By  on May 11, 2012

We’ve dubbed Ronald O. Perelman beauty’s most elusive mogul, because for the past 27 years, the number of times that he’s consented to sit for a wide-ranging, on-the-record interview can be counted on a single hand. But what was really significant about Perelman’s presence on Thursday, April 5, when he sat down with WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born, for an hour-long exclusive talk, wasn’t that he was there—it’s what he was wearing.

Perelman sported a white shirt, navy sweater and denim jeans by J. Crew and a jacket by Brunello Cucinelli, the luxe Italian sportswear manufacturer whose clothing costs in the thousands. That high-low mix perfectly encompasses Perelman’s vision for Revlon, the storied American mass market cosmetics company that has had its shares of ups and downs since Perelman acquired it in 1985. Revlon is currently up, coming off a 4.5 percent sales increase for 2011, and led by a dynamic management team who seem to have the chairman’s full confidence. Their mission now is to transform the brand into one that epitomizes affordable luxury, so that a woman would feel proud to pull a Revlon lipstick out of her Hermès bag—much the same way that Perelman himself effortlessly combines J. Crew and Cucinelli. For more on Perelman’s strategy for Revlon, his assessment of the current state of the cosmetics industry and why his life as a high-profile New York billionaire isn’t nearly as glamorous as the tabloids make out, turn to “Ronald Perelman’s Vision Quest.

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