BOLOGNA, Italy — The Cosmoprof trade fair got an unaccustomed lift with a strong influx of marquee-name international retailers, ranging from executives at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Harvey Nichols in London, Tsum in Moscow, Mecca Cosmetica in Australia, La Rinascente in Milan and Le Bon Marché in Paris. Many attended the five-day exposition for the first time.
This was all part of a fresh start given to the 41-year-old fair by its new chief executive officer of Sogecos, Aureliana De Sanctis, who took on the role in January 2007 and began an overhaul of the Cosmoprof concept in November.
“There’s a new and positive energy at the fair,” she said, adding that first-day visitor numbers were up 53 percent year-on-year. “We were a trendsetter once and we want to become a trendsetter again.”
De Sanctis said she wants to make the fair a showcase for innovation and newness, and compete with the Tax Free World Association’s show in Cannes as a place for manufacturers to preview new products.
“Twenty years ago, everyone was showing newness here,” she said. “If we become a trendsetter, people will come.”
To jump-start that new positioning, Cosmoprof focused on offering a more fashion- and trend-oriented edge.
“Like a laboratory,” said De Sanctis, adding that the show’s raison d’être also is to offer retailers and manufacturers an opportunity to meet and speak face-to-face “on a human level.”
In another step toward dispelling the perception that Cosmoprof is an Italian-oriented affair, De Sanctis aims to convince “the mother house” of the brands — the home headquarters — to be present at the show, rather than leaving it up to their local offices.
New additions to the show this year included offbeat events such as Elastique Spa, a showcase for innovation in treatment and spa products, and Hats for Voyeurs, an exhibition of hats designed by milliner Stephen Jones styled by Anna Piaggi.
“It’s easier to see a trend emerge,” said Pat Saxby, general merchandise manager at Bergdorf Goodman.
Ed Burstell, vice president of cosmetics at Bergdorf’s, said he’d found 10 new resources and “we’ll probably do something with three or four of them.”Claudia Lucas, vice president of cosmetics at Henri Bendel in New York, said, “I wanted to see Italian brands. I noticed a lot coming out of Tuscany. I started to think if we did Tuscan beauty for the American market, they would totally get into it.”
Tracy Van Heusden, a buyer at Harvey Nichols, said the fragrance arm of fashion brand Etro was a standout at the show, which she was visiting to pinpoint a range of different brands. She also noted that the chain plans to initiate a new buying strategy, which will see Harvey Nichols editing more precisely the products it carries within brand portfolios. “Our fashion ranges are very targeted,” she said. “[Our beauty offer] has to follow through.”
Buyers pointed out that the show is an opportunity for face-to-face encounters with people who are often dealt with over the phone or via e-mail.
“It’s a very useful way to see a lot of people fast,” said Angela Creasy, general manager of cosmetics at Liberty in London.
Jo Horgan, founder of Mecca in Australia, agreed that the event was an efficient way to connect with a lot of people. “It’s like speed dating and buying,” she said.
“It’s the best way to do it,” said Christine Benson, cosmetics buyer at Selfridges in London, who attended with fragrances buyer Nicola Tompkins.
Brett Riddington, general manager of cosmetics for David Jones in Sydney, zeroed in on two main areas: high-performance scientific skin care and fragrance with the desire to build an artisanal perfumery business.
While the array of buyers injected energy and prestige, the show’s new focus is only a first step in its overhaul.
“It’s an interesting event,” said Debbie Beaumont-Howell, beauty buyer at the British-based House of Fraser, adding that the show’s layout and offer could benefit from tweaking. “It’s quite a challenging to have to put all of those beauty houses under one roof.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye