NEW YORK — Chanel’s new U.S. president and chief operating officer, Maureen Chiquet, met much of the media last week for the brand’s twice-yearly product presentation, and she made it very clear at the gathering that Chanel’s beauty business will continue to be a priority for the company.

“This is a great time to be at Chanel,” she said, pointing to an image from the brand’s Nicole Kidman campaign for Chanel No.5. Print ads are breaking now, with the first U.S. TV ad to appear on NBC during “ER” on Nov. 11. A version of the ad is being shown now in selected U.S. movie theaters. “We have an incredibly rich heritage, and we’re looking forward to continuing our positive momentum going forward,” she added.

That momentum will be aided with a lineup of introductions in color cosmetics, skin care and fragrance in the first half of 2005, noted Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Chanel beauté. The plan also includes far-reaching advertising campaigns and a new counter design that was, as reported, unveiled at Bloomingdale’s in October. Next on the counter renovation agenda: Macy’s Herald Square.

Color business will get pops of newness throughout the first half, noted Elizabeth Mankin, vice president of beauté marketing for Chanel. Color’s star product for spring is the limited-edition Ruban Perlé, a $50 highlighter that will be available in Moonlight, a white-rose shade intended for evening, and Sunlight, a golden apricot intended for daytime use. It bows in January and will be advertised, said Mankin. Also coming in January are Base Ombre A Paupieres, a $30 eye shadow base available in two colors, beige and pink, and Rouge Double Intensité, a double-ended lip color product that includes a long-lasting base coat at one end of the tube and a high-shine coordinating gloss at the other. The product will retail for $30 and will be available in six shades.

In April, the brand will add Cristalle Gloss, a limited-edition waterlight lip gloss that will be available in six shades, each $24.50, and Le Crayon Gloss Sheer Lip Colouring Pencil, available in six shades for $27 each. A Mother’s Day gift set — a black box filled with five mini Aqualumiere lipsticks and a lip pencil, retailing for $55 — will also bow in April. As well, in May, Pureté Mat, a shine control powder in four shades, each $42, will be added.In the brand’s Précision skin care lineup, six products will be introduced in the first half of 2005, noted Annette Falso, vice president of new product marketing and training, Chanel fragrance and beauté. Hydramax Plus Intense Moisture Boost Serum, which will retail for $65 for 1 oz. and $90 for 1.7 oz., contains hydrogel, sodium hyaluronate and Vitamins B5, E and F; Hydramax Plus Moisture Boost Cream is a rich, intensely moisturizing formula that includes glycerin, extract of Cassia and Vitamin E and retails for $50 for 1.7 oz. Both will be on counter in January. Systeme Hydration La Creme, a cleansing gel that will retail for $35 for 5 oz., also hits counters in January.

Three other skin care launches join the Chanel family later in the spring. Hydramax Plus Tinted Moisture Boost lotion in two colors, each $45 for 1.4 oz., will be rolled out in April, as will two shades of Soleil Identité Perfect Colour Self-Tanner, each $35 for 1.7 oz. Coming in June: Rectifiance Intense Sérum Retexturizing Line Corrector, $85 for 1 oz. and $120 for 1.7 oz., which is intended to provide short-term cosmetic improvement with soft-focus pigments, and long-term wrinkle correction with cyathea, micro-protein complex and essence of Neroli, among other ingredients. An ad visual highlighting Hydramax Plus will begin running in January magazines; later in the spring, Chanel will also advertise Rectifiance Intense Sérum.

Fragrance will also be boosted with several advertising initiatives, above and beyond the Kidman/Chanel No.5 pairing, added Laurie Palma, senior vice president of fragrance and Internet marketing. Among them: visuals for Chance and Coco Mademoiselle. The Chance ad, breaking in February, features a man and woman draped over each other and over the top of a large bottle of Chance. It will disseminate more than six million Chance scented strips. The Coco Mademoiselle ad — a topless shot of the scent’s spokesmodel, Kate Moss, wearing a string of pearls and a top hat — will begin appearing in March, and will be accompanied by more than four million scented strips.

“Our business objectives for spring are to attract new, younger consumers; protect our luxury image, and maintain the three fragrance brands that we have in the top 10,” said Palma, referring to Chanel No.5, Chance and Coco Mademoiselle. “We think these ads and product initiatives will help us do that.”— J.N.

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