NEW YORK — Call it a DreamBall miracle.
For much of the last two decades, Estee Lauder and Lancome have been at each other’s throats as arch competitors. But Wednesday evening, the heads of the two brands shared a stage at the Waldorf-Astoria and showered each other with compliments.
“Philip and I compete with each other,” said Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of Estee Lauder USA & Canada, and DreamBall contributions chairman. “But we worked very closely together on this, and I appreciate what he’s done.”
She was referring to Philip Shearer, president of Cosmair’s Lancome division and one of the night’s honorees. Shearer returned the sentiment in his acceptance speech.
The other DreamBall honoree was Marshall Hilsberg, chairman and ceo of Lord & Taylor.
A total of $2 million was raised — easily eclipsing last year’s mark of $1.65 million — to benefit the American Cancer Society and the Look Good/Feel Better program of the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association.
The event has raised $12 million since it was first held in 1985, according to DreamBall chairman Rita Mangan, senior vice president of cosmetics at Federated Merchandising.
Burns recalled the years when contributions were far more modest. “I remember when we were netting $150,000 and thinking we were doing something,” she said.
The acceptance speeches by both Hilsberg and Shearer were short and gracious.
Shearer, a Frenchman who came to the U.S. from his post in Japan three years ago, said, “I’ve been exposed to many cultures. One of the things that impresses me is the extraordinary American sense of giving. It’s unique to this part of the world, and is something very commendable and something of which you should be proud.”
The Waldorf’s grand ballroom was a far cry from the Sonoran desert, but that’s where many of the executives had last seen each other — at last week’s WWD Beauty CEO Summit in Carefree, Ariz.
Trying to get the crowd to quiet down Wednesday evening, Mangan said, “It’s not like we haven’t seen each other recently.”

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