TRUSSARDI SAID TO SEEK SCENT DEAL
Byline: Jackie Cooperman
Milan — Reeling from the departure of high-level staff and grappling with the confusion left by the April 1999 death of founder Nicola Trussardi, the fragrance division of the Trussardi fashion house is looking to turn its business over to an outside distributor and producer, industry sources say.
While Trussardi has yet to make an announcement, industry sources in Italy say that Trussardi is considering Euroitalia, Wella and Morris as prime candidates to take over the Trussardi fragrances. All new projects and advertising have been suspended, sources say. The Trussardi board rejected a proposed leveraged buyout from the staff of Trussardi’s fragrance division, which in 1997 was renamed ICAP — or International Cosmetics and Perfume — a source said.
“The intention of the Trussardi family is to entrust the license to someone else,” said an industry executive, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The move would be a return to Trussardi’s first approach to fragrances, when it licensed its scents to Roberto Martone’s ICR in 1983, with the launch of Trussardi Uomo. In September 1993, Trussardi bought back full control of the fragrance license.
Sources say that among the candidates vying to take Trussardi’s fragrance license are Italian Euroitalia, best known for distributing and producing the Dolce & Gabbana and Moschino fragrances, and Wella, which has a prestige star on its hands with Gucci. Euroitalia, which also holds the license for designer brands Enrico Coveri and Naj-Oleari, would seem a strong candidate. The company is known in the industry as a heavy hitter and its chief executive officer, Giovanni Sgariboldi, has a knack for grabbing hot fashion properties before their peak. Industry sources have said that Sgariboldi has signed a fragrance license with Italian designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua, and will launch the debut scent this fall. Sgariboldi declined to comment on either a possible agreement with Trussardi or his work with Dell’Acqua.
Since launching its first fragrances, Trussardi has developed the range to include 12 scents. In 1996, Trussardi announced it would create a color cosmetics line, in conjunction with the Duty Free Shoppers group, but that project never came to fruition.
In an attempt to boost U.S. distribution, in 1998, Trussardi Parfums moved away from its three-year, exclusive agreement with Nordstrom and signed a distribution deal with the American fragrance producer Maraczek, best known for the high-end men’s fragrance Gendarme. It now distributes Trussardi fragrances in Nordstrom, Sephora, the Gottschalks chain in California, Henri Bendel, Barneys New York and a host of specialty boutiques.
The most recent Trussardi scent, Fresh Woman, is currently distributed in Italy and in several European markets, as well as at Sephora in the U.S.
“The export business is going really well,” said ICAP export director Patrick Pace. “We weren’t even in the U.S. three years ago, and now we’re in 350 doors.”
Indeed, industry observers say the Trussardi fragrance brand is a vibrant one. “It’s one of the most important brands in the history of Italian perfumery,” said Nicholas Wilkinson, managing director of Cosmopolitan Cosmetics Italy, an independent company owned by Wella. As a former executive with ICR, and later with Trussardi Parfums, Wilkinson knows the brand well. “Trussardi remains a very important brand in the firmament of Italian brands. Whoever takes it over — if indeed someone takes it over — I think will start from a very strong basis,” Wilkinson said.