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Kate Spade to Self-Launch New Fragrance

In the second example of a fashion house taking its fragrance business in-house, the brand will self-launch Live Colorfully in April.

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In the second example of a fashion house taking its fragrance business in-house, Kate Spade will self-launch its next fragrance, Live Colorfully, in April.

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Oscar de la Renta pioneered the trend in 2009, when he wrestled L’Oréal and won his fragrance license back, drawing in former Chanel exec Jean Hoehn Zimmerman to consult.

“We’re creative control freaks,” said Deborah Lloyd, president and creative director for Kate Spade New York, of the decision to go its own way on this project. “We know our girl so intimately, it felt natural to do it our way from start to finish. We felt if we had the hands-on involvement, it would drive the creativity of the project. And it’s an amazing exclamation point to our 20th anniversary. It marks where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

Spade may be looking to test the waters before severing ties with Elizabeth Arden, which launched 2010’s Twirl by Kate Spade fragrance. However, that’s an issue Craig Leavitt, chief executive officer for Kate Spade New York, denied. “Our licensing agreement with Elizabeth Arden continues, but we mutually agreed that the development, marketing and distribution for Live Colorfully would be handled in-house at Kate Spade New York.” At launch, the brand will also create a capsule collection of clothing inspired by Live Colorfully, added Lloyd.

Like de la Renta, Lloyd and Leavitt tapped beauty insiders for help. Poppy King, whose past projects include Lipstick Queen, first teamed up with Spade on 2011’s Supercalifragilipstick launch. “Poppy really gets our girl,” said Lloyd. “She doesn’t come from fragrance, but she gets us and the brand.”

Consultants Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi worked with King and Firmenich on the juice, which has top notes of sparkling mandarin, pink water lily and star anise; a heart of tiare flower, golden gardenia and coconut water, and a drydown of sheer amber, radiant musks and Tahitian vanilla.

Eaux de parfum in three sizes — a 0.34 oz. rollerball for $24 and sprays of 1.7 oz. for $75 and 3.4 oz. for $95 will be offered. The square, bow-topped bottle has fuchsia and yellow sides, which make the juice appear different shades each time it is repositioned. “Every woman is different, so it made sense to be able to turn it and get different colors based on the mood you’re in,” said Lloyd.

Live Colorfully will be available in about 200 doors, including Nordstrom and freestanding Kate Spade stores, as well as nordstrom.com and katespade.com. “With our initial niche launch, we have identified key places where our brand affinity is already very strong and the Kate Spade New York spirit resonates deeply with that consumer,” said Leavitt. “Our hope is that Live Colorfully will round out this consumers’ existing Kate Spade New York lifestyle. Live Colorfully literally embodies the core values of Kate Spade New York: colorful, bold, playful, sophisticated and timeless.” The brand plans to target both existing and new, younger consumers with a digital campaign and other tactics, said Leavitt.

“We think Live Colorfully is a perfect fit for our Nordstrom customers,” said Laurie Black, general merchandise manager and executive vice president for cosmetics at Nordstrom. “Everything about it captures the essence of the Kate Spade New York brand, from the juice to the packaging, and all the details add up to a scent every woman will love.”

National advertising, shot by Sebastian Kim, will begin breaking in April fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Customers will get a first look next week with a mailer featuring the fragrance and upcoming Kate Spade products.

While all executives declined comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that Live Colorfully could do $5 million at retail in its first year on counter.

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