John G. Ledes, the founder of The Ledes Group and owner of Parfums Robert Piguet, died Tuesday evening at his home in Katonah, N.Y. The cause was complications from cancer of the jaw.
The Ledes Group published the industry publications Beauty Fashion and Cosmetic World. An attorney by training, Ledes became involved in the business in the late Sixties, after taking partial ownership of the publications when a client was unable to pay his fee. Ledes loved the business so much he soon acquired the majority.
A colorful personality, Ledes was close with some of the biggest names in the business, including Leonard A. Lauder, Charles Revson and Lindsay Owen-Jones.
Ledes received France’s Legion of Honour and is remembered for the black-tie parties he threw in Paris, starting in the Seventies, bringing together American and French brands.
“In those days, brands were sold through distributors in the U.S. — they weren’t big global companies then like they are now,” said George Ledes. “My father brought the industry together. He was a connector.”
Ledes also had a broader impact on the beauty industry. He founded the March of Dimes Beauty Ball and the annual BeautyCares Dream Ball, and was instrumental in the creation of Look Good, Feel Better. He is also credited with having termed the phrase FiFi for the Fragrance Foundation awards.
Ledes was born in the Bronx and attended Yale University and Columbia University Law School. He served in the United States Marines as a first lieutenant.
He is survived by his sons Richard and George, and his daughters Sara Aiken and Bayly Ledes Daviau. Plans for a funeral service have not yet been revealed.