TOP NOTES

QUEEN FOR A DAY: The Body Shop sent a slew of drag queens out to four of its busiest Manhattan stores Wednesday to dispense beauty advice to surprised shoppers. The tips ranged from avoiding blue eye shadow to massaging tired, high-heel-wearing feet with The Body Shop’s Nut Body Butter. The consultants even performed makeovers — in some cases, male-to-female transformations. A Body Shop spokeswoman said three of the stores showed significant jumps in sales for the day and all four booked many makeover appointments. Asked if using transvestites was too much like MAC’s using RuPaul as an endorser, the spokeswoman said, “RuPaul has made being a drag queen more acceptable.”

PERFUMER’S PACT: French designer Sonia Rykiel has hooked up with The Perfumer’s Workshop International Ltd. to create fragrances and toiletries under the Rykiel name. Within the Rykiel subsidiary Sonia Rykiel Parfums Beaute, Perfumer’s Workshop will handle the development, marketing and distribution of the products. The first scent is slated for a launch next fall.

NO GROUCH: Oscar de la Renta continues to make store appearances to promote his Oscar fragrance, launched in 1977, and consumer interest isn’t flagging. On Nov. 14, de la Renta stopped in at Dillard’s in Orlando, Fla., and from noon to 12:30 p.m., his scent rang up $15,900 at retail — a record for sales during an appearance by the designer, according to his licensee, Sanofi Beaute.

TAKING THE PLEDGE: Eleven beauty companies, including The Body Shop, Tom’s of Maine and John Paul Mitchell Systems, agreed this week to comply with new animal testing guidelines developed by nine national animal protection organizations. The Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals urges manufacturers to refrain from animal testing and avoid purchasing ingredients, formulations or products from suppliers who test on animals.
“I will be constantly loud-mouthed on this issue,” vowed Body Shop chief executive officer Anita Roddick, when she signed the agreement.

FRIENDLY TAKEOVER: Barry Mathes, who was with Gryphon Development at its inception and as vice president of operations watched the company grow into a nearly $1 billion behemoth, has struck out on his own. In partnership with a San Francisco-based investment firm, The Shansby Group, Mathes purchased Kasper Inc., a contract manufacturer based in Mahwah, N.J. Mathes said he hopes to turn Kasper into one of the industry’s top toiletries producers, and to do so he is spending $1 million to renovate and expand the company’s manufacturing and research facilities.

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