As part of a series of designer and celebrity alliances to strengthen its brand portfolio, Avon has announced a new collaboration with Emanuel Ungaro to launch U by Ungaro for Him and Her, a men’s and a women’s fragrance.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Ungaro partnership follows two other high-profile collaborations with designers, first with Christian Lacroix and then Cynthia Rowley.

“We believe all women should have access to style and fashion, and we seek partners with the same passion for high quality and high-end style,” said Geralyn Breig, Avon’s senior vice president and brand president.

The Emanuel Ungaro brand has an existing fragrance license with Ferragamo Parfums, a partnership that began in 1997.

According to Tracy Haffner, Avon’s vice president of global fragrance, the new product will complement the brand’s established Lacroix and Rowley fragrances, as it’s positioned to reach a younger demographic.

“The Ungaro fragrances have a contemporary and modern style with a Parisian chic vibe to it,” said Haffner, adding that Lacroix had a more dramatic and couture feel to it, while Rowley’s scent is more whimsical. “We’re aiming at a younger target but still capturing the broad Avon customer.”

Launching in August through Avon’s 650,000 sales representatives, Ungaro’s new contemporary brand U by Ungaro first launched in Japan last July. Selling at $32 for the women’s scent and $28 for the men’s fragrance, the U by Ungaro set will also be available through

“We’re reaching a younger clientele at a difference price point with our new U by Ungaro line, and this coincided with the new fragrance launch,” said Mounir Mouffarige, Emanuel Ungaro’s chief executive officer.

According to Mouffarige, the designer house was attracted to Avon’s global reach and wanted to tap into a different market demographic at a lower price point.

“I don’t think there’s any cosmetics or fragrance company with the kind of reach that Avon has,” said Mouffarige. “This is a great opportunity for us to have a global reach with a price point that makes sense with the U label, and we have the advantage of targeting both men and women. For any luxury company, fragrance is an entry point for the brand.”

While both fragrances were created by International Flavors & Fragrance, Jean Marc Chaillan and Loc Dong created U by Ungaro For Her, and Yves Cassar and Pascal Gaurin formulated the men’s scent. U by Ungaro for Her is a modern floral with top notes of bergamot blossom, freesia and pepper blossom; middle notes of acacia aura, living lotus flower and osmanthus, and bottom notes of oris, sandalwood and musk. The men’s fragrance is composed of top notes of green mandarin leaf, ruby red grapefruit and pomegranate; middle notes of immortale, cardamom and cedar leaf, and bottom notes of vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka bean and Peru balsam.

The fragrances will launch simultaneously in North America and the U.K. in August, followed by 20 markets in Central and Eastern Europe in September and approximately 30 additional markets globally by the end of the year.

As part of her ongoing role as a global ambassador for Avon, Reese Witherspoon will serve as the face of the fragrance and appear in advertisements for U by Ungaro for Her.

“Reese appeals to a broad range of women 18-plus, and we thought she would be a great fit since she’s a beauty,” said Haffner.

According to Silvana Cassol, group vice president of U.S. marketing, U by Ungaro for Her will be supported by a TV and print campaign. Plans for U.S. advertising are not yet final, but the women’s fragrance is scheduled to appear in more than 30 books worldwide with ad campaigns shot by Peter Lindbergh. Although the men’s scent will not be advertised, it will be featured in the Avon brochure. Cassol says the company is planning to support the launch with more than 60 million samples.