PARIS — There’s a murmur emanating from Parfums Van Cleef & Arpels, which the company hopes will turn into a roar.

This story first appeared in the June 28, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

It takes the form of a new women’s fragrance, called Murmure (French for Murmur), due out this fall. “Murmure is the jewel of a fragrance the brand has been waiting for for many years,” said Chantal Roos, president of YSL Beaute, which acquired the beauty license for Van Cleef in 2000. “It’s part of the brand’s revival.”

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She said the Van Cleef brand “had lost momentum, and its sales were dropping off year after year. We first had to redo its communication, reposition its products, redo its packaging and reevaluate its distribution.”

In line with the firm’s new image, which has been updated through advertising campaigns for its jewelry and existing scents, each of which feature vegetal motifs, the new fragrance is meant to tap a modern clientele.

“It’s about being in line with your time, while not forgetting tradition and classicism,” explained James Ragsdale, vice president of Parfums Van Cleef & Arpels.

“We want to expand our customer base without losing business on First,” he continued, referring to the company’s 26-year old scent.

YSL Beaute executives refused to divulge sales estimates for Murmure, but industry sources say they believe it could generate $10 million in wholesale volume in its first 12 months.

Murmure is the second installment of Van Cleef’s contemporary fragrance business, which kicked off last year with the launch of Zanzibar, a men’s scent.

Murmure will bow on Sept. 28 worldwide, except for South America, which will get the scent in 2003. At launch, the fragrance will be sold exclusively in 200 U.S. specialty stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman. In 2003, the scent will be rolled out to 400 more U.S. doors.

Murmure’s juice, a woody floral, was concocted by Firmenich’s Alberto Morillas and Jacques Cavailler. Top notes include freesia and white rose with essence of mandarin orange; heart notes are made up of jasmine sambac absolute, orange blossom and cassie flower, and the base notes are comprised of Brazilian rosewood, cedar and vanilla infusion.

The flacon was designed by Gwenael Nicolas to be reminiscent of an open lily. “We wanted a bottle like a contemporary sculpture,” explained Catherine Levesque, international marketing director for Van Cleef. “We wanted it to be magical and precious.”

The fragrance’s cylindrical bottle has a gold spray cap that’s surrounded by clear plastic. There is also a gold stripe running down the side of the bottle.

Murmure’s white-and-purple outer packaging features the Van Cleef & Arpels logo.

Single- and double-page advertisements featuring vegetal motifs and the bottle will break in November issues of monthly magazines in France, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Russia and the Gulf countries. A sampling campaign, including Sophisticates, will also accompany the launch.

Murmure will be sold in the U.S. as 2.5- and 1.6-oz. eau de toilette sprays, for $70 and $54, respectively. A 0.5-oz. extract will go for $127 and ancillaries will include a 5-oz. body lotion, for $38, and a 5-oz. bath-and-shower gel, for $32.”

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