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Prada Out to Break Fragrance Stereotypes With Les Infusions de Prada

With the introduction of its Les Infusions de Prada line of six scents by Andrier, Prada is responding to consumer fatigue with aggressively marketed designer perfume launches.

MILAN — “Gender-based products are very cliché-oriented,” said Daniela Andrier of Givaudan. The perfumer has worked with many top luxury brands, but Prada, in particular, has allowed her to explore fragrance outside the realm of shopworn masculine and feminine ideals.

With the introduction of its Les Infusions de Prada line of six scents by Andrier — three new and three existing, united by the company’s original 1913 crest on each flacon and topped with pastel-colored film molded to caps matching the ingredients — Prada is responding to consumer fatigue with aggressively marketed designer perfume launches.

The juices will be sold in the brand’s own boutiques as well as select high-end retailers and department stores, for an estimated total of 500 to 700 doors worldwide, according to Jose Manuel Albesa, chief brand officer at Puig, Prada’s licensing partner. By comparison, the Prada Candy pillar, which bowed in 2011, is sold at 20,000 international doors.

Albesa noted Les Infusions de Prada are “for a premium consumer”: each 100-ml. bottle, for instance, retails for 109 euros, or about $121 at current exchange rate. The six scents are Iris, Iris Cèdre, Fleur d’Oranger, Vétiver, Oeillet and Amande.

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“When you see department stores, they are all over these kinds of premium collections. Consumers are willing to pay more for more exclusivity,” he said, indicating that the launch is more of a statement of innovation and quality.

At the end of the month, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps in Paris will be the first to carry the complete Les Infusions de Prada line, followed shortly by El Corte Inglés in Spain. In June, the scents will reach Harrods and Selfridges in the U.K., and in July, they will hit shelves at KaDeWe in Germany, as well as La Rinascente and Mazzolari in Italy. The full international launch kicks off in September, and will wrap up in early 2016, when the fragrances reach the U.S. and China.

“I think this is really the logical evolution of this project,” said Stefano Cantino, Prada’s director of group marketing, communication and commercial development, adding: “We thought it was good to evolve, with a larger range that can address men and women in different ways….I think that if you test the juices, there are [some] that in the market can be considered more masculine than feminine, like the Vétiver, but I think the Fleur d’Oranger can be used by men and women easily….There is an opportunity to [appeal to] both genders.”

Prada eschewed a major advertising campaign with a famous face, instead opting for a more low-key promotion for the Infusions, with in-store displays to feature original artwork by still-life photographer Marcel Christ, who used flowers in tanks of water and compressed air to get special shots of bouquets in a froth of bubbles.

Both Cantino and Albesa declined to discuss sales, but industry sources estimated the six Les Infusions de Prada scents could do 13 million euros to 14 million euros combined, or $14.6 million to $15.8 million, at wholesale within a year of the rollout.

“There’s a lot of things in the brand I very strongly relate to,” noted Andrier, adding that she appreciated Miuccia Prada’s attention to color, her blending of “the banal with the extravagant and the beautiful,” and her references to cinema and poetry.

Andrier also said each Infusion was very “faceted,” without being overly thick.

“A lot of fragrances are overpowering and in your face — [these are] coming and going, you’re enveloped in something that is airy, you’re not overwhelmed by the perfume,” she said.