By  on June 10, 1994

CHICAGO -- Designer Richard Dayhoff, known for his women's sportswear, is launching a fragrance. But he isn't limiting it to the fairer sex.

Dayhoff also intends to break with tradition by selling the new product mainly through small specialty stores, rather than big department stores.

Dayhoff's first foray into fragrance will be called simply Dayhoff, and is designed to appeal to men and women, the designer said.

"It's going to be clean, simple and light," he said, "reflecting my philosophy of design."

The fragrance is being manufactured in a 2-oz. pour bottle that will retail for $40 to $45, Dayhoff said. Both the bottle and box have a minimalist design, bearing just the name of the fragrance in Dayhoff's signature typeface in black, on the clear bottle and the white box.

The fragrance could achieve retail sales of about $150,000 in its first year, Dayhoff said.

The designer said he has been planning a non-gender-specific fragrance for more than a year. A fragrance should be able to exist in its own right rather than being associated with men or women specifically, Dayhoff said.

"It doesn't say male. It doesn't say female. It's really clean and classic," he said. "It's a fragrance -- it just is. You don't identify a lemon as a gender -- it just is. That's what this is."

Dayhoff said this makes the concept behind his fragrance different from Calvin Klein's recently announced fragrance for both sexes, CK One, which Klein is positioning as a "shared" fragrance.

"The scent is for both men and women, but it's not a shared scent, it just is a fragrance," Dayhoff repeated.

He noted that masculine and feminine characteristics co-exist in his sportswear, although he designs exclusively for women.

"We don't do a lot of color in our clothing. There's a men's wear influence in our subtle patterns, the feminine side is the fluidity of the fabric and shape of the garment," he said.

The scent should be in a similar vein, he said.

Dayhoff also intends to merchandise the scent differently from other designer fragrances. Rather than targeting big department stores, he hopes to sell the product mainly through the smaller specialty stores and boutiques that constitute about 80 percent of his apparel accounts, some of which have never sold fragrance before.

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