Surprise Inspections: The European Commission said it has carried out unannounced inspections of the premises of companies and one association active in the fragrance industry in numerous member states. It is trying to find if there’s any collusion linked to the supply of fragrance and fragrance ingredients.
The commission, which did not release the names of those companies and associated that were inspected, added that at the same time the commission has sent out formal requests for information to several companies that are active in the same industry.
“The inspection and requests for information concern possible collusion in relation to supply of fragrances and fragrance ingredients,” the EC said in a statement. “Fragrances are used in the manufacturer of consumer products, such as household and personal care products.”
The commission said it has been in contact with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority and the Swiss Competition Commission related to this subject. The inspections took place in consultation with them.
“The commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the national competition authorities of the member states where the inspections were carried out,” the EC said.
According to the commission, unannounced inspections are the first step into investigating anticompetitive practices. The commission underlined that such inspections being carried out doesn’t mean the companies are guilty and that they do not prejudge the investigation’s outcome.
There is not a legal deadline to complete questioning into anticompetitive conduct.
“Under the commission’s leniency program companies that have been involved in a secret cartel may be granted immunity from fines or significant reductions in fines in return for reporting the conduct and cooperating with the commission throughout its investigation,” the EC said.
Such reports, the commission said, can be done anonymously. — JENNIFER WEIL
Beauty at the Met: Korean skin care brand Sulwhasoo is looking to make its mark on New York.
As part of its plans to expand its footprint in the U.S., the brand, part of Amorepacific, South Korea’s largest beauty company which also owns Tata Harper, just announced a new partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The yearlong agreement will support a range of museum programs and activities aimed at innovating the ways in which audiences engage with and celebrate global heritage.
“This exciting partnership provides critical funding for the museum’s programming and events. We are extraordinarily grateful to Sulwhasoo for their visionary support of The Met’s mission to connect people to art and to celebrate cultural heritage,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French director.
The partnership will be kicked off on March 29, with a celebratory event at The Met. Attendees are set to include Blackpink’s Rosé, Chinese actress Jia Song and Korean actress Yun-Jung Youn.
Sulwhasoo’s sponsorship will also include The Met’s Women and the Critical Eye panel discussion and reception on April 13, as well as The Met’s Apollo Circle Member group, which provides monthly opportunities for young patrons to engage with The Met’s curators and leadership, and the Apollo Circle Benefit, the group’s annual black-tie fundraiser. Products won’t be available for purchase at The Met as part of the partnership.
GaYoon Jung, senior vice president of Sulwhasoo, said: “The Met is an iconic destination for art and culture. Sulwhasoo is a pioneer of K-beauty. With our rich history, Sulwhasoo believes in the value of heritage and its contemporary reinterpretation, which shapes who we are today. The partnership between us is a celebration of the power of heritage in a very fast-paced world,something we hope will engage and inspire many people.”
Sulwhasoo is currently stocked in Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdales among others in the U.S. Products include Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, $260, Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum, $210, and Anti-Aging First Care Activating Serum, $110. — KATHRYN HOPKINS
Specialized Wigs: Kim Kimble, the hairstylist behind Beyoncé‘s 30-foot braids in “Black Is King,” is bringing professional-grade tresses to the masses with her first wig line.
She has joined forces with long-standing wig and hairpiece manufacturer HairUWear to create the collection, which is designed specifically for those with textured hair, and spans eight styles in 14 shades, ranging in price from $299 to $479.
“Coming from film, television and music, I’ve found love in creating looks for people; that’s a love I’ve carried over into creating products, and now wigs,” said Kimble, who previously partnered with Walmart in 2021 to launch her namesake hair care line, and shortly thereafter realized an even more acute white space in the wig arena.
“The challenge with wigs is trying to make them look natural — I’ve seen a lot of my sisters out there with plastic wigs on, and I just knew I needed to do something,” said Kimble, who worked to ensure all wigs in the collection incorporated a sheer, blendable lace front, ear tabs and comb attachments for security, and a visible hair part. (“For me, that’s a thing — I’ve got to see a part somewhere, because that makes a wig look natural.”)
The launch marks a significant milestone for HairUWear as well; founded in 1968, the company previously had yet to introduce a line geared specifically toward women of color.
Said Michael Napolitano, president of the company: “I had been following Kim for a long time, and I knew we needed to speak with her in order to do [this collection] right — she’s an authority in her field, and a driver in women’s confidence.”
Made using the company’s proprietary Tru2Life synthetic fibers, the wigs are heat-friendly, incorporate layered highlight and lowlight blends in order to look realistic, and mark the first of many forthcoming drops within the line.
“Our expectation is that, by this time next year, we will have an assortment of upward of 20 wigs; we’re in the process of developing hair extensions and other hairpieces, as well,” said Michael Ferrara, chief marketing officer at HairUWear.
While the company did not comment on sales expectations for the collection, industry sources estimate the range, which launches March 14 exclusively at kimkimblehair.com, could do $10 million in sales by the end of 2023.
“There’s still an open-wide door to fulfill the types of wigs people want and are going to like at this instant,” said Kimble, who counts Zendaya, Shakira and Mary J. Blige among her clientele. “The stigma around wearing wigs is fading; especially for women of color, who sometimes change their hair every week, wigs are the easiest way for them to recreate looks they see on their favorite celebrities.” — NOOR LOBAD
SHOPPING ESCAPE: Zimmermann will open its 21st store in Honolulu on April 4.
Situated within the Ala Moana Centre, the 3,026-square-foot store was designed by Studio McQualter, with a light interior meant to offer clients an ongoing sense of escapism.
The brand chose to reference local, midcentury modernist architect Vladimir Ossipoff’s use of screens to filter light throughout the facade. High ceilings create vast, calm and welcoming rooms, while custom cast plaster corner lights and a midcentury pendant by Diego Mardegan lights the space.
“It’s very exciting to open our first store in Hawaii,” said Nicky Zimmermann, creative director and cofounder of Zimmermann, the Australian brand.
“As a young girl, Honolulu was a destination of my first overseas trip with my family so it holds fond memories. Designing the store was a very organic process and really allowed us to embrace feelings of summer and vacation — many qualities that are inherent to our brand. We played with textures, colors and lighting to dream up an inviting and relaxed space for our guests. One of my favorite touches is the lithograph signed by Richard Lindner — a very special piece.”
The shop will open with the resort 2023 collection.
Zimmermann has recently opened new stores in Short Hills, New Jersey, Southampton, New York, Naples, Florida, Houston and the Miami Design District. — LISA LOCKWOOD
Florals For Spring: Lucky Brand has stepped outside of the box with its latest collaboration.
The denim brand is partnering with Laura Ashley on a limited-edition collection of womenswear, a 15-piece capsule that fuses the DNA of both brands with patchwork, embroidery and floral patterns added to jeans, dresses, shirts, shorts and jackets to create an heirloom feel.
“Lucky Brand is proud to partner with Laura Ashley, a classic brand with a long history of beautiful craftsmanship,” said Lucky Brand chief executive officer Natalie Levy. “This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to emphasize our combined commitment to quality, comfort and style while creating apparel people will want to love and wear for a long time.”
Key pieces in the collection include a denim corset lined in a pink floral print, mid-rise distressed denim boy shorts and ’90s-style loose jeans. There’s also a coordinating trucker jacket and jeans adorned with faded floral accents.
The line also features white denim shortalls with embroidered blue florals and two workwear-inspired sleeveless coverall shorts in floral prints that were pulled from the Laura Ashley archives. The collection also offers a romantic floral midi dress and jumpsuit, a tiered baby-doll dress and two boyfriend-style button-down shirts with floral patches.
“Laura Ashley is delighted to see this collaboration come together with Lucky Brand,” said Carolyn D’Angelo, senior managing director of brand operations for Gordon Brothers and president of Laura Ashley Global. “We are excited to work with brands that continue to be inspired by the legacy of Laura Ashley. As we reach our 70th anniversary this year, it’s amazing to see how this collection reimagines the iconic heritage prints across modern designs.” Gordon Brothers acquired the British label in 2020.
The Lucky Brand x Laura Ashley collection will retail for $79.50 to $139 and will be sold starting Thursday in Lucky Brand stores and online at both brands’ websites.
A second collection is scheduled to launch this summer. — JEAN E. PALMIERI