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WWDStyle issue 04/08/2011

ID Beauty, holder of the Diane von Furstenberg fragrance license, has entered into an alliance with New York-based Fusion Brands Inc. to provide a base in the U.S. market and furnish a possible support for a larger, multibrand company.

This story first appeared in the April 8, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

According to Alexandre Cukier, chief executive officer and founder of Paris-based ID Beauty, he intends to appoint a ceo for the American market within the next few months, as a prelude to the launch of the first von Furstenberg fragrance this October in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Caroline Pieper-Vogt, ceo of Fusion Brands, said the two companies are working together. The partnership now consists of providing sales and training expertise in the U.S. market for ID Beauty’s existing brand portfolio, through the Fusion Brands Luxury Fragrance Division. That unit was started a year ago by Dana Kline, president and executive vice president of Fusion Brands Inc.

Cukier and his partner, Chantal Roos, the former president of YSL Beauté, who is overseeing product development and marketing, both said there is the possibility of ultimately signing other licenses in the future, in addition to von Furstenberg. But they both underscored the fact that the DVF deal is the current focus and basis for the company.

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“DVF is our locomotive for the future,” Cukier said. Roos added, “She is the reason we are here.” As has been previously noted, plans call for creating an entire beauty house of von Furstenberg, including other fragrances and skin care. Looking farther down the road, however, Roos noted that “we can envisage having other brands.” But she cautioned that even if the company one day signed a license with another designer, the nature of the business would be so different that there would be no conflict or competition with von Furstenberg.

ID Beauty both manufacturers and markets high-tech skin care brands — namely Rexaline, which is based on a powerful hydration concept; a yogurt-inspired 02D-Biotic, and Fruit Forever with natural active ingredients. Cukier said the treatment brands are targeted for different retail channels to avoid internal competition and cannibalization. Another antiaging brand, Wonder Skin, is slated for launch within the next year.

Cukier noted that Rexaline ranks in the top 10 at Sephora in Europe. In addition, ID Beauty distributes fragrances like Paul Smith.

Fusion Beauty has already taken over distribution chores of Rexaline in the U.S. stores of Sephora and is presenting Fruit Forever to department stores. Kline said the new Paul Smith men’s fragrance, called Optimism, will go into Bloomingdale’s in the fall. The Fusion team will also work on the new von Furstenberg scent in the fall.

Cukier appeared optimistic. “We have all the ingredients for success; Diane is an icon,” he said, later adding, “we have no right to make any mistakes.”

Neither Cukier nor anyone else was talking numbers, but industry sources estimate ID Beauty does a volume turnover of roughly 180 million euros at wholesale, or $257.4 million at current exchange, with the company’s own brands generating about 35 million euros, or $50.1 million, to 40 million euros, or $57.2 million, of the total. If the company was enlarged in the future with the addition of other brands, volume could rise to 200 million euros, or $286 million, to 250 million euros, or $357.5 million, according to estimates by sources.

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