By  on July 7, 2006

NEW YORK — One of America’s best-known romance writers is determined to make her mark on a new category: fragrance.

Danielle Steel, the author of 66 best-selling books, has teamed up with Elizabeth Arden to launch Danielle by Danielle Steel, slated to hit counters in late October.

“This is the first time that Danielle Steel has taken her name beyond books,” said Barbara Hodges, marketing director of fragrance global brand development for the beauty brand.

It’s also the first time Arden — or any other beauty company in recent memory — has turned to a literary celebrity, rather than an actor, actress, model, athlete or singer, to launch a fragrance. “When we look at a celebrity, we look at people who have very established fan bases, no matter what their area of fame,” said Noreen Dodge, global vice president of marketing for the brand. “Danielle has an extremely loyal group of fans who span a wide range of ages, and when she releases a book, they run out and buy it. And her fame is not just in the U.S. — she’s published in 47 other countries, as well, and there are more than 550 million copies of her books in print. We’re hoping to attract as many of her fans as possible.”

Part of that will be done, said Dodge, by going where the fans are: major booksellers, such as Barnes & Noble, amazon.com and Borders. There will be a promotional blitz, including sampling, in these venues. The core fan is expected to be in her late 20s to mid-40s, said Hodges.

The juice, by Loc Dong of International Flavors and Fragrances, has top notes of lush green notes and Mediterranean mandarin; a heart of butterfly jasmine, sunset orchid and hydroponic rose, and a drydown of blue vetiver, white amber and cashmere musks.

The collection will include eaux de parfum in two sizes, 1.7 oz. for $49.50 and 3.3 oz. for $65, as well as a 0.5-oz. parfum, $125, and a 6.8-oz. body lotion for $35.

The eau de parfum bottles are faceted heavy glass rectangles, intended to be reminiscent of pieces in Steel’s large fine crystal collection. The juice inside is tinted a pale yellow. The perfume bottle is a weighty glass rectangle with a glass dabber and faceted top. Glass for both was fabricated by Pochet.Steel is said to be the largest American patron of couture fashion, and her fragrance box is based upon one of her favorite pieces, a pink satin and black lace Rochas gown. The outer packaging is of ballet pink, edged with an embossed black lace pattern.

The fragrance will be available in about 1,600 department and specialty store doors, including Macy’s, and national print advertising will break in November fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. While executives declined to discuss first-year sales or advertising projections, industry sources estimate that the fragrance will do at least $25 million at retail in its first year on counter and estimate that the advertising and promotional war chest will top $10 million. Scented strips in beauty and lifestyle magazines are also planned, as is a promotional blitz on Steel’s Web site, daniellesteel.com. Arden is planning a microsite of its own to promote the fragrance collection.

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