NEW YORK — YSL Beauté is courting Trouble in an effort to breathe new life into the Boucheron fragrance franchise.
This story first appeared in the January 30, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The initiative will take the form of Boucheron’s fifth women’s scent, Trouble, a luminous oriental which will be introduced in the U.S. and France — as well as Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland — in April. In the fall, it will roll out to the rest of the brand’s global markets, adding up to a total of 9,000 doors worldwide.
The new beginning for the fragrance brand also is designed to attract a new customer.
“We had to go back to the roots of Boucheron,” said Chantal Roos, chairman and chief executive officer of YSL Beauté, the beauty arm of Gucci Group, which holds the Boucheron fragrance license. The Gucci Group acquired Boucheron in July 2000, and YSL Beauté did not gain control of Parfums Boucheron until January 2003. This is the first Boucheron launch under YSL.
Roos said the fragrance is positioned on the precious, opulent image of the jewelry house. “It’s something very special.”
When asked to gauge the significance of the launch, Roos candidly replied, “To wake up the brand.” She noted that Boucheron’s 1988 entry into the fragrance business has succeeded “fabulously well” with the launch of its now-classic women’s scent.
But the last entry, Initial — launched in 2000 — failed to meet expectations. Roos added that the Boucheron scent brand had suffered in recent years from a lack of investment, and the advent of Trouble will afford YSL an opportunity to properly finance the brand at points of sale. “People will turn their heads,” she predicted.
To maximize its potential, the initial rollout is planned in the markets where Boucheron is strongest: France and the U.S.
“We have a very loyal following with the ‘ring’ [Boucheron’s best-selling women’s scent] and now we want to take the brand to the next level,” said James Ragsdale, vice president of classic brands for YSL Beauté.
Solange Azagury-Partridge, creative director of Boucheron, sees Trouble’s target consumer as a more mysterious, sensual woman than the ring’s classic consumer. “The Trouble woman is an enigma —?she keeps a lot more to herself,” she said. “She’s a woman who flaunts convention.” Roos is more blunt. “She is more daring…[and] the snake is a sexual signal.”
The juice, by Jacques Cavallier of Firmenich, has top notes of citron, armoise and foxglove; a heart of Flamboyant flowers, jasmine and may blossom, and a drydown of amber, vanilla and blue cedar. Roos noted that the juice is designed to open with “a fresh note. The longer it stays on the skin, the sexier it smells.”
The opulent bottle is a cube of dark ruby glass with beveled edges and a brushed gold cap, topped with a sensual golden snake with emerald-green eyes. “We intended for the bottle to be a nonwearable jewel — an objet d’art,” explained Azagury-Partridge, who worked with the Paris-based L’Agencie Néo to create the bottle.
The color is a departure for the brand, said Roos, who noted that the most common bottle hue among past Boucheron launches has been blue. But the color change made sense for this launch for several reasons, she said. Ruby is key in signifying danger, she said, adding that medieval popes had their poison rings made with rubies. As well, ruby is one of the most durable gemstones.
The collection includes eaux de parfum in two sizes —?1.6 oz. for $65 and 3.3 oz. for $85 —?as well as a 0.5-oz. parfum for $165. In the U.S., the scent will be in 800 department and specialty stores by the fall. The initial U.S. rollout in April will be to 500 doors, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and selected Bloomingdale’s doors.
A print advertising campaign will break in the U.S. in May fashion, beauty and lifestyle titles. Shot by Scandinavian photographer Sölve Sundsbo, the sensual advertising features a woman posed with a snake. Sundsbo also recently shot updated ads for Boucheron’s classic ring business.
Executives did not discuss sales projections or advertising spending. However, industry sources expect Boucheron to make a strong push with Trouble, saying that it could increase the brand’s overall volume by as much as 50 percent. The first-year retail sales of the new fragrance could approach $37.9 million, or 30 million euros at current exchange rates, on a global basis. In the U.S. alone, the first-year retail sales could hit $13.9 million, or 11 million euros, sources estimated.
Industry sources also estimated the scent’s first-year advertising and promotional budget in the U.S. at $2 million to $3 million. The U.S. launch will be promoted with ads in four national women’s magazines in two flights: April-May and September-October. This is a strong advertising push for a company that traditionally invests its resources primarily in the quality of the product, sources noted.