Byline: Brid Costello

PARIS — Since signing on as fashion designer at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned Celine in 1997, American designer Michael Kors has added increasing sizzle to the 56-year-old brand. And Celine’s worldwide fragrance licensor Inter Parfums is set to profit from such notoriety, with the launch of Celine Pour Femme and Celine Pour Homme this month.
Inter Parfums, which signed a 10-year worldwide license with Celine last year, plans to link Celine fragrance closely with its fashion.
“The fragrances are very Celine,” said Philippe Benacin, president of Inter Parfums, referring to the duo. “They’re very close to the brand, very high quality, luxurious and pure. As the president of Celine [Jean-Marc Loubier] said, it’s ‘hot minimalism.”‘
To link the fashion and fragrance, Inter Parfums borrowed design elements from Celine’s leather goods for the fragrances’ packaging. Thierry de Baschmakoff designed the two bottles — square for the men’s scent and rectangular for the women’s — that feature a metal cutout on the front spelling out the brand’s name. This logo also appears on recent Kors handbags. The outer packaging, also designed by Baschmakoff, features the same stencil in cardboard; the men’s is backed with brown and the women’s with ivory.
Inter Parfums will introduce both scents simultaneously — a masterbrand strategy similar to that used for the recent duo from Paul Smith, which it also produced. The Celine fragrances will hit shelves in the U.S., Europe and Asia this month and then be introduced to South America and the U.K. in March 2002.
Inter Parfums hopes two is better than one. “By having two scents we will have more sales and more [money] to invest in advertising and to work on the brand globally,” explained Benacin.
Celine’s fragrance portfolio also includes the women’s scent Magic, introduced in 1996.
While Benacin would not break out projections, industry sources say the new Celine fragrances could do $4.2 million at wholesale in their first three months.
The women’s juice, concocted by Christiane Plos and Jean Guichard of Givaudan, is an “insolent” woody floral. Top notes include violet leaves, black currant and bergamot; heart notes count magnolia, freesia, jasmine and iris, and base notes are comprised of cedar, musk and vanilla.
The men’s scent, a “tender” spicy woody, was created by Annick Menardo of Firmenich. Top notes have mandarin, cinnamon and nutmeg; heart notes of hazeltree and geranium, and base notes of cedarwood, vetiver roots and musk.
Advertising for the fragrances breaks this month. Single-page ads for both of the fragrances, shot by Guido Mocafico of Euro RSCG advertising agency, feature a woman’s naked back and a bottle of Celine Pour Femme being sprayed in her direction. The campaign will be backed by a budget of $560,000 for the French market. Samples, featuring a million 2-ml. sprays and Sophisticates, will also be distributed at launch.
Celine Pour Femme comes as 100-, 50- and 30-ml. eau de toilette sprays and a 50-ml. eau de parfum spray, which retail for $66, $47, $38 and $53, respectively. All prices are converted from the euro at current exchange rates and are for France.
Celine Pour Homme comes as 100-, 50-, and 30-ml. edt sprays, a 50-ml. edp spray and a 100-ml. aftershave spray, retailing for $53, $41, $34, $45 and $41, respectively.