PARIS — Valentino is going for gold with its newest scent, Valentino Gold, created by the house’s beauty license holder, Unilever Cosmetics International (UCI), through its European Designer Perfumes division. But it’s not traditional gold. "We wanted it to be a new interpretation of gold," said Michael d’Arminio, vice president of creative and development at the firm.

The Concept: "Who are we targeting with the fragrance?" asked Gabriele Pungerscheg, president of European Designer Fragrances at Unilever Cosmetics International. "Women who are looking for a little luxury, who are buying into the Valentino world." It’s one where gold plays a vital role, from its accessories to its fashion. Valentino’s fall collection was themed to gold, for instance.

The Mission: As the Valentino fashion house has been repositioning, so, too, its fragrance arm has been upgrading.

The new fragrance is meant to embody the Valentino brand spirit. There’s the association with the precious metal — even the scent’s juice is gold colored — and it has a price point some 30 percent higher than the house’s other fragrances, Very Valentino, launched in 1997, and Very Valentino Homme, which came out in 1999.

The Goal: The scent will be introduced in very tight distribution. It will be launched in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the U.K. in November. It will be in 1,400 European doors. In the U.S., there will be an exclusive launch that month in Nordstrom and the rest of the U.S. introduction is slated for December. The global rollout will take place in 2003.

While UCI executives refused to comment, industry sources estimate that Valentino Gold will generate $5 million to $7 million in retail sales in its first year.

The Creation: The bottle was created in-house using new fangled laser tooling for the gold-coated edges. As with Valentino fashion, "details were really important," such as the sharpness of lines, said d’Arminio. The scent, concocted by International Flavors & Fragrances, features top notes of mandarin, Key West lime and cardamom. Heart notes include cranberry, ginger and water lily, while sandalwood, cinnamon, blue iris and white musks are among the base notes. The eau de parfum comes in 50- and 100-ml. sprays, which will retail for $58 and $85, respectively. Also in the line will be a 150-ml. body cream, for $59. Prices have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates and are for France.

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