Simpson and Paves Doing Hair
NEW YORK — Jessica Simpson and her hairstylist, Ken Paves, have partnered with Hair U Wear, which makes and distributes wigs and hair extensions, to create a line of extensions slated to hit salons this fall.

“The designs are based on looks that I created for [Simpson], which she wore for different events,” said Paves. While he’s also styled Simpson’s sister, Ashley, as well as Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria, Paves maintained that “Jessica has always been my muse.”

Paves and Simpson will serve as the line’s creative directors and spokesmen, and plans call for them to appear on packages and in advertising. Paves noted that the two want to give the yet-to-be named assortment a personal, fun moniker.

Paves, who was spokesman last year for an existing Hair U Wear brand called Put On Pieces, noted that some of the styles to be featured in the new line have been worn by Simpson, saying, “The looks we’ve created have been well received by the public.” He added, “I came up with ways of changing hairstyles without commitment, which gives women a realistic option for hair. We’ve completely updated hair extensions by changing textures, colors, shines, placements and densities.”

“Now is the right time to take the business to the next level, with consumer interest so strong in the hair extension category,” contended Michael Kleinman, executive vice president of Hair U Wear, which also markets a Raquel Welch signature collection of wigs. “Ken and Jessica are both style visionaries. Jessica’s not only an advocate of the products, but she uses them in her everyday life.”

Plans call for the Simpson-Paves extensions to be shown at the Cosmoprof trade show in Las Vegas in July and at the Premiere Beauty Show in Orlando, Fla., in August. The line is then scheduled to be launched in October at 9,000 salons worldwide, including 7,000 in the U.S.

A wider global rollout, which is to include department stores, specialty stores and additional salons, is slated for early next year. Hair U Wear projects a total of 25,000 doors in global markets such as New York, Paris, London, Moscow and Australia by the end of 2007.

This story first appeared in the March 27, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Paves’ red-carpet dos initially attracted Hair U Wear, according to Kleinman. “He was able to make women’s hair longer or shorter, fuller and [add] volume,” said Kleinman. “By taking these ideas and combining them with our technology, we were able to refine and mass-produce the line.” It took about a year to develop the hairpieces.

The Simpson-Paves extensions will include synthetic-fiber extensions, natural-hair extensions and chignons. The line will consist of mid- to long-length extensions in both straight and wavy styles. The assortment will range in price from $80 for synthetic extensions to $300 for natural human-hair extensions.

The synthetic-fiber extensions, which are made of a proprietary material called Vibralite, will come in 15 colors — including Simpson’s signature blonde — and are highlighted and lowlighted. The natural-hair extensions are composed of human hair and are designed to be easily treated and styled. The natural extensions and chignons each will come in 12 colors featuring three different highlight tones.

While the collection is designed to target a “youthful clientele” of women between 18 and 34 years old, focus groups showed that Simpson’s popularity extends to women in their 50s.

A two-pronged print advertising campaign for the Simpson-Paves extensions is planned for both national and regional publications. The effort will begin in July with visuals in trade publications, which will be followed by ads in October and November issues of consumer fashion publications. There are also plans for billboard advertising.

Industry sources estimate Hair U Wear could generate more than $50 million in sales volume by yearend. The introduction of the Simpson-Paves extensions could add $25 million to that figure next year.

J&J’s French Unit Buys Vendôme
PARIS — Johnson & Johnson Consumer France has acquired Dijon, France-based beauty firm Groupe Vendôme, which manufactures skin care and toiletries brands including Le Petit Marseillais and Laboratories Vendôme, for an undisclosed sum.

While Groupe Vendôme will keep separate management and headquarters, the firm will become wholly owned by the Issy-les-Moulineaux, France-based subsidiary of consumer and health care products giant J&J. The deal is expected to be finalized in the second half, pending approval from authorities.

“The acquisition of Groupe Vendôme will enable us to reinforce our presence in both adult and baby skin care,” said Claudio Cavicchioli, president of Johnson & Johnson Consumer France, in a statement. Groupe Vendôme president Marcel Elias said in the statement that the deal will allow his firm to increase its development, adding: “It’s a big achievement.”

Johnson & Johnson Consumer France, which has a workforce of 542, markets brands including Roc, Neutrogena and Evian. Groupe Vendôme employs 130 people.

L’Oréal Raises Stake in Body Shop
PARIS — L’Oréal has purchased another 10.5 percent of The Body Shop’s share capital, or 22.8 million additional shares, the French beauty giant said Thursday, after acquiring 42.6 percent of the U.K.-based retailer and manufacturer nearly two weeks ago. The move will bring L’Oréal’s holding in The Body Shop to 53.1 percent, a stake that includes a call option on 21 percent of the capital, a commitment from the firm’s founders to sell their 18 percent holding and a 3.6 percent stake held by company directors.

As reported, L’Oréal announced a cash bid of 300 pence, or $5.27 at current exchange rates, per share, on March 17, valuing The Body Shop at 652 million pounds, or $1.14 billion.

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