And The FIFI Award Goes To…-------
Since its inception 40 years ago, the Fragrance Foundation’s annual FIFI awards have truly evolved. Just look at this year’s nominees: Sharing the ballot with the industry’s best and brightest in scent composition, marketing, and packaging were a slew of A-listers—Beyoncé Knowles, Taylor Swift, Heidi Klum, and one Justin Bieber, who was named Celebrity of the Year last night when the award ceremony commenced at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.
“There is something going on in the celebrity category that is outrageous,” said Linda Levy, Macy’s vice president of marketing cosmetics & fragrances, before introducing Bieber’s prize. But outrageous as the phenomenon may be at the retail level—Bieber’s first women’s scent offering, Someday, sold a record $3 million in less than three weeks when it debuted last summer—it was underwhelming at the gala. Bieber was a no-show; ditto Knowles, Swift, and Klum. Their collective absence went nearly unnoticed, however, thanks in large part to the emcee stylings of Jane Lynch.
“For about ten years, I smelled like Miller Lite,” the Glee star joked as things got under way, adding that if she had her own fragrance, it would be called, “I’m Not Ellen.” Additional boldfaced name power came by way of a Pucci-clad Nicole Richie, who presented Tom Ford Beauty with both the Men’s and Women’s Nouveau Niche award for its hugely popular unisex offering, Jasmin Rouge (Richie was unofficially in attendance to build up support for her own signature scent, which drops this fall).
The night’s real stars were the perfumes themselves, though; Diptyque took home top honors in the Interior Scent Collection category for its 34 Boulevard Saint Germain; Tom Ford scored yet another coup in the Women’s Luxe category, besting Bottega Veneta, Justin Bieber, and Beyoncé’s Pulse with his Violet Blonde eau; Victoria’s Secret Angel picked up the award for best Women’s Specialty Brand fragrance as well as best packaging in the Women’s Broad Appeal category; and Prada Candy won big in the Women’s Luxe Packaging contest.
Things took a bittersweet turn when Estée Lauder senior vice president of fragrance Karyn Khoury presented the Legacy of Excellence award to Evelyn Lauder, who passed away last November from ovarian cancer. When her husband, Estée Lauder’s chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder, came up to the podium to accept the award, he broke down into tears while talking about his beloved wife’s contributions to the business (the entire house subsequently did the same). But Lauder composed himself and ultimately delivered one of the greatest tributes of the night. “She was a great lady. She was fun, inspiring, and she loved this industry,” he said, addressing the full auditorium of perfume’s major players. “You are making women feel beautiful and for that, God bless you and thank you.”