Byline: ALEV AKTAR
PARIS -- For his third women's scent, Kenzo joins a growing list of designers who have discovered India as a source of inspiration.
Kenzo has named the new fragrance Kashaya. One meaning of the Sanskrit word is eternal love.
"It was inspired by the Taj Mahal," Kenzo said.
Simla, the northwest Indian city that is the summer residence of India's viceroy, also was inspiration for the fragrance, according to Pierre Broc, president of Tamaris-Parfums Kenzo SA, a subsidiary of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the giant French luxury goods conglomerate.
Kashaya will be the third fragrance with an Indian theme to be announced in France this year. Jean-Louis Scherrer introduced Nuits Indiennes, a light floral oriental, in March. Boucheron is set to launch the fruity-floral Jaòpur, named after a village in India, in August in Europe.
Other recent fragrance launches that made use of Indian imagery include Oscar de la Renta's VoluptÄ and Parfums Chopard's Casmir.
"India is very in fashion this year," said Broc. "But at Kenzo, we have been thinking about it for a very long time."
The fragrance will bow in September in France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Caribbean. It will begin to roll out to the company's other markets in the first half of 1995.
The U.S. launch is slated for the end of 1995 or the beginning of 1996, Broc said.
The designer's other two women's fragrances -- called Kenzo and Parfum d'EtÄ -- are in a total of 5,500 doors in Europe, including 1,650 points of sale in France.
Broc is projecting wholesale volume of the new fragrance at $3.7 million (20 million francs at current exchange rates) just in initial orders in France and expects it to surpass that figure with reorders this year.
Parfum d'EtÄ hit $3.7 million in the September to December period when it was launched in 1992, Broc said.
The company's worldwide wholesale volume topped $56 million (300 million francs) last year. Sales this year are up 38 percent, Broc said.
Parfums Kenzo will spend $1.9 million (10 million francs) to back the new fragrance this year in France with a print and television advertising campaign.
The print ad visual, shot by Raymond Meier, features a man's and a woman's hands tied together with a green cord, which trails down to wrap around the bottle. The tag line is "Pacte d'Amour de Kenzo," which translates as "Pact of Love from Kenzo."
The TV commercial has not been filmed -- the director hasn't been chosen -- but the company plans to air it in France at the end of the year.
In France, Kashëya de Kenzo will be $53 (285 francs) and $71 (385 francs) for 75-ml. and 125-ml. eau de toilette pours, $56 (300 francs) and $73 (395 francs) for spray versions and $83 (450 francs) for a 200-ml. eau de toilette spray bottle.
The prices fall in the middle of the prestige distribution market.
Kashaya is Kenzo's first fragrance in the oriental family, but the designer noted, "I was trying to create something exotic and oriental, but different."
"We wanted to establish our reputation in the fragrance world before launching an oriental fragrance. In the past six years, we have acquired the credibility needed to introduce an oriental," said Broc. "This is a reinvented, revisited oriental."
International Flavors & Fragrances perfumer Sophia Grosjman developed Kashaya. The scent has top notes of apricot, hyacinth, blue rose and "living" clementine, developed with headspace technology designed to accurately replicate the scent of living plants.
Middle notes are blended from freesia, lily of the valley, Indian jasmine, catleya orchid and lotus flower. Base notes are composed of musk, ambergris, vanilla and sandalwood.
Broc claims the fragrance's originality lies in its "transparent and airy" aspect, rare for fragrances belonging to the oriental family.
"Kashaya has no bergamot in the top notes, which is unusual," he said. "There is no patchouli in the base notes, and there are no heavy fixatives like oppoponax."
The fragrance's packaging was created by Serge Mansau, who has collaborated with Kenzo on all the company's fragrance launches.
The iridescent glass bottle is textured with a leaf pattern and topped with a turban-like cap. The orange carton has the fragrance name scripted in gold, and its orange liner is printed with a golden leaf design.