Lionel Richie and Tracee Ellis Ross, 2016

This year’s Fragrance Foundation Awards ceremony is going online, but that’s not the only change to expect.

Following closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Fragrance Foundation’s 2020 Awards has gone the way of most in-person events, with free webinar access for all who wish to attend when it airs on Sept. 10 from 12:00 p.m. EDT to 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Linda Levy, president of the Foundation, predicts turnout will be the same as last year’s event in the David H. Koch theater with 1,000 attendees. “This year to last year, we have an endless capacity. Even though this was the biggest income-generating event of the year, we’re making it free to everyone,” Levy said.

One goal is to buoy up an industry hard-hit by the pandemic. “Although it’s a bit of a somber time, given all that the U.S. has been through, this is exciting,” Levy said, adding she’s hoping to make this year’s attendees and lineup less insular. “We have a lineup of presenters who are all new to the fragrance community, and they’re going to speak about their passion for fragrance,” she said.

Those presenters include superstars Cher and Lionel Richie, among others.

The event will kick off with opening remarks from Fragrance Foundation chairman Jerry Vittoria, who is also the president of fine fragrance, worldwide at Firmenich.

The awards will also feature new categories, including Universal Prestige and Universal Luxury categories for genderless products, which features Gucci, Byredo and Kilian among its nominees. The other new category, for Innovative Fragrance Product of the Year, includes ignitable resin from the Amazon and scented jewelry from Diptyque as nominees. Three Consumer Choice Awards will be presented — Women’s Popular, Women’s Prestige, and Men’s Prestige; voting closed on Aug. 31.

Although Levy is democratizing the event, her inclusion efforts are not limited to the ceremony’s air date. Levy will also take the time to highlight some of the Foundation’s initiatives, such as its latest, titled Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Based off of a core team of entrepreneurs, including The Phluid Project’s Rob Smith, designer Jason Wu, Chris Collins from The World of Chris Collins, and Cosmopolitan beauty director Julee Wilson, the program aims to highlight voices from marginalized communities. “There is a tremendous amount of talent [in the Foundation] but we already had a very specific heritage, and now is the time to change,” Levy said.

Levy also mentioned widening membership opportunities for niche founders, including networking, mentorship and media visibility opportunities, as points of note.

However, the Foundation is extending its outreach to the consumers and community, as well, organizing self-care packages of product and fragrances to the New York City nurses of Mount Sinai, and continuing its fundraising partnership with Next for Autism with a virtual AARMY exercise class.

For more from WWD.com, see:

The Fragrance Foundation Brings Awards Online

Bridget Foley’s Diary: Fragrance Foundation Ready to Celebrate

EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca Minkoff to Launch First Fragrance

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