Coty Courts 'Housewives' and Kose

Is there a whiff of Wisteria in the air? Certainly if it's up to Coty Inc.

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NEW YORK — Is there a whiff of Wisteria in the air? Certainly if it's up to Coty Inc.

The beauty company has signed a license for a "Desperate Housewives" fragrance with Touchstone Television, which produces the hit TV show. The scent, which is expected to hit department stores this fall, will be based on the fictional denizens of TV's Wisteria Lane and is part of Coty chief executive officer Bernd Beetz's drive to build a dominant player in the global fragrance business.

The deal confirms a WWD report first published on July 27.

While Beetz has built a U.S. fragrance empire over the last four years by signing celebrities — Coty's star-studded stable currently includes Jennifer Lopez, Kimora Lee Simmons, Sarah Jessica Parker, Celine Dion and David and Victoria Beckham — the latest license marks the first time Coty has partnered with a studio rather than with individual stars.

"A deal like this gives us a platform — not only for a celebrity license, but for a lifestyle brand," said Beetz, calling the show "a phenomenon which has reached not only all over the U.S., but internationally as well. This type of deal is a new frontier." And it's one, he hinted, that could lead to additional partnerships with studios.

In the past, Beetz has conceded that the lifecycles of celebrity brands fluctuate; last June, he noted that the company's blockbuster Glow by JLo scent — the first fragrance from Jennifer Lopez and one that is widely credited with kicking off the current craze for celebrity fragrances — was no longer doing the $100 million in global sales that it had done in its first year, but that it "has generated the launches of other products."

Is he worried about hitching his fortunes to the vagaries of a TV show, even one as popular as "Desperate Housewives"? The short answer: No.

"It's a phenomenon," Beetz said of the show. "The ‘Desperate Housewives' zeitgeist continues to gain momentum."

The celebrity business is one of the three components of Beetz's formula for making Coty the world's preeminent fragrance firm. The two other major pillars are designer — such as the recently acquired Calvin Klein brand, which produced a Christmas bestseller in Euphoria — and lifestyle, with brands such as Davidoff.

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