Byline: Kerry Diamond

NEW YORK — “Feminine” and “seductive” seem to be Vicky Tiel’s favorite two words. It’s how she describes her two women’s fragrances, Originale and Sirene, as well as the custom clothes she crafts for her well-heeled clients.
But now the word “masculine” is popping into her vocabulary more often as she sets her sights on the opposite sex with the launch of her first men’s fragrance, Ulysse. The fragrance went on sale three weeks ago exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and the initial results elated Tiel’s fragrance licensee.
Sales totaled $4,000 at retail for the first week at Bergdorf, said Jeffrey Dame, president of Deer Park, N.Y.-based Five Star Fragrances, which markets and distributes Tiel’s other fragrances.
Dame, who acquired the Tiel license from Parlux where he had been executive vice president until early 1997 when he founded Five Star, expects Ulysse to do between $600,000 and $750,000 for the balance of this year.
The six stockkeeping units include eau de toilette in a 3.3-oz. size for $57.50 and 1.7-oz. for $40; a 3.3-oz. aftershave for $35; a 3.3-oz. aftershave balm for $25; a 6.7-oz. shower gel for $14.50, and deodorant for $12.50.
The idea for Ulysse came to Tiel during a shopping trip in France. “I saw a Thirties decanter in an antiques store and it inspired me,” said Tiel, who collects art glass. “I immediately had a vision in my head of what the bottle would look like.”
She already had the juice. In 1991, Hugh Spencer, now of Ungerer, created the fragrance as a men’s version of Tiel’s Sirene when he was at Creations Aromatiques. Tiel loved the scent, but she didn’t have any plans for a men’s fragrance — until now.
The fragrance has a top note that includes neroli, mandarin and lime blossom, and midtones of nutmeg, clover, carnation and lavender. The base is composed of benzion, patch-ouli, musk, vanilla bean and tree moss.
“It has a gorgeous floral heart,” said Tiel, who expects Ulysse will do well as a unisex fragrance. “A lot of women will buy this for themselves.”
Despite the industry experts who told Tiel men prefer clean, pharmaceutical-looking bottles, she wanted something to complement her women’s bottle, which features bas relief figures of topless women. Tiel describes herself as “the designer who best understands women’s breasts.” The result is a rectangular bottle with a copy of a Roman frieze wrapped around all four sides.
“My men’s bottle had to be exquisite,” she said.
The ad campaign for Ulysse is slated to run in Playbill, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Out and in Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman catalogs, beginning this month.
Powder samples of Ulysse are available at counters and Neiman Marcus is mailing 550,000 dual-scented remit envelopes for Ulysse and Venus de l’Amour, Tiel’s third women’s fragrance, which also hit stores in May.
Dame has big plans for Tiel’s fragrance franchise, which has been named Vicky Tiel Les Parfums des Antiquites. Over the next 18 months, he will introduce three additional women’s fragrances for a total of six, and he predicts the group will do $10 million net over the next 18 months.
If all goes as planned, Tiel will be better known for her fragrances than for her women’s clothing, despite a 30-year career in the fashion industry.
But she doesn’t mind as she’s already looking forward to her next 30 years in the business. “My objective is to be like Coco Chanel,” Tiel said. “She lasted to 83.”

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