A funeral service will be held today at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan for Paul Woolard, former president of Revlon Beauty Group, who died Thursday. He was 89.
Woolard served in World War II as an Army Air Corps pilot — flying a B-29 bomber in the South Pacific — and obtained a degree in English literature at Columbia College before beginning his career in the beauty world. After a stint at Prince Matchabelli, Woolard moved to Revlon in the Fifties, according to the company. He worked closely with Revlon’s legendary chairman and founder Charles Revson and eventually became president of the company’s U.S. fragrance and cosmetics division. At the time of his retirement in April 1986, Woolard was a senior executive vice president of Revlon Beauty and a member of the board. Upon leaving Revlon, he became even more involved in philanthropic endeavors in New York City.
Woolard — known for his big shock of white hair and smooth charisma — helped build the modern-day fragrance industry with introductions such as Norell by Norman Norell (billed as the first American designer scent), Ciara, Cerissa, Charlie and Jontue, said industry expert Allan Mottus. “By 1975, at Charles’ death, Revlon had revolutionized the fragrance industry, particularly with Charlie, the first lifestyle fragrance that was an international success,” said Mottus. “Revson was a legend on Madison Avenue and on Wall Street. To work in an atmosphere like that you had to be pretty fearless.”
In the late Sixties, Woolard worked to fortify Revlon’s positioning in department stores, introducing brands like Ultima II, pointed out Mottus.
“He was a master of marketing techniques,” said Annette Green, president emeritus of the Fragrance Foundation. “He was at the knee of Revson and was a fast learner, to say the least. He was a man who stood out for his acumen,” Green added. “[Woolard] was very dramatic: dramatic-looking and dramatic-acting. He was one of the entrepreneurial types that we don’t see anymore.”
After leaving Revlon, Woolard worked with the Inner City Scholarship Fund, a charity run by the Archdiocese of New York to provide scholarships to Catholic schools for needy elementary through high school students of all faiths.
Woolard is survived by his wife, Ruth Farley Woolard; his children, Richard Woolard, Kevin Woolard, Moira Thiele and Elizabeth van Merkensteijn, and their spouses; 13 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Inner City Scholarship Fund.
“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