Gucci fashion has long been controversial, and its beauty business no less so.The brand’s sexy fragrances, cosmetics and advertising have whipped up a lather of excitement in a marketplace where most play it safe. And Gucci’s beauty license itself has been a point of contention, since it isn’t owned by Gucci AG — the fashion arm of parent PPR — and therefore cannot be run by YSL Beauté, PPR’s beauty division. (See related story, opposite page.)Gucci’s fragrance and cosmetics license has been overseen by Procter & Gamble, based in Cincinnati, since March 2003, when it was purchased through Wella AG alongside myriad other beauty licenses, such as Lacoste, Rochas and Escada, then also owned by the German company. At that time, Gucci was said to be the top beauty brand in Wella’s prestige fragrance arm, Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, where it outpaced Escada and Rochas, which ranked second and third, respectively. (Prior to that, on April 1, 2002, Wella snapped up the Gucci license through a deal with Escada AG’s beauty division, Escada Beauté Group SA.)Today, industry sources estimate the Gucci beauty brand at more than $840 million in sales worldwide. In a WWD interview last summer, Hartwig Langer, global president of P&G Prestige Products, said P&G considers Gucci to be among its main growth drivers.“Without any question, Gucci and Valentino are global brands,” he said.Yet, what strategy its products and marketing will follow under P&G guidance is still under wraps. The company would not contribute to this story.But financial analysts say they wonder if Gucci skin care might be on the horizon. “If it plans to do it, the question is whether the existing number of company-owned doors is enough,” or whether Gucci would have to set up department store counters, said one analyst, who requested anonymity. “And that’s riddled with expansion issues.”Further, scent — which generates the lion’s share of Gucci’s beauty business — is a risky category.Like the Gucci fashion image, the brand’s beauty image was shaped by Tom Ford during his tenure as creative director. Ford’s impact went far beyond cosmetics. He did more than help give Gucci a makeover — he made it controversial again.Gucci beauty really reentered the scene in 1997 with the launch of the women’s scent Envy, produced by Ford and Cosmopolitan Cosmetics. From its suggestive name to its sleek packaging, it was meant to capture the new spirit of the brand. Another scent to bolster its image was Gucci Rush, launched in 1999. The concept was glossy and provocative, from rapturous advertising showing three models in advanced states of ecstasy to the scarlet box-shape bottle and heady scent. Gucci Rush for Men came out in 2000 and Gucci Rush 2 for women followed in 2001. Two years later, Gucci Pour Homme bowed. Then there were Gucci Envy Me and a Gucci Eau de Parfum fragrance family, with two scents. Hubbub has always surrounded Gucci. In mid-2004, Gucci Group’s Web site reported that the license with Wella for the production of fragrances and cosmetics lapsed on Nov. 30, 2003, because Wella did not renew the license on or before Nov. 30, 2001. Gucci further stated that Wella had filed legal actions in the U.S., Germany and Italy to have the license declared valid until Nov. 30, 2028.Soon after, mention of litigation died down, until last Thursday, when a P&G spokeswoman confirmed market reports in Milan that Gucci had signed a long-term license with P&G for the production and worldwide distribution of its fragrances. The deal ends an old and unresolved litigation between Gucci and Wella. An announcement is expected to be made today, in a joint statement by Mark Lee, president and chief executive officer of Gucci, and P&G’s Langer. Terms were not disclosed. The Gucci beauty agreement goes back to 1978, and was part of the Muelhens portfolio, which was later consolidated under the Cosmopolitan Cosmetics division of Wella.
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain and preserve my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did or what I represented or created,” said @saintrecords on how being bullied for wearing capri pants inspired her to be the artist she is today. Knowles was at the 70th Parsons Benefit last night where she outbid the room for a Dapper Dan customized @gucci experience. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Dan Doperalski)
Exclusive: Cate Blanchett has been named the first global beauty ambassador for @armanibeauty. Blanchett has been the face of the brand’s Sì fragrance franchise since 2013, and is now representing all of the label’s beauty categories including makeup and skin care. #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)