Bottle That

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 30, 2010

A pair of FiFi winners talked to Happi about how their honored packaging speaks to the juice inside, the company and ultimately, the consumer. Plus, suppliers weigh in with new ideas and products to spark your team's creativity.

In the fine fragrance market, the juice seals the deal with consumers, but packaging often piques interest long before the olfactory senses come into play.

Two 2010 FiFi winners—La Prairie and Swiss Army—have executed fine fragrance packaging with intriguing visual appeal. Lynne Florio, president of La Prairie, and Pierre Salamon, senior director, corporate training and business development at Victorinox Swiss Army, North America, provided insight into the process that lead to their peer-honored designs and addressed how the fragrance’s packaging speaks to the scent inside, the brand’s vision and most importantly, potential fragrance consumers.

La Prairie Life Threads
Winner 2010 FiFi
For Best Packaging -
Women’s Prestige


La Prairie’s Life Threads Collection—Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Congratulations on the FiFi honor. How does it feel to have been selected the winner among some pretty amazing entries?
Lynne Florio: Thank you. La Prairie is thrilled to be a FiFi winner. It is a huge coup and marks a real milestone for the brand, receiving this prominent industry award.

Tell us the process for the package design for Life Threads. How did your team come up with such dynamic packaging? Did you enlist the help of a designer?
LF: Life Threads was a labor of love for La Prairie, and we worked tirelessly to ensure the final products spoke to the quality and performance in form and function that La Prairie is known for. We wanted to create a beautiful, sculptural object that contained a variety of textures—something women felt compelled to hold and possess.

Can you tell us who supplied the bottle/cap, etc., and specifics on the materials?
LF: Our partners for Life Threads include perfumer Constance Georges-Picot of Cosmo Fragrances, who created the three scents, and our fragrance suppliers, ChemAid Laboratories and Cosmo Fragrances. As for the beautiful bottles themselves, we worked with Dabon Industrial, Pacificglas, Valois and Multi Packaging Solutions.

How does this packaging speak to the juices, and how does it speak to La Prairie in general?
LF: This concept of “life threads” speaks to the heart and soul and truly served as the inspiration and namesake for our trilogy of fragrances. They also play reverence to our brand’s own story—as our product packaging and ingredients have evolved through the years, incorporating silver, gold and platinum. For La Prairie, the Life Threads bottles truly symbolize modern elegance and bring to life the idea of“the ties that bind.”

La Prairie has a follow-up scent, Life Thread Gems (see sidebar, page 74), hitting shelves this fall. Can you tell us about the packaging design process and how it speaks to the success of the Life Threads fragrance line—andto La Prairie’s fragrance customer?
LF: Life Threads Gems packaging is a natural evolution from the original Life Threads. The thread-wrapped bottles remain the same; however, we’ve embellished the bottles and boxes with jewel-stones that correlate with the fragrance name-jewel inspiration: ruby, emerald and sapphire.We wanted to ensure the packaging enticed our clients to be moved by the power of the gems.

Victorinox Swiss Unlimited
Finalist 2010 FiFi For Best Packaging - Men’s Prestige; and Winner 2010
FiFi for Best Technological Breakthrough and System

Congratulations on the FiFi nomination. How did it feel to be selected?
Pierre Salamon: Great! Especially knowing we had won the 2010 FIFI Best Technological Breakthrough and System Delivery Award of the year, it felt that our fragrance was on a true recognition journey. It felt especially good because of our brand background. We dared the conquest of a new product territory! Victorinox is the Swiss brand whose red pocketknife is known to the world…. scent and steel—both originate from the same house, from Victorinox. It is a connection that has grown, one that makes sense. The blacksmith shop Victorinox founded in 1884 has evolved over the course of the years to a shop blacksmithing ideas, whose unmistakable lifestyle products are desired worldwide.

Whether it is about exclusive timepieces, travel gear, functional-fashion collections or if it is about a particular fragrance—in all these areas, the Victorinox team proves authority, expertise and a definitive feel for trends in a very competitive fragrance industry. There was a real sense of pride, that Victorinox Swiss Unlimited could be selected as a key player in the 2010 Best Men’s Packaging category. The fact that we chosen to launch it with one key retail partner, Bloomingdale’s, also made an impact, as this partnership proved to be the right one.

Tell us the process for the package design for Victorinox Swiss Unlimited. How did your team come up with such dynamic packaging? Did you enlist the help of a designer? How much does the final design represent the initial plan/design?
PS: Strategically, the fragrance division is positioned along the core beliefs of the company founding family, the Elseners. At first the process for the packaging had to be committed to the core values of the family enterprise, which have been valid since the manufacture of the very first pocketknife: quality, functionality, innovation and iconic design.

The designers—a team organized around Rolf Hering’s design—chose the company color red for the casing of the edgy, habile flask. It is break-safe, made of rubber. It also transmits its “Swissness,” so key to the brand’s strong DNA. Look at it closely and peak through the window… it is an opening on the Swiss Alps. That’s where the dynamic of the packaging fuses with the concept—you can start the journey and breathe the open-air spirit of Switzerland! The brand communicates also with the love of nature, the outside, the action and the movement. The first sketches of the bottle included a special feature of the styling of the eau de toilette Victorinox Swiss Unlimited. The flasks have an ear on their side where a snap hook/carabiner can be attached. A playful factor of our communication, function meet beauty, innovation meet design, and deliver a security feature for transportation of this fragrance companion!

Can you tell us who supplied the bottle/cap, etc.—and specifics on the materials? Were there any technical issues that needed to be overcome and how were these solved?
PS: The actual rubber bottle (Selva) with the unique bi-component technique and the refill option had to be invented entirely by the Victorinox developers. As well as the incredible carry-on sized U-Fill who revolutionized the refill process for travel size flacons. Those and the glass bottle (Saverglass) were designed by the Victorinox fragrance team with specific materials and a focus on our vision: practical and functional, ahead of the trends…Our innovative cap/pump system proved it, thanks to the ingenuity of the overall concept validated by Elsener.

The cap supplier, Plascopar, answered the challenge by creating the very first lock on/off system without cap, protecting the actuator and adding modernity to its sleek design. Technically mastered, driven by design, the idea was to power the packaging with performance. After that, we simply added the beautiful story of how it makes you feel when you wear it. It is our Victorinox story, just like the one you can find in all of our products. That is how we overcame all our challenges, pushing our ideas to the limit, so that we all could tell the story of Victorinox Swiss Unlimited.

What do you see as its most significant aspect in terms of the complete design?
PS: It is difficult to do simple, and yet, the simplicity and beauty of the complete design is what Victorinox offers. It creates a point of difference in the market, and stimulates a new emotion. It is precisely at this intersection that the brand lives and the fragrance breathes. The combination of its soft touch rubber, iconic red, translucent clean green window on the fresh Swiss mountains, with its sensual cozy chalet feel, its active, outdoor carabiner for the urban man ready for modern travels, and its innovative delivery system and refill concept. That’s Victorinox Swiss Unlimited.

How does this packaging speak to the juice, and how does it speak to your company’s 125-year heritage in general?
PS: The quality of Victorinox Swiss Unlimited first of all shows in the expert fragrance composition, whose main ingredients originally come from Switzerland.

The perfumers Christine Nagel and Jean-Christophe Herault composed a homage to the flora of the homeland alpine region with extracts of genepi, absinthe and silver fir. This is how a clear, masculine fragrance was created, whose discrete charm is achieved by the alliance of freshness and finesse. The fragrance is—like the pocketknife—an absolutely reliable companion in all walks of life.

Victorinox Swiss Unlimited speaks to the brand’s heritage through its emotions. These highly emotional connections feed the imaginary and transport you to the top and beyond. As its claims “no boundaries. no borders. no barriers.” Precisely beyond its 125-plus year heritage, the fragrance’s pulse points contribute to the movement of the brand’s dynamics—with a timeless energy. Like a self-winding timepiece mechanism, like the knife you carry anywhere you are, the travel gear designed on the go, the fashion modern traveler, Victorinox Swiss Unlimited is an expression of the spirit of the brand, a continuation of a Victorinox “scent-station.”

New and Noteworthy

Thierry Mugler’s Womanity scent.
Whether whimsical, sophisticated or eco-friendly, packaging heralds a scent’s entry into one of the most competitive marketplaces in the beauty business. According to Datamonitor, no sector of the fine fragrance category was spared in 2009. Sales of premium female fragrances dropped 3.5% to $2.19 billion, and their mass counterparts fell 3.3% to $1.37 billion. In the men’s category, premium fragrances may have fared the best overall, falling a scant 1.2% to $1.08 billion, although mass male fragrances faltered 3.9%, falling to $380 million.

But hope springs eternal this Fall, as new launches begin to queue up. Here are three new fragrances hitting stores shelves; will their bottles command consumer’s attention, and provide a jolt the marketplace needs?
New from Elizabeth Arden is Mariah Carey
Lollipop Bling. Arden teamed with Bazooka Candy Brands for this candy-inspired fragrance collection, inspired by the fun and playful nature of Carey’s marriage proposal—an engagement ring hidden inside an iconic Ring Pop lollipop package.

Three juices are available—Honey, Mine Again and Ribbon ($35/1oz)—packaged in a vibrant bottle (Pochet) in shades of red, yellow and rainbow (spray color from USS Corp.), adorned with the singer’s signature butterfly (caps of molded in color from Jackel). In addition to the whimsical 1oz. eau de parfum spray bottles, candy-inspired promotions such as a gumball machine gift set and a rollerball fragrance set will hit counters this fall, according to Arden.

Lollipop Bling from Mariah Carey and Elizabeth Arden.

Billed as the next chapter in fragrance for La Prairie, the Life Threads Gems collection—due out in October—includes Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire. The bottles ($125/50ml) are wrapped in silver threads, embellished by gems corresponding to each scent.

Always newsworthy, Thierry Mugler has unveiled his next fragrance, Womanity, which features sweet and savory notes. The designer has kept packaging to a minimum; Womanity’s box is both recycled and recyclable, and lacks inner holders and paper inserts. And its sustainable Eco-Source bottle may be refilled—an attribute heralded by Mugler’s Angel fragrance back in 1992.

Related End-User Markets:

Related Packaging, Equipment and Services: