Bebe Stores Inc. is following up the launch of its year-old signature scent with the Aug. 19 introduction of Bebe Sheer, a women’s eau de parfum that’s billed as a lighter version of the original fragrance.

This story first appeared in the August 6, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Sheer, a blend of florals, fruits and musks, was inspired by the airiness of fabrics such as organza, tulle and silk.

“The original was much stronger. It was probably a little bit more toward evening — sexier, with more oriental flavor and undertones,” said Manny Mashouf, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Bebe Stores Inc. “This is lighter — it’s very different. This one the Bebe woman can wear and be romantic and sensual.

“The new scent creates the same seductive quality, but the emotion is a little bit more subtle,” he added.

Perfumers Claudette Belnavis and Jean Jacques of Takasago composed the fruity-floral scent, which features top notes of citrus cocktail, apple and green floral, mixed with middle notes of peony, rose, jasmine and freesia and a drydown of sandalwood, musk and amber.

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It takes after the “luxurious” oriental signature scent in that both fragrances have notes of jasmine, rose, sandalwood and musk.

Richard Pierson, vice president of international and licensing at Bebe, said Sheer “allows us to take the brand international [along with] Bebe [fashion] expansion. The citrus floral will be much better for launches in international markets like Southeast Asia, Russia and Latin America. We needed a lighter scent for those [markets].”

“This is going to work in markets where the original was considered heavy,” said Andy Clarke, president of Inter Parfums USA LLC’s specialty retail division, whose parent, Inter Parfums Inc., is Bebe’s fragrance licensee. “From an international standpoint, this is much more commercial.”

“She’s young and fresh in spirit,” Kristin Spinn, marketing director at the specialty stores division, said of the Sheer target audience.

When asked why it was important to build the Bebe fragrance business, Mashouf responded: “We felt that our customer needs a selection that has the same aesthetics of the Bebe woman — needs something that is different and [that] she can use at a different time.

“[Sheer] is more day-into-night rather than just night.”

Sheer will come in a 3.4-oz. bottle ($65), whose collar has a pink pavé crystal heart pendant attached — like the signature scent. There also will be a 1.7-oz. version featuring a silver heart-shaped charm for $49.50 and a 0.33-oz. size for $12. A 6-oz. tube of body lotion will accompany the fragrances and be priced at $25.

The bottle was designed in conjunction with Inter Parfums’ design group by Barbara Hulanicki, who has been collaborating with Bebe on design and creative for about 12 to 18 months.

The launch of Sheer marks the anniversary of the introduction of the signature scent, which hit stores on Aug. 20 last year. This month’s launch is to coincide with the debut of Bebe’s fall fashion collection, executives noted, and will happen concurrent to a slew of in-store events.

Sheer initially will enter Bebe’s 213 stores in the U.S. and then be rolled out to Dillard’s and Ulta in October. Bebe’s 52 international stores in 14 countries also will get the scent.

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