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Michael Kors Mixes a Heady Cocktail

NEW YORK — Call it a cocktail for modern girls. <br><br>With Kors Michael Kors, a scent corresponding to his bridge fashion collection, designer Michael Kors is looking to set a new trend in fragrances: the cocktail top note. <br><br>"This...

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NEW YORK — Call it a cocktail for modern girls.

With Kors Michael Kors, a scent corresponding to his bridge fashion collection, designer Michael Kors is looking to set a new trend in fragrances: the cocktail top note.

“This fragrance is really a juxtaposition of exotic florals and notes of, well, alcohol,” said Kors with a laugh. He describes it as a “a quirky classic.”

“This scent is like my Kors customer,” he said. “She’s not rigid in her categories. She’d wear flip-flops with an evening dress if she felt like it. So we didn’t feel like doing a traditional anything. We wanted the scent to be very special and different.”

The scent’s top notes are of port wine surrounded by spicy Sicilian bergamot, davana oil and rich cognac, accented by lush dewdrop notes. Middle notes are of rich red berries, port wine and crimson rose petals, along with ylang ylang, sheer jasmine, sweet william, carnation and pink freesia. The bottom notes are of blond woods, red incense, white amber and patchouli, softened by sandalwood, tolu balsam and bio-musk. The juice is by Creations Aromatique.

Kors was determined not to simply make a different version of his successful first masterbrand, Michael, which is tied to his signature fashion collection. The women’s scent, with its modern take on tuberose, launched in September 2000, while the men’s version — called, appropriately enough, Michael for Men — launched in September 2001. Both, in addition to performing well at retail, won Fragrance Star of the Year awards from the Fragrance Foundation.

“I look at the two fragrance brands as being comparable to having two apartments in the same city for different moods — a SoHo loft and an Upper East Side town house. The same person could have them at different times. It’s just about a different mood,” Kors explained.

Camille McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Givenchy, American Designer Fragrances and Guerlain, who also markets Kors’ first scent, noted that “it can be challenging to successfully have two fragrance brands from the same designer. We did a lot of searching before deciding on a final category for this scent.

“We wanted to make an important fragrance statement, and we wanted to make it bold and unexpected. We think that we’ve done it with this fragrance — the mixing of port wine and cognac with florals and spices is really unlike anything else out there.” Both scents are marketed by Parfums Givenchy’s American Designer Fragrances arm.

There are six stockkeeping units in the lineup: 1.7 oz. and 3.4 oz. eau de parfum sprays, retailing for $50 and $68, respectively; a 0.17 oz. solid perfume, retailing for $40; a sheer hydrating body gel, $38 for 6.7 oz.; an exfoliating shower gel, $30 for 6.7 oz., and a rich opalescent body cream, $50 for 5 oz.

The Kors Michael Kors packaging is intended to convey modernity with a twist, noted McDonald. Cylindrical clear bottles feature a swivel cap that is connected to the bottle. The packaging is accented with a lacquered red Kors Michael Kors logo.

The collection will enter about 300 domestic department and specialty store doors, as well as 273 travel retail doors, in February, and will be rolled out to a number of international doors, including points of sale in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Israel and Lebanon. In addition, there will be limited dot-com sales of the juice and the body gel during the month of December only, for selected retailers that will launch the scent in February.

While neither McDonald nor Kors would comment on projected first-year sales, industry sources estimated that the lineup would do about $12 million to $15 million at retail domestically in its first year on-counter.

Print advertising, shot by Fabien Baron and featuring model Maria Carla, will break in March fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. There are single-page ads and spreads, and scented strips in key books. Sampling will also be a significant part of the campaign, with more than 42 million scented impressions planned. They will be distributed through a variety of vehicles, including scented strips, vials on cards and scented pieces. Neither McDonald nor Kors would comment on advertising spending, although industry sources estimated that about $3 million would be spent on advertising and promotion in the scent’s first year.

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