MILAN — Versace Jeans Couture is back in the limelight with two new scents. Versace’s Giver Profumi beauty division studied the concept of a new Jeans Couture fragrance for "a couple of years," said Ferdinando Silva Coronel, managing director of Giver. In the end, Donatella Versace found inspiration in the rap music world and all its now-trendy accessories such as oversized gem or diamond rings."Rappers love these types of jewels, which are now fashionable for everyone, not just for young people," noted Coronel. Industry sources say that the fragrance duo, called Versace Jeans Couture, could ring up $19.6 million in wholesale revenues for the 12 months of 2003. Half that amount, $9.8 million, is expected to come from sales done from the September 2002 launch date through December 2002. All figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates. The woman’s scent, a floral, starts off fruity, has a freesia, iris and black jasmine heart, and finishes with sandalwood and vetiver. For men, the fragrance is a woody floral musk and features citrusy top notes and ends with patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood. Its heart has violet leaves and other florals. Givaudan created the women’s juice, and the men’s fragrance was built by Firmenich. Each fragrance retails for $46.15 per 75-ml. bottle. Prices are for Europe. Aside from the U.S. — which can expect Versace Jeans Couture on shelves in spring 2003 — the eau de toilettes will launch in Europe and elsewhere in the world in September 2002. However, Coronel still hopes to hit a few U.S. doors before yearend. The goal, he said, is to be present in at least 300 U.S. department and specialty store doors before yearend 2003."It will be in department stores, which are rather selective and luxury-minded," he added. The scents are debuting during a rather challenging period for fragrances here. Italian selective perfumery sales were down 9 percent in the first quarter of 2002, with a similar percentage decrease predicted for the second quarter, according to Fenapro, Italy’s national association of perfumeries. Still, Coronel appeared confident in Jeans Couture’s eventual success. According to him, consumers are afraid to spend and only the newest innovations such as Versace Jeans Couture will drive purchases."This is a global crisis in that consumers have a tendency to save," he said. "These days, new launches are a welcome and they have a higher capacity [for success]. For us, Jeans Couture fragrances have historically been a great success."Well, not all of them. The brand’s Black, White, Green and Yellow fragrances have been taken off shelves. But Coronel said about two million pieces of Jeans Couture’s Red and Blue fragrance are still sold each year.As a reflection of the market downturn, Giver Profumi’s 2002 budget had forecasted a 10 percent increase, said Coronel, but that was then updated to just 3.5 percent. "The year remains difficult," he said. "In 2003, it will depend on the economy. Naturally, if we do plus 3 percent [in 2002], we would hope for plus 7 percent [in 2003] if the market maintains itself." Contributing to 2003 results will be "Men," a new masculine scent that Coronel hopes to launch in March or April. He’s tight-lipped right now, however, about additional details. Coronel is "crossing his fingers" that the Jeans Couture duo will take center stage on perfumery shelves this fall. It certainly should stand out, at least aesthetically: Designed under Donatella’s creative guidance, the his-and-hers fragrances are in blindingly flashy bottles studded with gold and emerald plastic gems, respectively, that reflect the bottle’s shiny plastic surface. Not to be upstaged, the boxes are in gold and faux diamonds for the ladies, and gunmetal and diamonds for men. If it sounds overly attention-getting, that is exactly the point. Coronel said that he was counting on the packaging and window displays as key factors to drive the fragrances’ sales. Versace has planned an advertising attack with a Steven Meisel image featuring an artfully arranged naked man and woman against a black backdrop: The image has a trompe l’oeil effect, as the two bodies seem to meld together like a perfectly sculpted creature with two heads.
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