Marc Jacobs is feeling indulgent — that’s why he chose to name his new fragrance Decadence.
In addition to designing the bottle to resemble an emerald-green handbag (don’t ask Coty Inc. execs about the cost of goods), the ad features a barely clothed Adriana Lima rolling around on the floor in utter abandon.
This story first appeared in the June 3, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s been quite the beauty journey for the fashion designer, who launched his first fragrance with the now-defunct American Designer Fragrances division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2001. Now, after a fragrance partnership with Coty that began in 2003 and a color cosmetics partnership with Sephora that began in 2013, he’s reflecting on his past and his future.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” Jacobs said. “What felt abstract [in 2001] now just feels like what I do and part of the whole world of design.”
In fact, each of Jacobs’ fragrances has a distinct personality: Daisy is the sweet girl next door; Lola is the quirky one and Decadence is most certainly the sexy, sophisticated one. (“For Marc, it’s always about the girl,” said Lori Singer, group vice president of global marketing at Coty, Jacobs’ fragrance licensee.)
“I like the idea of that extrovert, that show-off, and I like the things that symbolize her — whether it’s the beads or the feathers or the sequins,” said Jacobs of his newest girl. “It’s all the trappings of the extrovert more interesting to me than they ever were before.” (His ultimate showgirl? Cher.)
In developing Decadence, Jacobs went for a holistic approach, examining the moods in his ready-to-wear and his color cosmetics while deciding which direction to take his latest fragrance in. His decision: bring on the bling.
“I thought about where we were going with clothes, the direction in which I’d like my company to go in terms of the things we were producing and where I was at aesthetically,” said Jacobs. “For me, everything weighs in and plays a part. I felt like the next story to tell was one of this indulgence of pleasure and luxury, because that’s what decadence is. And I had to tell that in a way that was irreverent, which is very much part of who I am and how we tell stories, which is with an offhanded, irreverent sense of glamour, rather than first-degree glamour — something a bit more unconventional.”
Jacobs also felt strongly about creating a “personal talisman” with the packaging. “I wanted something that evoked the sense of a bag, with python and gold chain and a black silk tassel, so it had a kind of opulence and glamour and became an object of desire,” he said.
The scent, which Jacobs developed with Annie Buzantian at Firmenich, has top notes of Italian plum, iris and saffron; a heart of Bulgarian rose, jasmine sambac and orris, and a drydown of liquid amber, vetiver and papyrus woods.
Eaux de parfum in three sizes will be sold — 1 oz. for $70, 1.7 oz. for $95 and 3.4. oz for $120. A $52 body lotion and a $50 bath gel will also be sold.
Advertising, shot by Steven Meisel, features Lima in a barely there Marc Jacobs slipdress. “You can feel her sex appeal from a mile away, but there’s also this charm and youthfulness to her,” said the designer. “There’s no vulgarity in it.”
Print will begin running in October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, and a digital commercial will make its debut in late September.
While all involved declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Decadence could do $25 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter. It will be sold in about 2,000 doors in the U.S. Among retailers, Jacobs is viewed as having a powerful name for selling fragrance, although Coty’s penchant for rolling out distribution has eroded his high-end punch, according to sources.
Jacobs also discussed the elimination of his Marc by Marc Jacobs ready-to-wear line, explaining that he originally did his bridge line by inking out the Jacobs in his regular label, but that it was hard to photograph. “What we will do is incorporate that line into the main line, all under the same label. It’s not that it won’t exist, it just won’t exist as two separate lines. Marc by Marc Jacobs was never called that in the beginning. It was the same label with the Jacobs blacked out. And then, for reasons that it couldn’t be reproduced or editorialized that way, it became Marc by Marc Jacobs. But today, it feels like a second line with a different aesthetic.”