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Viktor & Rolf’s Cure for Boredom

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren claim to have come up with a solution for boredom in the men's fragrance world.

NEW YORK — Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren claim to have come up with a solution for boredom in the men’s fragrance world. That’s why they called their new scent Antidote.

It is slated for a September launch.

While most designers would follow up a successful fragrance by creating a masterbrand, using a variation of the same name, Horsting and Snoeren are planning to follow last year’s successful Flowerbomb women’s fragrance with this completely unrelated men’s project — a move as quirky as the duo themselves.

“Viktor and Rolf wanted to create a completely new project — and, as a concept, that made more sense,” said Jack Wiswall, president of the Designer Fragrances Division of L’Oréal USA, which holds the Viktor & Rolf fragrance license. Next month, Wiswall will pass the reins to Serge Jureidini, currently the general manager of the company’s Giorgio Armani Beauty business in the U.S. “Flowerbomb on its own is great for women and has been very successful, but the concept didn’t really translate to the men’s market,” Wiswall said.

Added Ladan Lari, global managing director for Viktor & Rolf Fragrances, “Antidote is a very personal fragrance from Viktor & Rolf. Not only were they extremely involved in the creation of the fragrance, but it also expresses the value of their Monsieur fashion collection.” The Monsieur ready-to-wear line was launched in 2003.

The Antidote moniker is intended to “change anything negative into a positive,” said Ulli Lindauer, assistant vice president of marketing for L’Oréal’s European Designer Fragrances division. “Our mission as fragrance creators is to turn dreams into reality, and Antidote is the perfect antidote to reality.”

To drive home how important the scent is to L’Oréal, the executive team decided to introduce the fragrance to the U.S. press last night, at singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s two-day engagement at Carnegie Hall. The musician — a longtime Viktor & Rolf fan who often wears the designers’ creations while performing — is reprising Judy Garland’s April 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. L’Oréal also scheduled a launch party upstairs at Carnegie Hall after the conclusion of Wainwright’s show Thursday.

The juice, by Alienor Massenet and Pierre Wargnye of International Flavors & Fragrances, is a rich, woody oriental. Top notes are of mint leaves, Italian bergamot, mandarin orange, essence of grapefruit and essence of Guatemalan cardamom; the heart is of sambac jasmine absolute, essence of French lavender, essence of African geranium, essence of nutmeg, cinnamon bark extract, freesia, orange blossom and violet, and the drydown is of amber, essence of Indonesian patchouli, cistus labdanum absolute vanilla, iris, sandalwood, Texan white cedar, essence of guaiacum wood, tree moss, leather, white musk and tonka bean. IFF also created Flowerbomb for L’Oréal.

This story first appeared in the June 16, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The bottle, designed by Fabien Baron, is clear glass with beveled edges, with a black top stamped with a wax seal. A silver-toned plate on the bottle’s front is stamped with the Antidote name and the designers’ names. The juice inside is tinted green.

Antidote will be available in just 150 Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom doors in the U.S., said Wiswall.

In keeping with the fragrance’s tight distribution to upscale specialty stores, pricing is “aggressive but nice,” said Wiswall. The 1.7-oz. eau de toilette will retail for $65 and the 4.2-oz. size will retail for $90. Two ancillaries will be offered, an aftershave balm for $45 and an aftershave spray for $55. The eaux de toilette will be launched in September and the ancillaries, in October.

National advertising for Antidote, shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin under the direction of Baron, will break in a few October men’s and lifestyle magazines. In-store sampling will also be part of the strategy. In total, the company is looking for at least one million scented impressions, said Wiswall.

While none of the executives would discuss projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated Antidote would do at least $2 million at retail in the U.S., and $500,000 to $1 million will be earmarked for advertising and promotion.