TOP NOTES

ARMANI MANIA: Invitations are going out today for Giorgio Armani’s Milan Fashion Week bash to introduce his new women’s scent, Mania. The scent is expected to become a cornerstone of Armani’s beauty business, which has been building up steam since the successful worldwide rollout of the Emporio Armani women’s and men’s duo, which started in Europe last year.

CLINIQUE NEWS: Jane Mauksch has been named senior vice president and creative director of Clinique Worldwide, a post she has filled on an interim basis since April 1. Previously, she was vice president of copy and design worldwide. She succeeds Jim Nevins, who resigned to join the Gap.

FRENCH STATS: The French Perfumery Federation reported that for the first six months of the year, domestic sales of fragrance, cosmetics and toiletries were up 5.8 percent over the same period in 1998, and up by 2.5 percent overall.
However, it said that for the first time in 11 years, exports have dropped by 2.2 percent — due in part to the continued economic crisis in Russia and a drop in Middle Eastern oil prices — even though sales were “good” in countries such as North America and other European Union nations. Plus, in Asia, volume was up 13.4 percent year-on-year.

ARCADE ADDITION: Sampling specialists Arcade Marketing Inc. has acquired Retcom Holdings Ltd., a New York-based sampling and creative services company, for an undisclosed amount. Jay Gartlan, Retcom’s chief executive officer, has joined Arcade as senior vice president.

SEPHORA TAKEOUT: The most recent additions to Sephora’s private label line are bath products that look and smell like food. The packaging for all the products in the 40-stockkeeping unit line is bona fide. For instance, the milky body creams are in real milk bottles, while the jelly-like shower gels are in traditional French jam jars. The company was obliged to put “do not swallow” warnings in multiple languages on everything.

SEARLE BRANCHES OUT: There’s more to Searle these days than coats. On Sept. 10, the company added makeup to the mix at two of its New York boutiques with the Ramy line of cosmetics. Created by makeup artist Ramy Gafni, the line is built around his philosophy of “Minimum makeup, maximum impact.” It includes basics like lipstick and eye shadow plus Rami exclusives like Elixir Liqui-Powder foundation, Elixir Skin Conditioning Primer and Studio Stick face color.

ESCADA LIGHTS UP: Paulina Porizkova, the face of Escada’s fragrance collection, helped the company raise funds for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer this week. She was on hand at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York on Wednesday as part of the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer shopping event and on Thursday signing Escada Collection candles created especially for the cause.
Escada produced 1,000 of the limited-edition $25 candles, which are being sold in Saks stores across the country. Saks and Escada are donating all proceeds to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.

LAUDER AWARD: Leonard Lauder, chairman and ceo of Estee Lauder Cos., was named the first recipient of the Phillips Collection’s Duncan Phillips medal, an annual award created to honor distinguished art collectors. In addition to a bronze medal embossed with a George Braque bird, Lauder received a certificate of commendation from the U.S. Senate.
“Many collect to possess. I believe you have to collect to share,” Lauder said at the awards dinner held Sept. 18.
Lauder has donated pieces from his collection to the National Gallery in Washington and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney in New York. He also keeps art in his office. “From my desk,” he said, “I can see two Oldenburghs, a Cornell, a Robert Rauschenberg — an early one — a Richard Serra work on paper and a Kenneth Noland.”