No. 57 and No. 31 ‘Arquiste for J.Crew’ Perfumes Launch in All US and International J.Crew Stores
This past week, while vacationing in my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, I had the thrilling experience discovering that one of my favorite American fashion brands, J.Crew, had been working with one of my favorite artistic ‘niche’ (alternative) fragrance brands, Arquiste, to launch two new perfumes.
‘Arquiste for J.Crew No. 57 ‘ and ‘Arquiste for J.Crew No. 31’ bear the signature quality and class of Arquiste fragrances — subtly nuanced, while carrying a powerful message. Developed exclusively for J.Crew by Carlos Huber, owner of Arquiste, they represent collaboration between Huber (working with with Givaudan perfumers Rodrigo Flore-Roux and Yann Vasnier) and J.Crew’s style icon, Jenna Lyons.
Both ‘Arquiste for J.Crew’ fragrances are inspired by the excitement of the mid-20th century modern art movement, and honor a significant moment in American cultural history: the first all-woman art show of the 20th Century, Exhibition by 31 Women, presented by Peggy Gugenheim in January, 1943 at The Art of This Century Gallery on New York’s 57th Street. Hence the numbers 31 and 57.
Modern and unisex, No. 57 is inspired by the aromatic cocktails and the Art of This Century Gallery’s curved oak walls, with notes of aged whiskey, cinnamon bark, oakwood, cedarwood, labdanum and vanilla beans.
Accessible and feminine, No. 31 is inspired by the zingy cocktails and the bold perfumes worn by artists like Frida Kahlo and Helen Frankenthaler, and captures the avant-garde mood of the crowd with notes of Red vermouth, eau-de-vie accord, Bulgarian rose, damson plum, patchouli and oakmoss.
Interestingly, the launch of these two fragrances is, in itself, a significant moment in 21st century American perfume history, and particularly for artistic ‘niche’ perfumery. The fact that I discovered it in Asheville (approximate population: 87,000), is part of the reason why.
Artistic niche fragrances like Arquiste are generally not well known, even among well-heeled and well educated members of the general public because, with few exceptions, their distribution is limited to specialty stores and boutiques located in large metropolitan areas. Not surprisingly, very few of my friends (even those living in New York or Paris), know about Arquiste or similar ‘niche’ fragrances. On the other hand, J.Crew is a familiar name among most of my American friends and some of my international friends thanks to J.Crew’s brand recognition and vast distribution system. What the ‘Arquiste for J.Crew’ launch does is changes this pattern by distributing these high quality artistic ‘niche’ fragrances on a continental scale. Also, in a brilliant marketing move, the ‘Arquiste for J.Crew’ fragrances are very accessible in terms of size and price: 1.7 FL OZ (approximately 50 ml) eau de toilette at $78; and 0.34FL OZ (approximately 10 ml) eau de toilette as a roller (perfect for travel and for trying it out) at $25. All this offers the potential for an overall raising of awareness, and eventually, standards and tastes in fragrances. An educated public is a more discerning and demanding of quality, and this is good for everybody: fragrance lovers, artistic niche fragrance brands, classic mainstream brands — the entire fragrance industry!
So, bravo to J.Crew and Arquiste for a beautiful marriage and marketing strategy which amounts to nothing less than a giant step forward in perfumery.
Launch date: August 20, 2014
Availability: in all US and international J.Crew stores, and through jcrew.com only for the US and Canada.
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