NEW YORK — MAC has long been devoted to raising funds and awareness for AIDS research —?and the company’s president, John Demsey, spent Monday supporting the cause.

The day started off with a breakfast at Gracie Mansion with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a number of AIDS activists. “I can always tell the enthusiasm for a cause by how long it takes for the crowd to quiet down,” Bloomberg quipped after tapping the microphone for quiet several times. Noting that New York City is home to more people living with the virus than Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami combined, Bloomberg added that “we should make every day World AIDS Day.”

Demsey, who is also chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund, then headed to the Flat Iron MAC store, where actress Bebe Neuwirth was signing autographs — and selling lipsticks — for the cause. Neuwirth was one of 16 celebrities — including skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Oksana Baiul and soap stars Julia Barr,Linda Dano and Laura Wright —?appearing at three Manhattan MAC stores.

Across the U.S., more than 100 celebrities in 20 locations each donated an hour Monday to the MAC AIDS Fund in an effort to help it meet the goal of raising $1 million in December. To date, the nine-year-old fund has raised more than $31 million towards education, awareness and prevention programs worldwide, as well as financially supporting more than 400 organizations serving those with the AIDS virus.

Demsey finished the day by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Sumner Redstone, Viacom’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board. “This has been a great day to mobilize the global business community to face the issue of HIV/AIDS,” said Demsey.

Added Redstone, who counts CBS, MTV, VH-1 and many other media outlets in 166 countries and territories worldwide among his holdings: “We’re mounting a massive media effort for this cause. Raising awareness of the cause is critical and we are determined to help make that happen.”

— Julie Naughton

Oriflame On the Block?

COPENHAGEN — Industri Kapital might be gearing up to sell or float Swedish cosmetics group Oriflame early next year, according to media reports.The Nordic private-equity group is reportedly prepared to exit the firm in which it holds an 82 percent stake jointly with Oriflame founder, the Jochnick family.

“A sale of Oriflame has long been in the pipeline,” a Stockholm-based analyst told WWD. “The only issue outstanding has been the timing of the sale.”

Spokesmen for both Oriflame and Industri Kapital refused to comment on the reports Monday.

Industri Kapital has appointed Merrill Lynch as advisors on the sale, which may gross as much as $1.8 billion, or 1.5 billion euros, the Financial Times reported Monday, adding that the sale could take place in the first quarter of 2004.

Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange rates.

Procter & Gamble, Beiersdorf and Kao were named as possible takers if the company is sold off directly to a strategic investor, rather than floated.

Oriflame, which had global sales of $651.2 million, or 544 million euros, last year, derives the bulk of its revenue from direct sales through almost 1.4 million agents.

— Poul Funder Larsen

Adam’s Enters Men’s Grooming

LONDON — When Piers Adam opened his barbershop, Adam’s, in Mayfair six years ago, it’s clear the London entrepreneur was gathering his ideas for other grooming-associated business ventures.

Five years in the making and $600,000 later, his “gentleman’s grooming line,” Adam’s of London — which he insists is named after the first man on earth, rather than himself — is set to bow next spring.

“Its about the English gentleman,” he said, over a glass of mineral water at Drones, the members-only restaurant he opened with Marco Pierre White four months ago. “It’s always been a very special idea to me and it’s something that should be reinvented. On a commercial level there’s a real niche in the market — I don’t think there’s an inspirational grooming brand leader out there for men.”

To develop the line, Adam joined forces with Brent Pankhurst, his longtime friend and one-time hairdresser whom he first met 15 years ago at Vidal Sassoon. “Unlike other grooming lines for men, it’s unique in that it isn’t a line that has come from a women’s brand first,” said Pankhurst, in a telephone interview. “It has been made entirely with men in mind.”Every product in the line — which Pankhurst likened to “an Aston Martin, a great watch or a bottle of brandy” — is performance-enhanced with natural actives and has an aroma of fresh citrus notes of bergamot with green tea on a sensual woody base.

Adam’s of London currently consists of nine products, priced between $11 (7 pounds) and $16 (10 pounds). For the face, there’s a natural plant-based stimulating Shaving Cream, with ginger extract to warm and invigorate the skin; an Aftershave Ice Gel with witch hazel, which acts as a cooling gel to tone and revive the skin, and an Everyday Moisturizer to help prevent dryness, maintain supple texture and enhance skin tone.

For the body there’s All Over Shampoo with natural actives to clean and condition the skin, while for hair, there’s Everyday Shampoo, which is said to leave locks shiny and manageable. Styling products include a Hair Moulding Cream with natural waxes and emollients to tame wild hair; Hair Pomade, a gel for grooming that also adds high shine; Leave In Conditioner, intended to reduce static and help detangle to ease combing, and Surf Gel, a light nonoily liquid styling gel that adds texture and works through wet or dry hair.

Interior designer David Collins — whose previous projects have included The Savoy, the Berkeley Hotel and Claridges in London — has designed the glass bottles with discerning black leather print and gold logo.

“I think David [Collins] just really gets the market — he understands the masculine side of luxury,” said Adam. And so does Adam — some of his close friends already queuing up for the line include the likes of Guy Ritchie, Tom Parker Bowles and Ben Elliot.

Adam’s of London will launch in the U.K. next spring at select department stores. A U.S. rollout will follow shortly after, once a suitable distributor has been sourced, said Adam.

With Drones and his Mayfair nightclub, Nell’s, in full swing, Adam is giving the London night scene a rest for the time being in favor of his new venture. In fact, there are already plans to extend the line to include a full skin care range for men.“Grooming products are much more preferable to me than clubs and bars,” said Adam. “It’s more rewarding and it’s better for the soul — clubs and bars can be quite dark.”

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