By  on June 14, 2005

After nearly three decades, Oscar de la Renta's scent franchise is showing no signs of age.

The designer entered the fragrance business in 1977 with Oscar, a scent that is still distributed globally, and over the years he's added six others: Pour Lui, the first men's fragrance, launched in 1980; Volupte, launched in 1992; So de la Renta, 1997; Oscar for Men, 1999; Intrusion, 2002, and Rosamor, 2004. A seventh, Ruffles, is no longer produced. Of these, Oscar and Rosamor are the most widely distributed.

"The strength of the brand is that it is like Oscar de la Renta himself: It is an extraordinary alchemy between classic and modern," said James Ragsdale, vice president of classic brands for licensee YSL Beaute. "It's a well-established, reassuring brand that also manages to keep up with the times."

Ragsdale wouldn't comment on the de la Renta beauty brand's sales volume, although industry sources estimated that it does about $80 million at wholesale globally.

"Oscar brings a lot to the table," he continued, adding that de la Renta is the YSL Beaute group's only American designer brand. "Oscar has a very loyal following, and it gets animated every year to keep up with the times. That's the solid base we use for launching the business. Then we update the [fragrance] with what Oscar is doing on the fashion."

Globally, the brand is distributed in more than 9,000 doors. In the U.S., it is available in more than 2,000 department and specialty store doors, including Macy's East and Macy's West, Dillard's, Marshall Field's and Foley's.

"The business is very strong throughout the United States," said Ragsdale. "Some brands are East-West brands — they'll do well on the coasts only. This is a business that is strong throughout the country."

It is also particularly strong in Canada, South America, the United Kingdom, the Scandinavian countries, Australia and New Zealand, Ragsdale added.

Part of that strength, he noted, comes from the consistent vision that has been implemented for the beauty brand.

"While the Oscar beauty brand has seen some changes in parent companies," he said, referring to the Sanofi Beaute-YSL Beaute deal of the early Nineties, "there has always been a clear and consistent marketing plan in place for this brand, and it continues today. It is a luxury brand that is modern with a twist. While it is updated and animated, it remains true to itself, and consumers respond to that."

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