You are unique – you are Magnifique

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

The Devil may wear Prada but the scarlet woman wears Magnifique.

That was certainly the case at the spectacular launch of Lancôme’s much-anticipated new feminine fragrance in Paris this week.

The setting (le Grand Palais in Paris), the organisation, the Brand Ambassador (more of her in a moment) and the new scent were all, in their differing ways, Magnifique  – which, in case you missed our report, is the name of the new fragrance.

Has there ever been such a well-choreographed launch? Or one held in such surrounds? Le Grand Palais (the Grand Palace) is the giant glass exhibition hall first built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900, a building of such majesty that one was at first a little wary that it should be used to host a commercial launch.

One need not have worried. The sheer class of the evening – elegance, understatement (except perhaps in the vibrancy of the scarlet crystal bottle) and sophistication mixed like differing notes in a fragrance – was perfectly in tune with the environment.

The fragrance – spicy, woody, floral – generated plenty of debate among the senior travel retail executives and buyers on hand at the launch. Plenty of rose on the top notes softens out to a heady, elegant fragrance on wearing.

“That’s an interesting, quite difficult top note,” noted The Nuance Group Category Buyer Perfume & Cosmetics Henrik Ottoson to general agreement, while applauding the complexity of the fragrance. “It’s more sulty rather than playful, an evening fragrance,” said World Duty Free Fragrance Buying Manager Justine Kennedy.

Magnifique was ‘served’ in style at the dinner, ushered down the magnificent spiral staircases of le Grand Palais by a team of male ‘waiters’ (pictured) and placed before the hundreds of dinner guests.

The fragrance has got a great tagline – ‘You are unique, you are Magnifique.’ The stuff of classics.

And the scarlet woman? Well actually she wore black but American movie actress Anne Hathaway may be forever associated with the scarlet bottle and a scent that Lancôme is convinced will soar into the top of the rankings quickly and sustainably. Few Brand Ambassadors can have delivered such an impressive performance as Ms Hathaway did on Tuesday night.

Speaking without notes, she talked with genuine enthusiasm about her involvement in the brand and the filming of the big-budget Peter Lindbergh film shoot that will form an integral element of the launch.

The actress who transformed before our eyes in The Devil Wears Prada, won our sympathy in Brokeback Mountain and enchanted us in Becoming Jane, oozed star quality from every pore. She was unique. And yes, she was (and wore) Magnifique.

Unusually, the fragrance is being launched simultaneously around the world (in local markets and travel retail). The September launch, preceded by a strong build-up in the consumer media, will be a suitably ‘big bang’ moment for a line that carries big ambitions.

“It’s a key launch for Lancôme,” said our host for the evening, L’Oréal Produits de Luxe International Managing Director Travel Retail Worldwide Eric Tarral (pictured below with International Communications Director Gersende de Barbeyrac and who, with impeccable timing, celebrated his birthday on the night of the big launch). “I’m very optimistic… but the results are the consequence of what we do – it’s in our own hands.” 

True. But based on the sureness of touch on an unforgettable Parisian evening, one feels Magnifique will soon be in many, many more hands.

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