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Mat; Concentrates Its Fragrance Effort

NEW YORK — After first launching a women’s scent in 2001, then doing a men’s follow-up last year, fashion designer Masaki Matsushima is reinforcing his position on the fragrance front.<br><br>Starting Feb. 1, Matsushima’s...

NEW YORK — After first launching a women’s scent in 2001, then doing a men’s follow-up last year, fashion designer Masaki Matsushima is reinforcing his position on the fragrance front.

Starting Feb. 1, Matsushima’s two-year-old mat; brand will launch three women’s fragrances in as many months. Leading things off is a limited-edition entry called Le Rouge, which is expected to sell-through by Valentine’s Day. Then, a second limited-edition scent, called Le Vert, is set to launch March 15 and sell-through by Mother’s Day. The 1.35-oz. eau de parfum spray bottles are marked for retail at $60, and plans call for a total of 12,000 Le Rouge and Le Vert units to be produced.

Wholesale sales of mat; have reached $3 million in the U.S. — its second-largest market after the designer’s native Japan — according to industry estimates. Sources project that number could grow between 30 and 40 percent this year, with expansion coming in part from Le Rouge and Le Vert.

The third of the imminent launches, however, is mat;’s “pièce de résistance,” according to Alec Batis, marketing director for Toronto-based Quadrant Cosmetics, the brand’s North American distributor. Mat; Le Parfum, as the scent is called, is a perfume concentration of the inaugural mat; eau de parfum and it bows April 20. What sets Le Parfum apart, besides its 30 percent essential oil composition and plans to permanently add it to the mat; assortment, are its striking design aspects.

Le Parfum comes in a slim rectangular bottle set on a separate base, a look that’s reminiscent of the mini credit card-like color cosmetics palettes that were so hot during the recent holidays. One Le Parfum design element common to the previous mat; scents is the shape of the juice reservoir — a concave polygon set within the waif-like bottle. Matsushima, who favors the title fashion “engineer” over designer, drafted the blueprint for the bottle, which was manufactured by Saver Glass in France.

Initially, 1,000 units of Le Parfum — at $180 for a 0.5-oz. bottle — are slated to launch in 85 doors, including select Nordstrom and Dillard’s locations; Jeffrey in New York and Atlanta; Fred Segal Essentials, and Stanley Korshak. Distribution of the limited edition scents Le Rouge and Le Vert is slated to include 303 doors, including Nordstrom, Sephora, the two Jeffreys and Fred Segal Essentials. Outside the U.S. and Japan, mat; is carried in Canada, Russia, Italy, the U.K., Hong Kong and France — also the home of Panouge, the firm that’s licensed to produce and distribute mat; abroad.

Takasago’s Jean Jacques, who has done all the mat; juices so far, also did Le Rouge, which features notes of pomegranate, pink grapefruit and red rose, and Le Vert, which has notes of juniper berry, bamboo and kiwi. To encourage sales of the limited edition scents, a red rose incense set will be given away with each purchase of Le Rouge and a juniper-bamboo incense kit will accompany each sale of Le Vert.