COSMOPOLITAN SECURES TRUSSARDI LICENSE
Byline: Jackie Cooperman / With contributions from Melissa Drier, Berlin
MILAN — Minutes after its fashion show here last Friday, Trussardi executives sat down to ink a deal with Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, entrusting Trussardi fragrances to an outside producer for the second time in the company’s history.
“We decided to license our fragrances because the Trussardi Group is focusing its development on the core business” of leather goods, accessories and ready-to-wear clothes, said company president Francesco Trussardi.
The move comes as the house is trying to rebound from the sudden death of founder Nicola Trussardi, who died in a car accident in April 1999. Since then, his two eldest children, Beatrice and Francesco, have taken over the company’s operations.
“For Trussardi, this agreement means a first step toward a new strategy of globalization,” Trussardi said.
The deal, which goes into effect in Italy on Monday and throughout the rest of the world by the beginning of 2001, grants Cosmopolitan, an independent division of the German beauty company Wella, production and distribution rights for Trussardi’s fragrances. Trussardi said he estimated Cosmopolitan would do about $45 million in turnover within the first four years. The deal, which lasts for 15 years, stipulates that Trussardi will receive 5 percent in royalties, and Cosmopolitan will invest 15 percent in advertising. Trussardi’s fragrance division has a sales volume of about $13.4 million.
The agreement brings Cosmopolitan, which also owns the Gucci fragrance license, another prestige Italian name. Cosmopolitan’s other major selective brands are Anna Sui, Alfred Dunhill, Rochas, Ghost and the newly signed Montblanc and Strenesse.
“We will consolidate our position in the prestige segment, our most important driving force for growth, by receiving this license,” said Heiner Guertler, chairman of the board of Wella and managing director of Cosmopolitan Cosmetics.
“I think that Cosmopolitan got Trussardi because they have such a wide-ranging worldwide distribution network,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They should be able to recoup their investments quickly.”
The source also said that Cosmopolitan seemed to be seeking more prestige Italian brands, especially as their Gucci license is thought to be in jeopardy. Cosmopolitan’s contract with Gucci is not due to expire until 2028.
And while official comments from both Gucci and Cosmopolitan say they are content with the current arrangement, the fashion house is widely thought to be seeking a way out earlier, in keeping with its strategy of retaking control over its various licenses. Cosmopolitan Cosmetics regional vice president Francois Gaydier, one of the key negotiators, said the deal was concluded in record time. Confirming earlier reports in WWD, Gaydier said that Trussardi executives began their search for a fragrance licensee this past summer. “We started meeting with them in June and then the negotiations really started in July. The pace was very striking, only taking a couple of weeks,” he said.
Italy remains the most important market for Trussardi fragrances, accounting for 50 percent of sales. Trussardi is currently distributed in 1,000 Italian doors.
“We want to make sure that we can maintain that position and develop it. We want the best selective distribution possible,” Gaydier said. He added that after Italy, the key markets are Asia and North America. “Trussardi has an enormous potential in Asia and the U.S., so we will make sure we develop this potential. If we work well in those countries, the rest of the markets grow.”
And, Gaydier said, Trussardi gives Cosmopolitan an important infusion of Italian elan. “The Italian brands are very hot at the moment,” Gaydier said. “Italians are doing great things and it’s very good to be there.”
By joining with Cosmopolitan, Trussardi is returning to its initial approach to fragrances. In 1983, the company licensed its scents to Roberto Martone’s ICR, which launched Trussardi Uomo. In September 1993, Trussardi bought back full control of the fragrance license. But recently, things have not gone smoothly for the fragrance division, which in 1997 was renamed ICAP (International Cosmetics and Parfums). Earlier this year, the Trussardi board rejected a proposed leveraged buyout from the ICAP staff.
Since it launched 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 was never realized.
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 about 350 U.S. doors, including 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, several European markets and at Sephora in the U.S.
The new relationship with Cosmopolitan signals something of a homecoming for Trussardi, since three executives in the Italian division of Cosmopolitan have worked on the Trussardi brand in the past.
“There’s a lot of synergy. On our side, we have a lot of people who have worked on Trussardi and like the brand,” said Nicholas Wilkinson, managing director of Cosmopolitan Cosmetics Italy. “All of us — the marketing manager, the logistics manager and myself — worked on Trussardi at ICR.”
For its debut as the Trussardi fragrance producer, Cosmopolitan will introduce Python for Men, the male counterpart to last April’s launch of Python for women, at the Cannes Duty Free fair next week.