Cosmetic Executive Women kicked off its 2008 Series of speaker presentations Wednesday night at the Harmonie Club in Manhattan, an event that was highlighted by the personal insights of Thia Breen, president of Estée Lauder Worldwide, who shared her experiences of climbing the ranks to becoming one of the beauty industry’s top executives.
Breen started working in retail in first grade, arranging penny candies at her parents’ drugstore in Minnesota. By fifth grade, she was promoted to her first beauty gig as a Bonnie Bell buyer.
But Breen said she felt that early on her career was poorly managed. One of her biggest disappointments was finding out that she was being let go at her first job as a ready-to-wear buyer at Dayton’s. However, getting laid off was one of the best things that could have happened to her since it brought Breen into the beauty business, a business she believed she was destined for.
“I remember them telling me that there was one opening in cosmetics and I thought to myself there would be these packs of women together who were all putting on makeup behind the counters together,” said Breen, who later became one of the first national sales managers at Dayton’s.
Breen, pointing to the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s succession plan that calls for Fabrizio Freda to become chief executive officer within 24 months, said the firm is excited by the prospect. “He has a tremendous background coming from Procter & Gamble and a stint at Gucci, so he really has an understanding of the luxury market,” she said.
Breen, who oversees 135 global markets, added that a big focus for the company now is exploring new global opportunities in emerging markets for the company like Russia, China and India, and developing ones like Australia and France.
“We’re a domestic brand with tremendous market share and we’re moving to be more of a global brand,” said Breen. “Our home business is steeped in department and specialty store doors so we have to make a shift in terms of emerging and developing markets, since we have to be regionally relevant around the world. We’re trying to think more globally and this requires a whole different structure.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)