FLORENCE – "We're at the center of the Ferragamo world," said Ferragamo Parfums chief executive officer Luciano Bertinelli on Thursday at Palazzo Spini Feroni.
The 13th-century building served as the setting for the relaunch of the brand's premium scent offer through the Tuscan Creations series, a line of 11 high-end, genderless fragrances that celebrate the culture, heritage and lifestyle both of the fashion house and the Italian region.
"This kind of project is not meant to merely increase numbers but help the image of the brand," said Bertinelli. "My goal was to develop an extraordinary project, in synch with the label and supporting its positioning.
"In general, in the last three to four years the niche fragrances market has taken off, tripling its sales, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. Any luxury brand with a storytelling is entering in this market and we already had our heritage, we didn't need to invent a story so we did join ."
Also doing the honors at the Ferragamo family-owned palazzo were the company's vice chairman and founder's daughter Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, who said the project represents "the best essence of Tuscany…and honors the memory of my father and our roots."
The fragrances come in different-colored juices and are named Rinascimento, Vendemmia, Convivio, La Corte, Calimala, Testa di Moro, Punta Ala, Viola Essenziale, La Commedia, Bianco di Carrara and Terra Rossa.
"There's one more detail that I like about this project, which is that all of these fragrances are also about color, not only about the smell or the bottle. So there's is a very tight coherence with the world and DNA of this house," added Ferragamo.
The Rinascimento, or Renaissance in English, fragrance is new while the other scents had already appeared in the brand's portfolio but have been renamed and revisited in their juices. The former eau de toilettes were all turned into eau de parfums for added intensity and persistence; the 75 ml. formats were expanded to 100 ml. and the overall packaging was revamped to favor heavier glass bottles and elevate the cap embellishments from wood to leather, bearing the Ferragamo logo and signature Gancino emblem.
"We have also changed few noses," said Bertinelli, referencing to the seven master perfumers who collaborated with the brand on the project. These were Mane's perfumer Alex Lee; Firmenich's masters Fabrice Pellegrin and Alberto Morillas; Givaudan's Sonia Constant and Natalie Gracia-Cetto; Symrise's nose Alexandra Carlin, and IFF's Domitille Bertier.
Collaborating with Ferragamo for the first time, California-born young perfumer Alex Lee created the green-juiced Rinascimento scent.
"In school I was taught about the two aspects a perfume needs to have," said Lee. "One is the idea that a perfume should be recognizable, not to be confused with any other fragrance. The second that the perfume has to have a very big trail and signature. My goal was really to work on these two facets and create something that is very universal, powerful and present because Mr. Ferragamo is present everywhere and I wanted to really pay homage to this amazing man."
The fragrance blends Florentine symbols such as lilies and iris to tuberose in its heart. Top notes feature green elements such as basil, Italian mandarin and green pepper while the dry down mixes sandalwood to smokey vetiver for an illusional leathery effect evoking the brand's heritage.
"The first ingredients were actually the tuberose and iris, I knew I had to put the two together," said Lee, recalling the creative process. "The idea came very quickly, but the hardest part was weaving everything together, the woods and the floral, and that took months, hand in hand with the Ferragamo team."
Firmenich's perfumer Pellegrin conceived five of the 11 fragrances, including the Vendemmia and Convivio scents inspired by the harvesting of grapes in fall and Tuscan hospitality, respectively; the opulent La Corte that blends two types of jasmine with almond milk and vanilla, and the rose-infused Calimala and the woody and textured Testa di Moro evoking the brand's ateliers with a mix of incense, saffron, patchouli and sandalwood.
Morillas conceived the luminous Punta Ala mixing bergamot, lemon, mandarin with jasmine, cedar wood and vetiver; Constant revisited the delicate and powdery Viola Essenziale combining lilies, iris and vanilla, while Gracia-Cetto's La Commedia spicy scent, inspired by Dante Alighieri's masterpiece, blends grapefruit, cardamom, amber wood and leather. Carlin focused on lightness and whiteness in revisiting Bianco di Carrara with a mix of bergamot, white and black pepper, heliotrope flowers and iris, while Bertier celebrated the energy of the traditional Palio di Siena horse race in the Terra Rossa juice that blends patchouli, amber and Tonka bean with bergamot and bitter orange.
To celebrate the Tuscan Creations launch, a dinner was hosted in a hall of Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo museum on Wednesday, when the collection debuted in the brand's Florentine flagship retailing at 220 euros a bottle.
The rollout will consequentially hit the label's other Italian and European stores starting from next month, although the scents are already available online at Ferragamo.com.
"We will keep distribution limited to our flagships and two to three department stores in key markets," said Bertinelli, underscoring that this selective approach is not only due to wanting to maintain a premium positioning but also because the line "requires space, as the scents are sold separately but need to be presented altogether." The executive said that in the first year the Tuscan Creations collection will be distributed in 150 doors globally.
In February, the line will be available in the U.S., which Bertinelli predicts will be among the most responsive markets for this kind of offering, along with China and Middle East.
"China will be one of our key markets for this launch as the local consumer is increasingly demanding niche, almost tailor-made collections," he said. According to the executive, Middle Eastern consumers are also mainly attracted by this kind of product and "the more precious it is — not only in terms of packaging but in the quality of raw materials — the higher the chances ."
In light of the selective approach to distribution, Bertinelli said the company won't develop a dedicated advertising campaign but promote the line in-store and on social media.
On the other hand, the executive revealed that a new, key communications strategy will be implemented for an upcoming project. "At the Cannes show we will present the new scent of the Signorina line, flanked by a new advertising concept and face, which will reposition the whole collection towards a younger and more dynamic target," said Bertinelli, underscoring that there won't be overlaps with the Millennial-driven clientele of the Amo Ferragamo fragrance.
Incidentally, the Chinese debut of the Amo Ferragamo scent will be celebrated in November in Shanghai with an event with local brand ambassadors in attendance, while next month the new men's Uomo Salvatore Ferragamo Signature flanker will hit the Italian shelves.
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