Womenz Magazine

Oscar De La Renta’s Legacy: ‘Extraordinary’


Oscar de la Renta is getting ready to unveil the first fruit of its one-year-old licensing pact with Inter Parfums Inc. It is a women’s scent, called Extraordinary, which reflects more of the legacy of the fashion house than is usually found in licensing deals.

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Oscar de la Renta

First, there is the product’s name, which was the late designer’s favorite superlative. “Oscar would come in in the morning and say the opera last night was ‘extraordinary,’” said Alex Bolen, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta, adding that it was intended to be a high compliment. “We thought it would be a good name for a fragrance.” In addition, the designer, who died Oct. 20 at age 82, was involved in everything from the design of the bottle, inspired by the flacon of Nina Ricci’s first fragrance, to the optical effects of the thick glass on the cap to the juice. “You have very heavy glass on the walls. It is why they call it sculpted glass,” said Jean Madar, chief executive officer and chairman of Inter Parfums Inc. The juice, created by Pascal Gaurin and Bruno Jovanovic of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., was designed to lure younger customers, a challenge also faced by the fashion side of the business.

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Michele de Bourbon, senior vice president of fragrance sales and marketing, added, “the strategy was to reach a broader customer base and to speak to the customer who is about 25 to 35 years old, who is buying most of the top 10 fragrances in U.S. distribution. This had to be something sparkling, elegant but still have that flirtatious fruitiness and warmth that we know the customer loves to feel. We needed to have our own signature, something with beautiful, plush peonies and very qualitative neroli oil, a sparkle of citrus on top and a very warm woody character on the bottom.” She further described the scent as “very long lasting, very qualitative and a great trail of sparkle and surprise. You almost feel pink, but in a sophisticated way.” Extraordinary is priced $92 for a 90-ml. eau de parfum, $58 for a 40-ml. size and $22 for a rollerball and lip balm duo. The fragrance will be shipped to American department stores — Macy’s, Belk, Dillard’s and Lord & Taylor — on March 9 for an April launch. Simultaneously, it will be rolled out overseas with an emphasis on the Middle East and Southeast Asia, then Canada, the U.K., Spain, Scandinavia, Latin America, Asia and New Zealand. In June, distribution will roll out to American duty-free shops.

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In discussing his long-range vision for the fragrance partnership, Madar said he hopes to launch a new scent every 12 to 15 months, but not all in the same distribution because “not all the smells are salable all over the world.” He suggested creating different fragrances for specific areas of the world. One idea was an oud fragrance for the Middle East, since it was a favorite of de la Renta’s. National magazine advertising will break in April in Allure, Glamour, Vogue and InStyle. The ad, showing Talia Richman cavorting in a de la Renta gown and accessories with a New York nightscape in the background, was shot by Philippe Reynaud. Neither Inter Parfums nor the fashion house break out budgets or projections. But industry sources estimate that Extraordinary could generate more than $20 million in retail sales its first year on counter, with an advertising and promotion war chest of $4 million to $5 million for the first 12 months.

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