By and  on July 14, 2006

NEW YORK — Juicy Couture, one of the hottest and fastest-growing fashion brands in the young market, is poised to make a splash in the fragrance arena.

Nine years after Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy launched their fashionable tracksuit line, the Los Angeles duo is getting ready to launch its first signature women's fragrance with Liz Claiborne Cosmetics. And the proposition is notable — from the unusual depth and variety of the product lineup to the unheard-of length of a three-month-exclusive with Bloomingdale's, which suggests that the new fragrance will have a pervasive presence throughout the store. Market speculation about the size of the sales target is equally bold. Although executives refused to break out projections or budgets, industry sources estimate that the Juicy Couture fragrance range could generate as much as $75 million at retail worldwide in its first year on counter, with U.S. sales likely to account for 50 to 75 percent of that figure. Sources also estimate that at least $10 million will be spent on advertising and promotional efforts in the U.S.

Although the Juicy Couture founders have been busy nurturing a small fashion empire, the idea of one day doing a fragrance had been percolating, Nash-Taylor said. "We wanted the world to smell like us — that's where we started from. We've wanted to do a fragrance for a long time, as it was a natural evolution of our brand."

Juicy Couture, founded in 1997 and purchased by Liz Claiborne Inc. in March 2003 for $47 million, has been expanding for the past three years beyond its signature tracksuits and moving into men's wear, children's wear and a host of accessory categories, including shoes, purses, swimwear and watches.

Earlier, Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy launched an upscale line, Couture Couture, which includes eveningwear, and they are readying a baby line and home products. This fall, the first national advertising campaign for the Juicy Couture franchise will break, and more developments are on the horizon — all designed to make the company a billion-dollar brand by 2010.

"The subtitle to everything we do is 'surprise,'" said Michelle Sanders, vice president and fashion director at Juicy Couture. "In the past, our marketing strategy was doing p.r. and celebrities, which worked well for a long time. In order to grow, though, we understand that we need to get our vision out there, so we decided to advertise."

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