NEW YORK -- Retailers and manufacturers are hoping that a new era has begun in men's toiletries.
While men's fragrances, buoyed by a succession of strong introductions, continue to grow at a double-digit rate, the skin care category also seems ready to take off.
Strong sales of new items like Lift Off from Aramis and Turnaround Lotion from Clinique, both acid-based exfoliating moisturizers, and Ralph Lauren's Polo Sport, which includes the Water Basics line of skin care products, are evidence that men may be shedding their traditional resistance to treatment.
According to Bob Wiser, divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics and accessories at Gottschalks in California, the men's fragrance business is as good as ever.
"Last year we were up in the teens, and this year has been even stronger," he said. "As of February, we were up in sales 29 percent.
"Lift Off is very exciting, because it's the first time we've seen an individual treatment product really take off in the men's category," Wiser added. "We've had such success with Lift Off that I believe the customer is now ready for another infusion of treatment products."
Rita Burke, senior vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Macy's East, said fragrances and skin care are still generating momentum.
"Men's fragrance sales continued to exceed plan, both in the first three months of 1994 and at the end of 1993," she said. "In comparison to women's, men's fragrance is stronger.
"The power launches seem to be coming from the men's category," she continued, noting that Calvin Klein's Escape for Men, Lancaster's Zino Davidoff and Polo Sport have all cracked the top 10. "Women's had many launches in the second half of '93. Only a couple of them really made it to the top 10."
In addition to solid fragrance launches, Macy's has enjoyed a boom in men's treatment, in the form of Polo Sport, Lift Off and Turnaround Lotion.
"Lift Off came out of nowhere and is performing unbelievably well," Burke said. "Initial sales results have surprised us all."
She added that Turnaround Lotion, which had just arrived on counter, was selling about as well as Lift Off and Macy's was trying to highlight the products in-store.With Lift Off apparently off to a strong start, WWD sent reporters to stores across the country to investigate how Aramis is marketing the product to men. Their reports are collected in the At the Counter section, which begins on page 34.
Also included, starting on page 22, is a sampling of the gifts that will be available for Father's Day, a holiday that is still immensely important to the men's business.
“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