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Beauty Beat: Vivienne Westwood Ready to Let It Rock

She may not be a fan of pop music, but Vivienne Westwood thinks the time is right to Let It Rock.

LONDON — She may not be a fan of pop music, but Vivienne Westwood thinks the time is right to Let It Rock.

The British designer and Coty Prestige, her beauty license holder, will introduce Let It Rock, a scent for women, starting in August.

“I stopped listening to [popular music] after the Sex Pistols,” said Westwood, who named the fragrance after a store of the same name she opened on the King’s Road here in 1971. “Every group I’ve ever listened to [since] has been so pathetic. Since I’m not listening, hopefully there’s something challenging [being played].”

Michele Scannavini, president of Coty Prestige, said he plans to pump up Westwood’s beauty volume with the launch by widening the brand’s international reach. He suggested there are opportunities for growth in markets, including northern and Eastern Europe, as well as Asia. He underscored, however, the brand will maintain a highly selective approach to its retail network.

Industry sources estimate Westwood fragrances generate abour $10 million at retail globally. The sources forecast that figure could double after the launch of Let It Rock.

The designer said she had groupies in mind while concocting her newest scent, recalling in particular Sable Starr, the girlfriend of Johnny Thunders, lead singer of Seventies punk rock band the New York Dolls. Westwood recounted Starr tricked her friends in order to ensure a meeting with the singer alone.

“Her plan was to get Johnny Thunders and she achieved it,” she said, adding Let It Rock’s advertising tells the tale of a modern rock groupie. Shot by Silvia Puntino, the campaign features model Tatyana Usova exiting a car.

“Hopefully, there are a few rock ‘n’ rollers left for her to have one or two boyfriends,” quipped Westwood.

Let It Rock’s juice features patchouli, a scent favored in the Sixties and Seventies, though the designer was keen that the finished product avoid the nostalgia linked to single-note oils popular in that era.

Blended by Firmenich’s Marie Salamagne, it also comprises notes of bergamot, red freesia, jasmine and amber.

Let It Rock’s bottle is a continuation of a packaging theme kicked off in 1998 with the launch of Boudoir, Westwood’s first scent. To date, her fragrances, which have included Anglomania, Libertine and Sin Garden, have been in bottles topped with a stopper reminiscent of her cross-topped orb logo.

This story first appeared in the June 26, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The scent’s name is printed on the bottle in red letters, meant to look like it’s been scrawled in lipstick.

The eau de parfum will be available as 30- and 50-ml. sprays priced at 29.50 pounds and 47 pounds, respectively, or $59 and $94. An ancillary line includes a body lotion and shower gel.

Dollar prices are converted from the pound at current exchange and are for the U.K.

Single- and double-page ads, as well as samples, including mini sprays, will support the scent’s launch, which will kick off when it bows internationally starting in August. A tweaked version of the scent will hit stores in Asia in June 2008. A U.S. launch date has not been set.