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Proenza Schouler Inks L’Oréal Fragrance Deal

The label created by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough will be part of L'Oréal's Designer Brands Fragrances portfolio.


PARIS – The fragrance constellation just expanded, with the addition of Proenza Schouler.

L’Oréal said Wednesday it had signed a long-term license agreement with the American fashion label for the creation and development of fine fragrances.

Proenza Schouler had never entered into the scent segment before, but the idea was long percolating in the minds of its designers, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.

“Working on a fragrance has always been a dream of ours, and we could not have imagined that one day we would be given the chance to do so with the world leaders in the field,” they stated. “We look forward to translating our visual aesthetic into the subtle and highly emotional world of scent.”

The duo, who was recently named one of the WWD Six powerhouse brands of tomorrow, said in an interview for the issue that they were looking for more investment in order to continue to grow, with the goal of expanding into men’s wear and fragrance.

Hernandez and McCollough have been darlings of the New York fashion scene practically since Proenza Schouler’s launch in 2002, scooping up a number of prestigious prizes over the years.

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The fashion label has numerous licenses, including one for footwear and another for swimsuits.

Nicolas Hieronimus, president of L’Oréal Selective Divisions, said Hernandez and McCollough “clearly belong to the very short list of today’s most inspiring U.S. designers.”

“Proenza Schoulder is one of the most inspiring brands in the fashion arena, redefining what it means to be a modern woman today,” continued Nathalie Durán, international general manager of L’Oréal Designer Brands Fragrances.

Proenza Schouler will be part of that division also including Viktor & Rolf, Diesel, Maison Margiela and Cacharel.

“This license is aligned with what works in fragrances – fashion and luxury – and L’Oréal’s most recent fragrances, Armani Sì and Lancôme La vie est belle, have had very good traction,” said Consumer Edge Research analyst Javier Escalante. “What is unclear is how much of L’Oréal’s success reflects also the recovery of Europe’s economy and travel retail, or that competitors are not emphasizing fragrances.”

He noted that Procter & Gamble is in the midst of restructuring its portfolio, which may include prestige fragrances, and the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s focus is on skin care and makeup.

Escalante said: “One question mark is [about] the contribution of a relatively small fashion brand” to L’Oréal, since in the past the French beauty giant did not keep the licenses of two higher-profile fashion labels – Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, which went to P&G.

“I would assume that in the early stages the likely contribution [of Proenza Schouler to L’Oréal] sales and profit would be quite limited, but that there could be substantial long-term potential – a bit like what they achieved with Viktor & Rolf,” said Eva Quiroga, an analyst at UBS. “Philosophically, the brand would fit the portfolio well, as they have few American designer brands, and Ralph Lauren addresses a very different public – and probably a very different price point.”