By  on October 14, 2005

NEW YORK — Despite a raised terror alert in Manhattan, the seven honorees at Cosmetics Executive Women's 2005 Achiever Awards, which was held last week at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, did their best to lighten the mood.

"I bet you'd all rather hear about Tom and Katie, but I'm saving that for next week's issue," Martha Nelson, managing editor of People magazine, said wryly as she opened the program.

BeneFit founders Jean Ford and Jane Ford, who shared an award, confessed that when CEW president Carlotta Jacobson called to tell them they would be honored at the event, "we thought she was drunk dialing."

That's far from the truth, according to Robert Mettler, chairman and chief executive of Macy's West. "Someone once joked that Jean and Jane were born with silver compacts in their mouths," he said. Indeed, he continued, cosmetics seem to have been in the twins' DNA: "They are both wildly intelligent business women," he said. "Our 10-year partnership has been one hell of a ride." The Fords also proved they can carry a tune: The duo wrote and performed their own cosmetic-themed song to the tune of "Sentimental Journey."

"I asked not to go first, but now I'm sorry I'm going second," said Robin Burns, who followed the singing twins to introduce honoree Jill Granoff, president and chief operating officer of Victoria's Secret Beauty. Granoff succeeded Burns in that role after her retirement last year. For her part, Granoff was modest: "Never in my life did I think I'd follow singing Ford sisters and precede David Bowie," she said with a smile.

Bowie, who revealed that he and Iman met on a blind date, noted in his introduction that he knew his wife was the one for him when she discussed her shopping habits: "The real clincher was that she rarely went shopping," he joked. "I ran the figures, and asked her to marry me. She ran the figures, and agreed." Although he's not against splashing out now and then: The brown Hermès Kelly bag Iman was carrying was a gift from Bowie.

"I feel like the best is yet to come," said Iman, saying she has been gratified to see the changes in the industry over the last few years. "Women of color have been accepted not as exotic birds, but as beauties."

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