From his base in shoes to bags, jewelry, eyewear, belts, accessories to finally ready-to-wear, Vince Camuto’s world of what he calls “affordable and accessible luxury” seems to be expanding by the month, along with a growing list of Camuto boutiques.

There’s only one element missing — a women’s fragrance. And that’s being launched in September, bearing not only the Camuto name but a family crest that he had created.

Camuto, the founder and chief executive officer of the Camuto Group, exhibited the same gusto in spearheading the development of his first fragrance as he did in the late Eighties in reinventing Nine West into a footwear powerhouse, then establishing the Camuto name in not only shoes but also fashion. His company also holds the master license for Jessica Simpson merchandise and designs and sources footwear for Tory Burch.

So when it came to the fragrance, Camuto charged ahead, with help of his creative director and wife, Louise Camuto, who added a feminine touch. Working with his licensee, Parlux Fragrances Inc., he visited four fragrance suppliers in one day between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., narrowing the field of competing possibilities down to 25 submissions, he noted in a recent interview.

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The winner was created by perfumer Steve DeMercado of Fragrance Resources. It is a floral chypre, with a top note including rum absolute and osmanthus nectar. The heart contains Bulgarian white rose, a rich leather and night blooming jasmine. The base includes vanilla absolute, sensual patchouli, warm amber Brazil and skin musk. The fragrance is being touted as “contemporary, sexy and sophisticated.”

The scent will be available in 1.7-oz, eau de parfum spray, priced $60; a 3.4-oz. size for $78, and a 5-oz. body lotion for $40. A 1-oz. size of the edp is on the drawing board for overseas distribution, Camuto added. In the U.S., the fragrance will be shipped in August to 1,000 doors including those of Macy’s, Dillard’s and Bon-Ton.

Fred Purches, chairman and ceo of Parlux, said a men’s fragrance will be launched in a year. For the women’s scent, Camuto envisions a rollout overseas next year, kicked off by an appearance at the Tax Free World Association duty free convention in Cannes, France, in September. He said the company may attempt to establish a foothold in the U.K. next April, with retailers like House of Fraser and The Perfume Shop.


Camuto added that the company also is in early discussions with German retailers.

Neither Camuto nor Purches provided sales projections, but industry sources estimate the women’s fragrance could generate $17 million to $19 million at retail during the first year on counter.

Camuto will use some techniques of cross promotion for the U.S. launch. He noted that 600,000 scented strips will be blown into shoe boxes, and the fragrance will be advertised in Lucky, Elle, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. In an unusual twist, the company is thinking about creating a 30-second film, composed of behind the scenes shots from the advertising photo session. It could then be shown on airliner video screens after the safety announcements as the planes are taking off.

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