At the FiFis (L-R): Sean Combs and Paris Hilton show off their newly awarded trophies; Marc Jacobs, the evening’s recipient of the Hall of Fame Award, with Coty Inc. CEO Bernd Beetz.

Stars Step Out
for the FiFis

On the 37th anniversary of the FiFi awards and the 60th anniversary of The Fragrance Foundation, top-of-mind celebrities and over-the-top packaging stole the show.

By Jamie Matusow, Editor

Simple white luminaries flickered on the banquet tables inside Manhattan’s Downtown Armory on the evening of May 27, setting the stage for the annual FiFi Awards presentation, known as the “Oscars of the Fragrance Industry,” which was about to begin. As 1,000 guests took their seats inside, outside, real-life luminaries from stage, screen and the fragrance and fashion industries posed for
photographers as they arrived for the festivities via the Red Carpet, in true Oscar style.

Among them: entrepreneurial socialite Paris Hilton, about to accept in a brand new FiFi category for Female Celebrity Fragrance of the Year; designer (and Coty Prestige collaborator) Marc Jacobs, the 2009 inductee to the FiFi Hall of Fame; Sean Combs, whose fragrance I Am King was nominated (and won) for Fragrance of the Year Men’s Luxe; Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and Kate Walsh (all presenters who would announce their upcoming namesake fragrance launches); Lisa and Dustin Hoffman; Ernest and Tova Borgnine (Tova, along with QVC, won for Retailer of the Year); Simon Doonan; Bernd Beetz, CEO of Coty Inc; William Lauder, CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies; and fashion model and face of Estée Lauder’s FiFi-nominated fragrance, Sensuous, Hilary Rhoda (Sensuous won Best Media Campaign of the Year Women’s).

Harajuku Lovers was a big winner for Coty Inc.
It was an evening that shamed any naysayer who insists that celebrity fragrance is on the wane, as many of the top honors went to scents named for or related to icons of pop culture.

Packaging at the Forefront

Packaging added a powerful punch to this year’s fragrance contenders, and previews of future launches revealed during the evening, including Marc Jacobs’ Lola and Paris Hilton’s Siren, just to name a few, further mark a trend that shows no sign of dwindling to “plain vanilla” bottles.

Commenting on this year’s standout designs, and the role of packaging in capturing consumers, Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation, said, ”I think there is more risk in packaging today, which the industry needs. The package should tell the story before you smell anything,” she said. “The package is what attracts you. It draws you to the counter to smell the juice. It is key to a success.”

Lynne Greene and WIlliam Lauder
Top dual-honors in both packaging and fragrance, one for Luxe and one for Popular Appeal, went to fragrances influenced by talented celebrity recording artists of very different genres. Both were produced by Coty, which received six FiFi awards, the most presented to a single company. (Estée Lauder took home four FiFis and Elizabeth Arden, three awards.)

Coty Prestige’s Harajuku Lovers, inspired by rock star and fashion designer Gwen Stefani’s interpretation of stylish youth in the Harajuku section of Tokyo, took top honors as Fragrance of the Year Women’s Luxe and tied for Best Packaging Women’s Prestige. The set of five scents literally broke the mold in fragrance packaging, featuring adorable bottles that look more like collectible dolls.

“One of the first challenges with this project,” Bernard Quennessen, Coty’s VP PCD, Prestige Fragrances, told Beauty Packaging in an earlier interview, “was to transform a 2D image into a 3D ‘human’ figure.” To do this, he said they had to look beyond traditional fragrance packaging resources. (For details on the innovative packaging, please go to Pochet provided the bottles, Alcan Packaging Beauty and Jackel provided the “heads,” and Cartondruck manufactured the carton.

FiFi guest Queen Latifah with Neil Katz of Parlux. Queen’s perfume launches this summer.
Bloom noted that Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers line is “the best example” of the key role that packaging plays. “It was a ‘must have,’ ” she said, “a collectible even before anyone smelled the fragrance. You couldn’t find a better example other than Marc Jacobs Daisy or the new Lola.”

A second line of Harajuku “dolls” is scheduled for release this fall, fashionably dressed in a whole new collectible wardrobe.

Knockout masculine packaging was key to country music sensation Tim McGraw’s fragrance following in the Coty tradition, winning dual awards for both Fragrance of the Year Men’s Popular Appeal and Best Packaging of the Year Men’s Popular Appeal.

“The uniquely shaped rectangular glass bottle is adorned with elements that reference Tim McGraw’s personality and style, from the sleek silver cap to the black leather-like collar resembling the brim of his signature cowboy hat,” said Steve Mormoris, SVP, global marketing for Coty Beauty. Vitro produced the bottle and Qualipac, the collar.

Launching on the heels of this multiple award-winning fragrance is McGraw’s new scent Southern Blend. The bottle shares its shape with the original, but features a gold-colored cap, rather than a silver one.

Double the Fun

In light of Coty’s third double win in a row of both juice and packaging (last year, Daisy by Marc Jacobs captured the two FiFis in the Women’s Luxe category), I asked Bloom about the significance. “For me,” she said, “winning the two awards means that you have developed a cohesive fragrance. The bottle…and juice tell the same and consistent story. This is very positive.”

Jamie Matusow, editor of Beauty Packaging with QSLD’s Denis Boudard, designer of the coveted FiFi trophy.

Ma Dame Wins Applause

The alluring and somewhat elusive three-dimensional bust figure encased in the glass-block flacon for Ma Dame-Jean Paul Gaultier, from Beauté Prestige International, also received rave reviews for presentation, sharing the top honor for Best Packaging of the Year Women’s Prestige, with Harajuku Lovers. Ma Dame’s bottles were supplied by SGD (which produced the flacons for five FiFi winners) and Bormioli Luigi. Decor-ating techniques used include shaded spraying and partial sandblasting. Primapack provided the neck pin.

King Me

I Am King-Sean John-Sean John Fragrances, from Estée Lauder, received a FiFi for Fragrance of the Year-Men’s Luxe. In accepting the award, Combs said the fragrance, which was designed to embody the Sean John lifestyle, was intended to make every man feel like a king.

“The bottle hints at a stylized crown using strong vertical beveled edges and the footprint of a gemstone,” said Lance McGregor, who designed the bottle and cap under the direction of Sean Combs and James Gager, senior vice president, creative. “To reflect this more,” said McGregor, “the chrome cap has an external clear shroud that increases the intensity of the highlights and reflection. Once the cap is removed, the bottle itself has a thick chrome shoulder that mirrors the outline of the cap; this seamlessly flows into the pump, so even without the cap, the bottle retains the strong masculine lines intended for a king.”

Jay Gorga, (L) publisher of Beauty Packaging with Scott Kestenbaum, vice president of marketing at Maesa
Lombardi Design and Manufacturing produced the intricate cap. The external clear shroud mentioned above is made from an Eastman Chemical Company product called Tenite, a plastic made from a renewable resource—softwood forests, harvested under a program of sustainable yield. Bormioli Rocco manufactured the bottle.

Rockin’ with Rocawear

Another winner in the men’s fragrance category also stems from the music business. Rocawear,
a lifestyle brand co-created by rapper Jay-Z, launched its first-ever men’s fragrance, 91X Rocawear, with Elizabeth Arden, and snagged the FiFi for Best Packaging of the Year-Men’s Prestige. The packaging is inspired by the unique style for which Rocawear is known.

With an exterior crafted of sleek, brushed gunmetal, the bottle reflects masculinity, strength and refinement. Designed to showcase the intriguing logo, the 91X Rocawear carton echoes the brushed metal look of the bottle, which was achieved by Qualipac.

Feminine Touch

Celebrity aside, top honors for Fragrance of the Year: Women’s Popular Appeal went to a fragrance that apparently appealed to a woman’s own femininity and sense of romance, and not to an icon she wishes to model her life after. American Beauty Beloved, from BeautyBank took the FiFi for its exquisite floral fragrance, which combines golden apricot blossom, fragrant calla lilies, freshly picked tuberose, passionate purple orris and precious woods. The exclusively designed bottle, from SGD North America, is romantic in design; its finishing touches of delicate pink and gray grosgrain ribbon are delightfully feminine and embody the true meaning of love and romance, according to a spokesperson for BeautyBank.

Avon’s Bond Girl 007 took shape thanks to bottles from SGD and Heinz Glass.

Feminine and Powerful

SGD and Heinz were the glass suppliers behind the winner for Best Packaging of the Year-Women’s Popular Appeal: Avon’s Bond Girl 007, which was created in partnership with the James Bond entertainment franchise. The fragrance tied into the October 2008 release of the Bond action flick “Quantum of Solace.”

Patricia Demnisky-Green, Avon’s director, global package design, who, with Eric Lee, senior manager, package design, created the sleek, curvaceous bottle reminiscent of a woman’s body, along with the cap, which looks like a James Bond spy gadget, told Beauty Packaging in an earlier interview, that they chose not to decorate the bottle because they thought it was more feminine and beautiful to keep the bottle clean, and focus the branding on the collar. “Also,” said Demnisky-Green, “the curve of the bottle is beautiful and we didn’t want to take away from that element.”

The bottle for Bond Girl 007 is made from undecorated flint glass, A sort, while the closure is a weighted polypropylene that gives the closure a heavy “hand.” The collar is made of polypropylene. Both components are vacuum metallized. The cap and collar were provided by Alcan Beauty Packaging.

In all, 26 FiFis were presented in 11 categories. To view all the winners, please go to