Florabotanica: The Scent of Scandal

This coming September Balenciaga will release their new fragrance Florabotanica and it will be fronted by newly-minted cheater Kristen Stewart. If you’ve been hiding under a rock or perhaps just don’t care for celebrity garbage, Stewart has been recently photographed fooling around with director Rupert Sanders. Stewart quickly released a statement apologizing for what she’d done and also apologized to Robert Pattinson which is odd given up until this point she’d denied ever being in a relationship with him. Sanders, who’s married to ex-model Liberty Ross, followed suit and also released a statement apologizing to his wife and kids. It’s never a good time to have your dirty laundry aired to the world but Florabotanica is due for release in September and you have to wonder how poorly this will reflect on both Stewart and Balenciaga. Could this indiscretion cost her the campaign? Cast your mind back to 2005 when Kate Moss was photographed allegedly snorting lines of cocaine off a coffee table. The images spread like wildfire and Moss was quickly dropped by both Chanel and Burberry.

Balenciaga are aiming to broaden their market and cash in on a big name star like so many other brands do and Stewart is a good choice. I initially questioned if the Twilight star was appropriate considering arthouse ingénue Charlotte Gainsbourg was the face of their previous scent however Balenciaga head designer Nicholas Ghesquière says he met Stewart several years ago and describes her as a graceful and mysterious figure and that “she is the perfect embodiment of a certain idea of Balenciaga: that beauty that is both pure and uncontrollable.” Oh the irony.

Without a doubt, having her as the face is going to increase sales (an expected $40 million worldwide) or at the very least, create a strong point of interest in an oversaturated fragrance market. Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of American Fragrances for Coty Prestige hopes Florabotanica will double their fragrance business. Stewart as the face of Florabotanica not so much signals a new direction for the brand but rather aims to reach a wider market. And it’s not just in fragrance that they’re broadening their reach either. In under five years Balenciaga have skyrocketed from three stores to sixty, their latest opening on the Rue Saint-Honoré with up to seven more to be opened by the end of 2012. 

With new scents being released every week brands really need to pull out all the stops to ensure they get a best seller. Everything has to be striking. The bottle, the packaging, the advertising. It needs to pop. And getting a celebrity to front a fragrance adds another layer of interest. If you have a browse through popular social media sites you get the distinct impression that Stewart fans have never heard of Balenciaga or Nicholas Ghesquière (one fan referred to it as Kristen’s Florabotanica perfume) but it won’t stop them from buying the fragrance. One look at Twitter suggests packs of rabid KStew fans ready to fork over for the scent while others are putting it on their birthday/Christmas wish list because it is out of their price range. The 30ml eau de parfum spray alone is $65-A little pricey for those who may have bought the Immortal Twilight fragrance with a bonus shower gel for $20. No one ever said that luxury fashion isn’t aspirational and fragrance-along with sunglasses and handbags-is an entry level luxury goods item, the idea being that this will lay the ground work for a dedicated customer who will continue to buy and spend more.

So will this tarnish Balenciaga or Stewart? When Kate Moss was dumped by Chanel and Burberry it was only a matter of months before they picked her back up and she had one of her busiest campaign seasons of her career. In the case of Stewart it seems unlikely but only time will tell. Roll on September.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Nigel...Rupert Sanderson is a shoe designer. Jeez, if you're going to blog about something, at least get the facts, including names, straight. The director to whom you were attempting to refer is Rupert Sanders. Open mouth, insert a Rupert Sanderson shoe...


BURN! Thank you for pointing that out. Piss poor fact checking strikes again.

Post a Comment