ROUGE HERMES: A GRAND DAME SHOWS A SULTRY SIDE

Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — Hermes hopes the launch of its new women’s scent, Rouge Hermes, in January will catapult the venerable house to a new plateau in the U.S. market.
“This one will put us at a new level,” said Sylvie Tacchino, director of the fragrance division at Hermes.
In terms of marketing, Rouge Hermes has been framed, among the company’s 10 scents, as its ultra-feminine evening fragrance. Or as Tacchino noted, this is the scent to be worn “if a woman wants to put on an evening dress and look extremely feminine.
The effort that Hermes intends to put behind the line is shown by the fact that the launch will be backed with advertising.
Tacchino said the final decisions have not been made on the ad schedule, but both scented strips and nonscented inserts will be used. Publications being considered include Vanity Fair as well as store catalogs. Faubourg is being supported with some advertising in The New York Times Magazine this fall.
Tacchino said the strategy is to make a crisp presentation in the stores in mid-January, offering a fresh start from the clutter of the dying days of Christmas selling. It also is hoped that it will give the new scent a jump on the year.
“The idea is to be the fragrance for Valentine’s Day,” she said, referring to the product’s romantic positioning.
Although the company does not break out figures, sources indicate that the luxury goods fashion house is shooting for a 30 percent increase, making it the biggest Hermes fragrance launch since the introduction of 24 Faubourg in 1996.
Hermes has a tiny, airtight distribution, numbering less than 200 doors, counting the 13 Hermes stores and four concessions. According to estimates, Hermes does a U.S. volume in fragrances alone of roughly $10 million at retail. That would equal a first-year volume of about $3 million for Rouge Hermes.
While Rouge represents the latest launch by Hermes, the product collection is built around an old fragrance.
Rouge is rooted in the 1984 introduction of Parfum d’Hermes, a floral-oriental-amber perfume created by Akiko Kamei. An oriental fragrance with floral and amber notes, the basic configuration of Parfums d’Hermes was modified with the addition of a new signature to create a contemporary eau de toilette companion. The new forms were developed by Givaudan.
The original perfume was repackaged and the entire line was decked in a smoldering red that has been a Hermes trademark, along with its signature orange, since 1934. The perfume comes in a 7.5-ml. refillable purse spray and the eau de toilette is offered in two sizes — 50 and 100 milliliters. Then there’s a 200-ml. body cream, a 100-ml. deodorant and a soap.
The collection was rounded out with two new “gestures.” One is a solid stick perfume and the other is a red lipstick, the only cosmetics item in the Hermes assortment.
Prices range from $30 for the soap to $175 for the perfume, with a refill priced at $100. The 50-ml. and 100-ml. eau de toilettes are priced $75 and $110, respectively. The lipstick is $25 and the solid perfume stick is $60. The body cream carries a $120 price tag and the deodorant is marked $40.

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