Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — It’s a whole Nu world for Yves Saint Laurent Parfums.
Just a few weeks after Tom Ford held a Paris press conference — and a wild party — giving the details on Nu (French for Nude), the first women’s scent developed under his direction at Gucci Group NV, owner of YSL Parfums, the sexy scent is hitting North American retail doors.
Launching first this month as a U.S. exclusive at Saks Fifth Avenue and a Canadian exclusive at Holt Renfrew, the scent will roll out on Nov. 11 to a total of 253 doors — including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and selected Marshall Field’s and Sephora doors, as well as additional Saks Fifth Avenue doors, in the U.S. In Canada, it will be expanded to 21 doors, including additional Holt Renfrew doors and Eaton’s locations. These doors will have the fragrance through the Christmas and Valentine’s Day holidays, and by the beginning of March Nu will be in its total U.S. distribution of 644 doors, said Alain Denoly, president and chief executive officer of YSL Beaute.
While the scent’s distribution is limited, expectations for the scent are not. Industry sources estimate that the fragrance could do as much as $100 million globally at retail in its first year on counter.
The juice, by Firmenich’s Jacques Cavallier, includes top notes of bergamot; a heart of wild orchid, layers of wood and black pepper and base notes of incense absolute. The collection, with outer packaging of cobalt blue, includes eau de parfum sprays in 1-oz., 1.6-oz. and 3.3-oz. sizes, retailing for $55, $70 and $95, respectively; a 6.6-oz. body creme, retailing for $70; a 5.2-oz. black soap with case for $25, and black soap refills, $25 for two 5.2-oz. bars without a case. The eau de parfum sprays, with a shell of gray-blue, open like compacts and can easily travel in a purse, noted Denoly.
The line is being accompanied by a global print advertising campaign shot by Mario Sorrenti, with an image of the intertwined bodies of a man and a woman. In the U.S., the advertising will break in November fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. While Denoly wouldn’t comment on the cost of the campaign, industry sources estimated that about $2 million would be spent in the U.S. on advertising.
Sampling will also be a major part of the campaign, with more than 500,000 pieces to be distributed, said Denoly. They include a 1.2-ml. deluxe eau de parfum spray in a hard plastic case; a 0.33-ml. body cream and a 0.15-gram black soap. In addition, a strong store presence is planned. At launch, Saks’ New York flagship will have 30 outposts inside its store selling the products, and nearly all the stores carrying the fragrance are planning to have several outposts in addition to counter space devoted to Nu. Both Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew are planning YSL windows at launch.
And retailers are clearly enthusiastic about the scent, even in a tough selling season.
“It is simply fantastic,” said Deborah Walters, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks. “It definitely is going to be our blockbuster fragrance launch of the season.” Since launching the scent Saturday, Nu has exceeded already high expectations, driven by what Walters described as “great innovation” shown in everything from scent and packaging to visual presentation.
“We believe that Nu will be one of our top sellers this season,” said Shelley Rozenwald, senior vice president of Holt Renfrew, who noted that she already has a long waiting list of customers for the fragrance. “When I heard that Chantal Roos and Tom Ford were teaming up on something, I knew that it would be a stellar product even before I saw it. And I wasn’t disappointed. From the scent itself to the marketing and advertising campaigns and the packaging, every detail is perfect. I know we have a winner on our hands.”

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