BALMAIN WOOS YOUTH WITH EAU D’IVOIRE

Byline: Jennifer Weil

PARIS — Parfums Balmain is banking on its new fragrance, Eau d’Ivoire, to give it a more youthful complexion.
“Balmain is an old house,” said Bernard Eloy, managing director of the firm. “There is a large young audience out there that does not know it. With this scent, we are targeting the same group as we do with our ready-to-wear collection,” he added, referring to the 25-to-40 set.
Eloy declined to give a first-year sales target, but industry sources reckon the fragrance could ring up retail sales of about $13 million.
For Eau d’Ivoire, a fresh fruity floral, Balmain took its inspiration from one of its six fragrances — the 1979 Ivoire.
The two have some notes in common, including mandarin and bergamot in the top; rose and ylang-ylang in the middle, and oak moss in the heart. “Eau d’Ivoire is much fresher than Ivoire,” said Maurice Alhadeve, vice president of Creations Aromatiques, the firm that created both scents.
Freesia, in particular, was added by perfumer Daniel Hoffmann to give a modern touch to the top. And compared with Ivoire, the new scent has more vanilla and musk in its base.
“Balmain wanted us to conceive a younger product — an eau, but not a fragrance that is too diluted,” he added.
The differences carry into the pricing, too. Eau d’Ivoire is about 10 percent less expensive than its parent scent, about $50 for a 75-ml. eau de toilette spray, according to Eloy.
All figures are converted at current exchange rates.
The fragrance is due to hit shelves in Western Europe at the end of March. The rest of the Continent, North America and the Middle East are slated to receive it in April and May, followed by South America and Asia later this year.
“This is the fragrance of ready-to-wear,” Eloy reiterated of his first project since joining Parfums Balmain about a year ago.
And it’s no wonder he keeps making the link. Balmain — which signed designer Gilles Dufour in 1998 — has also been trying to reach a broader audience by creating affordable pieces for young women.

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