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Judith Leiber to Re-Enter Fragrance Business

Continuing the brand's president Mary Gleason’s strategy of recharging the venerable handbag line.

Judith Leiber is headed back into fragrance, continuing brand president Mary Gleason’s strategy of recharging the venerable handbag line.

Gleason has worked to reinvigorate the Leiber brand over the past two years, launching a new retail concept and an e-commerce site, which bowed in 2009, as well as new casual evening purses, bridal designs and jewelry. Judith Leiber Night is the latest step in Gleason’s strategy. “Judith Leiber Night [the new scent] reflects our new direction — targeting the next generation of luxury consumers,” said Gleason, who plans to present the fragrance to beauty editors today.

Judith Leiber Night will bow in January at Bergdorf Goodman, Judith Leiber boutiques and, with additional specialty store distribution to be added domestically and internationally throughout 2011. It is the first scent to be developed with the brand’s new beauty licensee, Palm Beach Beauté.

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The brand’s previous fragrance licensee, Pulse Points — a joint venture between Gary Farn Ltd. and Mane Fragrances — exited late last year. On Nov. 18, 2009, Gary Farn Ltd., along with its affiliate, filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut.

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The scent will launch globally this spring in North America, the Middle East, Russia, Australia and select European countries, with additional introductions planned for the Far East and Latin America later in the year,” said Harold Ickovics, president and chief executive officer of Palm Beach Beauté.

The scent, concocted by Firmenich, has top notes of black cinnamon and bergamot, heart of jasmine, lilies and peonies, and a drydown of caramelized amber, woods, incense and patchouli.

The Art Deco-style bottle — opaque black with rhinestone accents — is modeled after Leiber’s “Streamline” evening bag. A crystal clasp acts as the bottle cap. Eau de parfum will be offered in two sizes: 40 ml. for $140 and 75 ml. for $198. National print advertising is expected to break in February fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Gleason also plans to highlight the launch with a gala around the Golden Globes at the brand’s Rodeo Drive flagship. The scent was also shown at the Tax Free World Association’s Duty Free meeting in Cannes, France, in October and signed distributors in 18 countries, said Gleason. Gleason declined to comment on projected sales for the scent, but industry sources estimated that the fragrance could do as much as $12 million at retail globally in its first year on counter.