Ask Perry Ellis why he's introducing a fragrance just now and his response is as easy and uncomplicated as his clothes. "It is something a designer earns," said Ellis this week. "You create ready-to-wear collections and eventually you are at a place where you can devote the time it takes to do a fragrance. That's when you deserve a fragrance."
Ellis, who is three weeks away from presenting his fall collection for women, worked on fragrances (and the bottles) for men and women for more than two years. "We developed the two fragrances together, just like we create our clothes," said Ellis.
He began developing the smells by listing the flowers he has loved since childhood -- honeysuckle, for starters. With the help of a few close friends, he "orchestrated the mix," as he called it, until he came up with the right combinations. "When I hit it I made a slight correction, and said: 'That's it, no more.' " It was past deadline, but he knew the fragrances and the handsome pinch bottles were right.
He feels the same way about his new collection for fall. But all he would reveal is that the clothes are broad-shouldered, fitted and short. "The fabrics are softer, the armholes deeper, and the colors stronger and richer than before."
Ellis has a lower-price collection for Levi's called Perry Ellis America, his ready-to-wear for men and women, and is now coming up with a collection for Jockey underwear and a line of men's shoes and shirts. In spite of his delight with his new daughter, Tyler Alexandra, he has no plans for a kids' line. "I tried it once and it didn't work; it was all too expensive," said Ellis. "Now, if I could create a fragrance that had the lovely smell of a baby . . ."