Pretty fragrant: Sex Pistols unveil punk perfume

Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:32pm EDT
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By Mark Sutherland and Aymeric Pichevin

LONDON/PARIS (Billboard) - The Sex Pistols' latest attempt to get up people's noses comes in the form of their own branded perfume.

Fragrance launches from music stars like Britney Spears, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Avril Lavigne have become commonplace, but it's still an eyebrow-raising move from the legendary punk band, which has been known for making cash from chaos, not from cologne.

The unisex scent, which comes in a tartan-topped bottle featuring the band's "God Save the Queen" imagery, is a collaboration with Paris-based perfume brand Etat Libre d'Orange, which licensed the Sex Pistols name from the band's merchandising partner, Live Nation Merchandise.

Etat Libre launched the perfume in France in mid-July through an exclusive deal with the Sephora chain of beauty shops, which has 150-plus stores across France. It retails for 40 euros ($51). The scent is expected to launch in the United States September 10, initially in the Henri Bendel store in New York.

Etat Libre CEO Etienne de Swardt says the company also hopes to launch a "Never Mind the Bollocks"-branded soap by year's end and a second Pistols-themed perfume in 2011, subject to the band's agreement.

The group declined requests for comment. But Michael Krassner, executive vice president of worldwide retail and licensing for Live Nation Merchandise, says frontman Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon) and other band members are "closely involved" with all licensing decisions.

"They know who they are better than we do," Krassner says. "That's difficult (for us) in some respects, as opposed to someone who just approves everything."

Krassner says Pistols-branded merchandise has proved to be a consistent seller, despite lingering resistance from some retailers over the band's name. He cites its January 2010 partnership with skate-wear brand Vans on a Pistols-branded range of shoes, shirts and denim as helping the band reach a younger demographic.   Continued...

<p>The Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, performs at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria September 5, 2008. REUTERS/Vincent West</p>