Rag & Bone's Oddity

Rag & Bone is going for fragrance with a twist.

“It’s a natural extension of the brand,” said Marcus Wainwright, Rag & Bone chief executive officer, founder and creative director, of the brand’s first foray into beauty — its newly launched collection of eight unisex fragrances. “It’s well crafted and celebrates the individual. We wanted to create a line that could appeal to the masculine and the feminine, very much like what we do with our ready-to-wear collections.”

The idea was more about creating something new that fit within the Rag & Bone brand than a conscious decision to enter into the high-margin fragrance category, according to Wainwright. While the fragrances are starting off only in Rag & Bone stores and e-commerce, and will eventually expand into the wholesale channel, according to Wainwright. Several retailers have already expressed interest in stocking the collection, he said, but a timeline for adding distribution has not yet been solidified. With that in mind, industry sources estimated that in a few years, fragrance could make up as much as 5 percent of Rag & Bone’s overall business.

In the stores, the fragrances will be displayed with perfume blotter cards featuring black-and-white photos, taken by Wainwright. The photos are the officially imagery for the launch, which is absent a splashy marketing campaign. The 50-ml. fragrances are housed in boxy glass bottles with curved edges from the Heinz Glas factory in Tettau, Germany, topped with magnetic metal caps and cracked ceramic tops, meant to look like old doorknobs.

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“We’ve always been really focused on craftsmanship,” Wainwright said. “It’s a priority that the pieces we create are of the finest quality materials, and the same goes for fragrance. When we were designing the bottle we found this incredible, 400-year-old glass factory in Germany, which we knew right away we wanted to work with. The history there and the techniques they use are quite impressive.”

The collection makes its debut as multipart perfume lines become increasingly popular. Broadly, the strategy gives wearers enough options that they stay within the line but have enough of a selection to personalize, either by wearing a stand-alone fragrance or mixing multiple scents from a collection together.

The fragrances in Rag & Bone’s collection are named for what seems like one note, but each $140 scent was created with the depth of a stand-alone perfume, according to Wainwright. The company tapped perfumers and Firmenich to create the collection. “We’d like everyone to love all eight of the scents, but we hope each individual will find a special connection with one and make it their go-to,” Wainwright said, similar to customers’ selection of Rag & Bone wardrobe pieces.

Rag & Bone’s Oud has top notes of bergamot, elemi and myrrh, with mid-notes of incense, cistus labdanum and leather and base notes of guaiac wood, ambergris and agar oud. Encens is made with top notes of black pepper, elemi, bergamot, middle notes of myrrh, incense and oliban and base notes of cistus, amber and musk. Amber was formulated with top notes of Rum, Bergamot and Saffron, middle notes of oud, plum and cognac and base notes of tobacco, liquid amber and vanilla. Cypress was formed with top notes of cypress, grapefruit zest and cardamom, middle notes of geranium, violet leaves and cedarwood, plus base notes of patchouli, vetiver root and ambrox. Bergamot is made with top notes of bergamot, petitgrain and pepper, mid-notes of freesia, orange blossom and cedarwood, with a base of ambrox, cashmere wood and musk. Neroli contains top notes of pink pepper, jasmine tea and lemon, middle notes of neroli, orange flower and orange flower petal and base notes of honey, bourbon vanilla and musk. Rose was formulated with top notes of rose tea, rose essence and pink pepper, middle notes of hedione, orris and rose centifolia and base notes of white musk, ambrox and cedarwood. Oddity — the one fragrance not named for its lasting impression — has top notes of Sichuan black pepper, cardamom and angelica root, middle notes of leather, incense and licorice with a base of vetiver, amber and vanilla bean.

While Rag & Bone is moving into fragrance, the brand isn’t looking necessarily to make moves into other beauty categories, Wainwright said — but added that the business is exploring the idea of candles. “We’re still playing with [the] idea a lot, but it seems like a natural step,” he said.

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