Byline: Jennifer Weil

PARIS — It was a double whammy for Boucheron: The company not only announced its acquisition by Gucci, but it also unveiled its newest scent, Initial, to the French press Tuesday.
As reported, Gucci Group NV acquired Boucheron International SA. “We decided to join the group so Boucheron could develop more quickly,” said Jean-Claude Le Rouzic, president and director general of the company. He explained that Gucci is not only expected to raise Boucheron’s door count — presently at 12 worldwide — but also to bolster financially the brand’s new watch division and to “continue the expansion of Boucheron’s fragrances.”
Le Rouzic added that the fragrance group will be under the auspices of Boucheron and not Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, which runs Gucci’s other cosmetics holdings. “The Gucci group will develop the strategy of the Boucheron brand,” he said. “We look to double our sales in five years.”
And while the scent’s introduction was purportedly not intended to make news the same day as Boucheron’s ownership changeover, it was meant to make a splash and herald “a third generation of Boucheron product,” said Michele Evrard, international marketing director at the company. She explained the scent is expected to “open the brand to a new clientele” — particularly within the 30-45 age bracket — and make it “a key actor in the fragrance industry.”
Boucheron executives refused to give volume estimates, but industry insiders say the scent could ring up $28 million in retail sales in the first 12 months.
Initial’s packaging is a radical departure from those of other Boucheron fragrances, which were inspired by either the jeweler’s rings or bracelets from Jaipur, India. Instead of being yellow gold and blue, Initial’s exterior is white gold and pearly. Its color and teardrop shape echo that of a Boucheron pendant necklace. The packaging was created in-house with design firm Desgrippes Gobe & Associates.
The new oriental was concocted by Firmenich perfumer Jacques Cavallier. It has four accords, including black currant leaves and mandarin; jasmine and rose; patchouli and pepper, and almond honey.
“We wanted something oriental at the start, but it had to have a sparkle on top,” Evrard explained.
Initial is slated to launch in France in September, then hit the U.S. late this year. The global rollout will continue next year. The launch will be backed by a large advertising push. For the first four months in France, for instance, Boucheron will spend 2 1/2 times more than what it generally does, Evrard said.
Ads shot by Karina Taira will appear in weekly publications starting early September and in monthlies in October. These picture a woman crying tears of pearls, a pack shot and a tag line that reads: “Le Parfum Perle” (The Pearl Perfume).
“[With the ad] we wanted to bring human emotion and sensuality to the fragrance,” said Evrard.
There is also a T.V. campaign scheduled to run on French cable TV starting in September. The name Initial was chosen not only for its practically universal meaning, but also because it represents “a rebirth of some kind,” Evrard added.
The 30-ml. spray perfume retails for $118, the 50-ml. eau de parfum spray goes for $55, the 100-ml. eau de parfum for $72 and the 200-ml. body emulsion for $33 in France.