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Sephora Goes Dutch… Fergie Joins MAC Viva Glam Campaign…

Sephora is entering the Netherlands. The LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery chain signed an agreement on Jan. 26 to open shops-in-shops in...

PARIS — Sephora is entering the Netherlands.

The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery chain signed an agreement on Jan. 26 to open shops-in-shops in Dutch department store Vroom & Dreesmann’s 25 top doors.

The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, includes Vroom & Dreesmann’s cosmetics departments becoming Sephora-branded spaces carrying the perfumery’s private label products and exclusive brands, as well as labels typically found in the Netherlands’ selective perfumery channel. The agreement doesn’t preclude Sephora opening its own freestanding stores in the Netherlands.

The first Sephora shops-in-shops, to be opened through a newly created, 100 percent-owned subsidiary, will bow in Utrecht and in Rotterdam this June. Six other locations are to open by yearend and the rest by 2009.

The new Sephora spaces will range from 2,155 square feet to 3,985 square feet in a market whose selective beauty channel is expected to generate 680 million euros, or $1 billion at current exchange, this year.

This latest Sephora news follows rumors in late January that the perfumery chain was in talks with the U.K.’s Marks & Spencer to open Sephora shops-in-shops. (Both retailers, at the time, declined to comment on the speculation.)

In the U.S., Sephora struck a deal in 2006 with J.C. Penney to open branded Sephora shops in its department stores. Those spaces carry brands such as Benefit, Bare Escentuals and N.V. Perricone, as well as Sephora’s private label products.
— Ellen Groves

Fergie Joins MAC Viva Glam Campaign

Stacy Ferguson — aka “The Dutchess” and “Fergie” — is about to add cosmetics to her résumé: she is the latest celebrity to promote MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam campaign.

“I have been a fan of Viva Glam for a long time — I have been following the campaign for years and I think it’s a great outreach,” said Ferguson in a phone interview from Australia, where she has been opening for the Police. “I have friends that are proud of being careless, that haven’t been infected or who have been and aren’t bothered by it. I want to educate people.” She also likes that Viva Glam ads are never your typical cosmetics shots: “MAC picks people like RuPaul, Mary J. Blige — people that are a little controversial and aren’t afraid to speak their minds,” she said. “I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

“Fergie embodies the spirit of Viva Glam,” said John Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. and the chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund, which has raised more than $100 million to date for HIV/AIDS research and outreach. “She has a deep interest in the cause, and she connects totally with the people we are trying to reach with this campaign.” And evidently, she also has a competitive streak: “One of the first questions Fergie asked was how she could raise more money than [former spokesperson] Pam Anderson,” said Demsey with a laugh.

“Fergie is one of the most relevant and high-profile celebrities out there,” added James Gager, senior vice president and creative director of MAC Cosmetics worldwide. “She is the perfect voice to resonate with youth and raise awareness, based on her own personal experiences [Ferguson has been open about beating an addiction to crystal meth].”

The Dutchess’ youth connection is particularly important, as the campaign — for the first time — is targeted to teens and young adults. “I think it’s important to realize that half of all new HIV infections each year are in men and women 25 and younger,” said Ferguson. “That is such a sobering statistic. We need to hit them earlier with new information and more awareness campaigns.” To drive that point home even further, Ferguson is scheduled to attend a 10th-grade sex education class today at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan. “The 10th-graders have an HIV prevention class — I’m really excited to get into class,” said Ferguson. “I’m going to check out what they’re wearing, too.”

Speaking of wearing things, the jeweled and chain-adorned corset Ferguson wears in the ad — created by Philippe and David Blond — had issues of its own. “The dress was one of a kind and super heavy, with the chains and the crystals,” said Ferguson. “It took like four people to get it on me — but it is so striking and beautiful.”

The ads, which will break in May, will appear in North American fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. The campaign was shot by Michael Thompson, with makeup by Charlotte Tilbury, hair by Serge Normant and styling by Patti Wilson.

A special edition Viva Glam VI Lipglass — a soft pink-tinged rose mauve front — was created with Ferguson. The $14 lip product will go on sale in March at all MAC locations. “I went through about 10 shades before deciding on this one,” said Ferguson. “It is a pink-tinged mauve that’s very soft and will look good on a lot of different skin tones — it’s the universal easy color to wear.”

To further appeal to the demographic, Ferguson has even whipped up a song to celebrate her involvement in the campaign. “We remixed my song ‘Glamorous’ as ‘Viva Glamorous,'” she said. “It’s a new house dance remix with new raps and new vocals and harmonies. It works perfectly for the campaign. It’s going to be played in MAC stores, too.”

Ferguson is also up for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” a cut from her first solo album, “The Dutchess.” The Grammys will be held Feb. 10.

“I’m excited about my Grammy nomination,” she said. “This year, I’m going to get back in the studio. But I’m not in a rush. I have been on tour for such a long time, and I want to get back home and spend time with my fiancé and get inspired. I did ‘The Dutchess’ over a seven-year period. It’s important for me to take my time. I want to be proud of it, not rush it.”

And she’s got a news flash for those weeklies that prematurely predict pregnancy for every celebrity of childbearing age: “I don’t have one in the oven!” Ferguson said with a laugh.
— Julie Naughton

Parlux Net Sinks

NEW YORK — Parlux Fragrances Inc., the licensee for Paris Hilton, Guess, Jessica Simpson and Nicole Miller fragrances, posted third-quarter profits of $182,681, or a penny a diluted share, a 99 percent drop from $17.9 million, or 98 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

The decrease was largely due to the late-2006 sale of Perry Ellis fragrances, a business that contributed $23.4 million to earnings in the third quarter of 2006. Earnings from continuing operations for the quarter ended Dec. 31 came in at $178,962, or a penny a share, up from a loss of $5.5 million, or 30 cents a share, a year ago.

The firm’s third-quarter sales increased by 17.9 percent to $35.1 million, from $29.7 million a year ago, on “strong sales increases” within the Hilton and Guess businesses, the firm’s “core,” brands, Neil Katz, chairman and chief executive officer, stated Monday. Parlux also produces fragrances for XOXO, Ocean Pacific, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Baby Gund and Fred Hayman.

Nine-month profits were $2.1 million, or 10 cents a share, a decline of 71.7 percent from $7.5 million, or 41 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenues reached $65.5 million, a 0.2 percent rise from $65.4 million a year ago.
— Matthew W. Evans