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NEW YORK — When Tory Burch set out to create her first fragrance, she kept it all in the family — notes, packaging and all.
First came the vetiver, which Burch’s late father, Buddy Robinson, always wore. “That’s one of my greatest memories of him — every day he was perfectly dressed and had a great scent,” the designer told WWD during an exclusive interview in her Chelsea offices.
Next came the vintage fragrance bottles, which still line her mother Reva Robinson’s vanity. “I’d spray 10 or so of them on me at a time as a kid, and then be thrown in the bath, but it was always fun,” she said.
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When the designer decided it was time to launch a scent, she hooked up with another family: the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “We first discussed the possibility at least five years ago — I know Leonard [Lauder] and knew Evelyn [Lauder] and we knew that at some point we would want to work together,” she said. Burch and Lauder signed a contract in 2011.
The deal represents a major move on the part of both companies. For Lauder, Burch is the latest designer to be added to Lauder’s Aramis and Designer Fragrances division. For Burch, the beauty deal is another plank in her construction of a global lifestyle brand as rumblings continue that the company is a candidate for an initial public offering at some point.
Burch freely admits that the development process was a revelation, particularly in the lab. “I loved going into the labs — there were scents and notes that I never thought would go in a fragrance,” she said. “I was going for tomboy meets feminine, and I wanted the vetiver because not only did my father wear it, I did too and so did my brothers. Then we looked at how we could mix it with citrus and florals — I’ve always loved tuberose. [The juice is] unexpected, but fresh.”
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