Kenneth Cole’s Man in Black

NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole is back, in Black. <br><br>The designer is adding a second men’s scent, Black, to his fragrance franchise this fall. “This is a very important time in my company’s history,” noted Cole, whose...

NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole is back, in Black.

This story first appeared in the May 23, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The designer is adding a second men’s scent, Black, to his fragrance franchise this fall. “This is a very important time in my company’s history,” noted Cole, whose business is celebrating its 20th anniversary. “I’m excited to be doing a fragrance that is a little different, a little more luxurious. It’s an exciting time for us.”

Camille McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Givenchy, American Designer Fragrances and Guerlain, Cole’s fragrance licensee, noted that the scent is “the next step in the three pillars of the Kenneth Cole fragrance business.”

“We’ve always said that we’ll do multiple scents around Kenneth’s three key fashion lines —?Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction and Unlisted,” said McDonald. “Kenneth’s first scent, launched last year, was designed around the Kenneth Cole New York line. This one is further developing the Kenneth Cole New York line, and many others are planned with his other lines. We see long-term potential in this concept.” McDonald would not comment on widespread industry rumors that LVMH is selling the Kenneth Cole fragrance brand.

The scent, by Firmenich’s Harry Fremont and Sabine de Tscharner, has top notes of watermint, zesty mandarin, basil leaves and fresh ginger; middle notes of ancient cedar leaf, nutmeg, lotus flower and incense smoke, and a dry-down of black suede, violet leaves, musk and ambergris.

The collection will include eau de toilette sprays in two sizes, including 1.7 oz. for $45 and 3.4 oz. for $58; a 3.4-oz. aftershave splash for $52, and a 2.6-oz. deodorant for $18. It is priced slightly higher — about 15 percent higher — than Cole’s original fragrance, reflecting its luxe positioning, said Carlos Timiraos, vice president of marketing for Kenneth Cole fragrances.

Black’s cylindrical ebony glass bottle, manufactured by Brosse, is intended to “express the power and simplicity of modern design,” said Timiraos. The heavy glass bottle features Kenneth Cole’s own handwritten signature in bright white across the front. “My hand is really tired from signing every single one of those bottles,” cracked Cole in a recent interview. The outer carton is high-gloss black with a contrasting bright white signature logo.

While none of the executives would comment on projected first-year retail sales for Black or on its advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Black would do about $20 million at retail globally from August through December, which would qualify the scent for a number 8 ranking in the men’s market. Advertising spending for the entire Kenneth Cole fragrance franchise is estimated at about $5.5 million, including about $2.5 million globally from September through December for Black.

The new scent’s target customer is a man between 18 and 49, said McDonald. “We’re targeting men who wear Kenneth Cole New York Men, as well as the Kenneth Cole fashion and accessory customer and a new audience of men who don’t wear original Kenneth Cole New York Men,” she said.

The brand is planning upward of 65 million scented impressions for Black and Kenneth Cole New York Men combined, which includes 15 million scented strips in the brand’s national magazine advertising and more than 50 million scented store pieces. In addition, more than a million Kenneth Cole Black vials-on-card will be distributed in-store and through special events in the U.S. from September through December. At the same time, more than a million samples of the original Kenneth Cole New York Men fragrance also will be distributed.

The fragrance will be on counter in September in the brand’s full U.S. distribution, including about 1,800 department and specialty store doors, as well as Kenneth Cole stores and on kennethcole.com and sephora.com. Also, in September, the new lineup will be available in travel retail venues, Latin America, Lebanon and the Middle East.

The print campaign, shot by Alex Cayley, is a sensual shot of a man and a woman. The ad’s tag line is a playful takeoff on the fragrance’s name:?“It’s better in the dark.” It breaks in September magazines, including Vibe, Spin and Vanity Fair. In addition, several gift sets are planned for holiday, leveraging the strength of Cole’s accessories business, said Timiraos. They will include a Kenneth Cole watch teamed with a 3.4-oz. fragrance spray for $62.50, as well as umbrellas and messenger bags, he said.