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."
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)