By  on June 9, 2006

PARIS — At Parfums Nina Ricci, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

The fashion brand's latest fragrance, called Nina, comes in an apple-shaped bottle reminiscent of the flacon for its 1952 scent Fille d'Eve. The new entrant, created by Puig Beauty and Fashion Group — owner of the Ricci label — is meant to broaden the brand's core audience to a younger demographic, aged 18 to 35.

"This is a generation aware of prestige brands," said Margerie Barbes-Petit, brand director at Parfums Nina Ricci. "This is a key target to ensure the brand's future via renewal of consumers."

Company executives say the fragrance's launch is also intended to capitalize on Nina Ricci's growing fashion momentum worldwide, thanks to artistic director Lars Nilsson, who joined the company in 2003.

"After struggling for years with its fashion direction, Nina Ricci has now found it," said Jose Manuel Albesa, vice president of international brands for Puig Beauty and Fashion Group.

While creating Nina, Puig executives reviewed Nina Ricci's traditional brand values, including fantasy, as well as the brand's icons, such as apples and flowers.

Puig executives say Nina was designed to embody accessible luxury. For instance, its bottle is of heavy glass, but the product sells at price points in just the 29 euros, or $37, to 55 euros, or $71, range.

In a first for Nina Ricci, known for its floral fragrances, Nina belongs to the floral gourmand family. The scent's juice contains toffee apple notes — used for the first time in fragrance, according to Firmenich's Olivier Cresp, who concocted the scent with Jacques Cavallier.

Top notes include Calabrian lemon and caipirinha lime. Heart notes are made of toffee apple, peony and moonflower. And there are base notes of apple wood and white cedar.

"The bottle was our inspiration" for the juice, said Cresp, adding it gave the perfumers the idea to include apple notes with a slightly acidic accord and toffee notes for a sugary, gourmand scent.

Nina's bottle, designed by Jérôme Faillant-Dumas, has a modern vintage look. Its rose-colored glass features a silver-colored cap and a leaf that discreetly has the brand's signature etched into it.Television advertising for the scent, shot by Spanish fashion photographer Eugenio Recuenco, shows a young woman falling under Nina's enchantment. Ukrainian model Ruslna Korshunova, wearing a Lars Nilsson dress, enters a large Parisian apartment. Her eye catches Nina's rose-hued bottle hanging from a silver-colored tree, and she climbs up a pyramid of apples to pluck it. Twenty-second versions of the clip will bow on television in France and the U.K. this fall. And, for the first time, Nina Ricci is to launch a version destined for movie theaters across France next year. Print advertising featuring Korshunova and tree images will come in single and double pages.

Nina Ricci plans to "create theater in-store," said Barbes-Petit. Merchandising will include large silver-colored trees with Nina bottles hanging off their branches. Sampling is to feature apple-shaped wands.

Puig executives said Nina's launch will be Nina Ricci's biggest since Puig acquired the brand in 1998. While not discussing numbers, they said they hope the fragrance will be as successful as Nina Ricci's bestselling L'Air du Temps scent.

Industry sources estimate Nina will generate up to 60 million euros, or $77.1 million, in first-year retail sales worldwide.

Nina comes in 80-, 50- and 30-ml. versions for 55 euros, 45 euros and 29 euros, or $71, $58 and $37, respectively. The products in the ancillary line include a 200-ml. shower gel, 200-ml. body lotion and 200-ml. deodorant spray, each selling for 19 euros, or $24.

The scent will launch in France in July, then be rolled out to Europe, Asia and the Middle East in September. The U.S. and Canada are slated to get the fragrance in 2007.

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