LONDON — Alexander McQueen has unveiled his first fragrance — and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Called Kingdom, the fragrance will be launched worldwide on March 17 — McQueen’s 34th birthday — and it is all about the slings, arrows and pangs of love.
To wit, the juice comes in a silver and ruby bottle, the inside of which is shaped like a heart. Kingdom is a heady blend of woody, spicy and floral notes composed around sandalwood.
"I am a melancholy type of person. I’m feeling, deep and romantic at heart and this fragrance comes from my heart," said McQueen during a news conference Tuesday at the British Museum.
McQueen said it took a year-and-a-half to develop Kingdom, and he said he followed the project personally from the start. "When I give, I give 120 percent, and I really wanted the fragrance to be honest, down-to-earth and not some marketing ploy," he said.
The fragrance will be sold through 4,000 doors worldwide, with about 250 of those in the U.S.
And in what is possibly a first for the fragrance business, McQueen worked with a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet on the copy.
McQueen and the poet Jorie Graham — a Harvard instructor who is a friend of Chantal Roos, head of YSL Beauté and Issey Miyake — composed a poem to accompany the fragrance. The first line of the poem, "Pierce my heart again," is written on the inside flap of the eau de parfum box.
"I’m a schizophrenic, psychotic relationship-type of person," said McQueen with a laugh, "and so you’ll see the poem has an Edgar Allen Poe feeling to it."
Each new component of Kingdom — such as bath and body products, which will be launched in September — will carry a new line of the poem.
As for the fragrance, McQueen said his brief for perfumer Jacques Cavallier of Firmenich was to create a scent "verging on androgyny, one that moves between the feminine and masculine."
The top notes are a blend of fresh Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian mandarin and Tunisian neroli, while the heart is made from cumin essence mixed with petals of rose and Indian jasmine, ginger and copahu wood. The base notes are a blend of Bourbon vanilla and Indonesian myrrh.The outer packaging for the 25-ml. parfum spray is a white cube with one red transparent side. The bottle, which is made from stainless steel on the outside and red Venetian glass on the inside, looks as if it’s suspended inside the cube.
For the eau de parfum, the packaging is crafted from cream-colored parchment and sealed with crimson wax. A different seal has been developed for every size of the eau de parfum to give the sense that each product is unique.
In the U.S, the 0.8-oz. perfume will be priced at $195, followed by the 3.3-oz. eau de parfum spray, retailing for $80 a bottle; the 1.6-oz. version for $60, and the 1-oz. size for $50.
Kingdom will be launched exclusively at Selfridges on March 15, and then will go worldwide two days later. In the U.S., the fragrance will be launched March 17, with a one-month exclusive at Saks Fifth Avenue, then will make its debut April 17 in selected doors of Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Barneys New York,Bloomingdale’s and Sephora.
Roos, president and chief executive of YSL Beauté, a division of Gucci Group, told WWD that the biggest investment will be in point of sale. "People in the street do not necessarily know the McQueen name, so it’s important for them to discover the product in the store," she said.
While Roos declined to reveal sales projections, industry sources said Kingdom is expected to generate about $25 million at wholesale and $45 million in retail sales during its first year.
Roos said Kingdom is the first fragrance in YSL Beauté’s new Emerging Brands Division, which has its own marketing and sales team. Fragrances for Ermenegildo Zegna and Stella McCartney will also join the stable.
Kingdom’s ad campaign features an image of intertwined naked women forming a flower shape. Shot by Nick Knight, it’s made up of single- and double-page spreads, and will break in the April issues of a magazines including W, the sister publication to WWD, and Vogue, Roos said.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)