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Usher, fashion icons sniff out fragrance market

R&B singer Usher isn't the only boldfaced name at the fragrance counter this season, although the pace of celebrity scents seems to be slowing. Instead, many new launches come from familiar fashion houses, including Michael Kors and Jil Sander.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Usher tapped into the same emotions he uses to court women with his music in creating a perfume for the opposite sex.

"The power of attraction is where it all starts. It has to be inviting, something that's lighter in the day and still make him come closer in the evening," he says. "It has to be delicious."

Usher's UR for Women joins a companion men's fragrance that Usher describes as woody and creamy. He says he's wearing it every day as sort of a one-man focus group. But he also carries a bottle of UR for Women in his pocket and will offer a sample to anyone who is close enough.

With a full year behind him in the fragrance business, Usher says he's always scouting new scents, whether he's traveling around the world or in his own backyard. Key notes in UR are jasmine, peach nectar — "That's a tribute to my humble beginnings in Atlanta," Usher says — as well as honeysuckle, which is another popular Southern smell.

Usher isn't the only boldfaced name at the fragrance counter this season, although the pace of celebrity scents seems to be slowing. Instead, many new launches come from familiar fashion houses:

Michael Kors Very PrettyA scent inspired by the "camera candy" of old-school, Hitchcock-era Hollywood starlets. Citrus garden, white florals and sandalwood.

Dolce & Gabbana L'eau the OneThis is an eau de toilette — fruitier than the original warm oriental floral perfume. Bergamot, plum and moss.

Secret Obsession by Calvin Klein
Like all Calvin Klein fragrances, the intention is to be sultry and provocative but the company even uses the word "uncomfortable" in its description, saying it encourages "the mind to wander to a forbidden place." Plum, Egyptian jasmine, burnt amber.

Jeanne LanvinDesigner Alber Elbaz pays tribute to the house's late founder with joyful, fruity fragrance that strives for modern femininity. Blackberry, raspberry and freesia.

B de Boucheron
Borrowing from the world of fine jewels, the woody floral scent developed as an inverted pyramid with base notes first and top notes last. Pink and black pepper, osmanthus, sandalwood.

Elle Yves Saint Laurent IntenseA perfume to be worn on a night on the town, the bottle of Intense is fashioned after a tuxedo but with fuchsia-colored glass. Raspberry, litchi, jasmine.

Kapsule by Karl LagerfeldLagerfeld puts together a fragrance collection that he hopes will go anywhere like indispensable items of clothes — a jacket, jeans and a shirt. Light: bitter orange, jasmine and musk; Floriental: ivy leaves, violet and black tea leaves; and Woody: cedar, moss, plum.

Tuscan Soul by Salvatore Ferragamo
Developed as a fragrance that captures the "enchantment and aristocratic sweetness" of Tuscany, women and men can wear this citrus, woody floral. Bergamot, magnolia blossom, fig tree.

Jil Sander Scent 79A strong, rich fragrance based on the retro chypre combinations — a rich smell including amber and citrus and a mossy, woodsy base. Sander's emphasizes floral and amber. Cranberry, iris, white leathers.

Ralph Lauren Notorious
Lauren puts sparkling spicy Orientals into a retro film noir backdrop for the designer's vision of glamour from Hollywood's golden era. Black currant, chocolate cosmo flowers and patchouli musk.

Armani Prive Oranger AlhambraArmani Prive Oranger Alhambra is an homage to the beauty of nature in the Persian gardens in Andalusia, Spain. Citrus, rosemary and jasmine.

Vera Wang LookOne of Wang's fashion signatures is layering and she does that with seemingly disparate fragrance notes that come together as one. Mandarin, freesia, skin musk.

Legacy by CoachThis scent uses a top of citrus notes to create an aura of youthfulness that's not too young and sophistication that's not too subtle. Mandarin zest, orange flower and honeysuckle.

L'Eau d'Issey Kuramata
Issey Miyake puts his admiration of late architect Shiro Kuramata in a bottle that tries to appear invisible using an ultra-transparent glass. Lotus, lily and woods.

Lalique AmethystFlacons are key for Lalique, and the Amethyst bottle is wrapped in the motif of blackberry bramble. Blackberry, black currant and ylang ylang.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang YlangAerin Lauder's collection is inspired by her grandmother, Estee, and this particular fragrance is housed in a bottle that mimics a particular gold necklace that Aerin inherited. Amber, ylang ylang, sandalwood.

Bond Girl 007This scent by Avon envisions a Bond girl as a bombshell that exudes confidence and sex appeal. White peach, calypso orchid, cashmere wood.

Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue by Bond No. 9The third in a series of Warhol-inspired perfumes, Lexington Avenue puts his early, pre-Pop years in a bottle thanks to the chypre fragrance. Peony, fennel and creme brulee.

Azzaro CoutureDesigner Vanessa Seward reinvented the label's very first fragrance. Mimosa, Italian Iris, Rose de Mai.

Jean Paul Gaultier Ma DameGaultier doesn't shy away from boldness and he doesn't think his fans should either. His newest fragrance for them is a colorful floral. Rose velvet, grenadine, cedar.

Dream Angels Wish by Victoria's Secret
This is the bright addition to the successful Dream Angels collection. Pink peppercorn, papaya flower, vanilla cream.

Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes
This set of four fragrances — amber, myrrh, frankincense and musk — can be worn individually or layered together, leading to something unexpected at each application.

David Yurman
The first perfume from the top jeweler is a linear fragrance that taps into Yurman's image of exotic glamour. The bottle looks like gold melted into crystal. Peony, rose otto and patchouli.

Jo Malone Sweet Lime & CedarThe inspiration is Thai cooking, in which flowers, leaves, herbs and fruit come together in an exotic harmony. Kaffir lie, coconut, tamarind.

Banana Republic ClassicTo celebrate its 30 years as a brand, Banana Republic updated its first fragrance to make it more sensual and feminine than the citrus-heavy original. Grapefruit zest, lavender, teak wood.

Prelude to Love: Invitation by KilianThis is supposed to be like a memory of a first encounter — familiar while also invigorating. Crimson blossom, bergamot, ginger.

Island Night by India HicksIn her partnership with Crabtree & Evelyn, Hicks set out to recreate an island night in the Caribbean. Orchid, green island palms and woody musk.

Wink, Squeeze and Beachy by Lilly PulitzerThis 50-year-old label embodies Palm Beach style — and so does its first three fragrances. Wink: pear nectar, pink freesia and violets. Squeeze: lychee, grapefruit, rose petals. Beachy: watermelon, marine air and vanilla.

Absolutely Irresistible GivenchyThere's a bit of sweetness and a bit of spice in this perfume, all in an attempt to capture the sparkle of jasmine. It's one of the favorite flowers of spokesmodel Liv Tyler. Red berry, red pepper, jasmine.