LOS ANGELES — Gwyneth Paltrow is Estée Lauder’s workhorse.
Going into her second year as the company’s spokeswoman, the Oscar-winning actress has been the face of the vaunted Pleasures fragrance, helped introduce Pure White Linen and now has joined forces with Estée Lauder to launch a limited-edition collection called Pleasures by Gwyneth Paltrow.
To coincide with the three-month run of the limited edition, an advertising image drawn from the Pleasures television commercial that hit airwaves last year is being placed in magazines and print publications. The image shows a sun-drenched Paltrow with impressionistic greenery and flowers in the background. Scent strips in the ads feature the limited-edition eau de parfum spray.
“It is a 10-year-old fragrance, so the concept is still relevant, but you also have to keep reimaging because, just how fashion changes, fragrances have to change as well and keep evolving,” said Aerin Lauder, senior vice president of global creative directions for Estée Lauder.
Lauder and Paltrow, wearing a shimmery silver Prada number, entertained an intimate group of women that included Sheryl Crow and Laura Dern for lunch last Wednesday at the Greystone Mansion, an almost 20-acre estate overlooking the Los Angeles basin. The luncheon followed an unveiling of the limited edition at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
The limited edition consists of three items: a 2.5-oz. edp spray for $58, a 6.7-oz. body satin spray for $38.50 and a 6.7-oz. soothing-bath-salts container for $35. The packaging is Cinderella pink and gold, with Paltrow’s name and the words “Limited Edition” written in dainty script. The customary Pleasures packaging is soft white.
The limited-edition scent contains a lighter concentration of the customary Pleasures sheer floral fragrance, Paltrow noted. “I like sort of a lighter scent in general,” she said.
Inspiration for the limited-edition products came from what Paltrow does to pamper herself. “Having kids [2-year-old Apple and 1-year-old Moses] and always running around and trying to do everything at once, if I can take a 15-minute bath at the end of the day, I can really relax,” she said. “I love bath salts, and I also use body oil.”
This story first appeared in the September 29, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Once Paltrow put her two cents in, the trick was to translate the spirit of Pleasures into the ancillary products. The entire development process took about a year, with two to three months dedicated to crafting the appropriate scent in the new limited-edition items, according to Matthew Teri, vice president of corporate product innovation at Estée Lauder.
“Our purpose, really, is to create a fragrance rendition that is the same experience as if she [the customer] was wearing our edp,” he said.
The limited-edition collection products will be in 2,100 doors starting this month. The company declined to discuss sales projections or the advertising budget, but industry sources estimated that Paltrow’s limited-edition collection would generate about $3 million at retail during its short counter stay, and that between $6 million and $8 million would be spent to support Pleasures through the spring.
Personally and professionally, Aerin Lauder said her relationship with Paltrow has been a satisfying one. For the Pleasures brand, it has meant increased sales: In the third quarter, Estée Lauder’s fragrance sales rose 7.7 percent to $246.3 million.
Paltrow’s connection to Lauder is not ending any time soon, and she indicated that she’s working with the company on additional products.
“I find it a fascinating way to work, but not work full time,” she said. “It’s been a great way to travel and to get out in the world.”