Gabrielle Reece is making Davidoff’s Cool Water fragrance franchise a family affair, while creating a splash with ads for the brand’s newest scent, Cool Water Wave Woman.
Reece, the statuesque model, writer, actress and beach volleyball athlete, joins her husband — famed surfer and Cool Water Man spokesperson Laird Hamilton — in representing the Coty-owned fragrance brand in the U.S.
Reece’s first print ads will break in May fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines.
“This deal was sort of like getting fixed up by Laird,” said Reece with a laugh before an event for the fragrance Tuesday evening. The couple divides their time between Maui and Southern California. “But I love the fragrance, or I wouldn’t have agreed to represent it. I try not to do too much stuff — it’s not like you’re a race car, where you have a lot of space [for advertising.]” Named in 1993 Nike’s first female cross-training spokesperson — a role she held until 1999 — Reece said she was enjoying a trip to the “pretty side.”
“I haven’t done too much around beauty — it’s fun for me,” she said.
The Cool Water Wave ad, shot by Phil Poynter on the Greek island of Mykonos, features Reece waist-deep in the water wearing a white shirt — suggesting a woman who has just taken a dip for the heck of it. “I was there for maybe one day, and it was the first time I was away from my daughter [Reece Viola Hamilton, born in October 2003],” remembered Reece. The secret to Reece’s natural look in the shot? “Concealer and retouching!” she said.
Coty worked with Takasago, which formulated the original Cool Water men’s and women’s scents, to devise Cool Water Wave, which will be launched in May in some 2,200 U.S. department store doors. Top notes are of watermelon, mango, passion fruit and guava; the heart is of pink peppercorn, freesia and peony, and the drydown is of sandalwood, iris wood, amber and musk. Two sizes of eau de toilette spray will be offered: a 1.7-oz. size for $49 and a 3.4-oz. size for $59. A 6.7-oz. body lotion, $30, will also be available.
“Our objective was to maintain the freshness of the original scent, but to do so in an approachable way,” said Dennis Keogh, senior vice president of U.S. marketing for Coty Prestige. “Gabby has such a diverse career and she has a great appeal to a wide variety of consumers. She’s a perfect match for the brand.” While Keogh declined to comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Cool Water Wave Woman could do $18 million to $20 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter. Both the original Davidoff Cool Water Man, launched in 1991, and Cool Water Woman, launched in 1996, continue to rank in the top 20, sometimes higher, in the U.S.
Now that mom and dad have their own Cool Water scents, could three-year-old Reece follow suit? Absolutely not, says her mother.
“She won’t be modeling,” Reece said firmly. “It’s already kind of strange that she’s aware of this job. And I think it can really mess with your mind. If she’s 16 or 17 and has the personality to handle it, she can dabble. But if she seemed affected in any way, no. I didn’t start modeling until college. I had done one year of university [Florida State] and one year of athletics before I started modeling, and so I think I looked at it very much like a business. Which it is, but it can be hard to see that when you’re younger. I loved modeling, but once I could make a living from sports, I got out of there.”
And young Reece will not be getting heavy pressure to pursue either of her parents’ sports. “We’re going to expose her to sports, and she can let us know [if she’s interested]. Laird and I, no one pushed us. We’re in it for the real love of the sport.”
Speaking of love, Reece is passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles. For the last year, she has written for yahoohealth.com, and she also runs her own Web site, gotogabby.com. “Gotogabby.com has health and fitness, training, sports-specific training and style,” she said. “It’s an integrated approach. If you’re eating well but you’re not working out, that’s a problem. If you’re working out and not eating, that’s a problem. [The site is meant to] encourage and introduce all of the things available, and help people find their way.”
Reece is also considering a return to professional athletics, a pursuit put on hold after her daughter was born. “We’re looking at doing something different with the sport [beach volleyball],” she said, adding that a deal is in the proposal stages. “If all works out, I will be returning to 4-on-4 beach volleyball this summer — with girls literally 15 years younger than myself. When they start saying, ‘Oh, I was born in 1980,’ I’m like, ‘Whatever!’ I have to be prepared, whether it ends up working out or not, so I’ve been back in training so I don’t get caught with my skirt up, if you will. What’s great, seriously, is remembering that [volleyball] is fun, that it’s a game.”
Although her 6-foot, 3-inch frame can carry off just about anything, Reece — clad at the event in a simple black jersey Graham & Spencer dress — said her primary goal, most of the time, is comfort. “This dress is super comfortable, but functional,” she said. “Nothing’s going to fall out when I walk!” In fact, Reece is so low-maintenance about her wardrobe that she left her garment bag on the plane after she and her family arrived in New York. “We got to the hotel, and I was hanging everyone’s stuff up and realized that we’d left my garment bag on the plane,” she said. “At the airport, I was like, ‘Reece, follow your dad.’ I was focused on that — the fact I didn’t have the bag didn’t even faze me.”