According to the prose which gushed upon the guests at the perfume's London launch in January, Just is "more than a perfume. It is an attitude, a way of being. Its mark is the Just Cavalli bite, a powerful symbol of belonging. It is a sign of destiny. It reunites beings that were meant to be bonded for all eternity." And guess what: in order to drive the point home, the creative bods at Just Cavalli have put together a special Facebook application which will allow friends to - what else? - 'bite' each other. Ay caramba, as dear Bart would say.
Before this unexpected revelation was made, Coty Prestige's David Allan struck a relatively sombre note by stating that perfume retail isn't smelling especially rosy at the moment. "The fragrance market is a tough market versus what we've been used to," he said. "But it's still growing by 3%. There are many people out there that would be thrilled with 3% growth in the last 12 months. Notwithstanding that, it's lower than what we've been used to."
Of course, the gloomy outlook couldn't be permitted to last for long. "What we are seeing in Coty Prestige," Allan continued, "is that we continue to be number 1 on female. We have three brands within the Top 10: Marc Jacobs Daisy, the new Marc Jacobs Dot and Calvin Klein Euphoria. We're also leading the market because we support our classics. And of course, we also have innovation."
This was the cue for David Iop (International Marketing Director of Roberto Cavalli Parfums, pictured below) to step in. And that's when proceedings zoomed light years away from fiscal realities.
"Just Cavalli is the young, sexy and provocative brand of the Roberto Cavalli fashion house," Iop said. "For this new project, we have been working very closely with Roberto Cavalli himself, and his wife, Eva Cavalli. The concept is really simple. It's an intense game of seduction. A provocative chase between a woman and a man. The woman, played by Georgia May Jagger, is a playful temptress. She's not afraid of being herself, and, to be honest, she really enjoys flirting. And she's also wearing 'the bite'. That's not just the Just Cavalli logo. It's also a powerful symbol that attracts the other, and no-one can resist it. It's love at first bite."
At this point, the attendees glanced at each other with faintly worried looks, as though curious to see if the scented 'bite' tattoos which had been imprinted upon their flesh would indeed wield some sort of supernatural power over those around them. But before they had a chance to measure how irresistible they had become, the lights were dimmed and the screens started playing the perfume's TV advert, directed by Jonas Akerlund.
When it became clear that nobody's virtue was about to be threatened by any sort of vampirical dental action, the focus shifted to the perfume itself. Unsurprisingly, the main word used to describe it was "sexy". But at least Just Cavalli and Coty Prestige offset this lack of originality by giving due credit to the people who created the scent. Indeed, several posters dotted about the venue stated in no uncertain terms that the "master perfumers" behind this creation are Firmenich's Nathalie Lorson (Encre Noire, Fame) and Fabrice Pellegrin (Womanity, Volutes).
What does their effort smell like? Well, although it may display a few hints of the neroli, tiare and palisander mentioned in the press release, the overriding impression it creates is of sweet, fruity, creamy shampoo. It's inoffensive, but it's the sort of thing you've come across countless times before. That's not to be held against Lorson and Pellegrin; I have no doubt that they formulated it according to their client's requirements. But if Bart Simpson had composed it, I expect he would've been told off, sent to the blackboard and forced to write the words: "I will not keep making the same perfume over and over again." Meanwhile, at the nuclear plant, Mr Burns would sit and brood about 3% growth...
About the author
Persolaise is a Jasmine Award wining writer and amateur perfumer with a lifelong interest in the world of fine fragrance. His perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published in English by Hardie Grant and in German by Süddeutsche Zeitung. You can find out more about his work at www.persolaise.com or by writing to him at persolaise at gmail dot com