PARIS — Who said fire and water don’t mix?
S.T. Dupont, perhaps best known for its luxury smoking accessories, is launching a fragrance masterbrand called L’Eau with its beauty licensee Inter Parfums to help ignite a renaissance for the brand and introduce a new lifestyle positioning.
Two scents are being introduced in Europe over the next three months, and, within six months, will be on counters in the rest of the world, except the U.S.
The L’Eau duo is S.T. Dupont’s third masterbrand, which follows S.T. Dupont Classic that came out in 1998 and S.T. Dupont Essence Pure in 2002.
Nicolas Berdugo, marketing director for the Celine, Christian Lacroix, Paul Smith and S.T. Dupont brands at Inter Parfums, explained that part of the S.T. Dupont repositioning resulted from creations conceived by its recent men’s ready-to-wear creative director, Jason Basmajian, who has introduced designs marrying modern and classic components. S.T. Dupont’s flagship Avenue Montaigne store here is under renovation, and the brand is launching new leather goods and accessories.
While the L’Eau scents are meant to lure a wide demographic, their core consumers are expected to be in the 30- to-40-year-old age range.
The scents’ name was chosen as it is evocative of what’s pure and universal, and “we were looking for a substance that is very noble, natural,” said Berdugo. “The Dupont brand uses natural materials like wood, so we thought of water [for the scents]. It has a changeable quality — it can be calm or rapid — and reflects the changeable personality of the brand. Water can have a masculine and feminine side [as well].”
The women’s floral green fruity fragrance was created by International Flavors and Fragrances’ Sophie Labbe and Loc Dong. It contains notes of white flowers, vanilla and musks. The men’s citrus woody amber scent was concocted by Givaudan’s Antoine Maisondieu and includes notes of bergamot, mint leaves and sequoia wood.
L’Eau’s heavy glass bottles — a bluish square for the men’s scent and pink-tinted ball for the women’s — were designed by Federico Restrepo. In-store advertising for the scents, shot by Albert Jeorden, features the two flacons. Sampling includes 2-ml. vials, among other formats.
While executives at Inter Parfums would not discuss numbers, industry sources estimate the fragrances will together ring up $6 million to $7.2 million in wholesale volume in their first year.
The L’Eau lineup includes, for women, a 100-ml. eau de toilette spray for $70.70 at current exchange rates, or 59 euros; a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray for $50.30, or 42 euros, and a 30-ml. eau de toilette spray for $37.15, or 31 euros. For men, there is a 100-ml. eau de toilette spray for $59.90, or 50 euros; a 50-ml. eau de toilette spray for $43.15, or 36 euros, a 30-ml. eau de toilette spray for $37.15, or 31 euros, and a 100-ml. aftershave spray for $43.15, or 36 euros. Prices are for France. — Jennifer Weil
Wella Posts Record Quarter
BERLIN — With an 11.2 percent rise in earnings before interest and taxes and an 18.1 percent gain in pretax earnings, both on a currency adjusted basis, the Wella Group reported the “most profitable first quarter” in the company’s history.
EBIT for the first three months of 2004 hit $76.7 million, or 65 million euros, up from $68.4 million, or 58 million euros, over the 2003 period. However, due to a 38 percent hike in income taxes, net profits rose only 4.3 percent, Wella said.
Sales for the quarter were $882.6 million, or 748 million euros, a currency-adjusted gain of 5.2 percent. Wella’s professional division contributed 49.6 percent to group sales, consumer 25.7 percent and cosmetics and fragrances 24.7 percent. — Melissa Drier