As we were putting together this, our first fragrance issue, I asked Ron Robinson, the founder of BeautyStat.com, to canvas his members and ask them what drives their fragrance purchases. While some talked about buying into the gestalt of a specific brand or celebrity and others talked about the appeal of the bottle, most of the answers centered around the emotional appeal of scent. “What makes me buy a fragrance is, of course, how it smells, but more so how it makes me feel,” said Carol H. “I feel better about myself when I smell good. I love trying new fragrances and it’s a pick-me-up, especially if I’m not having a good day,” wrote Dana K. A contributor named MJ wrote: “To me, fragrances are very evocative of specific times and places, even people. I like to get a new fragrance to embody an event or time of my life. Whenever I smell that scent, I’m transported in time to the special moment.”
No one is better at creating compelling stories around fragrance franchises than this issue’s cover subject, Coty chief executive officer Bernd Beetz. Over the past decade, he has transformed Coty into a fragrance powerhouse by creating a three-pronged strategy consisting of celebrity, designer and lifestyle brands. Now Beetz has set his sights on dominating in skin care and makeup as well, with the goal of becoming a top-five beauty company by 2015. As Molly Prior reports in “The Player” on page 38, those who know the ubercompetitive executive say he is more than up to the challenge. To those companies already in the top five, including Beetz’s friend and tennis partner, Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. chief executive officer Fabrizio Freda: Consider yourself warned!
No one knows better than Beetz the challenges of the U.S. fragrance market, but as Pete Born writes in “The Age of Ambivalence” on page 30, the picture is growing rosier. A year of strong launches has helped propel sales to almost prerecession levels. Now, the question is whether marketers can reestablish the category’s relevance with a generation of young consumers who aren’t predisposed toward wearing scent.
Holding equal amounts of promise and challenge is Brazil. On the one side, you have a fast-growing middle-class population with an inherent affinity for beauty, particularly scent. On the other, you have punishingly high duties, an underdeveloped infrastructure and retail network and an extraordinarily competitive local landscape, as I discovered while reporting “The Power Within” on page 34. Find out what the future holds for international brands eager to make inroads in this developing nation.
What is a fragrance issue without an ode to the FiFi’s? As the Fragrance Foundation’s annual awards head back to Lincoln Center on May 22, we present our first insider’s guide to the event. Curious about what some of beauty’s most stylish executives are planning on wearing? Eager to plot the easiest route for your driver? Wondering what the industry’s favorite wordsmith, Procter & Gamble’s Don Loftus, might advise when it comes to making acceptance speeches? You’ll fi nd all of that and much more starting on page 18. Just as the best fragrances aim to transport, so, too, do we with each issue of WWD Beauty Inc. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how we’re doing.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast