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FiFi’s Star-Studded Night Out

The FiFi's were heavy on celebrities, but appropriately for a ceremony that will be televised in May, its biggest star appeared via TV.

NEW YORK — The 33rd annual Fragrance Foundation Awards may have been heavy on celebrities, but appropriately enough for an awards ceremony that will be partially televised in May, its biggest star appeared via TV.

A taped thank you from Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas followed the star’s FiFi win for Best Men’s Fragrance, Popular Appeal for Spirit Antonio Banderas. The scent, produced by Puig Fragrances & Personal Care, had won kudos earlier for Best Packaging of the Year, Men’s Popular Appeal.

The irreverent Alan Cumming — a celebrity presenter and creator of the recently released scent Cumming — had aspirations of joining Banderas in the winners’ circle next year, joking from stage that he hoped his fragrance would win next year’s prize for “Best Package.” Uh, that’s Best Packaging of the Year, Alan.

Cumming was one of a host of notables — including singer Ashanti; actresses Marisa Tomei, Katie Holmes, Sophie Dahl and Monica Potter; models Theodora Richards and Veronica Webb, and designers Carolina Herrera and Catherine Malandrino — to walk the red carpet at the Hammerstein Ballroom last week, where the big winners included Cosmopolitan Cosmetics with four FiFi’s and Coty and Puig with three apiece.

At least one star sans a scent deal seemed anxious to join Donald Trump, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs in the world of celeb fragrances. Ashanti, who copresented with Cosmopolitan Cosmetics’ Don Loftus, said backstage that she was “kinda, sorta” working on a scent. “The opportunity has presented itself,” the Versace-clad Ashanti said coyly, “and we just might take advantage of it.” With who? “Uh, I can’t tell you yet.” The obvious suspect — Coty chief Bernd Beetz, who has signed a veritable galaxy of stars in the last few years — gave a good-hearted “no comment!” to deal-related questions as he entered the ballroom before the awards ceremony began.

Meanwhile, actress Katie Holmes — who presented designer Carolina Herrera with Hall of Fame honors — decided to stick to what she does best. “I enjoy other people’s fragrances,” the actress said, “and sticking to what I do.”

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There were also other moments of refreshing modesty. Loftus said during his first pass on the stage that he was “going to thank my retail partners now, because I might not get another chance.” Puig Beauty chief Manuel Puig modestly gave credit to a host of collaborators — including the scent’s namesake, Miuccia Prada — as he picked up his company’s third FiFi of the evening, for best women’s fragrance, Luxe for Prada. And model Theodora Richards, a co-presenter with L’Oréal USA’s Jack Wiswall, said of her co-presenter gig: “Someone was missing, and I just filled in.” Of Wiswall, she said sweetly: “He was up there holding my hand, making me feel more confident.”

Meanwhile, in Bologna, Italy — where the Accademia del Profumo’s new president, Roberto Martone, presented the Italian FiFi’s — the evening belonged to Christian Dior’s Pure Poison and Guerlain’s L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme. Pure Poison won honors for Best Advertising Campaign, Female, and Best Female Fragrance, while L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme picked up kudos for Best Advertising Campaign, Male, and Best Packaging, Male. Oro by Roberto Cavalli rounded out the winners’ list with an award for Best Packaging, Female.

— with contributions from Stephanie Epiro, Milan