By  on July 1, 2005

NEW YORK — Fresh co-founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg have drawn inspiration from Asian culture for some time — with collections based on both sake and rice — so when they heard that Sony Pictures was bringing the best-selling novel "Memoirs of a Geisha" to the big screen, they jumped at the chance to develop a product line inspired by the film.

"When we were first creating the Rice and Sake lines five years ago, we read a lot about the Japanese beauty ritual, and 'Memoirs of a Geisha' was one of the books we read [for research]," said Glazman. "There is so much in the book about beauty, about the whole ritual [geishas] go through, we thought if they ever made it into a movie, it would be fabulous to create products for it."

Glazman said when he and Roytberg met with executives at Sony to discuss a partnership with the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand, the chemistry between the two teams was "immediate." "Within two weeks we were moving forward," he said, adding that, "Fresh is very well-connected to the movie, it's very upscale, it's a luxury product, and the way they're approaching the movie is very upscale." The film, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe and Michelle Yeoh, is due to hit theaters in December.

The Memoirs of a Geisha product range, on counter in September, will be a permanent addition to the Fresh lineup and is expected to do $8 million in first-year sales, according to industry sources. Glazman hopes the visibility of the film will take Fresh to new heights. "This partnership is designed to help catapult the brand to the next level," he said. "It will increase [Fresh's] visibility." The line features five products, from Memoirs of a Geisha Eau de Parfum, a blend of jasmine flower, pure rose absolute, sparkling langsat fruit and white peach, to Memoirs of a Geisha Shimmer Powder with Crushed Pearl, a translucent powder inspired by the geisha's radiant skin. It ranges from $35 for the Memoirs of a Giesha Flower Petal Mask to $48 for the eau de parfum.

Glazman said in the future, he hopes to continue to partner with films, provided that the film is a good fit for Fresh; in fact, the St. Petersburg native cited "Anna Karenina" as a story he would be proud to be associated with — should it ever hit the big screen, again. "I could see myself being strongly associated with that if it was ever made into a movie, but I have a lot of movies in mind," he said.

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