LALIQUE READIES FIRST MEN’S SCENT
Byline: Soren Larson
NEW YORK — With its first men’s fragrance, Lalique hopes that an homage to products it created in the Roaring Twenties will have a resonance with today’s shoppers.
As the concept for Lalique Pour Homme, due to arrive in European and American stores in mid-October, the company revived the look of the luxury hood ornaments that Rene Lalique designed for seven years, beginning in 1925.
Many of the ornaments, also known as car mascots, were in the shape of animals; the new men’s line will have a lion’s head as its motif.
The men’s scent will also follow the marketing strategy of the signature Lalique women’s fragrance, launched in 1992. Alongside more accessibly priced items, the women’s brand includes an expensive, limited-edition crystal bottle that changes every year, while the fragrance itself remains the same. A 1-oz. size of this year’s version, called Ondine, will retail for $800.
The men’s line will also include an $800, limited-edition bottle. The 3.3-oz. eau de parfum will feature a crystal cap in the shape of a lion’s head, which can be removed to be used as a paperweight.
It will be replaced by a different animal or other design next year, though the other bottles in the line, which are embossed on the front with a lion’s head, will remain the same.
The limited-edition pieces will be handmade at the Lalique factory in the Alsace region of France, while the rest of the line — which ranges from $45 for a 2.5-oz. aftershave to $65 for a same-size eau de parfum spray — will be manufactured by Pochet, Lalique’s parent company.
The fragrance itself, a floral with fruity top notes, was concocted by Dragoco.
“The whole design is meant to evoke the glamour and sophistication of the Twenties,” said Doreen Crimmins, director of marketing for Lalique Parfums.
“You wouldn’t necessarily connect Lalique with a men’s product, but this is grounded in the Lalique culture and heritage, which is an involvement in motoring,” added Yves Coleon, president of Lalique North America.
The limited-edition versions of the women’s fragrance generate more than 60 percent of the brand’s volume, Crimmins noted, with between 1,000 and 1,200 bottles selling in the U.S. each year.
The men’s variation should follow a similar pattern, she predicted.
“The bulk of the business has been collectors,” she said. “A lot of these people are not even buying for the fragrance. What drives the business is limited editions.”
There is a Lalique collecting society that has 10,000 members, according to the company. The members can be counted on to be interested in new, limited-edition creations, Crimmins said, and as a result the men’s brand is projected to generate $1 million at retail in the U.S. in its first three months.
“But this is not only for the collectors. It’s a modern product, and we’re interested in building a new, contemporary audience,” said Coleon.
In the U.S., the fragrance will be introduced in Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman, reaching around 150 doors. The launch will be heralded with a co-op ad with Saks that will run in the New York Times in mid-October.
Instead of national advertising, the company will invest its promotional money in store activity, Crimmins noted. Around 500,000 mailers with scented strips will be sent out, while spray vials will be handed out on the store floor.
In select doors, Lalique will mount what Crimmins called “retrospective events,” spotlighting the men’s and the women’s brands along with reproductions of the company’s car mascots.
Coleon stressed that the addition of a men’s fragrance is one step in the company’s plan to diversify its consumer products.
“We have a strategy of moving Lalique from an art-glass company to a luxury product company,” he said, noting that the firm’s jewelry line is now in 50 doors, while the leather accessories range is being expanded. Lalique opened a third American boutique last week in Las Vegas and will open a fourth next week at South Coast Plaza in Los Angeles.
Said Coleon: “It’s a movement from objects you look at to objects you can wear.”