MANIFESTO: ROSSELLINI RETURNS TO HER ROOTS

Byline: Jennifer Weil

STOCKHOLM — “I want to celebrate what we have, not what we long for,” said Isabella Rossellini.
That’s the notion behind Rossellini’s first women’s fragrance, Manifesto, which was introduced to the international press in Stockholm last week.
And what a celebration it was: Lancaster Group, which holds the license for the house of Isabella Rossellini, hosted more than 100 journalists for a three-day affair. There was dining in the royal Rosendal Garden and the Stockholm Stadshus, or mayor’s office, not to mention a ferry ride through the archipelago off the city’s coast.
Rossellini said she chose the location because her “Swedish roots were showing” during the fragrance’s development. She added that she wanted to go back to the hometown of her mother, Ingrid Bergman, whose philosophy strongly inspired aspects of the fragrance. “My mother revered practicality and down-to-earthness,” she said. “So practicality became one of my muses.”
And it shows. Manifesto’s juice is a panoply of scents reminiscent of Rossellini’s own backyard — starting with the smell of basil. “It was my inspiration,” she said. “It is a very humble, simple herb — it doesn’t make my mind wander.”
“We started with a new expression of basil,” said Firmenich’s Alberto Morillas, the scent’s perfumer. Other notes include white pepper, bergamot, mandarin and white musk.
Rossellini explained that fragrances are generally concocted for people to dream of the unobtainable. “I wanted to have a different approach,” she said, explaining she wanted her scent to be firmly rooted in the present.
The seven-unit Manifesto line is playful yet practical. Alain de Mourgues created the fragrance’s streamlined, elegant bottle. One of its unique features is a spray cap that is twisted one way to be opened up and the other to be shut down. There are also individually wrapped soaps and luxuriously large bath pastilles, not to mention a shower cream with a mousse texture and a rich body balm.
Lancaster has big plans for the Manifesto line, which is due to be launched in Europe in September, Southeast Asia and Australia this fall, then the U.S. and Japan in spring 2001. “We believe it will be in the top five or 10 [of women’s scents],” said Lancaster president Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard.
And while the company wouldn’t give sales projections, industry sources estimate the fragrance could ring in about $35 million in wholesale volume in its first 12 months.
The launch will be backed by a massive advertising campaign, Hoejsgaard said. That will include in-store support, such as scent seals, print and TV advertising. “We will put more than 60 percent of our sales back into marketing,” he continued.
Isabella Rossellini is being ramped up to be one of Lancaster’s four biggest brands along with Davidoff, Lancaster and Chopard. “It fits perfectly into our strategy,” Hoejsgaard said. “We need to globalize our company into America and Asia — and Isabella Rossellini gives us the opportunity to go into other parts of the world” via her well-known image. The Manifesto line — which includes a color cosmetics and skin care collection — also allows Lancaster to develop its market share in those categories.