By and  on September 16, 2005

NEW YORK — Despite the death and havoc caused by Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing dislocations in the department store business, the beauty industry's fund-raising apparatus was in fine shape this week. Organizers of the Dream Ball generated more than $2.6 million for the American Cancer Society and the Look Good Feel Better program of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association — up from last year's tally of $2.2 million.

One of the honorees, E. Scott Beattie, chairman and chief executive officer of Elizabeth Arden, arrived on the arm of Catherine Zeta-Jones, who appears in his company's advertising. Beattie, who previously worked in investment banking and finance, drew some comparisons. "I cannot name an industry that has a higher level of corporate integrity and common sense values [than beauty's]," Beattie said, adding that the industry's "high standard of ethical and corporate performance" has resulted in companies being cited as the "best managed or the best companies to work for globally."

But it was Beattie's background that was cited in putting the fund-raising over the top. Both Pamela Baxter, event chairman and president and ceo of LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics, North America, and Dan Brestle, contributions chairman and chief operating officer of the Estée Lauder Cos., credited Beattie's ability to tap new funding sources.

Beattie, however, was more intent on complimenting the industry. He saluted Carolyn Deaver for the 15 years she spent building the Look Good Feel Better program for cancer patients before retiring in June. His testimonial was seconded by Pamela G. Bailey, the new CTFA president and ceo, who thanked Deaver for "what she has built, what she has given to so many women over the years." That sparked a standing ovation from the crowd of 800 packed into the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel here.

Beattie's co-honoree was Donna Kalajian Lagani, senior vice president and publishing director of Cosmopolitan magazine. She was introduced by Brestle, who injected some humor in the form of good-natured teasing. "It says rate base increase here," he said while reading a prepared speech. "But I think rate increase is appropriate." As he continued to sing her praises, Brestle paused and exclaimed with a laugh, "Who wrote this? I feel like I'm doing a commercial."Lagani waxed poetic about her life in the cosmetics industry, beginning with her first job "selling cosmetics behind the counter at Bonwit Teller." She continued, "One of the things I'm most proud of in our business is how generously our industry gives back. I always believed that, as a woman, beauty is the most seductive accessory, even more so than my Manolos." She concluded, "The real magic of beauty is its power to heal the spirit."

That certainly seemed true, judging from the remarks of Kristen Guess, the "dream girl" of the program, who had entered the Look Good program after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments at age 34.

"I'm an absolute makeup person," she confessed with a laugh. "I probably put half of your kids through college [buying cosmetics] and it helped me to look as normal as possible. I wanted to get through it with some dignity, I didn't want sympathetic glances. I could throw on my wig and apply tremendous amounts of makeup and I could come back from the cancer hell I was living. Please keep up the great work you're doing — it makes a difference."

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