Paris Hilton

NEW YORK — The handbag industry has a sibling rivalry on its hands involving the sisters Hilton.<BR><BR>Parlux Fragrances said Friday it will produce a handbag collection and other small leather goods under license for Paris Hilton. Her sister,...

NEW YORK — The handbag industry has a sibling rivalry on its hands involving the sisters Hilton.

Parlux Fragrances said Friday it will produce a handbag collection and other small leather goods under license for Paris Hilton. Her sister, Nicky, also has a line of handbags through Japanese company Samantha Thavasa.

Parlux, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., already produces Hilton’s fragrance, cosmetics and watches. She also has a jewelry line with Amazon.com.

“She’s a very important person in American culture, if not the most important,” Ilia Lekach, Parlux chairman and chief executive officer, said on Friday without a hint of facetiousness. “People love to love her and love to hate her. She’s very controversial.

“When we launched the Paris Hilton fragrance [in September], I expected it to do about $20 million,” Lekach said. “[By year’s end] we were doing $50 million in wholesale sales, and we’re still rolling out. So I expect to be blown away with the handbags.”

Lekach said the accessories will be distributed in department stores to coincide with the distribution of Hilton’s watch line, which will retail from $50 to $200 in stores such as Macy’s.

Most everyone knows that Hilton is not a shopper in the moderate market. So Parlux is producing a $75,000 Paris Hilton watch replete with platinum, gold, diamonds and Swiss movement. The watch will be sold in independent jewelry stores and on the specialty store level, Lekach said.

Hilton will be closely involved in the design of all Paris Hilton accessories. Lekach said he is in discussions to launch two additional categories under the Paris Hilton name. He would not divulge which categories, but said they would be within the luxury sector and would not be shoes or apparel.

Parlux produces many fragrances for brands, including Perry Ellis, Guess, XOXO, Ocean Pacific and for tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick.

In addition to her fashion ventures, Hilton made her film debut in the teen thriller “House of Wax,” which hit theaters last week, and she has been recording songs for her first album.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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