By and  on September 9, 2005

NEW YORK — Tom Ford has summoned the glamour and daring spirit of Estée Lauder, the woman who put American fragrance and herself on the map when she launched Youth Dew in 1953.

And it's the naked truth that "it's the time for the reinstitution of glamour and exclusivity," Ford told WWD during an exclusive phone interview from his London home on Thursday. "I want to go back to real luxury, the highest quality products. Luxury has gone mass," Ford said, admitting that he played a major part in that movement at Gucci. "It's time to change that."

And he's prepared to lead the charge with Amber Nude, his first cosmetics and fragrance collection for the Estée Lauder brand, coming in early November. Branded under the Tom Ford Estée Lauder name, the 14-stockkeeping-unit collection is relatively pricy: lipsticks retail for $35; an impressively sized bronzer is $60. The eye-catcher of the collection is a $550 gold minaudière, containing a lip polish and a face powder.

The 2.5-oz. Youth Dew Amber Nude eau de parfum spray retails for $65, compared with $28 for a 2.25-oz. bottle of the 52-year-old Youth Dew original, which is still being sold. There's a solid perfume in a gold-toned compact for $150 and an atomizer parfum purse spray with refill for $225. One practical touch is a $35 lip transformer called Lip Polish, which allows a consumer to adjust the tones of the other lipsticks by layering. Face and eye glosses, designed to be layered over other products and even applied by hand, are $40 each. Nail enamel retails for $25 and face powder is priced at $50. And there's 24-karat gold in the lip polish and the face gloss: The usual cost-of-goods worries apparently didn't apply. All of the products in this collection are limited editions, with the exception of the Amber Nude eau de parfum.

The Amber Nude lineup will enter a sliver of Lauder's traditional 2,000-door North American distribution in November. Like its predecessor, the new fragrance and its makeup collection will be launched in an old-fashioned way, when businesses were built one specialty store at a time. In early November, the fragrance and makeup will enter 100 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Holt Renfrew in Canada. In early December, another 125 doors of Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom will be added to the fragrance distribution. In January, the fragrance distribution will add 775 doors. Overseas, select doors in key markets will be added. It will be sold in freestanding Lauder doors in Las Vegas and Manhasset, N.Y., and on the company's Web site. The North American fragrance distribution will end up at 1,000 doors.

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