In one of the most unusual deals in the glitzy annals of celebrity licensing, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Rihanna and Kanye West are entering into a relationship with Parlux Fragrances Inc. that departs dramatically from the licensing norm. The hip-hop stars, along with an unidentified “well established” female artist, are becoming partners with the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based firm through a deal with Iconic Fragrances LLC, a firm in which Jay-Z is a major principal and Rihanna and West are licensees. The deal could almost double the revenues of Parlux Fragrances Inc. in a few years, chairman and chief executive officer Neil Katz said.
Have we hit bottom yet? That question is being debated even following the agreement by global leaders at the G-20 Summit in London to pump another $1.1 trillion into the International Monetary Fund and take other steps to jump-start the U.S. and world economies. One positive sign came Thursday, which saw retail stocks rise even as March same-store sales showed major declines, most dramatically in the luxury sector, but not as bad as had been feared. Meanwhile, Italy took a proactive approach, approving 1.6 billion euros, or $2.1 billion at current exchange, to help small- and medium-size Italian companies in obtaining “credit lines to boost exports [and] further resources for companies that are part of the textile-fashion-footwear districts.” ( A WWD Blog asks, “How much is too much when it comes to executive pay?”)
Historically thought of as recession-proof, beauty is feeling the sting of the international economic crisis. Globally, sales are flat or have suffered slight decreases, and even regions once considered resistant to economic fluctuations, such as the Middle East, show signs of a downturn, said manufacturers and retailers at the recent Cosmoprof trade show in Bologna, Italy. Against that backdrop, however, Cosmoprof’s organizers unveiled a revamped trade show that was buoyed by the state of the local beauty market, both in domestic consumption and exports.
With even wealthy consumers skittish about spending during the financial crisis, Europe’s luxury players are fast becoming expert event planners. Leveraging their store networks and customer databases, brands are plotting more frequent and varied in-store efforts to boost traffic and coax open pocketbooks. Tactics range from standard trunk shows and giveaways to temporary stores and limited edition products to break through what executives describe as a psychological barrier to discretionary spending.
Models misbehaving? Athletes acting up? Hardly a new notion. But seldom have such high-profile antics converged in one couple’s mutual faux pas. By now you’ve no doubt heard about Gisele and Tom’s “Shotgun Wedding,” as the New York Post called their Costa Rican vow-renewal ceremony. No, the Bradys weren’t the ones firing the shots, but the two heretofore known for impossible aesthetic perfection — and for good manners — are fast seeing their commingled wattage dim. So what better time to look back on the singular bad behavior of some infamous faces? (WWD Blog: Who didn’t make the cut?)
The recession has caused a pullback in retail growth, especially in hard-hit states such as California. But real estate investment firm Marcus & Millichap’s 2009 National Retail Report found the majority of top U.S. retail markets are in California and are projected to have among the lowest vacancy rates. The Golden State’s “wildly varying demographics” work in its favor, said Bernard J. Haddigan, managing director of Marcus & Millichap. “Some of the more affluent areas, like San Diego and San Jose, are still in demand, while others like San Bernardino have been decimated.” On the other hand, the highest vacancy rates are mainly in the Midwest and Texas, which may present an opportunity for stores looking to expand into new markets — and cheap ones, at that. Meanwhile, amid rising store vacancies and falling rents in Manhattan, some eager retailers appear ready to pounce on the spoils.
Beyond the cover lines and the fashion credits, there’s that celebrated face that can make or break a magazine’s newsstand sales. And if that face is a brunette with a handsome husband and a family the size of a farm team — or wife of an international soccer star — chances are she helped sell the most magazines last year. A search of numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations found that Angelina Jolie, Victoria Beckham and Lauren Conrad were among the most salable cover faces for fashion monthly titles in 2008, while Nicole Kidman, Carrie Underwood, and Rachel Weisz were the least. (See more top-selling magazine covers.)
Amanda Seyfried isn’t one to let good looks get in the way of a great career. On the face of things, the actress has everything it takes to succeed in Hollywood. Blonde hair, blue eyes and big boobs—all completely natural and unmodified by human hand, thank you very much. Equally as unusual, though, is her resolute determination to get to the top on talent alone. (See Seyfried’s photo shoot and more in WWD Beauty Biz.)
An heiress, socialite, artist and fashion designer, Gloria Vanderbilt has been a frequent face in the pages of WWD. Though she’s now primarily remembered for her jeans and, well, genes (Anderson Cooper), the multihyphenate Vanderbilt has always possessed a distinctive voice — one she will likely lend to her scandalous upcoming novel, “Obsession: An Erotic Tale.” In 1967, WWD published a three-page story on “The New Gloria,” in which Vanderbilt (then Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper) offered her take on everything from the latest fashion trends to feminism to the joys of living in a Manhattan townhouse. (See images from the 1967 interview.)
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