By  on February 3, 2006

NEW YORK — Marc Jacobs plans to wade back into the fragrance spotlight this spring with Marc Jacobs Splash, a trio of limited-edition scents.

Rain, Grass and Cotton, coming in April, make up the first major fragrance offering for Jacobs since Coty Prestige launched Blush in September 2004. But while the fragrance industry continues to churn out launches at an prodigious rate, Jacobs — an admitted perfectionist — is content to aim for quality, rather than sheer quantity.

"I always liked the concept of a fragrance someone could wear without it being too precious," Jacobs said Thursday afternoon, in the midst of preparing for his upcoming runway shows. "I was trying to move away from the concept that fragrance is only meant to sit on a shelf and be dotted on the wrist, sparingly, for special occasions. Everything about Splash is meant to be more casual or lighthearted: the scents, the colors, the big bottle with its oversize proportions. All three scents are things that always smell good to me. They aren't ‘occasion' scents — they are meant to invite you to use as much as possible, whenever you like."

Coty and Jacobs are working on an additional major fragrance concept, although Jacobs devotees will have a wait on their hands: It isn't expected to launch until 2007, said Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of American fragrances for Coty Prestige.

Splash's three scents — which cheekily could be called a Neiman Marcus version of the Jean Naté body splashes popular in the Seventies and Eighties — have a musky, woody base in common, said Walsh, although their top notes and hearts differ. Their oil concentrations are around 8 percent, rather than the 10 to 12 percent concentration typically seen for an eau de toilette and the 15 to 18 percent concentration that is normal for an eau de parfum.

"We were aiming for affordable luxury with this launch, not something precious," said Michael D'Arminio, vice president of global marketing for the Marc Jacobs fragrance business. "It's supposed to be easy, fun and casual." To that end, the team worked on developing proprietary notes that resulted in a Tropical Rain accord developed by International Flavors and Fragrances for Rain, fresh green accords from Firmenich for Grass and the Marc T Signature Accord developed by Takasago for Cotton.

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