TOP NOTES

UNITED AT UNILEVER: Three American consumer products units of Unilever have been joined under a new company called Unilever Home & Personal Care USA, effective next Wednesday.
The companies — Chesebrough-Pond’s, Helene Curtis and Lever Bros. — totaled sales last year of $3.7 billion, according to a statement by Unilever.
The new entity will fall under the aegis of Robert M. Phillips, president of Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, who said that with the new formation “we will be better able to leverage the scale and scope of the new organization to become stronger competitors.”
Gil Smith, senior vice president of customer management for Unilever Home & Personal Care North America, will also take that title for the USA division.

DUELING DESIGNERS: Two American designers with new fragrances, Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera, were in New York on Thursday to make promotional appearances.
De la Renta took the stage at Macy’s Herald Square to greet a crowd of admirers and push his new scent, So de la Renta. The appearance was his third this week — he was in Atlanta on Monday and Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday — but just the beginning of a schedule that will take him to 21 cities by early December. On average, according to a spokeswoman at Sanofi Beaute, the designer’s fragrance licensee, the appearances typically generate between $10,000 and $12,000 in sales.
So de la Renta was launched on Sunday and TV commercials are running in more than 200 markets for the next week and a half.
Herrera, meanwhile, was Uptown to meet the masses at Saks Fifth Avenue. She was accompanied by her daughter, Carolina Adriana Herrera, who helped concoct the designer’s new fragrance, 212, which was introduced at Saks on Sunday.
“We’re thrilled with what we’ve seen so far,” said Deborah Walters, Saks vice president and divisional merchandise manager. “It’s outperforming what was an aggressive number to begin with. It looks like it’s drawing a new, perhaps younger customer.”
Walters said she expects 212 to end up among Saks’ top 10 fragrances this year.

HELPING HAND: Last year, Kiehl’s created a bath soak to raise funds for Magic Johnson’s AIDS foundation. This year, the treatment company is launching a new hand cream to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
Kiehl’s will donate 100 percent of retail sales of Hand Care For A Cure to AmFar. The water-resistant cream is priced at $16.50 and is formulated with vitamins and sunscreen. It will be introduced in the first week of November.
According to Klaus von Heidegger, co-chief executive officer of Kiehl’s, the cream should generate at least $200,000 at retail in the first year.
Von Heidegger was present along with Sharon Stone, chairman of AmFar’s campaign for AIDS’s research, at a lunch Tuesday at the Whitney Museum to present the product.
During a speech about fighting AIDS, Stone joked that she had been using Kiehl’s products since 1851, when it was founded. “That’s right, I’m 146 years old. That makes me the oldest actress in Hollywood, and the only woman in this room who admits her true age.”

EXTREME THINKING: Jack Wiswall, who recently returned to the Ralph Lauren Fragrances Division of Cosmair Inc. as general manager, said the launch of the Extreme Polo Sport men’s scent has been rescheduled.
Originally the introduction was envisioned in two parts — in December, to take advantage of the holiday traffic, then in February, to tie into the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Wiswall said the launch now is set for the end of January, with the product being shipped Jan. 5.
“It gives us a less cluttered environment,” Wiswall said, referring to sidestepping the Christmas crunch. He added that he also wanted to tie the launch into the X-Games, which will be held in Crested Butte, Colo., in January.
Wiswall, a senior vice president of Cosmair, is general manager of both the Ralph Lauren and European Designer Fragrances Division.

WELLA’S NEW LOOK: The Wella Group of Darmstadt, Germany, is consolidating its fragrance businesses, which include Muelhens (4711, Charles Jourdan and Priscilla Presley) as well as Parfums Rochas and Gucci, under one roof in Cologne, Germany.
The German hair care giant is keeping mum about the name and strategy of the new company until its official debut at Muelhens headquarters on Oct. 15.
A Wella spokesman noted that the consolidation of the companies, which had operated out of Darmstadt, Cologne and Paris, into a new centralized entity “puts into effect what had already been achieved internally.”

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