Shoes, belts and handbags bearing the initials MK - for Michael Kors - are coveted by women all over the world from Sydney to New York and Tokyo. Two years ago, the charismatic designer icon, who enjoys household name status because of his appearances on Project Runway, became fashion’s newest billionaire.
Known as the king of the jetrosexuals, global online sales are soaring and the brand’s fleet of retail locations now numbers 771 worldwide. The luxe label is growing at breakneck speed in Japan and Europe where quarterly sales recently grew by over 70 per cent. Yet the New York-based designer has moved far beyond his American sportswear roots to collections that seem tailored-made to be worn on yachts by tanned beauties.
Kors’ belief that beauty is heightened reality is also very apparent in his global best-selling fragrances. One of America’s most travelled designers, he jokes that he grew up on an island - Long Island - and vacations in Capri and the Caribbean. His first scent, the tuberose-infused Michael Kors, was launched in 2000 and became an instant classic.
His fragrances aren’t just about flowers, spices and notes; they are concept fragrances that conjure up moods, memories, places and objects. Last year, the scentspiration of Michael Kors Gold Collection showcased a trio of scents all about the ‘feel’ of white, yellow and rose gold, designed to complement a woman’s preferred taste in the precious metal. The Sexy, Glam, Sporty, collection of fragrances mirror his collections and reflect the Michael Kors woman, who is always glamourous and jet-set ready.
Wonderlust is the new blockbuster from Michael Kors. Deeply romantic, the fragrance is inspired by the unexpected, the unknown, the exotic. “Fragrance is meant to inspire romance and adventure and evoke the feeling that anything can happen”, he says. “The name is a play on wanderlust, of course. But it’s about more than the destination, it’s about the journey.” Wonderlust cues in with this deep-seated taste for adventure.The fragrance is an Oriental Floral Gourmand and was inspired by icons such as Lauren Hutton and Ali MacGraw, the first true jet-setters. Today, the Wonderlust spirit is about adventurous, passionate women like Lily Aldridge, the face of the fragrance. A Victoria’s Secret Angel, Lily epitomises modern, natural and accessible beauty, she is every girl’s best friend.
“Australia is a strong market for Michael Kors fragrances”, says Edith Magerstein, Brand General Manager, Aramis & Designer Fragrances, Estée Lauder Companies. “for a number of years now, the brand has posted consistent double digit growth. There is strong brand awareness and loyalty for the existing Michael Kors fragrances. With the launch of Wonderlust we are looking forward to even more exciting results this year.
“Over the past few years, Michael Kors fragrances have undergone an evolution”, says Magerstein. “From the original Michael Kors signature scent, a statement of classic luxury, to the Collections, accessible luxury, and now with Wonderlust, debuts a new category, spontaneous luxury, a fresh, new and modern perspective for the brand.
“Through the fragrances, consumers can experience an affordable entry into the Michael Kors luxe universe”, says Magerstein. “Wonderlust will allow us to further expand our reach and make Michael Kors even more accessible to Australian consumers.”
Michael Kors is famous for his white floral and citrus scents, but Wonderlust is a clear departure from past trends. “This is the first time Michael Kors has ventured into Oriental Floral Gourmand territory”, says Trudi Loren, Senior Vice President, Corporate Fragrance Development at the Estée Lauder Companies. “Most gourmand fragrances use either vanilla or candy sweet ingredients to create the edible notes. With Wonderlust we used Almond Milk for its nutty sweetness. I started off with evoking the brightness and vivacity of spontaneity with notes of pink pepper and star anise. We also needed to capture the idea of romance, turning to dianthus for spicy floralcy. The adventure comes from exotic locales such as Thailand and Laos with Benzoin Siam. Like all Michael Kors fragrances, Wonderlust is sophisticated and glamorous and can be worn everywhere”.
Packaging has to be more than a container - it also has to be a beautiful object, says Michael Kors. Every way you look at the Wonderlust bottle, it’s interesting. The luminous gradient bottle is curved and accented with gold. The colours are inspired by the carefree spirit of an impromptu escape – they’re reminiscent of a fabulous island sunset.
To ramp up the ‘you’ll still feel everything with your eyes closed’ appeal, the Wonderlust global campaign is all about taking charge of how the world interprets the wearer’s adventurous, confident spirit. Shot by the legendary photographer and director, Mario Testino, the new strategy sees Lily Aldridge with Dutch model Wouter Peelen, first on a yacht and then escaping to a remote island. “An island is a total escape”, says Michael Kors. “There’s something about seeing a horizon that gives you a change of perspective”.
As Michael Kors continues to reach an even wider global audience of aspirational shoppers with his fashions, accessories and fragrances, he is also very involved with other key components of luxury living. In July, the brand announced a new partnership with McLaren- Honda, as the official lifestyle partner of the World Championship Formula 1 team. He also partnered with Google to launch the Michael Kors Access Smartwatch. Our brand is built on giving our customers what they want for their 24/7, fast-paced lifestyle, says Michael Kors. “We’re now offering them a smartwatch that lets them have access to a world of glamour, escape and adventure”. Like Wonderlust fragrance? Exactly.
Michael Kors Wonderlust EdP is launching in department stores and select pharmacies in November 2016. Sizes: 50ml $120.00, 100ml $150.00.
Goldfield & Banks is less than two years old. Founded by Belgian Frenchman, Dimitri Weber – a veteran of the fine fragrance world, working across Europe – the brand is inspired by the natural wonders of the Australian landscape - Australian made fine fragrance highlighting scents unique to Australia’s scenery.
Michael Marzano, the National Education Manager for Agence de Parfum, Australia’s leading niche perfume and home fragrance distribution company, believes that fragrance is the first layer of dressing. It’s what you wear closest to the body and everything follows after that. “Both women and men should absolutely have a fragrance wardrobe that reflects their style, changing moods and every occasion”.