Beauty Seen as Driver in P&G CEO’s Agenda

Analysts say Robert McDonald, the new chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble Co., will likely look at the beauty division to provide the growth profit drivers it needs to power through the tough economy. Its game plan going forward will have the firm growing beauty both horizontally and vertically, a strategy the industry is applauding. (This week, the company’s 13-member board elected McDonald to succeed A.G. Lafley, who will remain as chairman.) Also in beauty industry news, Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon has teamed up with Avon Products Inc. to launch her first fragrance, called In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon. And Tom Ford prepared for September’s launch of the four-fragrance White Musk Collection while making an appearance at Selfridges to mark a recent addition to the Private Blend scent lineup.

Neiman Marcus Details Recovery Plan

For the Neiman Marcus Group, there’s no shortcut out of the recession. “We don’t believe it will end until sometime in 2010,” Neiman’s president and chief executive officer Burt Tansky said after the company reported a net loss of $3.1 million and a comparable revenue decline of 25.1 percent for the quarter ended May 2. And despite encouraging signals in Europe, experts say it is premature to expect bolstered earnings and buoyant sales in the near term, as the bankruptcy of German department store group Arcandor attests.

Luxury and Necessity: Redefining Values

A study by the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends project showed people are trending back to basics. They are willing to live with less. The April survey of 1,003 adults aged 18 or over, “Luxury or Necessity? The Public Makes a U-Turn,” found that about half acknowledged they don’t really need items they once considered essential.

Gucci Group Expands Presence in China

“Overall, the luxury market’s growth is forecast at negative 8 to 9 percent into 2010, but Asia — and especially China — are forecast at plus 10 percent,” Gucci chief executive officer Patrizio di Marco told WWD. Gucci is banking on that by continuing to open new stores in Mainland China at a steady clip, including a Shanghai flagship di Marco and Gucci creative director Frida Giannini unveiled with a ribbon-cutting and gala dinners here preceded by one in Beijing, where Giannini visited a children’s eye hospital the fashion house supports. (Click to see images.) Bottega Veneta opened its seventh store in China at Shanghai’s Golden Eagle Shopping Plaza. And Balenciaga’s 1,600-square-foot women’s and men’s boutique at Plaza 66, plus a 970-square-foot accessories-only unit in the Hangzhou Tower in Hangzhou, mark the brand’s first stores in Mainland China.

Jewelers Adapt to New Priorities

The paradigms are shifting in the fine jewelry sector. Out is the indulging self-purchasing consumer looking to drape herself in gold, diamond and gemstone jewelry for fashion’s sake. In is a new era of purchasing from the heart: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and the like. (Click to see featured jewelry.)

2009 CFDA Fashion Awards Preview

Meet the nominees and honorees for the CFDA Fashion Awards in the WWD special section. Highlights include a look at the Swarovski Awards nominees, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot.

Resort and Cruise Collections 2010

The Phoebe Philo era at Céline has begun. And in its first collection at least, for resort, it reveals a very different side of the designer than that which made her Chloé such an “It” girl favorite. Gone are the girly frills and eyelets in favor of a smart, far more austere and grown-up look rooted in classics. “For this first collection I wanted to create a wardrobe and not get too much into the trends,” Philo said. “I wanted to sort things out.” (Click to see all collections from resort and cruise 2010.)

WWD List: The Most Competitive Retailers

Herndon, Va.-based wRatings Corp., an independent stock research firm, has released its latest “W Score” report, ranking the most competitive retailers and consumer goods firms from a financial and consumer perspective. “Investors are always wondering who is going to be doing well next,” especially in a recession, said Gary Williams, chief executive officer. Each quarter, wRatings polls consumers and then blends a company’s historical economic performance with the consumer feedback. A W Score of 100 is the highest possible. (Click to see the rankings.)

Woody Allen’s ‘Whatever Works’ Premiere

Party goers were in a New York state of mind at a screening of Woody Allen’s latest flick, “Whatever Works,” the filmmaker’s first project set in New York City after a string of abroad features. But the picturesque setting wasn’t the only topic of conversation for a motley crew of revelers that included Amy Ryan, Seth Meyers, Helena Christensen, Dick Cavett, Swoozie Kurtz, Patrick Wilson and Arianna Huffington. Many also discussed the onscreen May-December romance between David and Wood. (Click to see photos of the event.)

WWD Back in Time: Like Mother, Like Daughter

Pat Cleveland played muse to designers ranging from Halston to Stephen Burrows during her time as a top model in the Seventies. And while Cleveland might not be walking the runways or partying at Studio 54 any longer, her daughter Anna van Ravenstein has become something of a familiar face in the industry. These sightings led WWD’s editors down memory lane, to the days when the senior Cleveland was a nightlife fixture and strutting superpower. In addition to photos from Cleveland’s heyday, we uncovered images from Chanel’s fall 2003 show in Paris, in which both mother and very young daughter took to the Kaiser’s runway and shared a heart-warming moment in the (fake) snow. (Click here to see full-size images.)
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