By and  on October 27, 2006

CANNES, France — Amid the din of those decrying the commoditization of fragrance, Michel Mane has decided to try and bring back some of the old magic.

The fragrance supplier has taken the bold step of creating his own scent, a limited production of 500 bottles that will be sold privately through select retailers who will not hawk them on a selling floor. That, in part, is because the price is $5,000 per 60-ml. eau de parfum in a handblown, crystal bottle, made by Brosse.

Called Yu (or special raindrop, in Chinese), the flacon is an extremely artistic interpretation of a raindrop. And the juice is composed of natural, sustainable elements, with champaca, a member of the magnolia family from Southeast Asia, as the heart of the fragrance. Cecilia Krakower, perfumer at Mane USA, spent eight months working on it.

Describing the project, Mane said the perfumer's goal was to encapsulate all the smells from the South of France in July.

"We wanted to do something to have fun," said Mane, adding the objective was to recapture the creative independence of perfumery from a century ago. "You can use modern ingredients to create fragrances of your dreams and transcend trends out of time. It's antimarketing.

"This is not a business," he said, adding the fragrance's lofty price was designed to cover cost. "It is about the idea of fragrance."

This eye-opening project was just one product being shown among the booths and on the boats that festoon the convention area. Here are some of the other highlights:

  • Jean Paul Gaultier is about to launch a floral successor to his 1993 market-leading men's fragrance Le Male. Called Fleurs du Male (a takeoff on Charles Baudelaire's book of poetry, "Les Fleurs du Mal"), the new fougère fragrance shatters the conventions that always limited the use of orange-blossom flower in men's scent to tiny amounts.
    "He overdosed the orange blossom," said Florian Hanhausen, international operational marketing director at Beauté Prestige International. He said Gaultier freed it of convention and gave it a twist to create "complete modernity."

    The ad shows a man sitting in a bath of milk surrounded by floating white blossoms. Fleurs du Male will be launched by BPI worldwide on April 1. BPI also is to introduce a limited-edition interpretation of its hit L'Eau d'Issey, called Un Gout Sur Un Petal, among other projects.
  • In addition to her La Foret in-store perfumery and home furnishings shop-in-shop, Jill Hill opened her first freestanding store, in Sussex, England, last December. She also has come up with new retailing concepts: Clandestine, a tight selection of niche fragrance brands; DZNR, a collection of fashion brand scents, and Perfume Is Art, an exhibition-like display that aims to raise merchandising to the level of an art gallery. Hill's retail concepts are run through her Aspects Beauty Co.

  • La Prairie's newest product, Cellular Radiance Pure Gold, lives up to the name with a moisturizing serum that not only contains 24-karat gold, but also carries a price tag of $500 per 30-ml. bottle. Following a four-month test now going on in the U.S., the worldwide rollout is set for Feb. 12.

  • Inter Parfums SA has new fragrances on the docket, including a Van Cleef & Arpels scent, one from Paul Smith and a trio from Quiksilver and Roxy. Inter Parfums also plans to introduce a new version of the long-defunct Christian Lacroix fragrance, C'est La Vie. The iteration is a play on the original, called C'est La Fete, and it takes a cue from Lacroix's native southern France. There is to be a new S.T. Dupont scent, as well.

  • Groupe Clarins plans to relaunch its makeup collection, and it continues to attempt to develop a Clarins-brand fragrance business. A second women's scent is planned for 2008.

  • The Coty Prestige division of Coty Inc. is contemplating the expansion of its Lancaster masterbrand. The line, which includes antiaging skin care and sun care products, may venture more deeply into skin care.

  • Shiseido will introduce the Bio Performance Intensive Skin Corrective Program, a 15-day regimen supported by a 30-ml. serum and 15 jars of 15-ml. balm, all of it packaged in gleaming metal. Each kit will retail for 300 euros, or $380 at current exchange, and will be introduced at the end of 2007 in about 150 travel-retail doors.

  • To take advantage of the renewed dynamism of the fragrance market, L'Oréal has lined up a battery of perfume launches in travel retail, including Giorgio Armani's Armani Code, Noa Perle, Lancôme Hypnôse and Benghal, Ralph Lauren's Polo Black and Double Black, Viktor & Rolf's Antidote and Cacharel's Liberte. Next September, the French beauty giant will launch its first Diesel fragrance through its recent beauty deal with the fashion brand. Also, fragrance launches by Lauren and Armani — which have not yet been announced — are in the works for next year.
  • Parfums Givenchy, a division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is in the process of launching the new Ange ou Démon women's fragrance and its Amarige Mariage women's scent in a two-phase strategy. Givenchy has also repackaged vintage editions of its three main women's fragrances, Amarige, Very Irresistible Givenchy and Organza, to give the scents a more pronounced identification. Likewise, the company has created a new lipstick, due out in March, to increase brand image. Givenchy's annual travel-retail exclusive fragrance offering for 2007 is called Absolutely Givenchy.

  • The news from YSL Beauté centered on the early success of the new L'Homme YSL men's scent, which is gradually being launched in local markets and rolled into travel retail. According to Olivier Sido, vice president international of export and international at YSL, said the Dubai Duty Free shop at the airport is selling 180 pieces a day, a record. YSL also plans to launch a women's fragrance in 2007.

  • Bulgari is issuing the latest edition to its collection of Omnia fragrances with Omnia Amethyste, a women's scent meant to be reminiscent of the famed jewelry house's gemstones. It is due for an exclusive launch in Asia in February, with a global rollout next September. The scent, developed by Firmenich, has a floral woody signature.

  • Ferragamo Parfums is rolling out the latest annual fashion incarnation of its 2004 Incanto fragrance. This one is called Incanto Shine, and the company expects to sell more than one million units. The launch, supplied by Mane, is set for March. Ferragamo will also add a male version of its Ferragamo F women's scent. A similar treatment is being given to the Ungaro side of the operation, with the advent of Apparition Homme Intense.

  • Nicholas Ratut, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Zirh International Corp., plans to launch a new John Varvatos women's fragrance in late spring.

  • At Maurer + Wirtz, the latest products are called Mustang, a fragrance masterbrand based on a new fashion license acquired by the midmarket house.

  • Taking a creative leaf out of the Twenties, Francois Henin, chief of Jovoy Paris, is trying to resurrect the venerable Parisian brand with a highly unusual collection of seven scents, each of which represents a fragrance family. Every 50-ml. eau de toilette spray retails in Europe for 65 euros, or $82. A coffret of the seven scents goes for 350 euros, or $443./ul>

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