FLORENCE — And Salvatore Ferragamo created Man. That was the running pun during the launch event of the first men’s fragrance in three years for the Florence-based company, called Uomo [Man] Salvatore Ferragamo. Humor aside, Luciano Bertinelli, chief executive officer of Ferragamo Parfums, emphasized the significance of the fragrance as a “pillar that was missing” in the brand’s portfolio of scents. The men’s division accounts for 30 percent of the brand’s total fragrance business. “It’s low. It should be 40 percent,” said Bertinelli at the beautiful storied city park, Giardino di Boboli, which dates back to the 15th century, where the company unveiled the fragrance earlier this month. “This was a necessary step, and we are expanding our customer base, reaching out to a younger man, aged 25 to 35,” explained Bertinelli. Ferragamo’s other existing men’s fragrance is called Acqua Essenziale.
“I strongly believe in the fragrance business,” underscored Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman of the publicly listed company that bears his father’s name. He emphasized how Salvatore Ferragamo was a pioneer, as he launched a “natural scent” in 1956 called Gilio, made in Monte Carlo and packaged in “an elegant Baccarat bottle.” The name points to the flower emblem of Florence, the lily or iris. Fragrances, he said, are “important to communicate and consolidate the awareness of the brand” and allow a younger customer to approach the label at an entry price.
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Created with Firmenich perfumers Alberto Morillas and Aurélien Guichard, Uomo is a scent with woody notes.
A fresh and cool opening is infused with the unexpected ingredients of black pepper, cardamom and bergamot. The heart of the fragrance is built around tiramisu, a staple of Italy’s menus. Orange blossom and Ambrox mix strong and sweet notes, and cashmere wood and sandalwood seal the fragrance with a touch of tonka bean. Morillas emphasized the combination of “addictive and strong” elements. “Tiramisu has a very bitter facet and is addictive, while the mineral Ambrox harks back to the history of Italy. Minerals are part of the tradition.”
“The contrast between Tiramisu and Ambrox was a challenge,” said Guichard. He noted that the sandalwood adds “chicness and strength” and that the bergamot has “an Italian feel.”
In an industry that has been increasingly producing unisex fragrances, Morillas said he did not believe in them. “But addiction is very important. I never think about sex when I create a scent, it’s about beauty and exclusivity. It may be better for men, but it works for women, too.” Guichard said that “something too typically masculine is a bit vulgar. Fragrances follow society and evolve as men become more sophisticated.” To be sure, Morillas said there are “some elements of femininity with tuberose, neroli and geranium. The construction is more refined. There are more flowers because men are more demanding, they don’t simply want to just smell good.”
Bertinelli said the bottle is “very masculine,” and quite heavy, with the sides painted in black “with a very expensive technique” and a reinterpretation of the logo created by futurist artist Lucio Venna in 1930, contrasting with the golden-hued juice. “There is a tactile pleasure” in holding the bottle, he said. The packaging, a black and silver box, also shows the Venna logo in black. The 30-ml. eau de toilette bottle will retail at 46 euros, or $52; the 50-ml. format will retail at 61 euros, or $69, and the 100-ml. at 85 euros, or $96.
Industry sources say the fragrance is expected to total retail sales between 30 and 35 million euros, or $33.8 and $40 million. Sources peg Ferragamo’s total fragrance business retail at 220 million euros, or $248 million.
Uomo will be rolled out in perfumeries, Salvatore Ferragamo stores and department stores, starting in September in Europe, followed by China and the U.S. in February.
The company tapped actor Ben Barnes to front the advertising campaign, directed and photographed by Francesco Carrozzini. Barnes is captured whizzing around Los Angeles in an Alfa Romeo Spider, leisurely reading a newspaper at a breakfast table and smiling at the camera as he juggles an orange. “Part of the crew were giving me tips on how Italian men would peel an orange or drive a sports car,” said the affable Barnes.
Barnes revealed he is working on a new series called “Westworld” to debut in October on HBO, with Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Harris.
At the launch, Ferragamo emphasized the Italian lifestyle concept, displaying film clips with Marcello Mastroianni and images of Florence.
Ferruccio Ferragamo said “Uomo is a new baby for us, and we consider this a big event, at the Boboli, a unique, fantastic symbol of Italian beauty. The Medicis were living here. It’s a piece of history.” Barnes read out a few graphs from “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” by Patrick Süskind, and Academy Award winner Nicola Piovani performed a number of piano compositions, including that for his soundtrack for “Life is Beautiful,” directed by and starring Roberto Benigni.
Marking the launch of the fragrance, the company unveiled a temporary installation by Daniel Libeskind, interpreting what was billed as the “Scent of Life” for Salvatore Ferragamo Parfums. Located in the historic Piazza Santa Trinita, outside the Ferragamo headquarters in Palazzo Spini Feroni, the geometric construction of red wood and aluminum panels and mirrors evokes the shapes of a futuristic lily. The installation will be on view until June 17 during Pitti Uomo.