NEW YORK — Bond No. 9 is still spreading the news by continuing to add to its collection. Eau de New York, set to debut in May, is the latest addition to Bond No. 9’s list of 25 fragrances, where each scent boasts a name representing a different New York neighborhood or experience.

“Other companies license a designer. I licensed New York,” said Laurice Rahme, founder of Bond No. 9. “It’s the whole world in one place which gives me tremendous inspiration.”

Eau de New York, created by Vera Vanore of Robertet, contains top notes of grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, fresh greens and petit grain; middle notes of neroli, cyclamen, white lily, basil, verbena and jasmine, and bottom notes of vetiver, oakmoss, skin musk and white wood. “We have put the feeling of New York in a bottle,” Rahme said of the Eau de New York scent.

The scent comes in a 3.3-oz. star-shaped, white pearlized bottle with numerous tokens — each a different color — displayed to commemorate the existing scents, and retails for $198. The fragrance is also available for $45 per ounce, or in a 2-oz. basic spray flacon with a gilt honeycomb cap for $25, in an array of fashion-influenced colored bottles for $40 each. Contemporary or vintage art bottles are priced from $60 to $200. “We are trying to bring a fashion sense to this line. I want to be the Louis Vuitton of fragrance and the bottle is not just about sense of smell but also visual impact,” said Rahme.

Industry sources expect that Eau de New York could do as much as $500,000 at retail in its first year.

The collection is available at the company’s headquarters at 9 Bond Street as well as at 680 Madison Avenue and 897 Madison Avenue. The collection is also available in 10 Saks Fifth Avenue doors, and is rolling out to upscale specialty retail outlets located in markets where there is no Saks store. Bond No. 9 will launch internationally in fall 2004.

The three Laurice & Co. stores, owned by Rahme, which offer books and tea as well as the Bond No. 9 fragrance collection, are in the process of liquidating the Creed scents to make room for the expanding Bond No. 9 collection. Rahme noted, “We have decided to terminate our contract effective Jan. 31, 2004 because we could not compete with the discounted gray market and invasion of this market of Creed.”Rahme also noted there are other products in the pipeline. A line of 15 Bond No. 9 candles will launch in fall 2004. Also, there are several scents set to launch next year: Central Park West will launch in July, Little Italy in September, Wall Street in December; and for 2005, China Town will launch in March and West Side Story in May. There are also plans to launch a makeup line, which Rahme noted “will be a completely different concept,” called The Talk of the Town, in March 2005.

— Kristin Finn

Wella Shareholders Speak

NEW YORK — Wella minority shareholders on Friday asked a German court to block a proposed licensing deal with Procter & Gamble for rights to distribute Wella’s retail hair care brands. P&G issued a statement that said the lawsuit is without merit and is harassment.

“The global retail licensing agreement framework recently announced by P&G and Wella is clearly in the best interest of the Wella business and in complete compliance with German law. The licensing agreement will generate higher revenues, greater distribution and higher market share for the Wella retail brands,” the statement said.

The statement added that the lawsuit “is another attempt to challenge the relationship between P&G and Wella. The hedge fund’s actions show little concern for the best interests of Wella and its employees.”

The deal, which was announced in January, was described by a lawyer representing the hedge fund that speaks for a group of minority shareholders as unfair, during an extraordinary shareholders meeting last month. According to transcripts acquired by WWD, the attorney said it was unfair that P&G, a competitor, is expected to market a substantial Wella business division.

Kao Going Prestige in China

TOKYO — Kao Corp. will launch a prestige cosmetics business in China in the middle of this month. In the first fiscal year, Kao plans to establish 10 stores in Shanghai and neighboring areas. The firm aims to achieve sales of $ 9.4 million dollars at current exchange, or one billion yen, at 50 department stores in large cities by fiscal 2007. Operations will be conducted through Kao’s wholly owned subsidiary, Kao (China) Holding Co. Ltd.Kao’s prestige cosmetics business began under the Kao Sofina brand in Japan in 1982, achieving sales of more than $707.8 million, or 75.8 billion yen. The products are also currently marketed in Hong Kong and Taiwan. With the aim of further expanding the business in the global market, Kao decided to develop its prestige cosmetics business in mainland China, where “the market for prestige cosmetics has entered a full-fledged growth phase,” said Kao.

Approximately 40 items, mainly skin care products bearing the Kao Sofina name, will be imported from Japan. The retail price of a product will be set at around $33 dollars, or 3,500 yen. That price point is in the premium range, similar to that in Japan. The target audience is fashion-conscious females, aged 25 to 35, who live in urban areas.

— Koji Hirano

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