A NEW FASHION FOR CASTELBAJAC: SCENTS

Byline: Jennifer Weil

PARIS — French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has a new project on tap: fragrances.
Castelbajac Parfums, a five-stockkeeping-unit line, will be launched in May by Seoul-based Pacific Corp. It is the second designer fragrance brand the company has launched, having introduced Lolita Lempicka’s four years ago. Both projects were developed under Catherine Dauphin.
For Castelbajac, the idea was to take the designer’s whimsical, graphic style and translate it into a fragrance. Like his clothing, the scent is meant to be full of paradoxes. Take its juice, developed by Dragoco’s Maurice Roussel. “With the fragrance, we wanted to mix remembrances of childhood with today’s femininity,” explained Sandrine Popovitch, marketing director for Castelbajac Parfums.
It is meant to be a feel-good scent, said Castelbajac, adding: “I wanted something you touch and feel reassured, that’s soft and is subconsciously related to friendship.” For him, the smell of almond paste was reassuring when he was a very small child in boarding school. So, to invoke that familiar, secure feeling, the fragrance’s first accord includes almond and vanilla notes. The second accord comprises orange blossoms, among others; and the third one contains cedar wood, patchouli and musk. The latter note, in particular, adds a sensual element.
The line opens with a 15-ml. Nomade (Nomad, in English) eau de parfum purse spray with a silver quilted covering and two refills. The ensemble retails for $30. All prices are for France and are converted at current exchange rates.
Then there are the Compagnons (Companions) 50- and 80-ml. eau de parfum sprays that go for $48 and $59, respectively. These have a trompe l’-il aspect, looking padded while they are, in fact, hard.
The Medaillon (Medallion) is a 30-ml. parfum concentrate spray that goes for $67. It also looks padded, but is made of aluminum. Its red spray cap can be opened or shut by pulling on toggles — one says “on” and the other “off.” A $27, 30-ml. refill can be easily placed in the scent through a hinged opening at its back. On the inside of the door, there is a holder for a keepsake like a photograph, said Popovitch, adding that each of the sku’s is contained in a red container sporting Castelbajac’s symbol and hung in a silver-colored merchandising unit. These modules will be available for retailers in various sizes and come with a 50-ml. eau de parfum tester.
The launch will take place in the second half of May, exclusively at Castelbajac’s Printemps department store corner in Paris and his two concept stores here. It will roll out to 700 French doors in June, and then globally in September. In-store sampling includes scented patches, sophisticates and slap bracelets. The Castelbajac Parfums’ yet-to-be-finalized advertisement will break in France during the second week of June. Although Dauphin refused to talk numbers, industry sources estimate the scent could bring in about $13.6 million in wholesale volume in its first 12 months.
“It was the right moment for me to develop a perfume,” said Castelbajac. “It is a good way for me to start the millennium — and an adventure.”
That adventure should continue with a planned U.S. comeback next year, with the opening of a concept shop either in NoLIta or the Meat Market, he said. Also in 2001, he plans to open in Tokyo.