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    Posted: May 15 2006 at 8:08am

Beauty Beat: Parfums Kenzo's Nouveau 'Amour'
By Ellen Groves with contributions by Matthew W. Evans

PARIS Parfums Kenzo has been sending flowers and now it's declaring its love.

In September, the brand, owned by LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will add Kenzo Amour, or Kenzo Love, a women's fragrance, to its portfolio. Executives at the firm hope it will blossom like the 2000 perennial bestseller, Flower by Kenzo.

"The idea was to create a fragrance that will be as major as Flower, our pillar," said Odile Lobadowsky, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Kenzo.

Industry sources estimate Flower generates $80 million to $84 million annually. Those sources forecast Kenzo Amour could almost match that performance in its first year, generating sales of $70 million worldwide.

"It's possible that it could be [bigger than Flower]," said Philippe Lesne, general manager of Kenzo Parfums in North America. "We have one strong pillar, so this should definitely be our second one."

The new scent was inspired by a couple's voyage through India, Japan and Vietnam.

"The basic idea was a voyage of love, of emotion, and a bird as a symbol of love," explained Patrick Guedj, Parfums Kenzo's creative director and head of marketing, referring to a multicolored turtledove featured on the fragrance's packaging and in advertising. He added the firm will take a long-term approach to brand building, as it has with Flower, saying, "We try to build things over time." Still there is a "simple story for Amour: 'A Journey of Love.'"

"We are highlighting the Asian side of the brand," said Lobadowsky, adding Asian influences feature prominently in numerous elements of the new product.

Advertising, conceived by Guedj, was filmed in India and Vietnam. The ad follows a turtledove's flight and the progress of a couple's travels, starting in India. In the final scene, the pair played by Olga Kurylenko and Lucca Alvez is shown in a Japanese-style wooden hut, the sole building in a vast landscape of trees. The soundtrack for the ad, which will run as a 30- and 60-second spot, was provided by New York sister act Coco Rosie. A print campaign will feature double-page spreads.

The scent is an olfactory voyage through Asia, meant to evoke frangipani flowers from Bali, Japanese cherry blossom and rice and vanilla from China. Concocted by Daphne Bugey and Olivier Cresp of Firmenich, the fragrance features top notes of cherry blossom, rice and white tea; heart notes of frangipani and heliotrope, and base notes of thanaka wood, vanilla and musk.

Kenzo Amour's glass-lacquered and plastic bottle, designed by Karim Rashid, is tall and curved, reminiscent of works by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi.

The flacons are vibrantly colored the 100-ml. version is orange, the 50-ml. is white and the 30-ml. is fuchsia. In France, the scents will retail for 88 euros, 65 euros and 48 euros, respectively, or $112, $83 and $61 at current exchange. Outer cartons feature sketches of a turtledove in flight and an image of all three sizes grouped together. The flacons will be displayed in stores on wooden stands handcrafted in Bali.

Kenzo Amour will be introduced worldwide in September, except in Asia, which will get the scent next year.

In the U.S., the scent will initially make its debut at LVMH-owned Sephora and at Nordstrom. The 100-ml., 50-ml., and 30-ml. versions will be priced at $85, $65 and $48 respectively. A body lotion is to be added to the collection in the U.S. in November, noted Lesne.
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