Zegna and Lauder cement partnership with ‘Uomo’

By Charlotte Turner |

Luxury Italian fashion brand, Ermenegildo Zegna, well known for its made to measure suits and production of fine fabrics (reportedly 2.3 million metres a year) is launching ‘iconic’, classic men’s fragrance,  Uomo, with license partner Estée Lauder Companies – Aramis and Designer Fragrances Division – which is due to hit travel retail counters in April 2013.

 

At a press conference at the Italian brand’s headquarters in Milan on Monday, fourth generation family member, Gildo Zegna, Chief Executive Officer of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, said: “We are trying to expand our range of products, but this is tricky. This is why we employ the help of Estée Lauder Companies which is maybe six or seven times bigger than Zegna.”

 

Uomo is the second fragrance to be launched with relatively new partner Estée Lauder Companies, which acquired the worldwide distribution rights for Zegna fragrances and grooming products from 1 July 2011.

 

L’Oréal broke out of its contract with Zegna two years prematurely in order to focus on its core men’s brands, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Diesel.

 

Ermenegildo Zegna Uomo

 

PREMIUM GROOMING SECTOR

The partnership with Lauder signifies a greater focus on new premium grooming and skincare products for Zegna – a division in which Lauder excels – and for Lauder this new collaboration provides the beauty giant with a potential foothold in the men’s fragrance market.

 

When asked, at the conference, about trading conditions for luxury fashion and fragrance, Gildo Zegna said: “The luxury business is going up. The industry reached a €200bn turnover this year, which is a 10% improvement on 2011.

 

“You have to be a risk taker in this business; have a vision and strategy and be ready to jump…After the crisis we realized that there was a real opportunity for men’s luxury, especially in China and tomorrow, Africa.”

 

Gildo Zegna also said that companies must be more flexible when markets become stagnant. He mentioned that he has already begun looking for new opportunities, in Australia. “We also made the decision to move from being a wholesale business to focus on retail,” he added.

 

Ermenegildo Zegna UomoGLOBAL FRAGRANCE

Uomo follows the launch of a five-scent collection called Essenze, a super-premium collection, with a limited distribution. Conversely Uomo is classed as a global fragrance and is meant to appeal to consumers across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Both launches were conducted with ELC in charge.

 

Trudi Loren, VP Corporate Fragrances Worldwide for Estée Lauder admitted that the fragrance would probably not appeal to Middle Eastern markets. “The approach here was to have a distinct and unique signature, not a strange or bizarre scent, because that’s not Zegna, but I think the globality is in the universal masculine codes [freshness blended with wood notes – Ed]. We never wanted to compromise on the signature of the scent or the brand’s DNA.

 

[Left: Alberto Morillas Uomo perfumer and Trudi Loren VP Corporate Fragrances Worldwide for Estée Lauder]

 

“Europe, Latin America and Asia will take to this fragrance very well, but not so much the Middle East because it doesn’t fit with their culture, but maybe they’ll add their own Oud oil to it to make it work.”

 

The juice, created by Alberto Morillas [the perfumer behind scents for fellow Italian luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo – Ed] is a blend of Bergamot and Violettyne Captive; a composition of ‘naturals and innovation’.

 

Ermenegildo Zegna UomoVERTICAL INTEGRATION

Considering that the Zegna group is vertically integrated, it is not surprising to learn that the Bergamot is cultivated at Zegna’s propietrary fields in Calabria, Italy, and harvested exclusively for use in Zegna fragrances, although ‘Calabrian Bergamot’ has been used for many men’s fragrances in the past.

 

[From L-R: Anna Zegna Director of the Fondazione Zegna and Granddaughter of Ermenegildo; Charlotte Smith TRBusiness.com Editor and Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, President of Estée Lauder]

 

When asked whether the bottle design for the fragrance provided a point of difference within the men’s fragrance market, Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, President of Estée Lauder’s designer-fragrance division, said: “There is a fine line between simplicity and sophistication…We’re not trying to turn a man into a peacock…This bottle design is what’s right for the brand’s DNA.”

 

The advertising campaign was shot by Jonas Åkerlund  – a Swedish film director who is well-known for his music videos for artists such as Madonna – alongside Art Director Olivier Van Doorne starring American Zegna spokesmodel, Ryan Burns. The Casa Malaparte in Capris, Italy played host to the team for up to 14 hours a day during the campaign shoot. The finished product is described as a “cinematic exploration of what it means to be a man that lives with passion, who steps up to his destiny,” says Zegna.

 

But the overriding message for this particular launch was the importance of family. During the launch, Zegna regularly relayed the story of its brand and was keen to reiterate that is was still in fact a ‘family business’. Considering that the company was founded in 1910 by Ermenegildo Zegna, it is admirable that 70% of the Zegna business is still controlled by the fourth generation family members.

Ermenegildo Zegna launches 'global' Uomo scent with ELC

 

[L-R: Fabrizio Freda ELC CEO and Gildo Zegna CEO of Ermenegildo Zegna make toasts at an evening dinner to celebrate the new launch]

 

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

Estée Lauder is still controlled by the Lauder family, which controls about 70% of voting shares, making ELC the perfect partner in its corporate ‘marriage’.

 

“Family is very important to us…Estée Lauder shares our organisation’s commitment to the highest standards of quality rooted in strong family values and a focus on the global luxury market.”

 

ELC will begin the global rollout of the Uomo fragrance and accompanying ancillary products – aftershave lotion, aftershave balm, hair and body wash – in Spring 2013 at Zegna boutiques as well as department stores, speciality stores and travel retail.

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