NEW YORK — The American Society of Perfumers held its annual symposium here Tuesday and Karyn Khoury, senior vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., received the organization's Living Legend award, while Ted Barba, vice president and senior perfumer at International Flavors & Fragrances, took home the Lifetime Achievement award.
The 53rd annual event drew about 430 people to the Waldorf-Astoria for a morning roundtable discussion and afternoon awards ceremony.
Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estée Lauder Cos., who introduced Khoury for her award, noted that he was standing in at the event for his wife, Evelyn. "I spend my life now as the traveling husband," he said with a smile, comparing himself to Prince Philip, walking "three feet behind Queen Elizabeth" with his head down. "That is my new role in life," said Lauder.
On a more serious note, Lauder said that of Khoury's 31 years in the beauty industry, 29 have been spent with the Estée Lauder Cos. He reminisced about the first time that Khoury, a "young woman in the Aramis division" met his mother, company founder Estée Lauder.
"'My son tells me you have a good nose,'" he recounted Estée Lauder saying. "'Smell this and tell me what you think.'"
Khoury replied, "I don't think it's very good."
"'You're hired,'" Estée Lauder told Khoury.
"She finally found someone who told her the truth," Leonard Lauder said of Estée Lauder's meeting with Khoury. "Tell it like it is and you'll succeed, and no one has succeeded like Karyn Khoury."
Upon accepting the Living Legend award, Khoury gave credit to the Estée Lauder Cos. and the perfumers she has worked with throughout her career.
"Other than the Lauder family," she said, "no one has had a bigger impact on my career than perfumers."
Barba, a 42-year veteran of the fragrance industry, joined IFF seven years ago. When he accepted the Lifetime Achievement award, he thanked IFF for "continually challenging me to raise the bar."The symposium's roundtable discussion featured Yves Calderone, director of innovations at Limited Brands Inc.'s Beauty Avenues unit; fragrance development consultant Doreen Bollhofer; Ruth Sutcliffe, senior director of international fragrance development at Coty Inc.; Trudi Loren, vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide at the Estée Lauder Cos.' Aramis and designer fragrances division; Maura L. Utley, vice president of marketing, creative services and product design at MVP Group International Inc., and Scott Frame, associate director of R&D flavor and fragrance development global capability organization at Procter & Gamble Co.
The six participants explored issues like creativity in the perfumery arena, allergen restrictions on fragrances and core lists. They agreed that factors impeding creativity include shorter timelines to develop and market scents as well as pricing pressure.
Still, there can be a balance between creativity and restrictions like price and time, according to Loren. "Somewhere in between, there is room [for perfumers] to be creative using materials [they] get the most value from in [their] creations."
The state of creativity is "stale," at the moment, Bollhofer contended. However, she added, perfumers can take a cue from fashion where trends like "formality and sophistication" have returned. If consumers are seeking these qualities in fashion, according to Bollhofer, "she'll seek this in fragrance."
On the topic of core lists, Loren said while Lauder includes a trio of firms on its list, there is opportunity for fragrance suppliers not on the list if they can provide "something you cannot get from anywhere else."
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