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Ralph Lauren: True Blue

Ralph Lauren has found a whole new take, and, he hopes, a younger customer, on one of his classics for the fall launch of Ralph Lauren Blue.

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NEW YORK — Ralph Lauren has found a whole new take on one of his oldest classics for the launch in September of Ralph Lauren Blue, a cool, fresh floral women’s scent.

The executives in the Ralph Lauren Fragrances Division at L’Oréal USA are quite mindful of the success of last fall’s Polo Blue, as well as the staying power of the original Lauren, a 25-year-old scent that still has a distribution in about 1,400 doors. “We really want to go after the audience that Lauren was, and is to a degree, but really who we think the daughter of Lauren is today,” said Andrea Robinson, president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide.

So, who is this “she” now? The Ralph Lauren Blue woman is 25-35 years old and classic with a modern twist, in the view of Lauren executives. “We really wanted to build our women’s portfolio of fragrances and that’s what we’re doing with this,” Robinson said.

The brand’s stable of fragrances includes: Glamorous, a big floral; Romance, a woody floral, and Ralph, a fruity floral. Ralph Lauren Blue, priced in between Romance and Ralph, fills the gap as the lightest of the floral scents.

“The concept plays up on the whole escapism idea and we describe the fragrance through three distinct destinations —a tropical exotic island, the Nantucket shore and a sensual spa,” noted Doreen Bollhofer, vice president of global fragrance development for the brand. Givaudan created the fragrance and the company describes its signature accords in terms of the destinations.

The top notes in Ralph Lauren Blue are lotus flower, gardenia, muguet, pink peony and sparkling jasmine; middle notes of rose de mai, tuberose jasmine petals and orange flower, and base notes of ambrette, sandalwood, vetiver, mousse de chine and musk. “This is for the woman who really likes the light fragrance. I think we’re going to get a lot of the people who are now feeding off niche brands to embrace this,” noted Robinson.

The deep-blue glass bottle has signature Ralph Lauren hallmarks on the side and a silver cap inscribed with the RL initials on top. It was designed to “slip perfectly into a woman’s hand.” The outer packaging is royal blue and textured with white script lettering.

This story first appeared in the May 2, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The collection includes a 2.5-oz. eau de toilette spray that will retail for $45, a 4.2-oz eau de toilette that will sell for $60, a 6.7-oz. Vitamin Enriched Moisturizing Body Gel that contains cooling properties for $37.50 and a 6.7-oz. Vitamin Enriched Shower Gel that retails for $32.50.

While the company declined to comment on numbers, industry sources expect the line to do $45 million at retail by yearend.

Ralph Lauren Blue will be in 2,200 doors in the top 20 markets in the U.S. The launch will be supported by approximately 50 million scented impressions with additional co-op scented pieces, such as vial-on-card and deluxe samples and scented bracelets. It will be the brand’s biggest sampling effort for women’s fragrance to date.

The ad, shot by Bruce Weber, featuring model Filippa Hamilton in a Caribbean setting will break in October books. Co-op TV will also be used.

The company expects to be a top-five brand in a hotly competitive environment with other major launches from Estée Lauder, Clinique and Burberry.

“We’re going to get every opportunity to really perform in the fall,” said Jack Wiswall, president of Designer Fragrances Division at L’Oréal USA. “The project warrants a big-time performance and I think we’re going to have it.” With the launch of Ralph Lauren Blue, the company will also anniversary its men’s fragrance Polo Blue, which has already racked up retail sales of more than $40 million since its launch, according to industry sources. According to Wiswall, they will “go up in visual on both” and have a visual in men’s department, as well as the women’s.

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