste in terms of fragrance. There’s a different style in Germany,” which remains Joop perfumes’ key market, “and that’s always the difficult part when developing an international perfume — to mix the German with the British and the French and the Italian.” And what’s the German part of Muse? “The sensuality,” he declared.

The bottle, designed by the French design whiz kid, Ora-Ito, has a futuristic look with a hint of Courrèges. The oval bottle is partially cloaked in a white gold lacquer and has a transparent center which acts like a prism. The name, Joop, has been etched on the back and shimmers through the juice, with Muse written in raspberry on the front. The egg-shaped roundness, Ora-Ito explained, is both a nod to modern sculpture and the female silhouette — a form, he added, of infinite energy. He wanted the bottle to look like “a magic jewel from another world.”Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø shot the ad of a classically posed model, Reka Ebergenyi, swathed in white before a huge bottle of Muse. “Be your own inspiration” is the tag line, and living ads at point of sale are planned for the fall launch in Germany, coupled with print ads starting in November and City Lights megaposters appearing pre-Christmas. About 1.5 million scented strips are planned for Germany alone, as well as massive sampling in the form of luxury miniatures, shower gel and eau de toilette vials.

There also will be an Internet teaser on the Joop fashion company’s home page, and the women’s wear line willwork with “Muse” as a theme.

The Joop company, it should be noted, is under new ownership. In April 2003, a consortium comprising three licensees, Coty, Strellson (Windsor) and EganaGoldpfeil bought Joop GmbH from the bankrupt Wünsche AG.

At the Joop Muse launch for the German market in Berlin, Coty ceo Bernd Beetz said, “Berlin has brought us luck. Davidoff Echo [which also launched in Berlin] is doing excellently.” As for the new member of the Coty family, Beetz characterized the Joop fragrance business as strong.

“Joop is primarily a Germanic phenomenon,” he noted, “ but it’s also strong in the U.K. and Australia. Joop Homme is number one in the U.K. and it’s also doing well in the U.S.”

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