NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue has been a favorite launching pad for designer fragrances for years but, come fall, the specialty retailer will debut an unfamiliar brand: its own.
Created in conjunction with the boutique perfume house Bond No. 9, Saks for Him and Saks for Her made their first appearance last week at an editors' preview. Both Laurice Rahmé, Bond's founder and CEO, and Deborah Walters, Saks' senior vice-president of fragrance, were on hand to introduce the scents, calling the partnership a new direction in upscale retailing and a new genre in luxury fragrances.
"This will allow our customer across the country to experience the quintessential Saks Fifth Avenue scent," Walters said. "[We're] thrilled to be part of a unique fragrance collection."
The fragrances are a continuation of the close relationship between Saks and Bond No. 9. The retailer launched Bond fragrances exclusively in their major branches in 2004 and continues to be Bond's only retail partner in the U.S.
"We've done so well with Bond, it gave me the idea to collaborate," Walters said. "I took the idea to Laurice and she immediately agreed to it."
Saks for Him also stands as the first men's scent for both Saks and Bond. The luxury retailer carried its own women's fragrance in the 1970s. Bond No. 9 had previously marketed all its scents as unisex. "With Saks, it was natural [to make a men's scent]," said Rahmé. "They have a men's store and a women's store. We have to follow their profile."
Rahmé described the men's scent as "classic but not boring." Top notes include chili, black pepper, cardamom and bergamot. The juice's heart is incense while the base consists of guiac wood and amber.
Bond's traditional star-shaped bottle was used for the flacon, but the design shows off the retailer's new logo: four quadrants containing super-magnified letters of the word "Saks" in the retailer's signature script. Saks for Him features white lettering on a black background. Saks for Her, black lettering on a white background.
Walters said the fragrances are part of a larger initiative at Saks to produce branded merchandise featuring the new logo, which the retailer calls "Saks DNA." The company has already placed bags and desk accessories in stores, and is currently working on apparel. "This is the start of a major category for us," Walters said.
Bond No. 9 is known for naming its scents after New York neighborhoods and landmarks. Their 28 fragrances include Nuits de Noho, Fashion Avenue, Little Italy and Riverside Drive. "We didn't have a Fifth Avenue fragrance," said Rahmé. "Now we do."
Saks for Him, which will launch in the company's 54 stores worldwide in September, will be available in two sizes: a 3.4-oz eau de parfum for $185 and a 1.7-oz version for $125. Saks for Her will launch in October.
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