A FRAGRANCE WARDROBE FROM MICHAEL KORS
Byline: Kerry Diamond
NEW YORK — Customization is a popular trend in the industry, but putting it into practice is rather difficult, especially in department stores plagued by frequent beauty adviser turnover. After all, teaching employees how to customize lipsticks, fragrances and powders requires a great deal of training and education.
But Michael Kors, the charismatic designer who showed his equestrian-inspired fall collection on Wednesday, just might have the solution. It’s a trio of scents called Notes from Michael that can be worn alone or in combination with each other. The fragrances, developed by Creations Aromatique, were inspired by the accords in Kors’s signature scent, which was launched last fall.
“I’ve always liked the idea that women could personalize a sweater or a pair of trousers and wear it their own way at different times of the day,” said Kors. “I thought, ‘Why can’t we take that same sportswear attitude and bring it to the fragrance world?”‘
Notes from Michael will launch in August in those specialty doors that carry Kors’s fashion collection. The set features the three fragrances in a plastic box, the inside of which is decorated with paper featuring the same plaid print used on a bustle skirt in Kors’s 2001 fall clothing collection. There is also an actual “note” from Michael that includes directions on how to combine the three scents.
According to Camille McDonald, president and chief executive officer of Kors’s fragrance licensee, Parfums Givenchy Inc., 10,000 to 20,000 of the $125 sets will be produced. If the set sells out, which McDonald expects it will, customers can order the scents as a trio or individually from a toll-free number. Additional sets will be produced for fall 2002 and will feature a print from Kors’s fall 2002 collection.
McDonald pointed out that the three scents are fully formulated eaux de toilette, not just single-note fragrances or essential oils, which are popular customization vehicles. “They are constructed to be beautiful alone or together,” she said.
The three fragrances are named after fabric patterns used by Kors. The green-hued Houndstooth, which includes accords of freesia, Japanese pearl blossom and ylang ylang, was inspired by the top notes of Michael. The amber-colored Gun-check, inspired by the middle, has notes of tuberose, white musk and water lotus. The rose-colored Tattersall, inspired by the base of Michael, is the most masculine of the three with notes of leather, cedarwood, amber and bourbon.
There will not be a print advertising campaign for Notes from Michael, although the set will be promoted in catalogs. Parfums Givenchy will use a novel scent strip that features the three fragrances, plus a fourth strip that reveals what the fragrances smell like together. The countertop display will feature information on how to combine the scents.
The star of Kors’s growing fragrance franchise will remain his signature scent, but projects like Notes from Michael help build excitement since the brand doesn’t rely on gift-with-purchase promotions. “The hero is the Michael fragrance,” said McDonald. “It’s got legs that will make it a 20-year classic.”