By  on June 9, 2006

NEW YORK — Ever the alchemist, Donna Karan is determined to turn fragrance into gold. "Our aim was to launch another classic," said the designer of Donna Karan Gold, her new women's fragrance, which is slated for an October launch. "And we wanted iconic elements — gold has always been part of the Donna Karan signature. Gold is very elemental and pure —it is warm, it is sexy, and it lasts for a lifetime."

To celebrate the fragrance launch, Karan hosted a dinner Wednesday night at her Greenwich Street space here, the former studio of her late artist husband, Stephan Weiss.

The fragrance concept inspired a gold moment for Karan's signature apparel pieces — including jumpsuits, dresses and jerseys — with gold-toned accents by Robert Lee Morris.

Fabrice Weber, president of the Aramis and Designer Fragrances division at the Estée Lauder Cos., said that the company will be looking both in the U.S. and abroad for Gold sales: "Historically, the Donna Karan fragrance brand — with Cashmere Mist — has been strongest in the U.S., while the DKNY fragrance franchise was stronger abroad," he said, noting that 2004's DKNY Be Delicious women's scent (followed by a men's version in 2005) helped strengthen the DKNY fragrance franchise domestically. "With the launch of Gold, we are going to attempt our second global blockbuster."

Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, senior vice president and general manager of Aramis and Designer Fragrances, called Gold "a project with Donna's signature."

"Donna has always been known for her use of black and gold, and sophisticated scents," said Gabai-Pinsky. "This fragrance is Donna's vision of femininity, done in a different, modern way." And different was precisely what Karan wanted. "Donna was very clear — her point of view is that either it's something, or something else, never something in the middle."

The Gold juice is unabashedly sexy, built around a heart of Karan's favorite Casablanca lilies, said Trudi Loren, vice president of corporate fragrance development, who concocted the fragrance in cooperation with Quest. The lilies are combined with fluid amber, sparkling acacia, white clove, jasmine templar, golden blossom and East Indian patchouli.

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