By  on February 17, 2006

NEW YORK — Guerlain has signed two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank to be the face of its as-yet-unnamed fall fragrance.

Swank also will be the muse for the brand, which is expected to be in stores in September. The actress might be paid $3 million to $5 million over the life of the three-year contract, said a market expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Guerlain did not disclose financial terms.

Guerlain plans both TV and print advertising featuring Swank, who won best actress Oscar awards for "Boys Don't Cry," and, last year, "Million Dollar Baby." The first print ads likely will break in September and October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines worldwide; TV spots are expected to begin running as the scent launches in September.

"Hilary Swank is an extraordinary woman full of beauty and passion," Renato Semerari, global president and chief executive of Guerlain, said in a statement. "She is bold and confident, yet full of emotion and truly genuine. It is this remarkable spirit that appealed to the directors of Guerlain."

Pamela Baxter, president and ceo of parent company LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics, North America, described the actress as "credible and unconventional."

"She has never taken the easy way out," Baxter said. "She's not known for sexy and girly girl roles. She has incredible depth, and that was important to us. Guerlain has a rich history — it has never been a sex-bomb brand. This is a new image for Hilary, and for us."

The announcement confirmed a WWD report.

Swank appeared last year in an ad series for Calvin Klein's Sensual Support underwear brand and also has served as the Entertainment Industry Foundation's ambassador to Saks Fifth Avenue's annual Key for the Cure campaign.

The strategy of signing top actresses to add sex appeal to beauty brands has become a market strategy for many prestige names. In January 2004, Guerlain signed model Patti Hansen and her daughters with Keith Richards, Theodora and Alexandra Richards, to promote Shalimar Light (the trio are no longer under contract), while sister brand Dior signed Charlize Theron as the face of its J'Adore fragrance in August 2004, and last May inked a deal with Elvis Presley's granddaughter, Riley Keough, to be the face of its Miss Dior Cherie scent. Last fall, Sharon Stone was named as the face of Dior's Capture Totale skin cream. Her ads are slated to begin appearing in March magazines in the U.S.Swank will next appear in "Black Dahlia," a Brian De Palma film that also features Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett. She is in production on "Freedom Writers," the story of Erin Gruwell, an idealistic teacher who began her career teaching at-risk children.

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