Italian bags and accessories brand Mandarina Duck, whose fragrances were introduced in the U.S. at Barneys New York two years ago, is looking to boost its scent business in the U.S.

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The brand’s first fragrance, a signature women’s scent, was launched about five years ago, mainly in Europe, because Mandarina Duck has a following there, according to Mario Moura, international export manager at Idesa Parfums. The Barcelona-based distributor owns the Mandarina Duck fragrance license and handles other Italian fragrance brands in Spain.

Now, Idesa is working with New Jersey-based Abdel LLC, which is distributing Mandarina Duck fragrances in the U.S. While the brand’s latest scent, a men’s eau de toilette called Pure Black, was initially launched at Barneys in November, it was recently rolled out to Dillard’s and is now carried at about 73 stores in the U.S.

Moura and Jim Delalla, who owns Abdel, said they see distribution of Mandarina Duck scents potentially dovetailing with new distribution of Mandarina Duck bags in the U.S., beginning at around yearend, with slated introductions at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

“Through the course of the next six months, we will follow the distribution pattern of the [Mandarina Duck] luggage,” said Delalla.

The strategy is to “expand in a systematic, qualitative way,” added Moura, who said the idea is to selectively create awareness of the fragrance brand around the U.S.

Pure Black was introduced quietly at Barneys, according to Moura, but industry sources estimate it rung up $100,000 in retail sales volume during its first four months on the market. The aim, according to sources, is to reach $1 million in retail sales with Pure Black at Barneys and Dillard’s.

Pure Black is Mandarina Duck’s fourth fragrance. It follows the signature women’s scent, a signature men’s scent and a women’s scent called Cute Pink, a pillar of the brand’s fragrance business, according to Moura. He added that Pure Black is meant to be another pillar for Mandarina Duck.

The promotional plan for Pure Black comprises in-store visuals and events, noted Delalla.

The scent, an oriental fougère, was composed by perfumer Nathalie Lorson of Firmenich and includes top notes of bergamot, tangerine and pepper. In the heart of the scent, there are notes of tonka bean, tiara flower and orange flower, and it dries down into notes of sandalwood, atlas cedar and Madagascar vanilla.

There are two versions of the scent, a 50-ml. size for $58, and a 100-ml. bottle for $78. An aftershave balm, shower gel and deodorant spray accompany the fragrances.

“This line targets the masculine market, values and codes,” Moura said, adding that, with its shiny black and matte dark gray packaging, it’s meant to be “modern and classic at the same time.

“We wanted something more masculine,” he said. “In men’s, there’s a big trend toward black colors. We wanted to position ourselves in this popular segment — but with our own values.”

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