Byline: Brid Costello

PARIS — Parfums Chopard is set to launch a fragrance for consumers who, executives hope, are mad about its brand.
Madness, its latest scent for women, is meant to lure consumers who lust for luxury and to boost the brand’s notoriety, particularly in the U.S.
The Lancaster Group, which holds the fragrance license for Chopard, the Geneva-based watch and luxury jewelry company, will introduce the brand in 200 doors in the U.S., as well as other countries. To date, the brand’s five other fragrances, which include Wish and Casmir, have been sold in the U.S. exclusively in Chopard’s three boutiques and 32 corners.
“The fragrance will act as a launch-pad for the [Parfums Chopard] brand in the U.S.,” explained Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, president of Lancaster. “[It’s] a new element of business. [Until today] we didn’t feel the portfolio lent itself to the U.S. market.”
While Hoejsgaard refused to talk sales numbers, industry sources estimate the scent could ring up $30 million to $40 million at wholesale in its first nine months.
Madness’s name and concept of luxury are meant to attract customers seduced by opulence, according to Hoejsgaard. The fragrance’s packaging was in part inspired by a range of Chopard jewelry called the Ice Cube Collection, which features square-shaped jewels encrusted with rows of diamonds. He explained that when customers in Chopard boutiques were questioned about the brand, the adjective “mad” was often used to describe its over-the-top extravagance.
Madness’s red bottle, designed by Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, vice president of Chopard, and Denis Boudard, of the design company Qu’on Se Le Dise! is rectangular with squares embossed on its sides to reflect the ice-cube theme.
The black outer packaging, which is opened by lifting its front panel, was created by Grousi-Scheufele and design firm Lonsdale.
“[The name] is a really bold move on behalf of the house, but it’s justifiable,” said Hoejsgaard. “Clearly, [Chopard] is a jewelry brand that can take that step. Its jewels are opulent. You’re taking a risk just wearing them.”
Hoejsgaard said that the choice of a spokeswoman was made with the U.S. in mind. The company signed on Mexican actress Salma Hayek, who has starred in films including Wild Wild West, From Dusk Till Dawn and Desperado.
He added that the full rollout of the brand’s five other scents to the U.S. will take place depending on consumer reaction to Madness.
Grousi-Scheufele said the time is ripe to launch a Chopard scent in the U.S. “The U.S. is very important [to the brand],” she said. “We’ve grown a lot [there] in the past five years and opened two shops there last year.”
Madness’s floral, woody ruby scent was concocted by Christine Nagel of Quest International.
The fragrance has top notes of lychee rose, kumquat and pink peppercorn; heart notes of flamboyant flower tree, wild rose and hibiscus flower, and base notes of pink suede, cotton flower, red rosewood and pao rosa wood.
Nagel said the pink suede note is new for a women’s fragrance. She explained perfumers have long had difficulty translating traditionally masculine leather notes for such a scent, adding that the suede note is meant to give a “second skin” texture to the fragrance.
Harrods in London will have a one-month Madness exclusive in August. Then the rest of Europe will get the scent in September and the U.S. in October. Asia is slated to start selling Madness in spring 2002.
Madness comes as an eau de parfum, in 30-ml., 50-ml. and 75-ml. sizes, which will retail for $37, $53 and $64, respectively in European markets. A 15-ml. extrait de parfum will also be available in a cube-shaped pour bottle for $134.
There will also be an ancillary line, called Mad About Your Body. It comprises a 200-ml. bath and shower gel; Dancing Bath, a pack of eight 25-gram bath tablets, and a 200-ml. body lotion. The products will be sold for $22, $26 and $27, respectively.
Advertising for the line, by Parfums Chopard and agency Select, will break at launch time and appear as single and double-page ads. Hayek, wearing pieces from Chopard’s Ice Cube Collection, is shown with a red-tinted city skyscape in the background. A product shot is also featured in the ad.
Window displays and samples, including scent strips and 2.5-ml. sprays, will also be used as part of the marketing campaign.
The Chopard business has gotten a lot of attention of late. As reported, a rumor is afoot that Chopard’s jewelry business is on the Gucci Group’s acquisition wish-list. However, Gruosi-Scheufele said that while Chopard has been solicited by a number of big groups, she has no intention of selling.