A new indie fragrance brand is pairing scent with sound.
Founded by former Unilever and L’Oréal executive Ali Kashani, Art Meets Art tapped four top perfumers — Alberto Morillas, Christophe Raynaud, Fabrice Pellegrin and Frank Voelkl — and asked them to create fragrances for five cult classic songs. The brand launched in July 2017 at Printemps Paris, followed by a U.K. launch in December. This week, it made its U.S. debut at Saks Fifth Avenue.
“We create perfumes that aim to make a very strong style statement and that are strongly inspired by pop culture,” Kashani said. “It’s tricky for a high-end indie brand like us to make a creation that really connects with people. That’s what we’re trying to do: work at the highest standard of excellence in our industry to create a strong emotional bond with people in our own witty [way].”
When selecting the songs, all four perfumers took into consideration the lyrics and emotional resonance, as well as their own personal relationship with the music. The five debut offerings are inspired by Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” “Bésame Mucho” by Consuelo Velázquez, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” and James Shelton’s “Lilac Wine.” The scents were made in partnership with the songs’ writers and composers — and in certain cases, their families — and retail for $95 each.
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Kashani declined to give sales projections, but industry sources estimate that Art Meets Art will reach $50 million in retail sales in the next three years. It is expected to do up to $2 million in sales in its first year in the U.S.
Asked for his distribution strategy, Kashani said he wants Art Meets Art to be available in “the most prestigious premium luxury stores in the country.” He is also looking at “cool and edgy concept stores” — similar to the recently closed Colette — to match the brand’s “lifestyle approach.”
“We work at a very high standard of excellence and premium luxury stores are perfect partners because they are curators and a symbol of this high standard of excellence in the industry,” he said. “The second type of distribution are what I call cool and edgy concept stores. That will be the local Colette — we realized they closed right after we launched. We have a lifestyle approach and if you enter Colette, you will find art books, pop culture, you will have sneakers, music — a pop aesthetic as opposed to a classic one.”
He teased an upcoming collaboration with a famous rock band, though he declined to name which.
“We are making a tribute to something that is conceptually, artistically interesting,” he said. “We are not into putting pictures of faces, I am not judging, but it’s another world. It happens that ‘Like a Virgin’ is super famous, but if we talk about ‘Lilac Wine,’ true music lovers will tell me that it is a song about drinkable perfume. It’s amazing from a creative point of view [for a song] to be expressed in an olfactive expression.”
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