ESCADA: ‘TIS THE SEASON

Byline: Brid Costello

PARIS — Age is often ignored by the beauty industry, but Escada Beaute executives gleefully blew out birthday candles yesterday to fete the company’s 10th seasonal fragrance — Sexy Graffiti.
“We are very proud, as it is a beautiful concept,” said Richard Simonin, the Escada board member in charge of Escada’s accessories and licensed businesses and chief executive officer of Escada Beaute.
“The fact that this is the 10th anniversary of our fashion fragrances shows that we are able to maintain a consistent strategy,” said Juliette Rapinat-Freudiger, general manager of Escada Beaute, referring to the one-shot scents that kicked off a major fragrance marketing trend.
The first Escada fashion scent was Chiffon Sorbet, one decade ago. It is a perennial business that now rings up 30 percent of Escada Beaute’s volume, according to Rapinat-Freudiger.
Last year the group generated volume of $82 million at current exchange rates.
Also updated on a yearly basis, there is Escada Collection — one-shot scents the company began introducing five years ago — featuring a bottle decorated with fabric from Escada’s couture collection. Collection scent sales now make up 10 percent of Escada Beaute’s volume.
Since Simonin took the helm of the firm in November 2000 and Rapinat-Freudiger took…her role this April, the pair has been busy implementing changes.
“We have tightened up our offer by eliminating about one-quarter of the products across the board,” explained Simonin. “For all brands there are times when you have to reduce the product range in order to recenter and make space for new products.”
Rapinat-Freudiger also focused on pricing and in October increased prices on Escada’s seasonal scents by 5 percent and that of its Sentiment fragrance by 10 percent.
“We looked at our price positioning and realized it was not at the level that it should have been compared to the awareness of the brand,” she explained. But prices were unchanged in the U.S., where the gap was less pronounced, she added.
Sexy Graffiti was inspired by a collection of pink graffiti-print outfits featured in Escada’s spring-summer ready-to-wear collection. The outer packaging also featured the print design.
Escada will produce about one million bottles of Sexy Graffiti. The floral fruity juice was concocted by International Flavors and Fragrances’s Dominique Ropion and Laurent Bruyere.
Sexy Graffiti will hit shelves in the U.S. in January, and the global rollout will follow in March. The eau de toilette comes in 30, 50 and 100-ml. sprays that will retail for $28, $38 and $48, respectively, at current exchange rates from the French franc.
There will be a one-page print ad in a small number of magazines, window displays, banners, 5-ml. miniatures, 2-ml. vials, tiny paint rollers spritzed with fragrance and pink-painted walls in the signature Sexy Graffiti color at points of sale, according to Rapinat-Freudiger.
Other plans involve introducing a men’s Sentiment scent in the second half of next year. It will be the second entry in Escada’s men’s portfolio, which includes Escada Pour Homme.

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