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Mercier’s French Twist

NEW YORK — Laura Mercier is taking her customers to the south of France with her latest bath-and-body line.<br><br>Mediterranean Collection, Mercier’s second bath-and-body line, will be available beginning mid-April in Mercier’s...

NEW YORK — Laura Mercier is taking her customers to the south of France with her latest bath-and-body line.

Mediterranean Collection, Mercier’s second bath-and-body line, will be available beginning mid-April in Mercier’s established distribution of about 250 doors in the U.S. and globally. Mercier’s spring color collection, French Riviera, also took its inspiration from this region.

“The inspiration came from the Riviera,” she said. “When you go to Provence, you’ll find lavender is popular and basil is also a wonderful scent over there — I made it a star of the collection.” Warmer scents will be added to the Mediterranean Collection for fall.

The Mediterranean Collection highlights three fragrances: Mimosa, a blend of sparkling citrus that includes grapefruit, lime, bergamot, mimosa blossoms and fresh ginger; Mint Leaf, a spearmint blend with hints of lime and lemongrass along with a background of vanilla; and Lavender Basil, which blends the two namesake ingredients with a hint of geranium. Plans have been laid to “push bath-and-body as a major part of the company,” noted Janet Gurwitch Bristow, chief executive officer of Mercier’s licensee, Gurwitch Bristow Products.

Industry sources estimate that the Mediterranean Collection could generate $5 million in its first year at retail. The collection includes seven cleansing, moisturizing and exfoliating stockkeeping units that include a Grape Seed Scrub, 12 ounces for $46; a Honey Bath with Dipper, 12 ounces for $40; Body Milk, $40 for 8 ounces; Gel Body Wash, 8 ounces for $36, and Luxury Soap, 7 ounces for $18. The products are packaged in Mercier’s signature beveled glass jars and bottles and feature luminescent green secondary packaging.

Ed Burstell, vice president and general manager of Henri Bendel, noted that 7 to 10 percent of Mercier’s business in the store is done in bath-and-body, he expects the Mediterranean Collection to be “a strong addition to a strong category.” The collection will launch at Bendel’s — where the makeup artist has her Face On Fifth shop — the last week in April to coincide with a public appearance by Mercier. Laura Saio, cosmetics merchandise manager for the store, expects sales to increase about 25 percent for 2003. “We’re excited because her [first] bath-and-body [the Collection Gormande launched in fall 2001] and fragrance have done extremely well and are exceeding plan.”

This story first appeared in the March 28, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.