The signature scent -- introduced in 1994 and bottled in a round, fanned-out flask with a shiny gold top that was designed in-house by Marie Gray -- is a floriental, with fresh night-blooming florals such as jasmine, moonflower and gardenia at its...
The signature scent--introduced in 1994 and bottled in a round, fanned-out flask with a shiny gold top that was designed in-house by Marie Gray--is a floriental, with fresh night-blooming florals such as jasmine, moonflower and gardenia at its heart.White Camellia bowed four years later, its top notes including mandarin, cassias buds, jasmine and Bulgarian rose, with a heart of peony and geranium and a dry-down of sandalwood, amber and musk. Its lightness is embodied in the clear, modern bottle topped with a frosted silver cap.Yet St. John hasn't quite smelled success with its two offerings; the company won't even comment on sales. Evidently, figures have scarcely registered in the company's overall take, which includes ready-to-wear, jewelry, accessories and home products.Although distributed in its 250 retail doors, including all of St. John's 26 signature boutiques and 10 outlet stores, the fragrance and its stable of scented spinoffs--bath salts, body creams, shower gels and candles--remain novelties.There was a concerted push to promote them through the Nineties, as evidenced by the ad campaign's central image: that of Kelly Gray, dressed in black and standing against a black background, all the better to focus on her platinum-haired head, her chunky gold earrings and grand necklace and an oversized version of the gold signature bottle she's embracing. (The image also serves as the cover of the coffee table book St. John published on its 35th anniversary.)Five years later, the two scents, created by the Geneva-based manufacturer Firmenich, don't even warrant recognition in the company's press kit. But the company insists the fragrances are not fading out--they're just in a kind of holding pattern. They haven't been dropped from the Web site, after all.In fact, as the company enters a new era of expansion, it has hardly given up on the idea of beauty. Could lipsticks and eye shadows also become part of St. John's overall scheme to expand its lifestyle offerings?Chief executive officer Robert Gray's take on the topic is brief yet direct. Asked if anything is under development beyond fragrance, he carefully answered, "Currently, no." Yet it's possible? "Absolutely," he replied, with a telling grin.Industry observers caution that the beauty game is not for the casual participant. "The cosmetics industry today is for big players with enough capital to do it right," observed New York-based industry marketing consultant Allan Mottus.What's more, department stores no longer hold all the cards, with the expansion of such beauty retailers as Sephora and the growth of the mass market. And for a brand like St. John, which is heavily invested in better department chains such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, that's something to consider in any future plan.The company's strategy seems to reflect this outlook. Fragrance and beauty, although admittedly not the priorities that footwear and handbags are right now, are still undergoing evaluation for new opportunities, according to the Grays and Bruce Fetter."We need to determine--likely in a partnership with a larger player--how significant the St. John image can be in this category," Fetter conceded. "We're very excited about the potential. It will certainly be a focus for us in the future. We do think it can eventually become a strategic growth vehicle."Mottus also cautioned that the very nature of today's cosmetics industry seems to be at odds with the St. John philosophy. "The cosmetics game is going more to the flash, the designers who have the notoriety, the high style. The more notoriety they receive, the better it is for their sales. The game as it's played today doesn't really favor [St. John's] kind of distribution and marketing."In fact, Motter believes, St. John may want to forgo it altogether. "The fashion scene today has nothing synonymous with high quality and taste. And that hasn't been what St John has been about."
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