In the first quarter of 2014, Valentino released Valentino Uomo. It is not the company’s first venture into men’s fragrances, but it may as well be as the company stayed out of the market for over 20 years after the release of Valentino Vendetta Uomo in 1991.
Many fragrance experts consider Valentino Uomo to be Olivier Polge‘s fresh revisit of the iconic Dior Homme. Some experts even speculate that Valentino’s objective with this fragrance was to create a men’s scent that will emulate the success of Dior Homme. Maybe it is no coincidence then that Valentino approached Polge to do for them what he did for Dior.
Indeed, Valentino Uomo is a scent well positioned to turn into a classic: it avoids men’s fragrance cliches, which makes it appealing to the connoisseurs, and at the same time, it is mainstream enough to appeal to the mass market.
A solid marketing campaign backed the release of Valentino Uomo and the fragrance community has largely given it thumbs-up. A positive response from the European market has likely urged the company to speed up its release in North America.
Without having seen the sales numbers, it is probable that Valentino Uomo is doing great. The positive sales results would likely push Valentino to broaden its distribution from high-end retailers to middle-level ones. This tactic would be primarily motivated by an attempt to capitalize on its initial success and maximize revenues.
Now that Valentino has a hit fragrance on its hands, the question is what to do next. The answer is simpler than it seems.
If you have followed the development of traditional men’s fragrances, you’ll notice that more or less, designers follow the same pattern: release an intense and sports version and then a multitude of other flankers as necessary.
Take a look at what Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier did. After the initial success of Dior Homme and Le Male, both companies went on a fragrance frenzy ( Gaultier more than Dior but that hardly matters). Dior released Dior Homme Intense, which was followed up by Dior Homme Sport and just recently released Dior Homme Eau for Men. Similarly, Gaultier went berserk and is popping Gaultier flankers twice a year.
Valentino is likely to follow the same tactic: after Uomo proves to be a hit, which I am confident it will, the company will start releasing flankers.
Valentino Uomo Intense
Valentino Uomo is a fragrance with a medium sillage and longevity. It works well for day and night. Therefore, the first remake would likely be an intense version. The thinking might be that the guy who wears Uomo during the day may need something with more presence during the night. Voila! You have Valentino Uomo Intense.
Valentino Uomo Intense would likely have a stronger opening – maybe more citrus for an initial wow factor and a heavier, longer-lasting heart. The chocolate and coffee may be turned up to give the scent more presence and make it sweeter. For a good measure, Intense may also feature tonka bean, amber or musk in the dry down. The leather note would probably stay in the background as its strong presence may take away from its mainstream appeal.
Valentino Uomo Sport
The sweetness of the original Valentino Uomo makes it more appealing for the colder months. To capture the summer scent market, Valentino would likely release a lighter version of the original. It may be called either Sport or some Eau or Aqua (Valentino Uomo Sport, Valentino Uomo Aqua, Aqua di Valentino Uomo, etc.).
Valentino Uomo Sport would have amped up citrus. The bergamot note may be aided by some neroli or zesty lemon. The myrtle may stay there but probably would be less prominent. The chocolate and coffee would be toned down, and the leather may appear a little more but in its suede form. The dry down would likely be a predictable cedar and likely white musk to add longevity. We may even get something with calones in it to give it a more fresh-aquatic feel.
Once these two mandatory flankers are out of the way, what Valentino would do is really up to anyone’s imagination. They may follow Gaultier’s and Miyake’s route and pop flankers at least once a year, or they may create something new. They would have to balance the trade-off between brand image and market capitalization carefully. You go too wild with your flankers, over-saturate the market and your brand image plummets (Gaultier fragrances hardly hold the status the Gaultier fashion line. After all, even deep discount basement retailers sell the originals for less than $50). You stay too restrictive with distribution and releases, and you become dated and irrelevant.
Ultimately, Valentino would have to decide what role they want to play in the fragrance market. My advice would be to sell their fragrance like they sell their shoes: keep top quality and limited distribution. After all, those bottles carry the Valentino name.
Related on the Topic
What’s Hot Right Now: Valentino Uomo