Fragrance Bottles: Award-Worthy Fragrances
A look back at some of 2008ís best fragrance packages.By Marie Redding, Senior Editor
The Fragrance Foundation’s prestigious FiFi Awards will take place on May 27, during which the best fragrance packages of 2008 will be honored. Considering all of the fragrance packages launched last year, some stand out in terms of innovative design, decoration, and manufacturing.
We have chosen a selection of outstanding fragrance packages to highlight. Regardless of whether the fragrance packages profiled in this article win a FiFi Award, they are packaging achievements that deserve to be noted.
Works of Art
Féerie by Van Cleef & Arpels is as much a sculpture as it is a fragrance bottle. A tall, silver tree branch, upon which a fairy perches, tops the bottle’s cap.
Brandimage designed the packaging. “The idea was to create an object that linked the fragrance bottle to the jewelry brand,” says Philippe Benacin, vice chairman and president of Inter Parfums Inc. In particular, the bottle was designed with the prestige jeweler’s many fairy-inspired pieces in mind.
The five-piece cap also includes a base shaped like a moonflower. Both the fairy and the tree branch are made from Zamac. The fairy comprises three different parts that were riveted together. Qualipac (Wayne, NJ) produced the cap at its new Zamac factory in China.
The round glass bottle was molded with small facets that have sharp edges, like those of a gemstone. Due to careful design of the tooling, there are no visible seams on the bottle, according to its supplier, Bormioli Luigi (Horsham, PA). The glass was lacquered deep blue and reflects light bouncing off of the shiny silver cap. The pump was supplied by MeadWestvaco Calmar (Grandview, MO).
Kilian Hennessey, creator of the By Kilian L’Oeuvre Noire fragrance collection, decided to give a limited number of his most-devoted customers a special treat—fragrance bottles hand-painted by Sophie Matisse, granddaughter of Henri Matisse. Each bottle in the limited-edition collection features colorful, one-of-a-kind decoration.
“This bottle is for my customers who want something unique. It is especially for those who might be art collectors,” says Hennessey. Only 50 of the refillable bottles were created, each retailing for $1500.
The bottle is the same black lacquered rectangular bottle that the brand uses for all of its fragrances. The bottle’s smooth surface and minimalist look provided a perfect canvas for Matisse. The bottle was supplied by Verreries Brosse (New York City).
Matisse shared a few tips about her hand-painting process. The bottles were first cleaned with denatured alcohol before paint was applied. “I used Ronan Aquacote waterbased enamel for the design, and then applied a topcoat of clear urethane, which is chemical resistant,” she explains. The entire project took eight months to complete.
Hennessey agrees that changing the look of a bottle keeps consumers excited and interested in a brand; however, he had a different reason for commissioning the packaging. “My ambition is to place perfume back on its pedestal and to create fragrance the way it was during the last century—as art.”
An argyle pattern on Brooks Brothers’ New York Gentlemen and Ladies fragrance bottles was achieved by molding sharply debossed facets into the glass. The team at Inter Parfums worked with Pochet of America (Wayne, NJ) to mold flat, diamond-shape panels in the tooling.
“A perfect radius over the top edge of each panel achieved a precise cut, reminiscent of crystal,” says Kellie Como, vice president of fragrance and product development, Inter Parfums. The packaging, which was inspired by Victorian décor, was designed by Sam Odonahue, a designer at Established Inc.
Keeping the bottles’ debossed pattern sharp was a challenge, as was controlling the glass flow of the heavyweight bottle. “We [consulted with many] glass suppliers because we had concerns about the molding, but we chose Pochet to ensure the glass would have great clarity and weight,” says Andy Clarke, president, Inter Parfums.
“We were able to achieve high clarity without using any flame treatment on the flint glass, and achieve our goal of getting the bottle to resemble a piece of crystal,” says Maggie Wedemeyer, vice president of package development, Inter Parfums.
The bottles were decorated by USS Corp. (Newark, NJ). Instead of hot stamping to create the logos on the men’s bottle, a gold silk-screen was used that closely resembles a hot stamp. The benefit of silk-screening was ensuring perfect quality of the lettering. “Our supplier slowed its lines down, resulting in incredible uniformity of every piece,” says Derrin Zimnowski, director of quality assurance, Inter Parfums.
The PCTA cap and its metal band were produced and decorated by Zorbit Resources (New York City).
Dianne Brill’s eau de parfum bottle looks like it’s dressed in fishnet stockings. The detailed decoration on the bottle was achieved using ultrafine laser décor. According to Brill’s packaging team, this decorating process, as well as others that were used, had never before been achieved in combination by the bottle’s supplier, Heinz Glas (Linden, NJ).
Brill worked closely with Heinz Glas to resolve any design issues as they arose. Before the laser decoration was applied, the glass was decorated with two coats of different-colored lacquers and metallizing. The different-colored lacquers created a unique effect—sheens of red and orange can be seen if the bottle is held up to the light.
Pfeiffer of America (Princeton, NJ) supplied the pump. The plastic cap by Codiplas USA (Newton, PA) resembles frosted glass and was inspired by the look of a glass stopper on a pharmaceutical bottle.
Completing the bottle’s whimsical look is a label wrapped around the bottom of the cap that was modeled after a band on a cigar. The outer carton was fashioned to look like a Cuban cigar box.
Cartier Roadster, like Cartier’s watch of the same name, was inspired by a roadster car’s sleek, aerodynamic body. The bottle is meant to lie on its side, and its ornate cap resembles a taillight.
“This exceptional design is strong, masculine, and directly linked to the car-making universe,” says Philippe Nazaret, assistant vice president, Cartier North America’s fragrance division. “The elongated shape and horizontal position of the bottle convey the idea of speed. The curved glass echoes the profile of a roadster car, and the cap’s ring resembles a radiator.”
Pochet of America and Verreries Brosse produced the bottle. The Zamac cap was supplied by Jackel Cosmetics (New York City).
Guerlain Homme was modeled after the shape of a man’s torso, but the sleek, curved metal sheath covering the bottle’s front also calls to mind the hood of a sports car. Paolo Pininfarina, chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A., an automotive design company known for Italian racecar designs, fashioned the bottle.
“It’s the first time we’ve worked in the fragrance sector,” says Pininfarina. “Certain elements of this design, such as the use of glossy metal, were influenced by the automobile industry, but the bottle’s shape also has a general masculine quality.”
An indentation in the middle of the spray cap was designed so that a man’s finger can rest there comfortably. “He doesn’t even have to look at the bottle to use it. True design is found in the smallest details,” says Pininfarina.
Bormioli Luigi produced the rectangular glass bottle, which required precise tolerances so that the polished metal plate would fit perfectly.
Hilfiger by Tommy Hilfiger was adorned with a front metal plaque with riveted corners that were inspired by the rivets on motorcycles and vintage cars. The year in which the fashion house was established was also engraved on the plaque, which was supplied by Northern Engraving (Green Bay, WI).
The plaque was affixed to the bottle using a clear UV-cured adhesive. Denise Paglina, director, package development, Aramis & Designer Fragrances, designed the packaging.
“We put the plaque through our normal battery of tests, which included aging at various atmospheric conditions, as well as product compatibility testing,” says James Neri, executive director, package development, Aramis & Designer Fragrances.
Seidel (Marburg, Germany) supplied the cap; Heinz Glas, the bottle; Rexam Dispensing Systems (Purchase, NY), the pump; and Cartondruck (Fairview, NJ) the carton.
Driven by Supplier Innovation
McGraw by Tim McGraw, designed by Kenneth Hirst, conveys the musician’s country-western style. The bottle’s shoulders are covered with a faux-leather piece that is meant to resemble the curved brim of McGraw’s brown leather cowboy hat.
“Achieving the faux-leather finish was a challenge,” says Nirav Mehta, director, packaging concept development, Coty Beauty North America. The goal was to create the look and feel of leather, while keeping budget restraints in mind, since the fragrance has a low price point for the mass market. The design goal was met by using soft-touch polypropylene (PP) for the shoulder covering.
Qualipac produced the faux-leather piece, and the cap. The pattern on the PP covering was modeled after the markings on a swatch of real leather. Vitro Packaging (Huntington Station, NY) produced the glass bottle, and Rexam Dispensing Systems supplied the pump.
Swirling stripes decorate the back panel of the oval bottle for Estée Lauder Sensuous. Lloyd & Co., under the supervision of Aerin Lauder, designed the packaging. The swirling stripes were silk-screened in purple organic-based paint on the glass bottle, which was produced by Pochet of America.
The fragrance pump’s dip tube is Rexam Dispensing Systems’ “invisible” dip tube. “The raised swirls are on the back of the bottle, so it was imperative to use the ‘invisible’ dip tube because a visible one would have looked like it was cutting the swirl design in half,” says Humberto Rebolledo, executive director of Estée Lauder global package development. “We knew that the invisible tube was available, so it was our first choice from the moment we saw the preliminary design sketches of the package.”
When designing the packaging for Playboy’s fragrance collection, the team at Lutz Herrmann design and Coty Beauty knew that the iconic rabbit head logo was all that was needed to brand the fragrance.
A plastic shrink sleeve by Sleever International (Morangis, France) wraps around the majority of the clear glass bottle. The fragrance’s color shows through a rabbit-shaped outline cut out of the sleeve. “The embossed texture on the film and the perfect integration of the sleeve against the glass bottle were challenging tasks,” says David Lopez-Bonnet, director of cosmetic product development of Coty Beauty Europe.
Suppliers included Gerresheimer, Emsar, and Procap.
Chloé by Chloé was designed with an outstanding feature—genuine silver plating on the bottle’s shoulders. The silver looks brighter than alternative materials, such as white bronze or chrome. The packaging was designed by Patrick Veillet of Coty Prestige, under the direction of Hannah MacGibbon, also from Coty Prestige.
“Silver gives a feminine look and a softness to the bottle, as well as the perception of luxury to the consumer,” says Osnat Lustig, vice president of packaging concept development, Coty Prestige.
Traditional silversmith techniques used by jewelers, combined with modern production methods, made this design possible. Qualipac produced the silver-plated collar, which rests on the bottle’s shoulders.
Lustig says that precious-metal plating is a mix of chemistry and alchemy and that “an electric current is sent through silver metal bars inside a series of baths infused with conductive liquid mediums.” When submerged, the parts become coated with a thin layer of pure silver.
The Essence by Porsche Design is a sleek bottle made with a combination of materials. The package required one of the smallest actuators on the market, which was integrated in the bottle’s cap, according to Frantz-Olivier Lafon, junior product manager, Clarins Fragrance Group.
The spray cap was produced by IPack (Acquigny, France). “The technical development of this spray cap was our main challenge on this project,” says Lafon. IPack has multiple patents for its inventive, all-in-one spray-cap systems. The company is also known for its ability to combine different materials, such
as plastic, wood, and aluminum, in its components.
The rectangular glass bottle, supplied by Pochet, was lacquered in a “glacier blue” color. The bottle is surrounded by a three-sided brushed-aluminum frame, which was also anodized black. This metal part, supplied by Qualipac, was glued to the bottle using plastic inserts.
Elizabeth Arden partnered with rap star Shawn “Jay Z” Carter’s urban apparel brand, Rocawear, to launch its first fragrance. The fragrance, 9IX Rocawear, was named after the year the brand was established, 1999.
“This was an extremely difficult design, with many parts,” says Eric Vanin, vice president of sales, Qualipac, the company that supplied the extruded bottle and the aluminum casing that surrounds it. “It was an amazing challenge that required the use of four different technologies and 23 operations combined.”
The sleek, brushed outer metal casing feels cool to the touch. It was created in two different colors, silver and rich bronze. The colors were achieved by anodizing.
“Color is always a challenge to stabilize during anodizing. It was a technical achievement to produce the rich shade and overall finish on the metal parts,” explains Vanin.
The brand’s logo was stamped on the inner wall of the casing to create lettering that is raised on the casing’s outer wall. The raised lettering was also silk-screened black. “The stamping and debossing techniques were perfectly executed, and the lettering is very sharp,” says Vanin.
A Group Effort
Kapsule by Karl Lagerfeld is a trio of fragrances, and each represents different olfactory families. “We used the same bottle because the fragrances complement each other, like three key pieces of a wardrobe. There is a notion of elegant simplicity in the packaging, in which less is more,” says a global marketing representative from Coty Prestige.
Design firm Lutz Herrmann Agency created a stackable, cube-shaped bottle, which was produced by Pochet. Valois of America (Congers, NY) supplied the pump. The bottle was adorned with a label, a self-adhesive laminated paper that was printed with a medallion design.
The plastic cap, produced by Tesem (a division of Preface Deux; New York City), has an anodized aluminum overshell. “The anodizing process gives the cap its gold color and also keeps it from changing color when it comes in contact with the fragrance,” says Ada Bellapart, product development manager, Tesem.
Harajuku Lovers, a brand created by Coty Prestige and singer Gwen Stefani, launched a collection of fragrances with an unexpected look. Five different doll-shaped caps were designed to resemble Stefani and her backup dancers. Like the Harajuku Lovers fashion and accessories line, the fragrance packaging draws inspiration from the colorful styles of trendsetting teens in Harajuku, Japan.
“We had many meetings with Gwen to discuss her vision for the packaging. The concept was clear from the start—we wanted to bring the Harajuku characters to life with the packaging,” says Jon Dinapoli, creative director, Coty Prestige.
All of the dolls, in their entirety, were cast in skin-colored plastic. Some parts of each figure’s clothing are hand-applied decals, while other details were hand-painted. Jackel Cosmetics and Alcan Packaging (New York City) produced the caps.
Lilly Pulitzer, the apparel brand influenced by the colorful styles of Palm Beach, FL, introduced “a wardrobe of scents” in collaboration with PulsePoints.
“The bottle’s shape was inspired by the neoclassical architecture on the streets of Palm Beach,” says Michelle Cosentino, the bottle’s designer commissioned by supplier Zorbit Resources, which provided the bottle, cap, and carton. Rexam Dispensing Systems supplied the pump.
The glass bottle was decorated with a three-pass spray and hot stamping. A ribbon around the neck of the cap resembles a silk scarf or the whimsical print of a Pulitzer dress. The heavy-wall cap was made from DuPont’s Surlyn, chosen for its clarity. “It was important to maintain the delicate blend of the cap’s in-mold colorant to match the color and translucency of the sprayed glass,” says Andrew Hoskins, vice president, turnkey development, Zorbit Resources.