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Rykiel’s Belle on Her Toes

Sonia Rykiel has a new belle for its fragrance lineup.

Sonia Rykiel has a new belle for its fragrance lineup.

Nathalie Rykiel, daughter of legendary French designer Sonia Rykiel, showed off Belle en Rykiel — the house’s latest fragrance — to the U.S. press Wednesday morning. Already out in France, Belle en Rykiel will move Stateside in August at Nordstrom and nordstrom.com, which will hold the exclusive on the scent until yearend.

“I think it was an advantage not being a nose,” said Rykiel, creative director of her mother’s company, who explained that she wanted to include both lavender and incense notes in the fragrance — two ingredients that are not normally paired. “The perfumer told me those two ingredients hadn’t ever been used together, but that he would try. He did, and they smell wonderful. But if I had been a nose, maybe I wouldn’t have even tried to put them together.”

The scent, an aromatic oriental developed with Jean-Pierre Béthouart and Firmenich, has top notes of mandarin, zesty red current and lavender flower; a heart of Peruvian heliotrope, coffee blossom and frankincense, and a drydown of patchouli, amber, mahogany and vanilla. The result is “fresh, yet sophisticated,” said Rykiel. “It’s very Parisian, and even more specifically, very Saint-Germain du-Prés.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Sonia Rykiel brand and launch Belle en Rykiel in the U.S.,” said Sylvie Ganter, president of Selective Beauty’s U.S. subsidiary. “We believe this fragrance is as beautiful, feminine and wearable as the looks that have defined Sonia Rykiel for almost 40 years.”

Christophe Cervasel, founder and chief executive officer of Selective Beauty, said that the intent was to create a classic Sonia Rykiel fragrance, particularly one that would play well in the U.S., France and Russia. “With this fragrance, we think we’ve accomplished that,” said Cervasel, adding that several ancillaries are in development.

The bottle was designed by Thierry de Bashmakoff and is a glass square with rounded edges and the SR logo imprinted into the glass.

The initial lineup at Nordstrom will include eaux de parfum in three sizes — 1.4 oz. for $50, 2.5 oz. for $70 and 3.4 oz. for $85 — as well as a 6.8-oz. body lotion for $35. An $85 gift set — which contains a 2.5-oz. eau de parfum, a 3.4-oz. body lotion and a 0.25-oz. fragrance miniature — will also be available.

While none of the executives would discuss sales figures, industry sources estimated that Belle en Rykiel would do upwards of $5 million at retail in its first year on counter in the U.S. The scent is expected to expand into additional specialty store doors in the U.S. in early 2008.