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Nicole Richie Readies Fragrance Debut

The juice, she said, was inspired by the layered scents her mother wore when Nicole was a child.

Reality star, designer, author, mother — now Nicole Richie is adding “fragrance creator” to that list.

Due in September, the eponymous scent is being produced by TPR Holdings LLC; Richie noted that the scent came about via her fellow “Fashion Star” cast member, designer John Varvatos, who introduced her to TPR chief Brian Robinson.

The juice, Richie said, was inspired by the layered scents her mother wore when Nicole was a child, which she describes as a combination of oils and lotions. “I have a very traditional Southern mom — you never left the house without lotion,” said Richie during a phone interview with WWD. “Over her lotion went oil and perfume — she was very put together from head to toe. It wasn’t just a one-dimensional smell — there were many different layers.” She noted vanilla, amber and cashmere woods were among the notes she wanted to include in her own scent.

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Richie worked with Steve DeMercado of Fragrance Resources to put her juice together. It opens with notes of succulent blackberry and Seville orange, has a heart of golden amber, Moroccan rose, lily of the valley and papyrus, and a drydown of sensual cashmere woods, sandalwood, sugared patchouli and vanilla absolute.

Eaux de parfum in two sizes, 1.7 oz. for $55 and 3.4 oz. for $69, will be offered, as will a 6.7-oz. body lotion, $35, and a 6.7-oz. bath and shower gel, $28.

Richie created the Art Deco-inspired bottle with designer Dale Brandon Kan. The outer box combines Art Nouveau and vintage touches. “I wanted it to represent different layers of a woman, which is what I try to do with Winter Kate and House of Harlow 1960,” said Richie, speaking of her apparel and accessories lines, both named for her four-year-old daughter, Harlow Winter Kate Richie Madden. “I’m very particular in the way that I create. We’re in an interesting time right now where women aren’t just one thing — there are many different parts to a woman. So I wanted to create a very intricate bottle that was still elegant, but not so in-your-face girly at the same time.”

Richie also avoided an overall girly-girl image in the print advertising, which was shot by Anthony Mandler and will begin running in September fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. “I always shy away from anything that’s too girly, but I consider myself a feminine girl,” said Richie of the ad. “Anthony knows how to shoot something and make it be feminine and sexy, but not so in-your-face girly.” Of her collections, she notes: “It’s really about curating a world that I hope women will want to be a part of, and nothing brings that to life like a fragrance.”

The scent will be sold in about 2,000 department and specialty stores in the U.S., including Macy’s, Nordstrom and Dillard’s; international markets include the U.K. and Australia. Richie said she will be doing multiple personal appearances, including a Macy’s event. Sampling will include scent strips and vials on card. Outdoor ads are also planned in major markets. Social media is expected to play a major part in the campaign, as well. “It’s impossible to launch anything without the Internet at this point,” said Richie.

While Richie and Robinson declined to comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the scent would do upwards of $20 million at retail in its first year on counter.

Richie is said to be planning to launch a second pillar fragrance in August of next year, and a summer flanker for 2013. She is also working on her spring 2013 collection for Winter Kate and fall 2013 for House of Harlow 1960, along with a capsule collection for Macy’s called Nicole Richie for Impulse.

“With the clothes, spring is always big for me because I’m a print-heavy collection,” she said. “I’m developing my prints, creating things that focus on the natural elements around us — incorporating a lot of really cool wood in the shoes and the bags, distressed leathers, silk crepes, some beautiful silk chiffons and really cool original prints.”

Ultimately, said Richie, “this will be a lifestyle brand. I would love to get into home furnishings and flatware. But I tend to move slower than I’m often asked to — and the reason I do that is that I pretty much do everything myself. I am not going to throw my name on something that I’m not 100 percent in. When I launched my bags, we were originally going to launch them in the spring and I pushed it to the fall because I wasn’t ready and felt like my heart wasn’t in it.”

As far as next steps in beauty, Richie said she’d like to focus on hair. “I’m not great with makeup, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to do a makeup line at the moment, but hair is something where I know the world very well, and so I probably will be focusing on that sometime soon,” she said.