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.
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion