GIORGIO'S LATEST: PAULINA AS RED BAIT

Byline: Louise Farr

LOS ANGELES--On Wednesday, on a sound stage in a questionable area of downtown Los Angeles, model Paulina Porizkova conducted a practiced flirtation with a movie camera. With her imposing, broad-shouldered figure poured into a long, black vinyl dress, Paulina pouted and posed against a red backdrop as music by Massive Attack thumped in the background.
"Eyes up! Very goddess-like," instructed director Paula Walker.
Paulina rolled her eyes, fluttered her hands, peered backwards over her shoulder. "Cut!" Walker finally said.
And Paulina shuffled off, feet swathed in white rags that were invisible to the camera. "She got tired of wearing her high heels," explained Gray Advertising producer Penelope Casadesus.
Not exactly the image one would expect of the first major-name model for Giorgio's Red fragrance. But starting in September, a print and TV campaign starring Porizkova will be launched in hopes of juicing sales of the scent.
Red, formerly the number-one fragrance in the country, is still number four, according to Kline & Co.'s fragrance survey, which reports a $42 million wholesale volume for Red last year. But sales have slipped, and the fragrance has been heavily diverted in the gray market.
Last August, Giorgio was acquired by Proctor & Gamble. And this spring, when the company decided to relaunch Red, it signed Paulina, until recently under contract to Estee Lauder. Giorgio executives won't discuss the cost of the Red relaunch--beyond saying that it's more money than the company has spent on a campaign in years, an amount bolstered by P&G's deep pockets.
Gray Advertising creative director Alice Ericson was a member of the team that chose Paulina. "What was cool for us was that she's never done anything like this before. We wanted someone to be electric," Ericson said.
"It wasn't a matter of Lauder or not Lauder. It was what was right for Giorgio," said Giorgio president and chief executive officer Linda LoRe, who said she is not troubled that Paulina might still be identified with Lauder.
Paulina, leaning on a railing outside, said working for Giorgio is more fun than her previous gig.
"This is not Estee Lauder. These guys aren't trying to run my life," she said, dragging on a Marlboro. The model has been vocal about her less-than-amicable parting with Lauder.
"I suppose the Red woman is who I am," she went on, squinting into the sun. "She's strong and sensual and funny, like me. She's not afraid to stand out in a crowd."
On the sound stage, executives looked over a first proof of Paulina's Red print ad, to run in major women's beauty and service magazines. Gazing at the camera, Paulina crouches in a red dress against a red background.
"Relatively speaking, for a commercial I'm having a good time," Paulina admitted. But she had been up since 4:45 a.m. and still had to appear at the reopening of Giorgio's Rodeo Drive boutique that night.
"You pretty much have to give yourself a swift kick in the butt and hope for the best," she said.By about 4:30 p.m., after a four-hour lunch, hair and makeup break, Paulina was back on the set. She was wearing a long, red ABS tank dress while sporting big hair. As the camera rolled, she read the Red copy: "When you wear Red, you can go fast, you can go slow, you can go wild. But you can never go unnoticed. Red. From Giorgio Beverly Hills. Everything else pales."
By 7:30 that night, still wearing the same dress, Paulina was shaking hands at the Giorgio boutique.
"The whole industry has been in flux," LoRe said. "The fragrances that have added to the industry's growth have been new fragrances. Red has not grown.
"We're looking to double our business in the next two years," she continued. "It's always our hope to have our brands number one."

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