NEW YORK — While celebrity mania has gripped the women’s side of the fragrance business, industry observers are speculating as to whether the noise of celebrity launches on the men’s side will reach the same fevered pitch. The short answer is yes.

But, despite the fanfare surrounding announcements this year by the Estée Lauder Cos. with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and, more recently, Donald Trump, the deals are being hammered out more quietly than on the women’s side. For instance, Coty Inc. plans to collaborate with Russell Simmons for the hip-hop mogul’s second Phat Farm scent on the heels of announcing its Baby Phat fragrance deal with Kimora Lee Simmons.

“I’m next on the block for a Phat Farm deal,” Russell Simmons said backstage prior to Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat runway show weeks ago, discussing sequential fragrance introductions with Coty.

Additionally, while Kyan Douglas of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” has been in talks for months with beauty marketers, he is thought to be closer than ever to a deal. While nothing has been confirmed, Douglas’ manager on Wednesday indicated a deal is imminent for him to become a global brand spokesman for men’s and women’s products, marketed by a major, international beauty company. Such a deal would be highlighted by the uncommon step of attaching a male celebrity to women’s products.

Meanwhile, it is thought that marketers must walk a fine line when selecting a male personality to represent a men’s brand. “In terms of having a male fragrance spokesperson, it would need to be someone men admire for their persona,” said Matt Frost, vice president of marketing for fine fragrances at Quest International. Also, “as many men’s fragrances are bought by women, [a male celebrity] would also need to be someone that women find attractive.” Perhaps this is best summed up by Antonio Banderas’ men’s scent, called Spirit, which began rolling out in September in the U.S. mass market, after generating $20 million following a launch last year in international markets, including Spain, Russia, Mexico and Chile.

But whether a male celebrity deal is of a creative nature — in the case of Michael Jordan with Bijan in the Nineties and Trump with Lauder today, or a spokesman deal, like the one announced two years ago between race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Drakkar Noir, or Arden’s deal with Jeff Gordon earlier this year — one thing beauty executives agree on is the importance of someone very much in the public eye.

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