Comme des Garçons’ Commando Tactics
PARIS — Comme des Garçons has continued a guerrilla campaign for its latest fragrance launch.
The fashion brand has introduced a scent duo called Guerrilla 1 and 2 that was inspired by its retail strategy — since 2005, Comme des Garçons has opened ephemeral boutiques, named “guerrilla.” These were launched in various locations and remained opened for one year in spaces whose original decor was not changed.
Guerrilla 1 is inspired by Comme des Garçons’ first such location — a butcher shop in Berlin, which the brand took over in March 2005.
“If you think of a butcher shop, you think of meat, blood, smoked meats, wood, and then the very clean, bleached aprons and metallic hangers for the meat,” said Givaudan perfumer Marie-Aude Couture-Bluche, who concocted the scent. “It’s carnivorous, but we added the Indonesian flower champaca, so it’s sensual, and then orange, so it’s fruity, with jasmine and gardenia, too.”
For Givaudan perfumer Nathalie Fesithauer, who blended Guerrilla 2’s juice, the word Guerrilla conjured up the color red. “I took everything that was red — raspberry, cumin, pepper,” she said. Top notes include pink pepper and ginger, with middle notes of red pepper and raspberry and base notes of cedarwood and musk.
Like their juices, the fragrances’ packaging is also non-traditional. Both Guerrilla 1 and 2 are contained in black lacquered square glass bottles. Guerrilla 1 is flanked in its black box by five fake black foam bottles, and Guerrilla 2 is flanked by five red fake foam bottles in a red carton.
Comme des Garçons executives declined to discuss sales projections. However, industry sources estimate the initial run to be 6,000 to 8,000 units of each fragrance. Both scents bowed in Commes des Garçons stores last month and are priced at 69 euros, or $88 at current exchange, per 85-ml. spray bottle.
“It might be perceived as pure provocation,” said Couture-Bluche of Comme des Garçons’ approach to fragrance creation, lauding its decision to allow the perfumer carte blanche in creativity and to also agree to no market studies.
“Many people in the industry want to be different, and they start differently. With Comme des Garçons, they start differently, and they see it through to the end,” she added.
— Ellen Groves
Lab Series Finds Face of Year at Bloomingdale’s
NEW YORK — The Estée Lauder Cos.’s Lab Series Skincare for Men brand took over the men’s fragrance and skin care department at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship here a week ago.
The brand held a reception that doubled as a casting call to pick the brand’s face of the year and the winner was Aaron Tyrany from Cleveland. Fabrice Weber, president of Lauder’s Aramis and Designer Fragrances division, noted that, as part of the event, there were 22 skin care stations situated on at least two floors where Lab Series associates offered consultations and treatments to men. According to Lauder group president Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, such an event takes the brand “a step up.” He added, “We are very positive about it.”
Industry sources estimate the skin care brand racked up $100,000 in sales last week at the store. As for Tyrany, he was awarded a meeting with Ford Modeling Agency and will be pictured in an upcoming issue of Men’s Health, one of the event’s sponsors.
The event was tied in with the New York leg of the Lab Series Road Tour, which involves an “interactive vehicle” — a white Cadillac Escalade with Lab Series graphics, towing a specially modified trailer, complete with an interior audio-visual system and light show. Free samples and skin care consultations were given in “high-traffic” areas at the vehicle here last week. Future stops for the road tour include Los Angeles on Saturday through Monday and San Francisco June 23-25.
— Matthew W. Evans
Lornamead Brands Appoints Chief Executive
NEW YORK — George P. Russell has joined Lornamead Brands Inc. as chief executive officer. The firm is the North American subsidiary of Lornamead Group, which recently acquired the Finesse and Aqua Net brands from Unilever for an estimated $130 million.
In this newly created post, Russell oversees the company’s product development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing activities in the U.S., Canada and Central and South America. He will report to Mike Jatania, ceo of London-based Lornamead Group.
Prior to Lornamead, Russell’s 30-year career in the health and beauty industry included roles with private equity firms, such as Oak Hill Capital Partners — where he worked to turn around Duane Reade — Schick & Wilkenson Sword and The Gillette Company.