Michael Kors’ Vacation in a Bottle

Now that the third season of "Project Runway" has wrapped up and his spring 2007 ready-to-wear show is a memory.

Now that the third season of “Project Runway” has wrapped up and his spring 2007 ready-to-wear show is a memory, Michael Kors is headed back to the beach. The designer’s Island Michael Kors scent, which launched in spring 2005, is gaining a tropical flanker in February.

“I was in Phuket [Thailand] for the tsunami, and now I’m going to the Big Island [of Hawaii, where a recent earthquake struck] — I’m a brave guy,” cracked Kors during an interview last week.

Island Hawaii is the second limited-edition flanker being introduced under the Island Michael Kors umbrella. The first, called Island Fiji, launched in April and sold out within a month.

“We were overwhelmed by the response to Fiji,” said Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, senior vice president and general manager of the Aramis and Designer Fragrances division of the Estée Lauder Cos. “We expected it to be successful, but it was successful way beyond any of our plans.”

That led to the development of Island Hawaii, which Gabai-Pinsky characterizes as “a vacation in a bottle.”

The scent, developed by International Flavors & Fragrances in cooperation with Trudi Loren, vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide for Aramis and Designer Fragrances, has top notes of clementine, juicy orange, hydroponic pineapple and neroli; a heart of orange flower, jasmine sambac and Hawaiian ginger lily, and a drydown of white amber, creamy sandalwood and balsamic notes.

Two items will be offered: a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum, $60, and a 0.5-oz. lip gloss, $12. The fragrance bottle is the signature Island bottle, a weighty glass rectangle tinted orange. (The original bottle is tinted turquoise.)

The outer box features the fragrance’s name superimposed over a shot of a Hawaiian sunset, noted Carol Russo, senior vice president and general manager of sales and marketing, North America, for Aramis and Designer Fragrances. Island Hawaii will be launched in about 1,800 U.S. department and specialty stores.

The national advertising is intended to be “chic, glam and sexy,” said Gabai-Pinsky. Print will begin running in fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines in early spring. Upward of 25 million scented impressions are planned, including blow-ins, scented strips and scented postcards.

This story first appeared in the November 3, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

While none of the executives would comment on sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Hawaii would do at least $5 million at retail in its first year on counter. An estimated $1 million will be spent on advertising and promotion.

While the lip gloss may set tongues wagging about a possible color cosmetics collection for Kors, Gabai-Pinsky denies that a full-color lineup is currently in the brand’s plans, although she didn’t rule it out for the future.

“The Michael Kors brand is about what’s useful and impactful for the consumer,” she said, noting that Kors’ Leg Shine — a scented shimmer stick with a hint of bronze — also could be construed as a color entry. “Lip gloss makes sense for this launch, considering the story, and there are certainly opportunities for key products for Michael in the future.”

As for Kors, he’s got plenty of ideas for future Island projects. “How about MKLI?” cracked Kors, who is a Long Island native. “Donna [Karan] has DKNY, I can have MKLI.”

As for “Project Runway,” “everyone’s pregnant right now,” said Kors, noting that fellow judge Nina Garcia, host Heidi Klum and at least one former contestant are expecting. “That could be the next project,” said Kors. “‘Project Runway Maternity.'”