NEW YORK — The latest women’s fragrance to come out of London is called Burberry Brit and is meant to be as bright, breezy and downright sassy as the name implies.
Rose Marie Bravo, chief executive of the British fashion and design house, said, “We’ve had this in mind for five years.” The new fragrance, she continued, is meant to sum up the fresh, modern spirit of renewal that Burberry’s has come to represent, particularly in the two years since Christopher Bailey signed on as creative director and helped Bravo breathe new life into Burberry’s staid, traditional image.
It also is meant to be Burberry’s first global fragrance effort. “This is the biggest fragrance we’ve ever done,” Bravo said. When Brit makes its debut in August, it will be the label’s ninth scent.
Despite the relative success of the others, Bravo said, “we wanted to do something global. This is the big one. We are thrilled.”
Executives declined to discuss dollar figures, but sources indicate that Inter Parfums, Burberry’s fragrance licensee, aims to do $120 million in global retail sales with Brit the first year, 20 percent of it in the U.S., or about $25 million retail.
The Burberry fragrances are distributed here by Cosmopolitan Cosmetics Inc., the American wing of the beauty subsidiary of German hair care giant Wella, which is in the process of being acquired by Procter & Gamble. Even without Brit, the Burberry’s business has been reportedly doubling at Cosmopolitan here.
The positioning of the fragrance is embodied by the bottle, which sports an imaginative interpretation of traditional plaid. It was designed by Fabien Baron, with a matching outer carton.
One of the ad images, photographed by Mario Testino, shows a leggy shot of a miniskirted Ben Grimes on the prowl in London. “We wanted a young, fun-loving British sensibility,” said Bailey, describing the imagery as “the new British It Girl, full of energy and full of enthusiasm —a young Twiggy in London.” The ad is meant to convey “the enthusiasm of sunshine on a rainy day.” Testino’s photo will be twinned with an enlarged still life, taken by Raymond Meier, of Baron’s striking bottle.
The fragrance, developed by Natalie Gracia-Cetto at Givaudan, is “a fresh green floral,” according to Philippe Benacin, president of Inter Parfums, which produces and markets the Burberry fragrances. The top note features lime, icy pear and green almond, with a white peony and sugared almond in the midrange and mahogany wood, amber, vanilla beans and tonka beans in the base.
Describing the formula as “original but not extreme,” Benacin said the scent was designed to stand apart from the other Burberry women’s fragrances. Indeed, it also differs from many of the new fragrances coming onto the market with oriental formulations. Donald J. Loftus, president and ceo of the U.S. Cosmopolitan, added, “There will be no cannibalization of this brand.”
Marcella Cacci, vice president of licensing and business development at Burberry, noted that the positioning and formulation of Brit stresses the individuality of the British personality more than the other scents, most of which played on tradition. “This one is about putting across a young, fresh spirit,” she said. Benacin added that it was meant to “capture the new Burberry.” Bailey noted, “It’s really a signature.”
In an unusual move, the fragrance will be offered in two strengths: eau de parfum in a black and red checked bottle and eau de toilette in a white striped flacon. Both concentrations come in 50-ml. and 100-ml. sizes in the U.S. There will be a 30-ml. eau de toilette for Germany and the Far East, as well as duty free. Prices of the eau de toilette for the U.S. are $48 and $58 for the 50-ml. and 100-ml. sizes, respectively. The 30-ml. size will retail in Germany for 35 euros. Prices of the eau de parfum are $58 and $78. A body wash and a body lotion also will be offered.
Loftus said the two different strengths are being marketed to give customers a choice. Also, he noted, “we want the brand to reach out to a younger customer. The EDT is more affordable.” The fragrance will be launched Aug. 15 in the U.K., the U.S. and the key doors of Sephora in France on the Rue du Rivoli and Champs-Elysées. Selfridges will launch the fragrance in the U.K. and in the U.S. it will be launched by Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Burberry stores.
Benacin said the distribution will be rolled out to the rest of Europe, South America and the Middle East in September and to Japan in November. Brit will debut in the travel retail market in the U.K. and Spain in September and spread to the Far East and Latin America in January. By yearend, distribution will number 15,000 doors worldwide and 1,200 in the U.S., he said.
Although the executives declined to discuss numbers, industry sources estimate that all the Burberry fragrances, added together, generated $280 million at retail in global sales last year and the figure is expected to rise to $400 million this year. An estimated $15 million reportedly has been earmarked for advertising alone during the four-month launch season worldwide. Outdoor advertising is being done in the U.S. and U.K. And Bailey noted that special window displays have been designed for use around the world.
The U.S. launch will be the most aggressive in Burberry history here with double-truck magazine advertising, heavy in-store modeling and sampling and a gift-with-purchase promotion. The price tag for the U.S. effort alone is around $15 million in total advertising and promotion for the first year.