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Editor’s Letter: Lighting a Spark

This month's letter from the editor discusses the 2009 WWD Beauty Biz Awards, a special insert on men's beauty, and cover girl Constance Jablonski.

After reviewing all of the goings-on of the past 12 months in preparation for our 2009 WWD Beauty Biz Awards issue, one thing became clear: While the recession has been terrible for business, there’s a bright side for the beauty industry. Innovation is returning—big time—spearheaded by those who truly believe that women will open their wallets for products that pique their enthusiasm. The result? New strategies. Unique visions. Cutting-edge technologies. Boundary-pushing promotional drives. All played a role in creating the year’s successes—and there were successes—and it’s those companies and people that we celebrate in this, our seventh annual awards issue. Congratulations to all of the winners.


Pamela Baxter, the U.S. president of Christian Dior, knows adversity as well as triumph. She ventured into relatively uncharted territory, adding oversight of Dior’s fashion business to her beauty portfolio at a time when the forecast couldn’t be more bleak for the luxury goods universe. While it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, Baxter has crafted a strategic vision for Dior that has enabled both sides of the business to not just survive, but excel during the last year and a half, pointing the way to a new vision for the post-recession luxury landscape. Discover it in “Tough Luxe.”

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The men’s category is one that has been plagued with a series of stops and starts since the dawning of the metrosexual revolution in the early 2000s. In our special insert, WWD Beauty Biz: Men’s Outlook, we gathered five leading executives from the category for a frank roundtable discussion on what it’s going to take to ignite growth. All agreed that the business isn’t going to explode overnight, but believe that slow, steady, sustainable growth will continue as traditionally unisex categories start to genderize. If the energy of the executives who are charged with creating just that is anything to go by, expect it to happen sooner rather than later. Find their views in “Meeting of the Minds,” plus a revealing look at superstar-in-the-making actor Chase Crawford and a full lineup of the newest men’s launches in our biannual report.


Also in this issue, you’ll find a new department that will become a permanent feature of WWD Beauty Biz. “Advance Team” canvases a group of insiders to get a preview of an upcoming event—in this case, the beauty and fashion trends to look out for during the annual Hollywood redcarpet awards season, which kicks off on January 6 with the People’s Choice Awards and ends in March with the Oscars. Then turn to “Bold, Beautiful” for the season’s three key makeup trends as seen on our stunning cover model, Constance Jablonski. Like this year’s award winners, these are strong, directional looks with a distinct point of view. And, as we’ve seen proven time and again throughout the year, that’s a winning combination, indeed.