By  on April 6, 2007

The celebrity fragrance genre is about to make room for a new entry: that of R&B superstar Usher Raymond IV.

The performer, who uses only his first name professionally, is readying a fragrance masterbrand that will hit stores in September. This confirms a WWD report published Feb. 22.

And that's not all: Usher said Wednesday that he planned to use the fragrances as a first step into the fashion world.

"I see fragrances as an opportunity to diversify my profile and make a great introduction into fashion and lifestyle," the entertainer said in an exclusive phone interview from his Atlanta home. "This is an opportunity. I am looking at apparel and accessories, but designing a lifestyle line takes time. Some people create a line based on what inspires them, or a place. [The fashion and scents] are like my music. I give my fans my spirit and personality through my work, and that takes time. So my strategic plan is to launch the fragrances first, and then to move on from there.

"I want to make a proper introduction to the fashion business, because fashion is definitely coming."

And he's got a clear vision for it. "I want my fashion lines to represent modern style, but not be too trendy," he said. "I want to create classic pieces of clothing that work year-round. I want great wovens [fabrics]. I'm going to start with the styles that I wear, but I won't stop there. I have thought about a child's line, and I would like to do juniors, women's and big and tall clothing. It's all on the horizon. But first, it's about the fragrances."

With a distribution of 1,800 department and specialty store doors in the U.S. and a global rollout in 2008, the brand is engineered to make a splash. While none of the executives would comment on sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that the masterbrand would do upward of $80 million at retail globally in its first year on counter, and that about $40 million would be spent on advertising and promotion globally.

Usher says that the women's scent, Usher She, "represents a woman of mystery and confidence; a woman who exudes sexuality. The men's fragrance [Usher He], for me, represents something I would wear — with everything from a tux to a pair of jeans."

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