NEW YORK — Jean Paul Gaultier and his Paris-based fragrance licensee, Beauté Prestige International, want to put some punch into the designer’s U.S. fragrance business with the launch of his Gaultier to the Power of Two.

After being introduced in Europe last September, the scent is set to make its U.S. debut at Bloomingdale’s Aug. 1, followed by a wider rollout in mid-September.

“We waited a year to come to the U.S. to build a long-term [business],” Remy Gomez, president of BPI, said of Gaultier to the Power of Two.

He cited as an example the Narciso Rodriguez fragrance business, which is also licensed to BPI, a firm that generates total annual retail sales in excess of $400 million, according to market estimates.

“We launched [Narciso Rodriguez in] the U.S., the U.K. and Spain and 18 to 24 months later [rolled out the scent].” The idea is to “build a Narciso Rodriguez fragrance house over the long term.

“We try to invent a different way of doing things,” Gomez added. And the positioning for Gaultier to the Power of Two is certainly intended to be different. Avoiding descriptions like “unisex” or “gender-less” when describing Gaultier to the Power of Two, Gomez, rather, calls the scent “gender-full — not genderless like cK One.”

Gomez maintains that back in the early days of the 19th century, there was no “gender [in] fragrance,” and no marketing differences. Only in modern times did “This is for men, this is for women” become selling points. “Fragrances and the ingredients used were exactly the same for men and women,” he said. “They were not split.” He said the Gaultier to the Power of Two concept reflects a “sexy, sensual attraction” either between a man and a woman, “two women or two men.” Since its introduction in Europe, women have accounted for 58 percent of purchasers and men for 42 percent.

“Gaultier is a surge of ideas,” Gomez said of the designer, “but the product has to be simple and straightforward, easily understood and fit together.” And fit together the scent’s 40-ml. bottles do. A set of four magnets on the back of the bottles match up, attracting them with a distinctive sound: “It’s the fragrance with a click,” said Gomez. “It’s about attraction.” The 40-ml. pair, which is priced in the U.S. at $75 for both, is the best-selling item in the collection, he noted.

This story first appeared in the June 16, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Gomez described the scent as a rich, sensual Oriental with amber, vanilla, woods and musk. “There’s a trend in the U.S., tastes are changing to more Oriental and sensual [scents],” he said. Francis Kurkdjian, who was at Quest International when the scent was being developed, blended the fragrance. Kurkdjian is now at Takasago.

After the launch at Bloomingdale’s, Gaultier to the Power of Two will be rolled out to about 800 points of sale in the U.S., including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom locations.

Industry sources estimate the scent could do retail sales volume of roughly $7 million in its first four months in the U.S. on a promotional budget of around $4 million.

Gomez’s plans call for the scent to be carried either on the men’s or women’s fragrance bar. “It’s 50-50 in Europe,” he noted.

So far, Gaultier to the Power of Two has generated some $50 million in wholesale sales in 5,000 doors in Europe and in portions of the Asian market, according to industry sources. It’s achieved more than 70 percent sell-through in the first quarter of 2006.

While in the bigger BPI picture Gaultier is a “pillar,” along with the firm’s Issey Miyake fragrance business, the Rodriguez franchise “continues its outstanding success worldwide,” Gomez said. He added that in Rodriguez’s 3,000 global doors, the designer’s scent ranks within the top three or four fragrances in each door.

“Since the beginning of the year, [BPI] has been registering above 20 percent [wholesale] growth overall,” noted Gomez, who added that Miyake, Gaultier and Rodriguez were each experiencing double-digit growth.

In the U.S., Gaultier to the Power of Two will feature six items, including the 40-ml. pair of scents. The 40-ml. bottle will also be marketed alone for $49 and a 120-ml. bottle — also with magnets — will retail for $85. There will also be massage oil and aftershave, both 100 ml., for $38 and $40, respectively. A 6.7-oz. body lotion will be priced at $42.

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