NEW YORK — Paris Hilton is adopting yet another role — that of fragrance creator.
Fresh from nabbing a high-profile advertising deal with Guess, the hotel heiress has signed a letter of intent with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Parlux Fragrances to launch a Paris Hilton fragrance by yearend. The letter of intent is subject to the execution of a definitive license agreement, the company said in a statement.
“We’re very excited to be working with Paris on this fragrance,” Ilia Lekach, chairman and chief executive officer of Parlux, told WWD in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. While the final licensing details are still being ironed out, Lekach isn’t wasting any time in working on his newest brand.
The 55-year-old Lekach admitted that his musician son had made the initial recommendation for the deal. “He’s attuned to popular culture and thought Paris would be perfect for us,” Lekach said. “He got me very excited about doing this deal. Paris has the right demographics for us, and she has both U.S. and international appeal.”
Lekach said that briefs are out with “all of the major fragrance houses,” but that the final contract has not yet been awarded. “We submitted our basic concepts under a code name, and will be reviewing them soon,” he said, noting that Hilton, who is currently in Australia filming a movie, is expected to be involved in the creation.
And he’s got big plans for the fragrance. Lekach said he hopes to launch the scent nearly simultaneously in department store distribution in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Mexico City by the end of this year, and then roll out to additional department store doors next year.
In the U.S., Lekach’s other fragrance licenses, which include Perry Ellis, Guess and Fred Hayman Beverly Hills, are distributed to such retailers as Macy’s, Proffitts, Robinsons-May and Bloomingdale’s. He declined to comment on specific department stores he is speaking with for this particular fragrance.
Lekach believes the scent will appear to a “wide group” of women. “Certainly, she has a great appeal among teenagers, but I think that most women admire her,” he said. “She is very fashionable, and always at the right events and parties. She is very charismatic.”
He intends to launch the fragrance first, then follow up with ancillary products. “We’re already pushing it to get a fragrance out this year, so we will start first with the scent,” he said. “But we believe this license has a lot of potential, so we will definitely follow up with more products.”
Hilton’s high public profile will definitely aid in promoting the scent, Lekach said. “We back all of our brands with strong advertising campaigns and plan to do print ads for this scent,” he said, adding that TV is under consideration, but that he isn’t yet positive it will be part of the final media plan. “But the beautiful thing about Paris is that she is so well known. She makes news wherever she goes. We also plan to hold major launch events when the fragrance is released.”
As reported last week, the socialite also will be appearing in Guess Inc.’s fall ad campaign. Hilton, who starred alongside Nicole Richie in this past winter’s reality series, “The Simple Life,” will appear in a second season of that series, set to premiere on June 16.
“I am very excited to be involved with Parlux Fragrances and am looking forward to working with their team on the creation of my new fragrance,” Hilton said in a statement released by Parlux. Hilton was not available for comment Tuesday, according to her spokeswoman.
“Working with celebrities is definitely a trend, and there is an advantage to working with stars,” said Lekach. “But it can’t just be any celebrity — it has to be someone very special. Consumers are wise, and they have many options. I believe Paris adds that special factor. And I think that it is a fun, celebratory brand. As a country, we need that.”