By  on August 4, 2005

NEW YORK — The most anticipated beauty launch for holiday will apparently be about getting naked.

WWD has learned Tom Ford’s debut beauty effort with The Estée Lauder Cos. — which will be released under the Tom Ford for Estée Lauder banner — will be a color and fragrance lineup dubbed Amber Nude.

While neither Ford nor Lauder executives would comment on the new lines, Ford also is said to be tweaking Lauder’s iconic Youth Dew fragrance into a limited-edition scent called Youth Dew Amber Nude, which will be accompanied by a color cosmetics collection under the same moniker. The compacts for that collection are said to be Ford’s modern renditions of classic Lauder compacts, rendered in rich gold tones.

Both the cosmetics and the fragrance are expected to be on counter by early December in some 250 upscale specialty stores, said to include Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Ford is expected to add both products and doors to that line for spring 2006.

Ford and his former Gucci partner, Domenico De Sole, formed their own, self-financed company and signed a beauty deal with Lauder in April. Ford, who is the first designer to be allied with the 58-year-old Lauder brand, is president and chief executive officer of the new venture; De Sole is chairman. Everyone involved with the deal declined to reveal what Ford’s and De Sole’s company were being paid for the Lauder venture, although most sources estimated the duo could net between $10 million and $20 million over the next five years.

"I’m very good about working within a framework and with a brand that has a certain history — I tend to respect that," Ford told WWD in April. "Estée Lauder is Estée Lauder. I’m not redoing the entire brand — I’m doing a collection, Tom Ford for Estée Lauder [then to be followed by his own branded line]. I like pushing the boundaries [of an existing framework]. It’s not like starting something from scratch, which I also like. All of a sudden, I’m having to think, ‘What am I about as my own brand?’ I like having the framework of an existing brand, and a history, and understanding that you don’t want to stray too far from that, but at the same time, you want to create something new that means something to the customer, so I’m really looking forward to it."And early reads on the products are strong.

"Redoing Youth Dew was genius," said one leading specialty store retailer, who requested anonymity. "It’s a modern interpretation of a throwback. That’s right where fashion is." The retailer also praised the color cosmetics, naming an oversized, gold-toned bronzer compact as a particular favorite. "They’re saying that a lot of the first collection will be made up of one-shots — but I think the whole line has legs."

Pricing is said to be on a par with upscale specialty store beauty brands — where an elaborate compact can fetch $50 or more, and a fragrance can be well north of $60.

Carolyn Murphy, who is one of the faces of the Estée Lauder brand, will be featured in the advertising for the Amber Nude campaign, said by many to be "very sensual."

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