For Brooks Brothers, fragrance is the new black.
This story first appeared in the September 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Black Fleece, the retailer’s clothing collection that’s designed by Thom Browne, is being expanded to include men’s and women’s scents, which are to launch on Saturday.
The duo, called Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers Eau de Toilette for Men and Eau de Parfum for Women, were produced in conjunction with Brooks Bros.’ fragrance licensee, Inter Parfums Inc.
They were unveiled during an event hosted by Browne at the retailer’s nine-month-old Black Fleece store on Bleecker Street in Manhattan on Thursday night.
The scents mark the second fragrance initiative between Brooks Bros. and Inter Parfums. The firms launched Brooks Brothers New York for Ladies and Brooks Brothers New York for Gentlemen in November of last year.
Browne said that like the Black Fleece clothing collection, the Black Fleece fragrances have a more upscale positioning than the New York scents. Additionally, the Black Fleece scents initially will be carried in only 50 Brooks Bros. stores in the U.S., whereas the New York duo was launched chainwide in 230 stores.
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“When they initially were talking about a fragrance, it was a more special type of fragrance,” said Browne. “And it fits within the customer [base] Black Fleece was conceived for.” This customer base is “a little more sensitive to fashion,” he added.
“Just like the [Black Fleece] collection has enhanced the world of Brooks Bros.,” Browne said in an interview, “this [fragrance launch] will do the same thing for the scents that they have.”
While Browne would not pin down a particular demographic targeted by the Black Fleece scents, he said the target customer is “more youthfully spirited.”
Both scents will be available in 4.2 oz. and priced at $125 each. In comparison, last year’s New York scent collection was priced from $55 to $85.
Plans call for the fragrances to be rolled out internationally to Brooks Bros. stores as well as specialty retailers in the spring. The Black Fleece scents could combine to generate upward of $2 million in first-year retail sales volume, according to industry sources.
Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers Eau de Toilette for Men was composed by Vincent Schaller of Firmenich. It includes top notes of citrus and fresh spices, a heart of geranium, bourbon and rosewood and undertones of patchouli, incense and vetiver.
Eau de Parfum for Women was blended by Fragrance Resources perfumer Steve DeMarcado and the composition was inspired by DeMarcado’s travels to Istanbul. It features notes of amber crystals, molten incense, precious agarwood, gilded citron, Asian star jasmine, rich woods and incense.
The Black Fleece bottles, made of curved glass, were designed by Sam O’Donahue and inspired by ceramic pieces from the Fifties. The men’s bottle is gray while the women’s bottle is white.
While advertising for the scents will be mostly via newspaper, the fragrances also will be featured in Brooks Bros.’ holiday gift catalogue, as well as online. In store, the fragrances will be sampled on red, white and blue striped ribbon bracelets, which close with a shirt button. The bracelets were inspired by the trim used on many items within the Black Fleece apparel collection.