NEW YORK — After having defied conventional wisdom and resuscitated the moribund celebrity fragrance concept with hits by Jennifer Lopez and Celine Dion, Coty Inc. is now intent on acquiring a wilder edge with a hip-hop slant.
A license has been signed with the woman whom many regard as the first lady of hip-hop: Kimora Lee Simmons.
Simmons, who is president and creative director of Baby Phat, says she has ambitions of developing a multicategory beauty range with Coty. Executives, however, seem focused on developing a fragrance business, which will be marketed by Coty’s Lancaster division in department stores. First up will be a Baby Phat women’s fragrance, followed by a men’s scent under the Phat Farm name, a company established by Simmons’ husband, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. Phat Farm and Baby Phat were acquired by Kellwood earlier this year. While Coty did not break out numbers, industry sources estimated that the first Baby Phat scent could do as much as $25 million to $30 million at retail in its first year on counter.
The long-awaited signing of the licensing deal confirms a report that appeared in WWD on July 9. In an exclusive interview earlier this week, Simmons said, “I’ve always wanted to do beauty, and Coty is a perfect partner.” Taking a break from preparing for her runway show, to be held Saturday night, she added, “We carefully looked around the industry for our special home — like Cinderella and the glass slipper. I think this is going to be a great partnership.”
Eric Thoreux, president of Coty Beauty Americas, who helped broker the agreement, agreed, calling the deal “an important license from a Coty standpoint.”
“Hip-hop is one of the major highways of communication of the 21st century; it has become a mainstream voice,” said Thoreux. “We’re proud to have Kimora bring her expert vision to this lifestyle collection.” He added that Coty is behind the license “for the long-term. We don’t just do quick in-and-out fragrances — we build lifestyle pillars for the future, and we think this one will be a very important pillar for us going forward.” It will, at least at first, be marketed chiefly in North America, Thoreux said.
“I see things on the hanger and I’m, like, ‘I never knew that color worked on me.’ It’s things you necessarily wouldn’t choose to wear, but once you put them on, you see why Janie is who Janie is." — Lily Collins on working with former "Mad Men" costume designer, Janie Bryant on creating looks for her role as Celia Brady's in Amazon series, "The Last Tycoon." 📸@jilliansollazzo #wwdeye
EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Rutson has been tapped to Build New American Fashion Group. The parent of Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott hired the merchant to rev up its brands and expand its portfolio into designer, beauty and lifestyle categories. Read more on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion
Michael Kors' $1.3B Jimmy Choo deal has the company squaring off with Coach Inc. as both seek to build American powerhouses. Coach bought Stuart Weitzman in 2015 and Kate Spade just two weeks ago, but Michael Kors' acquisition may be putting pressure on its rival in the new push for scale. #wwdnews (📷: George Chinsee)
Meet actress Lucy Boynton, who plays opposite Naomi Watts in the recently released Netflix series "Gypsy." Boynton stopped by WWD to talk about her upcoming projects and her nomadic lifestyle. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)