By  on April 9, 2010

Kate Spade New York is taking another spin on the fragrance floor with a new women’s fragrance slated for a September launch.

With Kate Spade Twirl, the intention is to “distill the look and feel of the Kate Spade brand, the joie de vivre our target consumer embodies,” said Deborah Lloyd, creative director and co-president of Kate Spade New York. “It’s the perfect cocktail, so to speak — equally at ease at an afternoon lawn party or a night on the town. We own color, and the only thing our girl is afraid of is being bored. That comes across in this project.”

The move into fragrance is part of the brand’s strong emphasis on becoming a true lifestyle brand, said Craig Leavitt, chief operating officer and co-president of Kate Spade New York. “The consumer has viewed us as a lifestyle brand, even though we were mostly purses and small leathergoods,” he said. Founded in 1993 as a handbag company, the Kate Spade empire has since grown to include clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, eyewear, legwear, home and stationery, in addition to the planned fragrance. Leavitt hinted that additional categories will be announced in the next month or so.

“We have been working quite diligently to expand the brand’s reach, while taking great care of the DNA of the brand,” continued Leavitt, adding international business is growing fast. In December, Kate Spade signed a joint venture with its Japanese distribution partner to create Kate Spade Japan, and operates 36 points of sale throughout Japan. Seven additional locations are expected this year. As well, additional doors in China, where there are currently three points of sale, and South Korea, where there are six, are planned. The brand will also open a store in São Paulo, Brazil, in the third quarter of this year, said Leavitt. Australia and expanded Canadian reach are on tap for 2011. “We stayed true to our DNA during the recession,” he said. “We are reaping the benefits of that now.” As reported in late February, Liz Claiborne Inc.’s U.S. direct business division, which includes the Kate Spade, Juicy Couture and Lucky brands, was the only division to inch into the black in the fourth quarter of this year, posting an operating profit of $12.2 million.

Kate Spade, acquired by Liz Claiborne in 2007, has signed a long-term global licensing agreement with Elizabeth Arden Inc., which has held the global licensing rights to Liz Claiborne Inc.’s fragrance brand portfolio since May 2008. That portfolio also includes the Juicy Couture, Usher, Lucky Brand and Claiborne scent franchises.

This is actually the brand’s second step into fragrance. The first Kate Spade fragrance was produced by the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. in May 2002, as the fruit of a deal signed in fall 1999. Lauder relinquished the license in 2004.

“The brand had an amazing equity back then, but the business was quite small,” said Leavitt of the first Spade fragrance business. “We have expanded strongly over the 18 months, and believe we’re in a strong position to make this fragrance a very successful venture.”

While none of the executives would discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Twirl would do about $16 million to $18 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter.

Concocted by Givaudan’s Claude Dir, Twirl opens with pink watermelon, blackberry and red currant; moves into a heart of orange blossom, star jasmine, tiare flower and sweet magnolia, and dries down to luminous musk and French macaroon. “This scent captures the energy, excitement and playfulness of the Kate Spade brand, and brings a successful American designer to our portfolio,” said Art Spiro, executive vice president, Global Fragrance Marketing for Elizabeth Arden.

The collection will launch with eaux de parfum in two sizes, a 1.7 oz. for $65 and a 3.4 oz. for $80, as well as a 0.25 oz. roller ball for $18. The eau de parfum bottle is round with gold dots — “It’s like a disco ball in your hand,” said Lloyd. “And our girl is bubbly, so the juice is the color of Champagne.”

The Kate Spade wit extends to the outer packaging; each box contains a playful message which is visible after the box has been opened. “It’s another hidden wink,” said Lloyd.

Ancillaries include a body cream, $45 for 5 oz.; a body lotion, $40 for 6.7 oz., and a shower gel, $35 for 6.7 oz.

Distribution, still being finalized, is expected to include about 1,800 department and specialty store doors in the U.S at full rollout. The international launch of the scent will take place between late fall and spring 2011.

National advertising will be shot within the next few weeks, featuring a model with a custom-designed Kate Spade dress and the scent. “Depending upon response, we may roll the dress into our own retail stores,” said Lloyd, noting that there will be synergies displayed between all Kate Spade-branded advertising to create a cohesive message. Ads will break in October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Scented strips and vials on card are also planned, as is a social media campaign, said Marcy Fisher, vice president, Liz Claiborne Global Marketing at Elizabeth Arden.

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