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A Garden of Delights

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | March 15, 2011

Crabtree & Evelyn debuts the Floral Fragrance collection.

While millions around the world are counting down the days until the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, India Hicks—designer, model, author and creative partner with Crabtree & Evelyn—has another set of famed nuptials on the brain. The daughter of famed interior decorator David Hicks and Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Hicks was chosen as a bridesmaid for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. After all, her godfather is The Prince of Wales.

Hicks fondly recalls Lady Di’s favorite perfume (Tea Rose, by the way) as well as her childhood days in the family garden—which inspires her creative work for Crabtree & Evelyn’s latest collection, Floral Fragrance. The first part, Iris, debuted in September 2010. Now, for Spring 2011, Crabtree & Evelyn is unleashing its botanical counterparts in a well-rounded 54-SKU collection.

The eau de toilette, shower gel, triple-milled soap, body cream, body lotion, reed diffuser, candle and room spray are available in an array of garden-inspired scents: Lilly, featuring a heart of lily of the valley blended with dewy greens, woodland mosses, musk and ylang ylang; Lavender, enhanced with violet, tonka bean, lemon leaf and soft musk; and Rosewater, utilizing Rosa centifolia, the hundred-petal rose, surrounded by light notes of violet and musk. Products retail from $12-$70.


Hicks, along with Crabtree & Evelyn’s vice president of marketing, Tom Woodside, introduced the collection to industry insiders at a luncheon on March 10 at The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Despite the rainy weather outside, the greenhouse-style rooftop pavilion created a lush backdrop for the elegant new products on display.

“This is about the beauty of a garden in full bloom,” said Woodside. “We’ve worked with master perfumers to create these single-note fragrances that are full of essential oils. The formulations, such as the body lotion, are very luxurious.”

Sue Jonas, global vice president of product strategy, also offered individual presentations to eager-eared beauty editors about the new SKUs. According to Jonas, the reformulated range features a variety of botanical ingredients, such as jojoba oil, and “no nasties,” as the brand recently eschewed parabens and phytates in 60% of its personal care products. The packaging got a makeover, too, with artful new watercolor-inspired prints on simple white backgrounds for both the bottles and boxes.

Founded in 1972 by Cyrus Harvey, Crabtree & Evelyn has evolved from a small, family-run business specializing in fine soaps from around the world to an international company, well known and respected for its original fragrances and luxurious toiletries. John Evelyn, a 17th Century Englishman who was a visionary of his time, inspired the name Crabtree & Evelyn. One of the first naturalists and conservationists, Evelyn travelled Europe experiencing the cultures and natural environments, which he shared with his friends in British society. His great estate, Sayes Court, was planted with large expanses of elm trees, and the magnificent gardens Evelyn created were a wonder of the age.

The company icon, the Crab Apple Tree (Pyrus malus), is native to Britain and the ancestor of all cultivated apple trees. Prized for its lovely form and its usefulness in the home apothecary, the Crab Apple Tree represents beauty and the natural goodness inherent in the brand, according to the company.

Last May, the Woodstock, CT-based marketer had a change of leadership, breathing life into the brand, which made headlines for declaring Chapter 11 earlier in the year, as previously reported in Happi. Financial expert Stephen W. Bestwick was named president, while the company tapped Rick Ruffolo, formerly of Yankee Candle, as executive vice president of global brand marketing and innovation.

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