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NEW YORK — When asked to sum up the state of his beauty business, Gene Kahn, chairman and chief executive officer of May Co., simply replied, “stable.”

He was standing in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, attending the 20th annual Dream Ball Tuesday evening — an event that raised $2.2 million for the American Cancer Society and the Look Good Feel Better program of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association.

Another retailer noted, “It’s going to be a challenging fragrance season. Color and treatment are steady.” The conversation turned more chipper when it came time to pay homage to the two top honorees of the evening: Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos., and Richard D. Beckman, president of Condé Nast Media Group and executive vice president of Advance Magazine Group, a subsidiary of Advance Publications Inc, which also owns WWD.

Special recognition awards were given to four other executives, who have been vitally involved in the Dream Ball during its existence. They were Edward Kavanaugh, president of CTFA, and Carolyn J. Deaver, longtime head of the Look Good Feel Better program as vice president of the CTFA Foundation, both of whom are retiring at the end of the year, according to officials.

Also, Dream Ball chairman Pamela Baxter, who is president and ceo of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Perfumes & Cosmetics North America, gave the award to the former chairman, Rita Mangan, who is senior vice president of national sales at Estée Lauder’s Bobbi Brown Essentials. Dan Brestle, the current contributions chairman who is also a group president at Lauder, presented the award to his predecessor, Robin Burns, who recently retired as president and ceo of Victoria Secret Beauty, Intimate Beauty Corp. and Aura Science.

— M.W.E.

This story first appeared in the September 17, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.