MILAN — Elizabeth Arden Inc. and Alberta Ferretti unveiled the first fragrance under the designer’s moniker last week.
The five-year licensing agreement also marks “a major strategic milestone” for the beauty firm, said Michael Shin, senior vice president, Europe, for Elizabeth Arden, as the fragrance is the first conceived with a European fashion designer. Shin said during a launch presentation last Thursday that key to the deal was Ferretti’s worldwide appeal and the designer’s “vision of beauty, which is very relevant for us and will be relevant for a very long time.” The fragrance will be available in European stores in September and in the U.S. in April.
Ron Rolleston, Elizabeth Arden’s marketing vice president, said in a preview interview with the designer that the company decided two years ago “to build a high-end designer fragrance business” and identified Europe as “key,” given the size of the fragrance market. Also, Rolleston said the company saw an opportunity for further growth as “in Europe, it’s mainly about Elizabeth Arden the brand.” He added that the company was drawn by Ferretti and what she represented — her “feminine and inspirational designs, quality, marvelous creativity and sophistication.”
The executive said he could “not deny the difficulties in the luxury end of the market, but this is a marvelous way to enter the designer fragrance business.” Accessible prices will remain important, he said, as aspirational consumers tap into this segment. “We are in one of the most severe economic downturns,” he admitted, “and we hope the holiday season will be resilient.” Rolleston also noted that, as not many fragrances are set to bow in the fall, he expected stores to focus on the Alberta Ferretti fragrance launch.
The designer, who praised the organization, know-how and distribution network of the beauty firm that will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, said she was pleased to be offered the creative direction of the project. “I wanted to transfer my world into the fragrance, so that it would have a very precise identity and be highly recognizable,” said Ferretti. “A perfume completes the emotional sphere of a woman. It’s emotions in a bottle.”
Together with senior perfumer Sophie Labbé of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., the designer chose to blend contrasting ingredients, such as bergamot and amber. Top notes are of freesia, pink pepper and Sicilian bergamot; the heart is of sweet pea, ylang-ylang and Casablanca lily; the base is of patchouli and golden amber.
The Alberta Ferretti collection comprises eaux de parfum in two sizes, a 1-oz. spray for $56 and a 2.5-oz. spray for $95. There is also a 2.5-oz. eau de toilette spray for $80.
Rolleston said the license is focused “primarily on a series of fragrances” to be rolled out during the next 18 months. Cosmetics and skin care products are not an immediate priority. While Rolleston declined to comment on sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated the scent would ring up $15 million at retail in the first year, and that expenses on advertising and promotion would amount to more than $5 million in the first year. Rolleston said distribution will be “very selective” citing stores such as La Rinascente, El Corte Inglés and Harrods.
To carry out the image of a strong, sensuous and feminine woman, Ferretti selected Claudia Schiffer as the face of the print and Internet ad campaign that will bow in October. The photos were shot in studio by Mert & Marcus and will most likely appear in black and white, said the designer. Ferretti said Schiffer fits the image of her ideal woman, as she described the supermodel as a “modern icon, yet very concrete, a mother, a woman, not a girl, with a very precise identity and a strong character, who chooses how to lead her life.”
The designer also worked on the scent’s bottle, opting for a “pure shape” that would convey solidity, but with rounded off angles, “steady yet light,” and a multifaceted bottom reminiscent of “a jewel,” with a black monolith cap.