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MILAN — “My mother used to say that a perfume is the dress of the soul, so I always feel a responsibility when designing clothing or accessories, but even more when conceiving a fragrance,” said Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna referencing the words of the late designer Laura Biagiotti.
Biagiotti Cigna introduced the brand’s latest launch, a men’s fragrance dubbed “Roma Uomo Green Swing” which not only intends to embody the company’s sustainable values but also celebrate the 44th edition of the Ryder Cup golf competition, which will be hosted at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in 2023, where the fashion house is headquartered.
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“I’ve chosen to live and work in the Roman countryside, in a context dominated by nature and green, which becomes a key color but also a lifestyle that the pandemic made even more necessary to embrace,” said the designer, who in addition to being chair and chief executive officer of the fashion company, is president of the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.
In the ’80s, Biagiotti Cigna’s parents bought and restored the 11th-century castle of Marco Simone, transferred the company and built the golf course to prevent additional urbanization of the area. This will mark the first time that the prestigious international golf event will be held in Italy.
Running from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2023, the Ryder Cup’s dates have been pushed back to 2023 from 2022, following the decision to move the 2020 U.S. edition to this year due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, this fall Biagiotti’s venue will host the Italian Open from Sept. 2 to 5, three weeks before this year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
“I believe the Ryder Cup here will mark a renaissance. You know the saying ‘all roads lead to Rome’? I like to think that in this case all roads will start from here,” said Biagiotti Cigna about the event, which is expected to draw 55,000 spectators by day and 7,000 staff members.
“Golf is a passion; it represents a hobby but also a great investment we made on this territory,” she said, referencing the extensive, 18-month renovation work of the course, as well as revamps of the clubhouse and practice facilities.
“Fashion and sport is the pairing I wanted to bring in the company since I joined the business to flank my mother,” recalled Biagiotti Cigna. The designer joined the firm when her father Gianni Cigna, who was the business mind behind the brand, died when she was only 17. As a result, she started working with her mother during her last year of school, accompanying her on both the creative and financial sides.
Biagiotti Cigna has been particularly involved in the brand’s many licensed businesses, which saw a new agreement signed this week with Zero & Company for the production and distribution of the Laura Biagiotti Love apparel collections dedicated to young girls aged 0 to 16.
Stefano Masse/Courtesy of Laura Biagiotti
The fragrance division, which was licensed for 20 years to Procter & Gamble before passing to Angelini Group in 2015, is very strategic for the company, currently accounting for over 30 percent out of total sales, whose specific figure the company declined to provide.
“But this product category is a core asset not only in terms of value but also for the communication and personal relationship it establishes with our consumers,” said Biagiotti Cigna. She highlighted that the starting point of a fragrance’s creative process is similar to the one for fashion but the development differs as “a special alchemy with a great number of people — including noses — originates, and that’s what really charms me about this industry.”
The new “Green Swing” scent expands the family of Roma Uomo — a historic pillar in the brand’s fragrance business since 1992 — with the mission of intercepting a younger target.
“With the Roma family, our goal is to present the different facets of this city. A younger, sportier interpretation was still missing so two years ago we came up with this scent, both to expand the olfactory offer and mark the Ryder Cup event,” confirmed Lluís Plà, president and chief executive officer of Angelini Beauty, adding that the launch was supposed to take place last year but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Created by Firmenich master perfumer Daphné Bugey and belonging to the woody, floral and green family, the fragrance features top notes of bergamot, cardamom and quince; a heart that blends geranium and violet leaves with tonka beans, and a dry down mixing cedar wood and vetiver.
The signature Roma Uomo bottle, whose shape recalls the Eternal City’s Pantheon, is rendered in green glass and topped by an off-white cap nodding to the color of golf balls.
Available in the 40-ml size and 75-ml formats, the eau de toilette retails at 48 euros and 73 euros, respectively, at Laura Biagiotti’s stores as well as selective perfumeries and key chains in Italy, including Douglas. Overall, the fragrance is being distributed at over 10,000 doors in the countries where Angelini Beauty has subsidiaries in, encompassing Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Switzerland, in addition to Italy.
According to Plà, the Laura Biagiotti fragrances — not only the Roma pillar, but also the other two big olfactory families, including Laura and the most recent Forever line launched in 2019 and expanded with a flanker in 2020 — particularly resonate in the German, Austrian, Swiss and Dutch markets.
“The ultimate mission is to recruit an ever-increasing number of consumers and get closer to younger generations,” said Plà, revealing that the next project in the pipeline for the brand will further build on the Forever pillar. The brand currently counts 10 fragrances.
Overall, the Laura Biagiotti business represents between 25 percent and 30 percent of Angelini Beauty’s total sales. The company, which currently creates, develops and distributes fragrances also for Trussardi, Blumarine, Mandarina Duck, Angel Schlesser and Armand Basi as well as skin care and sun care products for Anne Möller, generated revenues of 107.5 million euros in 2019. The European markets hosting the company’s subsidiaries accounted for 70 percent of total sales that year.
After closing 2020 with sales down 25 percent, Plà said that revenues registered in the first half of the year were similar to the ones generated in the same period 2019, although he doesn’t expect a full recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2022.
In light of this, the executive also reconsidered his long-term target of reaching 150 million euros in the next couple of years, now projecting to hit the 125 million euros benchmark by 2023.
In general, Angelini Beauty distributes products in 80 countries globally, with Russia and countries in Eastern Europe being among the best-performing markets. Over the past year, the pandemic has impacted geographies as Asia jumped to top of the list of countries in terms of sales, boosted by an exponential growth reported in China as well as increases in sales registered in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
With 200 employees, Angelini Beauty is a division of Angelini Group, an Italian company specialized in health, wellness and pharmaceutical products. The group began its involvement with perfumery in 1994 with a stake in Barcelona’s Idesa Parfums, which developed and distributed fragrances for brands including Angel Schlesser, Armand Basi, Custo Barcelona and Mandarina Duck.
After taking over this company, in 2013 Angelini Group signed an agreement with Industrie Cosmetiche Riunite to take majority control of Italian Fragrances (ITF), which at the time held fragrance licenses for luxury labels such as Trussardi, Blumarine, Dsquared2 and Pomellato. In 2015 the group took full control of ITF and from the merge with Idesa Parfums, the Angelini Beauty company was created.
Before being appointed CEO last year, Plà served as general manager of the firm since 2017. Over the last four years, he has worked to reorganize the business, including concentrating the marketing teams, the product development and supply chain between Milan and Lodi, moving strategic units from Barcelona to reinforce the Italian identity of the company and facilitate operations.