SAKS PROTEST: A labor union representing cosmetics and fragrance employees at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Manhattan flagship Thursday stepped up a public awareness campaign about negotiations with Saks management for a first-time contract. Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union Local 1102 held a demonstration on the sidewalk in front of the store, where a 20-foot rat was inflated Thursday morning and members of other RWDSU locals chanted as union representatives leafleted sidewalks. Prior union efforts have consisted solely of leafleting, which began when employees organized last fall. The midday rally was designed to “inform the public that Saks is not dealing fairly with our union,” said Local 1102 president Frank Bail. Robert Wallstrom, senior vice president and general manager of the flagship, said: “Right now we’re very committed to negotiations with the union.” He cited progress, adding that there’s “a long way to go.” Wallstrom didn’t expect a negative impact on the day’s business, calling the protest an inconvenience to customers and a frustration to store associates.

CATWALK BOUND: To mark the soft launch of Diane Von Furstenberg’s cosmetics and fragrance line at Henri Bendel, the store is raffling off a “DVF VIP Fashion Week” package, which includes two tickets to the designer’s spring presentation next month, an invitation to the after-party and $2,000 in DVF clothes. The entry deadline is Saturday.

LIKE WHOLESALE: Shiseido and Barneys New York have teamed up to give a 40 percent discount off retail prices to qualifying professional makeup artists who register for the program through the Shiseido corporate public relations office. The discount applies to Shiseido and Clé de Peau Beauté products at three Barneys stores: Manhattan, Beverly Hills and Chicago beginning Sept. 8 — just in time for Fashion Week. It’s Shiseido’s way of thanking the makeup artist community for supporting the brands, executives say.

HUMANITARIAN EFFORT: In November and December, Biotherm will donate $500,000 from sales of its Aquasource moisturizer to a program called “Life Springs from the Source.” The initiative, which is carried out along with UNICEF, aims to ensure the availability of clean drinking water to people throughout the world. The beauty brand claims that more than 1.1 billion people do not have access to “clean, pure water.”SKIN CARE ARTISAN: Ré Vive founder Gregory Bays Brown has commissioned artist Donald Baechler to design limited-edition gift boxes for the treatment brand. Two versions will launch in October, one for Neiman Marcus, for $695, and another for Saks Fifth Avenue, for $620. Six items will come in each box but three products will be unique to the mix slated for each store.

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