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GIVENCHY: BRINGING BACK A CLASSIC

Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — In honor of the 50th anniversary of the House of Givenchy, the company is bringing one of its most classic scents back for an encore this fall — helped along by images of the elegant actress that was its inspiration.
L’Interdit, the company’s first fragrance, was introduced in 1957 for Audrey Hepburn. While it has never been completely off the market, in recent years, it has been available in fewer than 200 doors in the U.S. Starting in September, the scent will be the subject of an intensive relaunch campaign.
Parfums Givenchy has inked a deal with Hepburn’s estate to use images of the late actress and humanitarian in promoting the scent. “Audrey Hepburn is the epitome of grace and style,” said Camille McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Givenchy Inc., Guerlain and the American Designer Fragrances group. “She was an icon, and L’Interdit — the fragrance she helped create — and Parfums Givenchy are iconic, as well. This major launch for fall allows us to do several things: to celebrate an amazing woman, to celebrate Givenchy’s tradition and to speak to women of all ages at a time when grace, substance and femininity are more aspirational than ever.”
“To be a success in business you must look to the future while honoring your roots,” added Alain Crevet, Parfums Givenchy’s president and chief executive officer worldwide. “When we began making plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the house of Givenchy, we looked for opportunities to do that, and this was a perfect opportunity. Going forward, we want to make sure that our new products both bring something new to the market, but also honor our roots.”
Crevet calls the Givenchy-Hepburn alliance “the perfect marriage between French and American elegance — with a twist.”
For its relaunch, L’Interdit has been slightly updated, noted McDonald. “We haven’t changed what made L’Interdit a classic,” said McDonald. “We have maintained its spicy floral signature; we’ve simply modernized some of the materials. In the Fifties, expensive perfumes had a powdery feel in the background; today they do not. We’ve tweaked the juice just slightly, to add a young sparkle. Also, the florals are slightly more transparent.” The original juice, from Givaudan, was also updated by Givaudan.
The lineup consists of three stockkeeping units: a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette spray for $55, a 3.4-oz. eau de toilette spray for $75 and an 8.4-oz. body veil for $48. The eau de toilette sprays will be bottled in clean-lined glass bottles with brushed-gold caps and polished gold collars. The outer packaging is red with Givenchy graphics.
The collection will be available beginning Sept. 1 in 1,800 department and specialty store doors, including Sephora. While McDonald wouldn’t comment on the fragrance’s projected sales, industry sources estimated that it would do about $15 million at retail in its first year on-counter.
The advertising, which is still in development, will break in September books. Although it will feature images of Hepburn, Sean Ferrer, the late actress’ son, emphasized that the campaign won’t just be about glamorous celebrity photos: “It’s about the spirit of my mother — not just her films, but who she was as a person.” An intensive sampling campaign, which is set to include at least 500,000 spray vials and 20 million blow-ins with retail catalogs, is also planned.
While McDonald wouldn’t comment on the projected advertising and promotional budget, industry sources estimated that Givenchy would spend about $3 million to promote it during its first year.
“L’Interdit was Hubert de Givenchy’s love letter to my mother, and she was extremely involved in its creation,” said Ferrer. “In fact, she used to joke about it — she and Mr. de Givenchy were spending so much time with the people that were mixing it that by the end of the day, they couldn’t smell anything.” Ferrer is in the process of writing a book for Pocket Books about his mother, which is tentatively scheduled for a May 2003 release.

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