By  on February 15, 2002

NEW YORK -- Chantal Roos is getting ready to rewrite the story of O, with a new Oscar de la Renta scent targeted at the liberated, self-assured contemporary woman.

It also is aimed at restoring de la Renta's fragrance fortunes by reestablishing him as a force in the global beauty world, following a decade of eroding sales.

In late April, the president and chief executive officer of YSL Beaute will launch the new scent, called Intrusion, a name meant to sum up the designer's vision of a new powerful, self-assertive femininity.

The fragrance was unveiled Wednesday at a well-attended reception at the Four Seasons, which featured not only de la Renta and Roos, but also an appearance by Domenico De Sole, chief executive officer of the parent Gucci Group. The fragrance ad consists of a photo of a sultry Liliana Dominguez, one of de la Renta's favorite models who took part in his ready-to-wear show earlier in the day. She also attended the reception.

During the product presentation, a voiceover on a concept video declared: "Free to be who she really is, she chooses her life, she chooses herself."

As a parting shot, the narrator adds, "It was a man's world before she came."

Fragrance presentations, generally slick in nature, are usually punctuated by clipped marketing sound bites from executives. But the remarks delivered by de la Renta were anything but perfunctory.

He later good naturedly admitted that he had a speech prepared but didn't read it because he couldn't find his glasses. Instead, de la Renta treated the crowd to a highly personal and poignant account of his emotional journey since Sept, 11, when he was forced to cancel his fashion show. De la Renta said he had briefly secured a last-minute spot on the Paris show calendar then reversed course and put on a modest scaled-down showing in New York instead. To desert New York, he decided, would mean "negating everything I came to this country for." Living here is all about exercising and enjoying freedom, he continued, and the show he staged Wednesday was meant as a tribute to this "extraordinary sense of freedom. This is the most wonderful place in the world to be."

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