By  on July 15, 2005

NEW YORK — Prada plans to add a bit more color to its lineup this fall.

In late September, the brand will add Hydrating Compact Powder SPF15 Face/Tint, a compact foundation, to the color care subcategory of its skin care line. The product will be available in three shades, Glow, Beige and Medium. The white metal compact is set into a blush leather sleeve with Velcro and retails for $50; refills are $38.50.

The powder contains rectangular mica for a soft-focus effect; hydrolized wheat protein, said to help firm skin, and olive oil fruit and leaf extract oils, nylon-12 (also found in stockings) and vitamin E, intended to make the formula easy to blend, hydrating and elastic on skin.

"Everything that Prada has done in color care has sold well," said Martha Brady, general manager, Puig Prestige Beauty, North America and president of Puig USA, of the decision to add the product. Color — in the form of tinted lip balms — was added to the line in 2002.

Could these tentative steps into the category eventually mean a full-scale color cosmetics line? Brady declined to comment, although she did say, "We think there's a strong opportunity in color cosmetics."

While no national advertising for the compact is planned, the product will be promoted via direct mail and Neiman Marcus's catalogues and Web site, said Brady.

Brady declined to comment on projected sales, although industry sources estimated the compact would do about $500,000 in its first year on counter.

The Prada skin care line continues to be carried in about 25 doors in the U.S. — mostly Neiman Marcus doors, and at Saks Fifth Avenue's New York City flagship and several boutiques, including Hall's in Kansas City and Aspen's Cos Bar. The brand's signature fragrance, launched in September 2004, is carried in about 350 doors in the U.S.

Distribution for both skin care and fragrance will grow slightly in 2006, although not dramatically, said Brady. "I don't see women's fragrance in more than 600 doors [in the U.S.] in the next few years," she said, noting that given the brand's upscale positioning, an exclusive distribution strategy made sense. However, the roster could include 50 to 75 doors by yearend 2006 for skin care and 400 to 425 doors by yearend for fragrance.The next big projects on the drawing board are a men's fragrance and an expanded antiaging skin care range, although Brady declined to give details on either except to say that both are being planned for 2006. A Prada Sport fragrance master brand is tentatively planned for 2007.

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