August means the publication of the WWD Beauty Inc Top 100, our annual globing ranking of the world’s biggest beauty manufacturers. This year’s list makes one thing clear, at least for the majority of firms who made the cut: Happy days are here again. After two years of being pummeled by the effects of the worldwide recession, sales of beauty products rebounded in 2010. Combined, the top 100 firms had sales of $176.18 billion for the calendar year, a 25.1 percent increase versus 2009. While the jump can in some ways be attributed to exchange rate fluctuations, beauty is without a doubt coming back. Last year for example, only one company in the top 10 (#3, Unilever) posted a sales increase; conversely, this year, only one posted a decline (#8, the Tokyo-based Kao Group.) Also notable in the top 10: Shiseido moved from sixth to fifth, bumping Avon down one spot to number six, and L’Oréal, Unilever, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and Chanel all posted double-digit increases for the year. Beauty’s Top 100 is a truly mammoth undertaking, overseen by our European beauty editor Jennifer Weil. As you’ll see, there are many fascinating facts to be gleaned from this year’s edition.
At the top of the list lies L’Oréal, the $25 billion beauty behemoth that has held the number-one spot for over 15 years. Lindsay Owen-Jones, who ran the company from 1984 to 2006, is the man largely credited for propelling L’Oréal to that position. Jean-Paul Agon, who took over as chief executive officer in 2006 and added the title of chairman in March, is the man charged with keeping it there. Owen-Jones is one of the chief architects of the globalization of the modern-day beauty industry. Today, Agon has expanded on that idea with his doctrine of universalization—beauty for all. “I want to express a new concept, which goes beyond globalization,” said Agon, during an in-depth interview with WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born. “In order to conquer and loyalize all these consumers around the world, the idea is to build from the [international] brands that we have....The second step is to make sure that these brands have products that are completely specifically designed, formulated and adapted to the needs and demands of the local consumers.” Discover the details of Agon’s vision in “Universal Designs."
Alan Ennis, the president and chief executive officer of Revlon (#27, with sales of $1.32 billion, up 2 percent versus 2009) also has a very clear strategy for reestablishing the vibrancy of the storied American beauty brand that has been burdened with huge debts. “The objective is to drive profitable growth. That’s a change in direction from where we were five years ago,” he tells WWD’s beauty financial editor, Molly Prior, in “Master Class." Ennis has implemented a slew of changes to achieve his goals, in product development, in marketing and communications, in global initiatives. But he also admits to a somewhat unorthodox approach. “My Irish heritage lends to a somewhat humorous style,” he says. “Regularly in meetings, I’ll crack a joke here and there to lighten the mood. If you’re not having fun, it’s a waste of time.” If Ennis can keep delivering the results that he’s achieved thus far, one can only assume that for Revlon, as for the industry itself, good times lie ahead.
“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