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NEW YORK — For years, Vera Wang has been the undisputed champ of the wedding world — launching apparel, fragrances, tabletop items and even mattresses bearing her name.
Now, with her newest scent, she’s targeting a hip junior market in an effort to create a new division and uncover a new dimension for her famous brand.
The fragrance, Princess, is designed to appeal to 18- to 24-year-olds, although “there’s no age limit for a princess,” said Laura Lee Miller, president of Vera Wang Licensing.
“This is a somewhat whimsical, lighthearted and aspirational scent, which is part of our strategy as a company. We are targeting younger women, those who aren’t necessarily looking for a wedding gown. We’re hoping to, eventually, launch a ready-to-wear collection, as well as accessories, that are more whimsical and feminine — and more accessible to younger consumers.”
And the designer has a built-in focus group at home: two teenage daughters, ages 13 and 15. “It came about with me being a soccer mom and driving my kids and all their friends around town and to the beach,” said Wang during an interview at her Upper East Side home here. “And I was thinking of a new fragrance, and I started talking to them — they have all come to the age where they are very fashion-conscious. You should see my bills from Marc Jacobs,” said Wang dryly. “Suddenly, out of nowhere, was this surge of wanting to have bags and shoes and they were even running off to find fragrances.”
“For the first Princess [Wang acknowledges that the idea has abundant flanker possibilities], I wanted something uniquely American. I didn’t want it to get confused with Anglomania or Asiamania,” said Wang. “I wanted something that stood for what I think is the culture I’ve grown up in and in which my daughters are being raised. It’s all about this blend of dreams, magical and reality, the two mixed. In young people, it all sort of comes together.”
Princess, a sheer fruity floral created by Firmenich, has top notes of lady apples, water lily, golden apricot and mandarin meringue; a heart of ripe pink guava, Tahitian tiare flower, wild tuberose and dark chocolate, and a drydown of vanilla chiffon, pink frosting, precious amber and forbidden woods, noted Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of American fragrances for Coty Prestige. The faceted, heart-shape bottle has a gold-toned neck and crown, both studded with amethyst-hued crystals. Both the neck and crown double as rings. The juice is tinted a pale amethyst.
Eaux de toilette in three sizes — 1 oz. for $42, 1.7 oz. for $52 and 3.4 oz. for $68 — will be joined by three ancillaries. They are Velvety Body Butter, 5 oz. for $35; Satiny Body Lotion, 5 oz. for $32, and Foamy Body Polish, 5 oz. for $30.
Princess will be available in about 1,500 department and specialty store doors in September. Prior to that, it will have a six-week exclusive in about 350 Nordstrom, Sephora and Macy’s East doors.
Advertising, shot by Bruce Weber, will bow in September beauty, teen and lifestyle magazines. It features Camilla Belle in a variety of princess-like poses, wearing a crown. “The idea was that you could claim any sort of princess within you — there’s rock princess, Daddy’s little princess, there’s the Princess Bride,” said Wang. “It’s about a whole new definition of what princess means.”
While executives declined to comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Princess could do $40 million in retail sales in its first year on counter, globally, the lion’s share of that figure expected to be in the U.S. Global advertising and promotional spending is estimated at about $18 million. A men’s counterpart to Princess is expected at some point, noted Wang.