By  on April 15, 2005

NEW YORK — Women adore Antonio Banderas. Now America will find out if they want to wear a scent bearing his name.

Fresh from victory for Spirit Antonio Banderas for Men at last week’s Fragrance Foundation’s FiFi Awards, PUIG Fragrances and Personal Care North America is rolling out a female companion. “I’ve fully invested myself in this partnership with PUIG and I’m thrilled to be introducing my second fragrance in the U.S.,” Antonio Banderas said in a statement.

Spirit Antonio Banderas for Men took honors for Men’s Fragrance of the Year in popular appeal as well as best packaging in the mass category. The scent ranked in the top 10 of mass market brands last Christmas against stalwarts such as Drakkar Noir and Cool Water, according to data from Information Resources Inc.

Spirit Antonio Banderas for Women will reach mass retailers this fall and buyers hope it will bring the same celebrity wattage to women’s mass scents that the logo delivered in men’s. The category could use the star power. According to IRI data for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26, 2005, women’s mass market sales (excluding Wal-Mart) declined 3.4 percent to $483 million. Men’s during that same period increased 4.2 percent to $389 million.

Spirit Antonio Banderas for Men was the initial foray by PUIG into the U.S. market, but the company plans to grow into a “major player with new innovations in 2006,” according to Vince Colonna, executive vice president and general manager of PUIG Fragrances and Personal Care North America Inc., a subsidiary of PUIG Beauty and Fashion Group.

“The men’s scent set the tone, gave us credibility and a strong foundation,” said  Colonna. Industry sources say the women’s version could eclipse men’s sales and hit $30 million. Combined, the two scents will produce sales of at least $50 million, sources said. In Europe and Latin America, the PUIG Antonio Banderas Seductive fragrances franchise encompasses four fragrances as well as aftershaves, shower gels and balms, with sales in excess of $50 million.

Celebrity-endorsed fragrances are finally filtering into the mass market with Curious from Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson’s Dessert leading the way. But Antonio Banderas is, according to retailers’ recollections, the only celebrity with men’s and women’s offerings. Coty is using hunky Matthew McConaughey in advertising for Stetson, but the brand doesn’t bear his name. 

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