Saturday, December 7, 2013

John Varvatos Talks New Artisan Fragrance

When it comes to fragrances, Artisan is more than just a name on a bottle for John Varvatos. It’s a statement about how he views both his scent portfolio and his apparel business and what he fears may be slipping away from the world of luxury — the timeless practice of handcrafting objects that can embody “special little treasures and hidden details.”

“From the start, we’ve always tried to go back to making fragrances the way they used to be made — all by hand, with the best ingredients in the world, artisanal fragrances with smaller batches,” Varvatos said on the set of the ad shoot for his new men’s fragrance, Artisan Acqua. “If we feel there’s a need and there’s something new to say, we’ll do it,” he added, drawing a sharp contrast with some companies that regularly pump out product to satiate their P&L. “It’s really more ‘Are we missing something? Is there a customer we’re not talking to?’”

Artisan Acqua is the fifth Varvatos scent and the third in his Artisan pillar. The designer’s first signature fragrance bowed in March 2004, followed by Vintage in August 2006, Artisan in March 2009 and Artisan Black in April 2010. As he has done with all of his previous fragrances, the designer collaborated with Rodrigo Flores-Roux, senior perfumer at Givaudan. Varvatos asserts that this highly unusual practice of sticking with one perfumer gives his scents a cohesive point of view. “He’s very intimate with my brand,” said Varvatos. “When we talk about a new fragrance, we start off by saying, ‘What’s the message we want? Where are you dreaming of with this fragrance?’ He’s like a psychiatrist in that regard.”

Varvatos views Artisan Acqua as a “lighter, beachy, summer kind of fragrance” that gives you that wind-blown feeling of walking along the shore, he said during a subsequent interview. “You have to have something within your brand DNA, and you have to have something unique and compelling to get someone to buy your fragrance today.”

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