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NEW YORK — Tommy Hilfiger and Enrique Iglesias are flying high — literally — about the prospects of their new True Star Men fragrance, a point they proved by arriving at their launch party Tuesday via helicopter.

“We want this to be the future of fragrance,” Hilfiger told WWD earlier that afternoon in an interview at his West Side offices. “When we developed the True Star masterbrand, we developed a platform for true stars. Beyonce Knowles [the face of True Star Women, launched last year] was our first true star, and when we started developing the men’s side of the business, Enrique was the first person I thought of [to be the men’s counterpart]. He’s young, cool, relaxed, a true artist. There is an authenticity about him. He is a global superstar, and, as all of our products are global, it was important to align this launch with a star that is as popular in Spain or Sweden as he is in Japan or the U.S.”

Hilfiger also said that the True Star initiative “resonates in pop culture, which has driven my brand for the past 25 years.”

Iglesias, clad at the interview from head to toe in Hilfiger apparel, said he had admired the Knowles campaign. “It was done with a lot of class,” he said. “I loved the combination of music and scent.” In fact, it influenced his decision to become involved with the men’s project, he said. “At the end of the day, it’s your image — and when you have your name on something, you want it to be something that you can be proud of,” said Iglesias.

While the scent’s target market is 18- to 35-year-olds, both Iglesias and Hilfiger think it will stretch those age parameters.

“The minute you start liking girls, one of the first things you do is buy a fragrance,” said Iglesias, who said he bought his first fragrance from Cartier at age 14 and thought that those younger than 18 would be among the scent’s buyers. “You start caring about how you smell.” And the smell of True Star Men appeals to him. “I love it,” said Iglesias. “It’s subtle — it’s the kind of fragrance that you don’t smell from 50 feet away. You smell it, your girlfriend smells it, but it’s not so in your face.”

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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According to Hilfiger: “This scent will appeal to men from 16 to 60.” That’s a pronouncement that his scent partner agrees with. “We think this scent will bring us to another level,” said Fabrice Weber, president of the Aramis and Designer Fragrances division of Estee Lauder, adding that last year’s introduction of True Star Women was the Hilfiger scent franchise’s most successful launch since Tommy Girl in 1997. The franchise has experienced high single-digit growth this year, he added.

The True Star Men’s juice was developed by Raymond Matts, vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide for Aramis and Designer Fragrances, in cooperation with Firmenich. It has top notes of pink grapefruit and wet notes, a heart of orris and juicy black licorice and a drydown of sandalwood, saffron and vanilla.

The collection, at launch, will consist of eaux de toilette in two sizes: 1.7 oz. for $39.50 and 3.4 oz. for $55; a 3.4-oz. aftershave for $42, and a 3.4-oz. aftershave balm for $42. A 2.6-oz. deodorant stick for $15 will be on counter in spring 2006. The scent bottle, inspired by the shape of a microphone, is a translucent charcoal gray glass with a metallic finish. The carton is of blue and silver foil accented by red.

In the U.S., the scent will be launched in August in about 1,800 department and specialty store doors. It will roll out globally in October.

Iglesias, who has released seven albums and is preparing an eighth for launch later this year, has written a song that will be used in the fragrance’s TV advertising and that also will appear on his new album, noted Robin Mason, vice president of global marketing for Aramis and Designer Fragrances.

Print advertising was shot by Mario Testino and will begin appearing in September in a variety of magazines, including Teen People, Us, Star, Latina and People en Español, said Stephanie Benedetti, vice president of marketing, North America, for Aramis and Designer Fragrances.

A large scented campaign is also on tap, with more than 100 million scented impressions planned. The TV ad, shot by David LaChapelle in Southern California, is being finalized now and is expected to begin appearing in September. The rough cut features Iglesias on a private plane.

As well, nontraditional marketing will be brought into play on this launch, said Benedetti, who noted that e-mail blasts, cable advertising on networks such as VH-1 and MTV and marketing through Iglesias’ fan club are all planned. Marketing through Iglesias’ record company, Geffen Records, is also likely, said Benedetti. Iglesias also is slated to do a handful of personal appearances to promote the scent, most likely in New York, Houston and Miami.

While none of the executives would comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that True Star Men would do $25 million to $30 million at wholesale globally, with about a third of that business done in the U.S. market. In the U.S., the brand is said to be spending between $10 million and $12 million on the scent’s advertising and promotional campaign.

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