CANNES, France — The Tax Free World Association’s annual meeting, which ran here from Oct. 26 to 31, was chockablock with new product offerings.
In the Palais des Festivals convention center, Giovanni Sgariboldi, president and founder of Euroitalia, was unveiling his next big hope, a women’s version of the hot-selling male Versace Eros.
The eau de parfum is a floral-woodsy musk combination that was developed by Firmenich under the direction of Donatella Versace, who delivered a brief that included jasmine as a key note. The finished formula includes two kinds of jasmine, two varieties of lemon, peony for softness, pomegranate in the top note, plus different kinds of woods, musk and amber for sensuality. The launch is planned for December in Italy, followed by a rollout in Europe and in the U.S. in February and March, respectively. Other markets will follow.
Versace Eros will be put into travel-retail distribution as the fragrance goes on sale in each local market. A steamy TV commercial featuring Lara Stone and the male model from the men’s Eros advertisement was produced by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. The spot is so sexy that the company decided to let it run for 45 seconds in its theatrical release.
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A positive reaction came from at least one authoritative source: Jill Hill, managing director of the U.K.-based distributor, Aspects of Beauty Co. Ltd. “It is cleverly done,” she said of the women’s Eros. “I hope we can play the men’s and women’s together. It is probably the strongest concept in the world, a man and a woman coming together.” While she was highly anticipating the Versace fragrance, she also seemed to be looking forward to a new Moschino scent, due out soon. Upstairs a few floors, Philippe Benacin, chairman and chief executive officer of Inter Parfums SA, was showcasing a host of upcoming fragrance projects. Among the scents the company is set to release in the first quarter of 2015 are Jimmy Choo Blossom, Éclat d’Arpège for Men from Lanvin and a Boucheron women’s and men’s fragrance duo, called Quatre, named after the brand’s signature ring comprising four bands.
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Later on in the year, Inter Parfums is set to introduce another Lanvin initiative, Éclat de Fleur, and a female counterpart to Montblanc Emblem, called Montblanc Lady Emblem. And at the end of 2015, Balmain Men will be launched.
Benacin said Inter Parfums is on a strong growth path and estimated company sales will come in at slightly more than 280 million euros, or $346.8 million at current exchange, this year and at more than 300 million euros, or $371.6 million, in 2015.
Meanwhile, Dino Pace, who took over Perfume Holding as ceo in January, has shifted into high gear in an effort to clean up and transform his stable of brands, resulting in an array that ranges from masstige to premium niche. Starting with his I Coloniali brand, Pace has been concentrating on the bath and body lines and thinking about possibly expanding into fragrance; but he’s definitely focusing on the core bath collection. His plan is to “relaunch the brand identity, rebuild the product offer and relaunch it.”
Pace also has been moving quickly to upscale his Ferrari fragrance brand, inspired by the racing company’s Formula 1 team. The brand has been positioned as a masstige entity for the past two years, but it also has a Gran Turismo identity that attracts a smaller, more affluent following, he noted. Pace has developed a new Ferrari fragrance brand with a premium positioning that offers higher quality at affordable price points of $80 to $90. He has developed a pipeline of products for 2015, with something new coming in each of the first three quarters. A new pillar is due to arrive in 2016.
Also, Perfume Holding has repositioned its Atkinson brand as a high-end niche player, and it has acquired an international audience after a one-year rollout to a select group of 150 doors around the world, Pace asserted. He talked about a full bath line in 2016 and possibly additions to an already full fragrance assortment.
Noting that the company has a solid footing in Brazil, where Ferrari ranks third among men’s scents, Pace enunciated a clear vision for the way forward.
“We need to develop key brands in domestic markets, then develop our presence in travel retail,” he said, adding that Perfume Holding is thinking of opening a duty-free department.
Meanwhile, Hill was musing about the dynamic year the U.K. has had in fragrance. Estimates of fragrance sales range from 3 percent to 6 percent, but it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride getting there. The August-to-September period was made difficult by fluctuations in buying patterns, mostly caused by disruptions in the flow of tourists: The Chinese were in Paris, due to visa problems, and the Russians were struggling with the prospect of sanctions. But British retailers examined whom they should be appealing to and reached out to more local customers. The result was a “brilliant” October, she claimed.
London is so influential that Hill has organized her company to treat the capital as if it were a “mini-country,” she said, adding, “London has a different rhythm.” Hill noted that the nine West End department stores account for 18 percent of the company’s volume for the entire country.
As in New York, the hot news has been the indie brands. “Everybody wants niche because everyone thinks it’s easy growth,” Hill said. “Together, they create a viable business; individually, they have a way to go. Some of them will become interesting from a volume perspective. Others will always be the background music.
“We have been interested in alternative methods of fragrance delivery,” said Hill, mentioning Le Soft Perfume, a wax fragrance that was launched online, then carried by House of Fraser and Beauty Mart. Another example that caught her eye is Foamous, a scented foam that can be applied to the hair and body. “It’s a bit cultish,” she said. Another project involves finding mid-positioned brands to fill a gap between the big, powerful franchises and the underfunded niche dwellers. Hill calls it “a bridge concept” that may involve brands that have achieved some awareness on a national level—say, in Spain—but have difficulty making it onto the international stage.