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Prada Introduces Its First Fragrance Master Brand

With help from Puig, La Femme and L'Homme mark the brand's biggest fragrance launch in its history.

True to form, Prada is bucking convention with the introduction next week of its most significant fragrance launch to date, 13 years after signing a beauty license with Puig.

The two new scents, La Femme Prada and L’Homme Prada, constitute Prada’s first-ever master brand of scents for women and men. They are coming on the heels of what Puig chief brand officer Jose Manuel Albesa said has been a strong three years of growth for Prada’s fragrance business. Prada’s current top-sellers are Prada Luna Rossa Sport and Prada Candy, and 2015 was the launch year of Prada Olfactories and Les Infusions de Prada, two genderless scent collections. Albesa also noted that sales volume for Prada’s fragrance business has increased by “double-digit numbers” over the past few years.

While Albesa declined to cite specific dollar figures, industry sources project that the new master brand will do $120 million dollars in global retail sales within the first year on counter.

“We had a very different vision from Prada [Luna Rossa] Sport and Prada Candy. We thought it was time after those fragrances [and] two genderless collections to come back with a strong statement and a very classic, very Prada fragrance,” said Albesa. “It’s the whole brand itself speaking to a woman and a man, showing [who is] the Prada man and [who is] the Prada woman.”

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Albesa said the decision to introduce both men’s and women’s fragrances simultaneously is true to Prada’s ethos — “classic, with an unexpected twist.”

“[Miuccia Prada] doesn’t want to get into the typical industry thing of doing a woman and then the master brand [for] men,” said Albesa. “Prada tries to break the rules…rather, we’re putting [the launches] together with an identical vision.”

La Femme and L’Homme will launch next week in four Prada boutiques worldwide, and in the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The first Prada boutiques to carry the fragrance will be the global flagship in Milan, the Fifth Avenue store in New York, as well as one additional store in Paris and one in London. The global rollout will continue in July with the rest of the Prada boutiques in Europe as well as additional distribution in France. In August, the fragrance will hit local markets in the U.S. — including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, and their respective Web sites — as well as local markets in Italy, Germany, the U.K. and Spain. The rollout will continue in August, with Russia, Asia and the Middle East, and remaining markets, including South Africa, Turkey and Morocco in September.

La Femme is a “hyper-sensual” floral juice based in frangipani, a flower also known as plumeria — the frangipani name has Italian origins, but the flower is native to tropical climates. Albesa counted the exotic floral as the scent’s “unexpected twist.” The fragrance also contains notes of ylang-ylang, beeswax, vanilla and tuberose, and is topped off with vetiver. La Femme will retail in the U.S. at 3.4 oz. for $130, 1.7 oz. for $95, and 1.2 oz. for $67.

L’Homme is comprised of iris and amber, ingredients Albesa described as traditional for the house, combined with neroli, geranium and patchouli. He noted, “We took classic ingredients, twisted them and showed them in a different way.” The men’s fragrance will retail in the U.S. at $120 for 5 oz., $98 for 3.4 oz. and $78 for 1.7 oz.

Both scents were conjured by Daniela Andrier of Givaudan.

The bottles are complementarily designed, but not identical, described as “individual parts of a whole.” On both is the classic Prada Milano logo, a “clear signature of the house,” Albesa noted, to “emphasize the idea of classicism.” La Femme is white and gold, with a rounded back of white Saffiano leather. L’Homme is done in black and silver, with black debossed Saffiano leather on the back. Both contain internal mirrors that create a reflective effect, the meaning of which is to emphasize the “multiplicity of the Prada characters.” The bottles are symmetrical, and if you place them facing each other, they form a full circle. “When you combine both together, the whole bottle becomes one,” said Albesa.

As for the Prada man and woman, they are not singular individuals. With her brand’s master fragrances, Miuccia Prada aimed to explore the theme of fluid identity and multiplicity, celebrating the “individuality and difference” of the women and men wearing the scents.

“It was clear we couldn’t have only one face to represent the Prada man and woman,” said Albesa.

The idea of having multiple characters is reflected in the advertising campaign, which will appear in print and on social media. Two actors each represent La Femme and L’Homme. Ansel Elgort and Dane DeHaan are the faces of L’Homme, and Mia Goth and Mia Wasikowska will represent La Femme. Longtime Prada collaborator Steven Meisel shot the campaign.