By  on March 2, 2005

MILAN — With a brand new face and more space, this year’s edition of Cosmoprof also will say goodbye to some big names and its most well-known meeting ground.

Gone is famous pavilion 36 — once home to the world’s biggest beauty brands toting their latest launches. In its place will be pavilions 16 and 18, which will be spread out over two levels that the organizers have dubbed “The Beauty Landscape.” It will feature beauty, gift and accessories companies.

Also gone are some of Cosmoprof and the beauty industry’s key names: Estée Lauder, Euroitalia and Diego Dalla Palma are among those that chose not to have a presence this year. Reports are circulating that Christian Dior also is pulling out, but an executive could not be reached for comment. This follows a move made years ago by L’Oréal, when the French beauty giant pulled many of its prestige brands out of the fair, while remaining present at the show with its hair businesses.

Some industry executives were quick to blame the missing exhibitors as a sign of the struggling times for the beauty industry, as well as a lack of international focus of the fair. Others maintained that the decision to pull out was purely based on company strategy.

Laura Zaccagnini, general director of Sogecos, which organizes Cosmoprof, said when the company was planning Cosmoprof’s new layout last April it was already aware that some companies would not be present in the 2005 edition, which will take place April 1 to 4.

“We are not concerned that some of the big brands won’t be joining us in April,” said Zaccagnini. “We know that some companies are looking at different strategies. It’s just reflecting what is going on in the market.”

Euroitalia, once a big exhibitor in pavilion 36, will be staying at its home offices in Milan next month to work on organizing its infrastructure.

“At this moment, we have to remain focused on the management and organization of our company — we have just acquired another license [Versace Profumi],” said a spokeswoman for Euroitalia. “The reason we will not be present is absolutely not because Cosmoprof has changed — that is just nasty industry gossip. And that doesn’t mean to say we won’t be exhibiting there in 2006,” she added.The Estée Lauder Cos.’s managing director for Italy, Orna Schezen Nofarber, said while Lauder had chosen not to exhibit at this year’s Cosmoprof, she nevertheless would be attending.

“The whole selective segment of Cosmoprof will change as well as its position and focus,” said Nofarber. “In the past, we have used the Cosmoprof space in a fantastic way — for the last two editions, we turned it into an interactive space for clients. As a prestige brand we now meet our customers elsewhere.”

Recently restyled Italian makeup brand Diego Dalla Palma won’t be present at Cosmoprof next month, either. The Milan-based company has instead decided to invest its money — which industry sources peg at 250,000 euros, or $331,472 at current exchange rates — into a new marketing strategy of sending a team of 15 makeup artists around the world to teach customers makeup skills.

“We have decided not to exhibit at Cosmoprof this year because we want to invest that capital into our Italian sales points and our strategy of starting signature makeup schools throughout the country,” said Grazia Zuccarini, brand manager of Diego Dalla Palma. “Diego Dalla Palma is a company that needs to be communicated in another way,” Zuccarini added. “We want to maintain our presence at [the] Cannes [duty-free show] because we feel it is more international.”

Though the absent exhibitors are expected to have an impact on this year’s lineup, some remained positive that Cosmoprof would benefit from the new, exhibition-style focus.

“For us, Cosmoprof is so important for communicating our products and contacting our clients,” said Monica Masini, creative director of Saledo. “We are really excited to be able to do that in the new pavilions.”

The exhibition space for perfumery, cosmetics and accessories has been positioned on the left side of the Bologna Fairgrounds with its own entrance alongside Cosmopack — the pavilion dedicated to cosmetics packaging companies.

A relocation of 2,000 companies also marks a 10,499-square-foot space increase in the beauty and fragrance retail exhibitor area, which will include a new niche product retailer room called Masterpieces. Newly built walkways connecting the beauty and fragrance retail areas bypass the professional hair care and salon pavilions.

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