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NEW YORK — Victoria’s Secret Beauty is hoping its latest fragrance will take consumers’ breath away.
This story first appeared in the April 4, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company will launch Breathless, the newest addition to its prestige portfolio, this July.
“I think the whole ambience of [Breathless] is that it takes you someplace that’s far away from where we are today,” noted Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of The Limited’s Intimate Beauty Corp. and its Aura Science and Victoria’s Secret Beauty divisions, who called the “feminine, sexy” scent a perfect match for the Victoria’s Secret portfolio.
Burns also pointed out that Breathless “is the first [Victoria’s Secret scent] that is not overt in its lingerie connection” although “it is also associated with swimwear and that exotic getaway location.” The visual for Breathless was shot by Russell James and features Gisele Bündchen, clad solely in a gold bikini bottom, leaning against the rocks in Virgin Gorda.
Victoria’s Secret’s fragrance business reportedly grew about 14 percent last year. The prestige fragrance portfolio currently includes the Dream Angels scents, Pink, the Very Sexy masterbrand and Body by Victoria. “I think that what all of them have in common is a huge emotional content that is really right for the brand,” noted Sherry Baker, executive vice president, chief marketing officer at Victoria’s Secret Beauty.
The juice, created by Annie Buzantian of Firmenich, contains top notes of orange flower, bergamont and mandarin; middle notes of verbena, tangerine buds and neroli brigade flowers, and a dry-down of cashgora essence, sandalwood and musk. The “sunset-hued, sea glass-inspired” bottle and the outer packaging, made of a pink and gold metallic foil with “Breathless” written in gold, were designed in-house.
The five-item line contains a 0.5-oz. purse spray priced at $25, a 1-oz. eau de parfum spray for $35, a 2.5-oz eau de parfum spray for $45, a 6.7-oz. body lotion for $20 and a 6.7-oz. body wash for $15.
While Burns and Baker declined to talk numbers, industry sources expect the line to garner first-year retail sales of about $40 million.
The fragrance will be available in Victoria Secret’s 1,000 doors — including 500 freestanding beauty stores and in-store beauty boutiques and 500 niche stores, in addition to the catalog and Web site.
Burns noted that the July launch strategy is intended to capitalize on the back-to-school shopping period, “which is one of the heaviest footfall time periods in the mall,” she said. The plan, she noted, is to give it another big promotional push in September, traditionally another heavy footfall period in the malls.
Breathless will be supported by a full marketing campaign that will include mailings to Victoria’s Secret Beauty and lingerie customers, as well as 10 million scented impressions in the Victoria’s Secret catalog. There will also be a special purchase-with-purchase offer in the form of a large tote bag designed to mirror the irridesence and flesh tones of the package. When Breathless launches, it will be placed at the front of the stores, as well as in all of the windows. Executives declined to discuss numbers, but sources estimate promotional spending may equal as much as $15 million.
In addition to the fragrance, the company will launch Shining Kisses Lip Glosses — a line that consists of 17 shades with five finishes. The collection will also hit stores in July and each gloss will retail for $11. Currently, the color line is available in 470 of Victoria’s Secret Beauty doors, and last year, the brand’s color business also reportedly saw growth of 25 percent. There are plans to merchandise the brand’s color cosmetics at the front of the store, as well as to test a third-party color brand. Burns declined to name the brand.
Victoria’s Secret Beauty has also announced its partnership with Charlie Green, the lead artist for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Green will be the premier makeup artist for the brand and some of her responsibilities will include working with product development, as well as on special events.
In addition, Aura Science — the joint venture between The Limited Inc.’s Intimate Beauty Corp. and Shiseido Co. Ltd. —will be introduced into five Victoria’s Secret Beauty stores over the next few weeks. The brand’s skin care and color will take over the first room of the Herald Square store. Burns noted the other four stores will be “more projectable tests.” This experiment is intended to give Victoria’s Secret Beauty an insight into the facial skin care category and to heighten awareness for the Aura Science brand.