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NEW YORK — Tommy Hilfiger and Beyoncé Knowles have gold in their sights.
The duo are expanding the Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries True Star masterbrand — which already includes a men’s and a women’s scent — with True Star Gold, a new women’s scent that will launch in December.
During an exclusive phone interview with WWD from a North Carolina stop on her Destiny Fulfilled tour, the multihyphenate Knowles — singer, actress, apparel designer and fashionista, just to name a few — proved that she is remarkably down-to-earth about her fame.
“I grew up around sewing machines,” Knowles said with a laugh, alluding to the apparel line she is creating with her mother, Tina Knowles, her longtime stylist. The line, House of Déreon, is named for Tina’s late mother, Agnes Déreon. “I’ve been surrounded by fashion and glamour my whole life, so it feels natural to do the fashion and the fragrances.”
Knowles said that she sees the original True Star fragrance as “a private performance, sensual and soft,” and True Star Gold as “a reflection of me on stage — it’s a sexy, confident fragrance.”
That’s an analogy that Hilfiger completely agrees with. “This fragrance celebrates the talent and the brilliance of Beyoncé as a superstar,” said Hilfiger. “She’s really a true star — she’s talented, beautiful, intelligent and charming — not to mention down-to-earth. And this fragrance is about glamour, beauty and sexiness — which is a feel we haven’t explored yet with this brand and Beyoncé.”
Not only that, True Star bridges the gap between the designer and celebrity genres, noted Fabrice Weber, president of the Aramis and Designer Fragrances division. “This brand is an evolution of Tommy’s franchise, and music has always played a major part in that,” Weber said, adding that Knowles’ “high profile and multifaceted talents” give the brand a strong platform on which to build.
True Star Gold is a contemporary, rich floral, said Raymond Matts, vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide, Aramis and Designer Fragrances, who created the scent in cooperation with International Flavors and Fragrances. “I was inspired by Tommy’s home in Mustique,” said Matts, who visited Hilfiger’s vacation home shortly before beginning work on True Star Gold. “Soon after my arrival, Tommy had a new sisal rug installed, and along with lilies he had in the room, it created an inspiring, unique scent. This aroma became the heart of the fragrance.”
The juice has top notes of green watery elements of Provence melon, paired with golden kiwi and hints of red current; a heart of pumpkin flower combined with a soft floral nuance that includes the wetness of linden blossom and the softness of golden pollen, and a drydown of creamy milk notes paired with raspberry, honey, sisal, essence of lily and tulip wood.
Eaux de toilette in two sizes — 30 ml. for $29.50 and 75 ml. for $48 — will be offered in the initial rollout. In spring 2006, two ancillaries, the 200-ml. Go Gold Shimmering Body Lotion for $24 and the 30-ml. Good as Gold Shimmer Stick, $24, will be added.
The fragrance’s bottle is a recolored version of the original True Star for Women bottle. Where the original was a pale blue capped with silver, the new scent has a hot pink bottle topped with gold.
Weber felt particularly strongly about including a 30-ml. version of the juice, as it provides an entry-level price point for the scent’s target consumer. “These are consumers who aren’t currently shopping in department stores,” he said of the 15- to 25-year-olds who are expected to make up a significant percentage of the fragrance’s sales. “This gives them an accessible price point to do so.”
While none of the executives would discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that True Star Gold would do between $20 million and $25 million at retail in its first year on counter, and that about $10 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.
The brand plans national print advertising, featuring Knowles and shot by Mario Testino. The first ads will drop in November, although the bulk of the print will appear in December fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. “Mario makes the most beautiful women in the world look even more beautiful,” said Hilfiger.
The brand is also aggressively sampling the fragrance, with upward of 40 million scented impressions targeted, said Carol Russo, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Aramis and Designer Fragrances. In addition to traditional sampling vehicles such as vials on card and scented strips, the brand will add a “fun element at the counter” with rhinestone tattoos, said Russo. As well, gifts with purchase also are planned at holiday, including one of a Knowles poster packaged with the scent.
Robin Mason, vice president of Aramis and Designer Fragrances, said Internet initiatives will play a larger role in True Star Gold’s launch than in past projects, as well. The division is working with Knowles’ record label and fan club Web site to maximize awareness. Microsites also are being considered, she noted.
Knowles will make an appearance at a press event being held at her Destiny’s Child concert at Madison Square Garden tonight, promoting the fragrance.
Looking past her fragrance projects, Knowles noted that she and her mother are planning a runway show for their ready-to-wear collection this spring and are launching a denim line in October.
As well, the House of Déreon has designed all of the costumes on the Destiny’s Child tour. And over years of touring, both Knowleses have learned what works: “It all has to be breakaway-able,” Beyoncé said. “We have something like 10 costume changes each night, and you learn quickly what works on stage and what doesn’t.” Has she ever had, um, any wardrobe malfunctions? “Between snaps and zippers, I’ve had all of it sort of go wrong at one point or another, but thankfully, not so anyone could see!” she said with an infectious laugh.
In November, Knowles will begin rehearsing for a big-screen version of “Dreamgirls,” in which she’s playing the role of Deena Jones. “It’s been my dream to do a musical for so long,” she said, adding that she is excited about the opportunity to play the character from her late teens to her early 30s.
And there’s another benefit, too: “The fashion in the Sixties was incredible!”