By  on February 11, 1994

NEW YORK -- Escada Beaute Ltd. has become the new home in America for Romeo Gigli's fragrance business in a distribution deal that will be consumated this spring with the global launch of G. Gigli, a women's fragrance.

The new scent is aimed at consumers aged 18-to-34, a younger audience than the 30-to-50-year-old crowd that was the target for Gigli's original women's fragrance in 1989, according to Anna Taglioretti, export area manager of the Western Hemisphere for Proteo Profumi Spa, the Milan-based Italian fragrance licensee for Gigli.

The initial G. stands for Giovane, meaning young, as in the younger Gigli, according to the company.

The introduction of G. Gigli is also the first step in an aggressive new product campaign laid out by Proteo founder and president Arturo Ricci to build a house of fragrances under the Gigli banner.

As part of this plan, Proteo this fall will introduce a followup to its two-year-old men's scent, which company executives admit has a narrow appeal.

In addition, a masculine version of this spring's G. Gigli will appear next year, and a second women's signature scent is in the works for 1996.

According to Ricci, Gigli's first two fragrances had a worldwide volume last year approaching $40 million in 67 countries.

Proteo's launch schedule is not only a blueprint for the future, but a means of providing a fresh start, particularly in the U.S., where the Gigli fragrances had been distributed by the now defunct H. Alpert & Co.

The Los Angeles-based Alpert, which filed for liquidation proceedings Nov. 9, had distributed the Gigli scents in the U.S. since 1990.

Ricci said Alpert did $7 million in Gigli business the first year and $12 million the second. But Proteo and Alpert then disagreed over direction, and no merchandise was shipped from Italy in 1993, Ricci said.

The company sees the advent of G. Gigli and a successor men's scent as a way of cleaning the slate and starting over in the U.S.

"American retailers want newness," said Lawrence Appel, president of Escada Beaute Ltd., the New York-based subsidiary of the German fashion and fragrance house. "We are going to use G. Gigli to generate excitement and regenerate quality for the company."

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