From Students to Professionals
The highlight of the evening, which is also meant to inspire the students, is the presentation of The Art of Packaging Award, given annually to a beauty industry company or individual that has excelled in the art form of package design. This year, Pratt honored Batallure Beauty chairman and co-founder Robin Burns-McNeil and president, CEO and co-founder Sam Ghusson. Fashion designer Derek Lam, who has partnered with Battalure on a line of fragrances, introduced the pair.
Batallure Beauty has developed a number of fragrance and cosmetic packages for brands including Derek Lam, Christian Louboutin, Elizabeth & James, and many more.
Model Roshumba Williams hosted the evening’s program, introducing Derek Lam who spoke about his favorite combo of scent and sensibility, saying, “Great fragrances come in beautiful, enticing packages.” He alluded to classics such as Chanel, L’Air du Temps and Halston.
He praised the honorees, saying, “Robin and Sam are legendary in the community, and at the forefront of products in the beauty category.”
During her career, Burns-McNeill has created some of the world’s most recognized, and successful, beauty brands. When she was president and CEO of Calvin Klein Cosmetics, the brand launched the iconic fragrances Obsession and Eternity. She later became president and CEO of Estée Lauder and president and CEO of Victoria’s Secret Beauty.
During his time in the industry, Ghusson first worked with Burns-McNeill at Calvin Klein Cosmetics. In 1990, he became the EVP of global operations for both Calvin Klein Cosmetics and Elizabeth Arden. He later joined Gryphon Development, a division of the Limited, and was responsible for all sourcing and manufacturing for Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Bath & Body Works.
In 2006, Burns-McNeill and Ghusson co-founded Batallure Beauty.
During her acceptance of the award, Burns-McNeill praised Pratt for contributing to the industry’s success, recognizing Rosen’s contributions over the past 25-plus years. In regard to the students’ work, she said: “I wanted to hire everyone who presented a project.” She further commented on how lucky the students are to have Rosen as their teacher, referring to him as “packaging designer extraordinaire.”
Ghusson reminisced about his wonderful 26-year professional relationship with Burns-McNeill, as “executive partners,” and quipped that they had been “the millennials of their day, in breaking the rules [about beauty].” He said: “I wish everyone could have a Robin in their life.”
Further, Ghusson told the crowd: “Robin and I have celebrated numerous successes throughout the years and are grateful to all of you.” Remarking on the scholarship winners, he said:” Pratt students represent the future of the industry.”
Rosen took the podium to thank the attendees, saying: “Each of you has made tonight possible with your support over the years.” He called Burns-McNeill and Ghusson “true veterans of our industry,” adding “they have dared to be different in creating packaging for their brands.”
Rosen also gave a special callout to Pratt president Dr. Thomas Schutte, who will step down from his position this year. “Tom Schutte has made Pratt what it is today, and I am proud to call him my friend,” he said.
Earlier in the evening, Dr. Schutte had introduced Rosen as one of the first graduates of Pratt’s packaging program—and said how eight years later, they had asked him to teach it.
Another full-circle anecdote: Burns-McNeill attended the first Art of Packaging gala 28 years ago, when she introduced Pierre Dinand for his iconic work in perfume packaging design.
Batallure Beauty joins previous Art of Packaging Award recipients including Aramis & Designer Fragrances, Estée Lauder, Avon, Bath & Body Works, Calvin Klein, Clinique, Coty Inc., Coty Prestige, Dior Beauty, Interparfums, Lancôme, M•A•C, Mary Kay Inc., P&G Prestige, Procter & Gamble, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, and Shiseido.
The six Pratt student scholarship winners showcased their creative fragrance packaging projects during the gala.