PARIS — Paco Rabanne Parfums is building up its Black XS fragrance portfolio with the new L’Excès masterbrand, due out on Jan. 20.

This story first appeared in the January 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The women’s and men’s scents have a rock-star positioning — not least due to rocker Iggy Pop’s cameo appearance and voice-over in their video advertisement lensed by his friend Jonas Akerlund. The 45-, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions destined for TV and cinema feature models Sasha Pivovarova and Nick Rae embodying the world of rock, with all its excess (or l’excès, in French), sophistication and audaciousness, according to executives at Puig, which owns Paco Rabanne’s fashion and beauty businesses.

“The brand has always had the wish to be very daring,” said Vincent Thilloy, vice president of Paco Rabanne.

Josh Olins photographed the L’Excès print campaign, which comes in single and double pages. One image is for the women’s scent, another for the men’s and a third for the masterbrand.

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Since the XS brand was introduced in 1993, it has been linked with music, explained Thilloy. The tie-in was reinforced with Black XS, launched in 2005 with a men’s scent. It recently introduced, a Web site featuring video content and a short film about nine bands, with Universal Music Group, for instance. And in September, the brand launched a limited edition product for the Rock in Rio festival.

“We asked each perfumer to work on this idea of sophisticated excess,” said Jean Holtzmann, group manager for Paco Rabanne, referring to the L’Excès project. “For us, it was at once contrasts between accords, an overdose of raw materials [and], to work on this idea of a vibration, an explosion.”

Firmenich’s Fabrice Pellegrin created the men’s Black L’Excès woody aromatic juice. Its top notes include Calabrian lemon and lavender. In the heart, there’s an ozonic accord and a cypriol note, plus amber wood and patchouli notes in the base.

Symrise’s Emilie Coppermann concocted Black XS L’Excès for Her’s juice, an oriental floral. The top is comprised of neroli and black pepper notes, followed by Queen of the Night jasmine and rose absolute notes in the heart, and cashmere wood and black vanilla notes in the base.

The human skull inspired numerous elements of the L’Excès fragrance project, including its bottle design. Meant to evoke the rebellious attitude of a rocker is a charm, shaped like a skull, on the L’Excès fragrance flacons. It is juxtaposed with a rose-shaped charm.

The L’Excès scents will be launched on Jan. 20 in France and Spain, followed by the travel-retail channel. In February, the fragrances are to be introduced in the U.K., followed by other markets in Europe and Latin America. The debut in Dubai should take place in May or June.

Puig executives would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate the L’Excès masterbrand will generate 40 million euros, or $51 million at current exchange, in first-year wholesale revenues.

In France, the Black XS L’Excès 100-ml. eau de toilette “intense” spray will be priced at 67 euros, or $85.50, and the 50-ml. version is to be retailed for 52 euros, or $66.35. The Black XS L’Excès for Her eau de parfum spray will come in 80-, 50- and 30-ml. versions, which are to be priced at 73 euros, 61 euros and 42 euros, respectively, or $93.15, $77.85 and $53.60.

The Black XS franchise, which also includes the women’s fragrance that came out in 2007, is Paco Rabanne’s second largest behind the 1 Million and Lady Million masterbrand. Black XS still ranks in the top 15 in most markets outside of the U.S., where it is not carried.

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