BERLIN — The angular, refined simplicity of Jil Sander is back — this time in a bottle. A new men’s fragrance launching this month, called Ultrasense, marks the first scent to be released under Sander’s name since she returned to her label in 2012.
“I was thinking of a certain kind of men and what they have in common,”stated Sander. “They are successful not because they like success or money or other riches. They succeed because they never followed the crowd, but set out for their own vision. I feel an affinity to this kind of man, since I chose to fight for my ideas as well.”
Ultrasense also represents an intense partnership between Sander and license holder Coty Prestige, which started moving forward on the design aspects of a previously planned project at the same time Sander was returning to her fashion house. Meeting every month or more during the eight-month development period, Sander was specific about every aspect, explained Edgar de Trentinian, marketing director of Jil Sander fragrances for Coty Prestige. Her vision was of a modern, pure and valuable end product true to her aesthetic of understatement.
“She pays a lot of attention to detail — from the overall weight of the bottle, the proportions…the weight of the cap, the sound that it makes when you put it on the table. Every detail was really scrutinized,” he recalled, noting she even insisted that the thin, almost unseen edges of the paper box that holds the fragrance were painted blue — the needle-thin thread of white they gave to the packaging was unacceptable.
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Tailoring the juice inside was the purview of Givaudan perfumer Olivier Pescheux. Coding the idea of a modern Sander suit into scent notes resulted in a precise blend of bergamot and black pepper top notes that merge into fir balsam and sage heart notes, with a drydown of white musk.
“To me, Jil Sander represents elegant style, pure design lines and high-quality materials,” said Pescheux. The Ultrasense bottle is also clearly and subtly drawn. The rectangular bottle is translucent at the top and enameled at the bottom — in blue, but not just any blue, says de Trentinian. “There was a very specific blue she wanted to have — a sapphire blue — [Sander] sent us a color swatch to match it exactly,” he said. A navy blue rounded cap tops things off. Ultrasense eau de toilette comes in 40-, 60- and 90-ml. sizes, priced at 39.50 euros ($52), 55 euros ($72.50) and 75 euros ($99), respectively. Additionally, a 100-ml. aftershave is available for 55 euros ($72.50), a 150-ml. shower gel for 11.50 euros ($15) and a deodorant stick for 19 euros ($25).
Lensed by David Sims, the face of the scent is American model Sean O’Pry, who has also appeared in campaigns for Kenzo and Lucky Brand.
Ultrasense will be launched late this month, starting in the key markets of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Benelux and moving on through Europe. About a month later, the scent will enter Hong Kong. Coty plans to introduce the range of Jil Sander fragrances in China in the near future; the fashion house started business there about a year ago, and the scent line should have a good platform and visibility through that, said de Trentinian.
Additionally, Ultrasense will be sold in Jil Sander flagship stores, including the two in New York and the one in Chicago, as well as in the brand’s U.K. shops-in-shop found in Selfridges. Travel retail will also be viewed strategically and selectively, focused around the core markets, and countries the residents of those markets tend to visit, such as Spain. Depending on performance, distribution for Ultrasense may broaden into Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, de Trentinian said.
There are high expectations for the new launch — a top-five position in core markets, according to de Trentinian. Coty declined to comment on potential sales figures for Ultrasense, but industry sources estimate $15 million at retail the first year in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Benelux countries combined (including travel retail in the region).