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Beckhams Trade Up With New Prestige Scents

With an upscale dress collection and a new fragrance masterbrand project that will take her scents into U.S. prestige beauty doors for the first time,...

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With an upscale dress collection and a new fragrance masterbrand project that will take her scents into U.S. prestige beauty doors for the first time, Victoria Beckham is determined to prove there’s more to her than the tabloids would like us to believe.

This story first appeared in the June 20, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I am very aware of people’s preconceptions coming from a pop group and being married to a soccer player,” said Beckham, clad in a Marc Jacobs dress, sky-high Christian Louboutins and a red leather Hermès Birkin bag during an interview at The Ritz-Carlton on New York’s Central Park. “But I am not just a famous person who is putting my name on different things and doing licensing deals all over the place. Everything I do is true to myself. With the fragrances, I designed the bottles, I got to the factory, I worked on the fragrances. I’m really the creator behind the project. You’re getting a piece of David and me with this.”

The new Beckham masterbrand project, Signature for Her and Signature for Him, will launch in September in about 1,000 U.S. prestige department and specialty store doors. This strategy represents a dramatic departure and gamble for the brand, since all previous Beckham launches were in the mass market. “Given the previous and current success of Intimately Beckham for Him and Her, it was a natural next step to expand and further the growth of the Beckham portfolio,” said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty.

Mormoris said he sees the project as a new chapter for the brand, reflecting the fresh start the couple made when moving to California last year. “We decided to launch Beckham Signature for Him and Her in the prestige market due to the high style and aspirational nature of David and Victoria,” he said. “In order to capture their iconic, sophisticated sense of style, it seemed appropriate to take the Beckham franchise to the next level. This is the most selective and exclusive fragrance launch yet.”

Signature for Her, a fruity floriental, was developed by Beckham with Sylvie Fischer from Takasago. It opens with anise flower and candy apple; has a heart of orchid, heliotrope and vanilla, and a drydown of patchouli, amber and musk. “I love white orchids, and I wanted something light,” said Beckham. “I can’t bear it when you can smell someone before you see them.”

Signature for Him, a fresh woody oriental concocted by Beckham and Beatrice Piquet of International Flavors & Fragrances, opens with mandarin, watermelon and marine notes; has a heart of fresh living lantana, cypress and spicy juniper berry, and a drydown of moss, sensual white amber and patchouli.

Signature for Her will include eaux de toilette sprays in two sizes: 1.7 oz. for $52 and 2.5 oz. for $62, as well as a 6.7-oz. body lotion, $32, and a 6.7-oz. shower cream, $28. Signature for Him’s range will include eaux de toilette sprays in two sizes, 1.7 oz. for $50 and 2.5 oz. for $60, as well as a 1.7-oz. aftershave, $40, and a 2.6-oz. deodorant stick, $16. Both bottles were inspired by big-city architecture and involve shades of purple. Beckham worked with Lutz Herrmann on both.

National advertising will break in November fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, while the TV campaign, featuring both Beckhams, will break for holiday. Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott shot the print ad, while John Mathieson served as the TV campaign’s advertising director. The creative director was Klitos Teklos from Air Agency.

“The commercial was shot in London with a strong architectural influence,” said Beckham. “It’s a simple video, quite choppy. The truth is that it was meant to be one way, and I didn’t like it, so we reedited it. There isn’t much of a story [to it] now, but there’s good music.”

And the success of her dVb (for David and Victoria Beckham, naturally) denim and sunglasses collections and her previous fragrances (which include Intimately Beckham Women) have her thinking even bigger. “I’m working on a collection of dresses at the moment, which I plan to show in September,” she said, adding that the show will likely be held during New York Fashion Week, which runs Sept. 5 through 12. “It will be something completely different from what I’ve ever done. I’m just putting it together at the moment, but they will be very upscale dresses and likely will start at around $1,200 retail. I’m going to be using very expensive fabrics and finishes, lots of embroideries.”

But don’t look for Victoria Beckham tracksuits any time soon. “I won’t do sportswear — I only like to do things that are true to myself, and things I would wear myself,” said Beckham. “I started the denim collection because I couldn’t find the perfect pair of jeans. I did the glasses because I am quite known for wearing glasses and little dresses. It is a dream come true for me to work on a dress collection. But sportswear, sports and me don’t really go hand in hand — other than with my husband,” she said with a laugh.

Handbags — Beckham is famous for her large collection of Birkin bags — could follow fashion and fragrances at some point, although not in the near future, she says. “I am a control freak,” she said. “I am growing at a steady pace. I think if it were to get too big too quickly, I would lose that creative control, and that is something I don’t want to do. So at the moment, no plans to do bags and shoes, but I would love to at some point in the future.”

But not everyone’s got the model-slim physique that allows them to pull of Beckham’s slinky designs — which is why she’s excited to be showing off her new fragrance. “The good thing about fragrance is that it can reach out to many people,” she said. “My mom might not wear one of my dresses, but she still likes fashion, so she can be a part of that by buying the fragrance. I think fragrances can reach out to more people [than fashion can].”

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