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Givenchy Reinterprets Iconic Gentleman Scent

The house reworked the men’s fragrance launched by Hubert de Givenchy in 1975.

PARIS — Parfums Givenchy went back to its roots by reinterpreting its Gentleman men’s scent — created by the house’s founder Hubert de Givenchy in 1975 — to help capture a younger clientele.

The exercise was undertaken as an homage to the designer and to imagine what Gentleman would be like if it were made today, according to Romain Spitzer, Givenchy Parfums’ chief executive officer.

The original fragrance was intended to “add spice to courtesy.” “At the time, it was a perfume with a fairly racy signature, powerful, formulated with a lot of patchouli and leaving a noticeable wake,” Spitzer said. “The idea was to recover the audacity of that time, with a composition a bit more contemporary.”

Firmenich perfumers Olivier Cresp and Nathalie Lorson concocted the new Gentleman woody floral fougère juice, which includes notes of lavender, iris, pear and an accord of patchouli-leather. Spitzer called its effect a mix of “power and sweetness.”

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as reported, incarnates Givenchy’s modern gentleman sans the traditional clichés in the advertising. The British actor stars in the film and still campaigns directed by his wife, Sam Taylor-Johnson.

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The black-and-white spot takes place in an undefined countryside manor at the end of a soiree. Taylor-Johnson begins to play with a strand of gypsophile — an emblematic flower for the house of Givenchy. “He will restore the spark, revitalize the evening,” Spitzer explained.

Taylor-Johnson puts on music, offers a flower to a woman, his jacket to a man, among other gentlemanly deeds. “We tried to retranscribe in this film a notion of freedom, spontaneity and generosity,” said Spitzer.

The clip is set to the tune “Enjoy Yourself,” by rapper A+. “It’s the reinvention of very classical music,” said Spitzer, referring to the song’s opening strain by Beethoven. Again, there’s something old and something new here.

“There is a very festive spirit that emerges,” continued the executive, adding there’s also an elegance.

On the set, Spitzer said there was “magic” between the Taylor-Johnsons. “Thanks to their love and to their complicity,” Spitzer explained.

The spot will appear in various formats and media, but is primarily destined for TV and digital platforms.

“The public that we wish to reach is younger than that we have today,” said Spitzer, who specified the focus is the under-30 set. “We wish to recruit new consumers, and worked on the project with the view of rejuvenating the target with the perfume, advertising and media plan.”

The perfume bottle’s shape resembles that of its predecessor, as does the flacon for Gentleman Only, another offshoot of the first Gentleman scent. “But this one is closer yet to the spirit of the original, since it has a band going across all of the product,” Spitzer said.

The new Gentleman product will be sold starting Thursday in avant-premiere in the Sephora on Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées, prior to the France-wide launch on Aug. 21.

The international rollout will then include Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands in August, while a U.K. exclusive is set to be in Boots from Aug. 16 to Sept. 12, and in the U.S. it will be previewed at Bloomingdale’s that month.

Countries to start selling Gentleman in September include the U.S., Canada, Spain, Germany, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In France, the 50-ml. eau de toilette will retail for 65 euros and the 100-ml. eau de toilette for 91.50 euros.

Executives at Givenchy, an LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand, would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate that the new scent will generate first-year retail sales of 45 million euros and that the Gentleman portfolio will in the future make 100 million euros with business boosted by the latest entrant.

“It’s a worldwide launch — it’s the global relaunch of the Gentleman franchise,” Spitzer said. “Gentleman is the pillar of our masculine portfolio, and we want to anchor it very strongly both in our past and in our future.”