LONDON — There’s a new fragrance focus at Rochas.

This story first appeared in the March 27, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Appointed last year as Rochas’ in-house perfumer, Jean-Michel Duriez is a key element in Procter & Gamble Co.’s plans to forge a future growth path for the brand, which also includes tapping its rich archives and Parisian roots.

In April, for instance, Rochas will introduce Eau Sensuelle, a fragrance blended by Duriez, which is a take on the brand’s Eau de Rochas classic scent that was created in 1970.

“This is not a rejuvenation strategy; we want to focus on heritage and its strongholds,” said Heike Hindenlang, global marketing director of P&G Prestige Products. “Part of what we want to do with our new strategy is to focus on loyal customers and previously loyal customers.

“We will keep looking to the past for inspiration,” Hindenlang continued, adding P&G is also working closely with Marco Zanini, the designer behind the recently resuscitated Rochas fashion business. “It seems like the right time. There’s so much doom and gloom. People are looking to traditional brands that they know and love. [Eau Sensuelle] is the first step to turning Rochas back to its traditional French roots.”

“The world of Rochas fragrance is very linked with Paris and Parisian women,” said Duriez, of his olfactive plans for the brand, adding Hélène, the wife and muse of house founder Marcel Rochas, will also inspire future creations.

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For his first endeavor at the brand, Duriez blended a floral take on Eau de Rochas, an eau fraîche. “For me, it’s the occasion to push the sensuality of Eau de Rochas,” said Duriez.

The eau de toilette’s top notes include blood orange, bergamot and mango. At the scent’s heart are orange blossom, pink peppercorn and Sambac jasmine. Iris, dried fruits and white musk notes comprise the drydown.

“I have noticed that in every Rochas fragrance — like Madame Rochas, Femme and Eau de Rochas — there is a key mysterious ingredient,” said Duriez, adding he honed in on orange blossom as Eau Sensuelle’s linchpin note, as it recalls for him fond childhood memories of vacationing in the South of France.

The new scent will be available in 50- and 100-ml. spray bottles priced at $43 and $59, respectively.

The fragrance’s launch will be supported by a print and television advertising campaign featuring model Emilie Caillon against a Parisian vista. The print ad was shot by Benoit Peverelli, while the TV spot was directed by Joe Roman.

Industry sources estimate Eau Sensuelle could ring up first-year retail sales in the region of $15 million. The Rochas fragrance brands generate estimated annual retail sales of $180 million worldwide, also according to industry sources.

Hindenlang said plans “for the time being” are to reinforce Rochas’ beauty business in its strongest market, namely Europe, France and Spain in particular.

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