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Bill Blass Launching Couture Fragrances

Scents inspired by dresses found in the fashion collection.

Bill Blass and its fragrance licensee First American Brands Inc. have taken inspiration from dress designs found in the Blass fashion collection for a new fragrance line called Bill Blass Couture, which is launching at Saks Fifth Avenue next week.

Bill Blass Couture will initially include four scents, whose graphics are meant to match Blass dress fabrics. Atop the bottles are patterns that feature yellow, gray, red or blue hues, and resemble fabric swatches over which a lacquer finish has been applied.

The women’s scents are to be carried exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Manhattan flagship for at least six months, executives at First American Brands noted.

And, while the future direction of Blass remains uncertain as its beleaguered owner NexCen Brands Inc. shops the business around for a potential buyer, as previously reported, plans call for additional Bill Blass Couture fragrances to be launched in February and September next year.

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“The idea is to launch two new fragrances every year in conjunction with new [Blass] fashion collections,” said Randall A. Christian, general manager of First American Brands.

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For instance, for fall 2009, a bright floral pattern has been selected for a fifth Bill Blass Couture scent that’s in the works and slated to be launched in February.

The first four Bill Blass Couture scents have been dubbed Couture 1, Couture 3, Couture 6 and Couture 7. Perfumers at fragrance supplier Drom composed all four scents in conjunction with Prabal Gurung, women’s designer at Blass.

Perfumer Pierre-Constantin Guéros mixed two of the scents: Couture 1 and Couture 6. Couture 1 features notes of white tuberose, mandarin, peach and orange blossom, and the top of the bottle has a black-and-white print of a fabric design, highlighted by yellow roses. The pattern came from a day dress in this year’s resort collection.

Couture 6, which features notes of rose, apple blossom, blackberries and patchouli, has a red, pink and white floral motif taken from a day dress in the fall 2008 fashion collection.

Couture 3, which was blended by perfumer Valérie Garnuch, combines notes of sandalwood, bergamot flower, apple blossom, cardamom and ginger, and features a gray pattern of feathers and beads — from an evening gown found in the spring 2008 collection.

Couture 7 was constructed by Delphine Jelk and includes notes of bitter orange, cedrat, pink pomelo, French tarragon and orange flower, and features a beaded, sequined pattern from a dress in the 2008 resort collection.

Each 75-ml. eau de parfum is priced at $150 and comes with a tasseled atomizer. In addition to the dress-inspired graphics, the low-profile glass bottles also feature a raised glen plain pattern on two sides.

Industry sources estimate the four scents, which will be supported by a sampling effort, could combine to generate $400,000 in first-year retail sales in the U.S.

International distribution plans call for the Bill Blass Couture fragrances to be introduced simultaneous to the U.S. launch in Dubai, Italy, Russia and Mexico.

In November, a set of four, 25-ml. purse sprays will be added to the line and priced at $180.