FRANCE. Parfums Azzaro (Clarins Group) unveiled the new feminine fragrance from the house of Azzaro in Paris yesterday. Azzaro Couture, a relaunch of the original scent which made its debut in the 1970s, will go on-counter in very selective distribution from October.

Following a lunch at the opulent Hotel Bristol on the Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré, international journalists were treated to an ultra-exclusive fashion show at the Parisian Azzaro Boutique, personally hosted by Azzaro Artistic Director Vanessa Seward.

The new feminine fragrance Azzaro Couture, and the woman behind Azzaro fashion, Artistic Director Vanessa Seward

This was followed by the official reveal of the relaunched fragrance, which has been updated with new packaging and a more modern juice. The advertising campaign features English socialite and UNICEF ambassador Jemima Khan, who donated the fee for her services to the charity.

“When I started out with [the late] Loris Azzaro in 2003, he very quickly let me update his vintage dresses on the condition that I changed them only slightly,” Seward explained. “I proceeded in the same way with the new edition of Azzaro Couture.”

Describing the scent as an “evening gown, night-time” fragrance, she continued: “It’s”¦made for seduction, in the style of the dresses I design. They are meant to produce an effect. They make you want to know about the woman who wears them. I hope you love it; I know I do.”

While Seward has without question put her unmistakeable stamp on the new scent, she has taken care to show consideration for the heritage of the brand.

“Azzaro Couture was very important for Loris,” she confirmed. “It was one of his favourite perfumes”¦and he often talked to me about it. He wanted to tailor it to today’s tastes. I decided to approach this classic with respect for the roots of the name and its Couture tradition”¦as an homage to him.

“I updated this fragrance the way I used to update the dresses designed by Loris, as a guardian of this distinctive signature. We have reworked it to make it more [current] but keeping the spirit, as I do with the clothes.”

The in-boutique fashion show, complete with mini-runway and upholstered chairs, provided the perfect backdrop for the launch of the fragrance, which is being positioned as the olfactory embodiment of the house.

Two gazelle-like models sashayed around the mirrored boutique, showcasing highlights of Azzaro’s latest effortlessly glamorous summer collection. These included short and long evening dresses, in vibrant, jewel-like shades of purple, teal and jade, beautifully draped and flowing, offset with diamante trim.

The Azzaro Couture advertising visual, featuring Jemima Khan

A variety of gowns featuring the signature three-ring motif were paraded, accessorised with sparkling evening wedges and a selection of Azzaro jewellery.

Following the fashion show, Parfums Azzaro Director of Marketing Development Patrice Vizioz took to the floor to further explain the Azzaro Couture fragrance concept.

“We have worked very closely with Vanessa to create this fragrance,” he explained. “We had been dreaming of doing so for a number of years, but the time was not right. We were waiting for the good moment – and that moment is now.”

He continued: “We have worked hard to recreate Couture, while staying faithful to the original; we have made sure that the DNA is really very similar.”

Vizioz declared Jemima Khan as the only possible face of the fragrance. “Nobody else could better represent it or the type of woman who wears it,” he asserted.

The fragrance is certainly aiming to be exclusive in more ways than one. “As a concept, Azzaro Couture represents a different approach to the perfumery business,” Vizioz noted, “and accordingly it will be available in very few, prestigious points of sale. For example, in the US we have chosen Neiman Marcus; in London Harvey Nichols; and in France Bon Marché, Sephora Champs-Elysées and, of course, the Azzaro Boutique here.

“In Germany we will have a couple of prestigious perfumeries, and it will be the same policy for Switzerland and Spain. It’s a very small, intimate, niche but luxurious business.”

For the time being, that distribution strategy will preclude the travel retail channel. “There are no plans to introduce Azzaro Couture to travel retail, either this year or the next,” Vizioz told The Moodie Report.

“But if we get the right results [domestically], further down the line things could of course change, and we might consider creating a specialist sku for the channel.”

The original Azzaro Couture fragrance, a floral-chypre, was created by nose Maurice Thiboud in 1974. The reworked juice, the work of Givaudan’s Aurélien Guichard, is a little more floral, and a little less heavy, in a way that aims to maintain the identity of its predecessor, but in a more contemporary way.

“Several of the [original] components have disappeared from the perfume scene,” noted Guichard. “We dispensed with its somewhat aldehydic opening and purified its olfactive structure. The new, more linear Azzaro Couture has gained a supple, iridescent, luminous and contemporary side.”

The updated juice is composed of five absolutes, a rarity in contemporary perfumery given the costs involved. These absolutes are mimosa, rose de mai, iris, ambrette seed, and galbanum.

The original Azzaro Couture bottle ring/bottle drop flacon – which was inspired by a Salvador Dali painting – has also been reworked. Most notably, the colour-scheme has been changed from black to white, in line with Seward’s predilection for white evening wear.

The base is more slender, and the silhouette curvier, yet it continues to reference the iconic Azzaro three-ring dress. The cap is set with 120 sealed Swarovski crystals. Every bottle is partly hand-blown, making each one unique.

The fragrance is available in two 75ml edp versions, both of which are refillable: Couture Prestige and Couture Cristal. The former is a 75ml premium presentation coffret, complete with retro-chic pump atomiser stored within an integral drawer. There is also a 100ml edp Couture Refill, with funnel.

In line with the fragrance’s selective positioning and distribution, the price points are suitably high-end, at €170, €140 and €90, respectively.

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