A New Veil for Vera Wang
By Julie Naughton

NEW YORK ÷ Vera Wang is taking another trip to the retail altar this spring.

The iconic wedding dress designer is set to launch Sheer Veil, a limited-edition fragrance, in April ÷ but sheās not inviting the masses, distribution-wise. While Wangās signature scent is in 850 U.S. department and specialty store doors, Sheer Veil will be in just 320.


ćWe think this is the perfect strategy to add newness to the brand, while still maintaining the exclusive, aspirational positioning of Veraās signature scent,ä said Fergus Balfour, president and chief executive officer of Unilever Cosmetics International, which holds the Vera Wang fragrance license.

ćSheer Veil brings a sense of color, whimsy and modernity to the brand,ä added Wang of the new flanker. ćIt plays off the classic, with a sparkling new fragrance and a bottle shimmering with color. Itās the perfect reflection of a modern bride.ä

In fact, Laura Lee Miller, executive vice president for Vera Wang, sees the new offering as a way to address the burgeoning wedding business in a new way. ćOne of the hotter trends in the bridal market right now is the concept of Īsoft dressing,āä explained Miller. ćThat type of bride may wear a very fashion-forward gown ÷ perhaps a sheath or something that doesnāt resemble a traditional gown. In a way, Sheer Veil is our soft-dressing fragrance, while Veraās signature scent is our classic bridal fragrance.ä

And Miller doesnāt rule out yet another fragrance engagement for the worldās most recognizable bridal brand. While she wouldnāt comment on specifics, industry sources speculated that Wang could come back with a new fragrance concept as early as next year.

That suits Laura Klauberg, senior vice president of marketing for Unilever Cosmetics International, just fine: ćWeāre looking to keep Sheer Veil very limited, and it will be on sale only until the end of this year,ä said Klauberg.

Sheer Veil was formulated by Jean-Claude DeVille of Firmenich, who also created the original Vera Wang scent. Sheer Veil has top notes of Champagne rose and Lavender Dream rose; a heart of dewy violets, and a base of white stephanotis, gardenias and white lilies. Its bottle is the shape of Wangās signature scent, but rather than the gold-tinted juice of the original, Sheer Veil is a pale soft lavender ÷ roughly the shade of the inside of the signature fragranceās carton.

The Sheer Veil collection will consist of a 3.4-oz. eau de parfum, priced at $85, and two ancillaries ÷ a 5-oz. body lotion for $40 and a 5-oz. bath and shower gel for $35, said Lucy Tart, vice president of marketing for the Vera Wang brand at Unilever Cosmetics International.

Sheer Veil will launch in two waves to specialty stores, Tart explained. In April, selected Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom doors will introduce the scent, followed by a June launch of the remaining doors ÷ selected Bloomingdaleās, Marshall Fieldās and Lord & Taylor. While none of the executives would comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Sheer Veil could do $5 million to $7 million at retail and that about $2 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

Unilever is also planning a new ad visual for Sheer Veil ÷ model Renata Noot Seear as a veiled bride with Tirian Harvey as her groom. It will begin appearing in May fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, including Vogue, Town & Country and In Style. Much of the national advertising will include scented strips.

On other fronts, Wang ÷ whose empire is said to do more than $300 million yearly among its apparel and licensed products ÷ is also currently rolling out a ready-to-wear dress line in 150 doors; skuās range from $395 to $1,200. Other projects rolling out or close to doing so: wedding invitations, a fashion jewelry line to complement the designerās successful fine jewelry line, and furs. Further down the line, said Miller, Wang will likely enter agreements to produce intimate apparel and soft home goods.