Adriana Lima's Baby Is A Covergirl; Celebrity Perfumes Made By Workers Earning $3 A Day

Illustration for article titled Adriana Lima's Baby Is A Covergirl; Celebrity Perfumes Made By Workers Earning $3 A Day
  • Adriana Lima, husband Marko Jaric, and baby daughter Valentina posed for Hola! brazil. The Victoria's Secret model discussed her pregnancy, which was plagued with complications including preeclampsia. Valentina was born prematurely. [HuffPo]
  • An Indian factory that makes perfumes and colognes for a variety of celebrities, including cheesecake model Jordan, and brands like Nike-owned Umbro, has been paying its workers as little as 141 rupees, or $3.03 a day. That sum is below the legal minimum wage. The Observer writes: "The perfume itself is often the cheapest part of the package, accounting for as little as 3% of the overall cost for the cheaper fragrances...the profit margin on a celebrity perfume can be as high as 95%." [Observer]
  • This is maybe why you shouldn't hang a valuable chalk drawing at a party, Russell Simmons. [AnimalNY]
  • Nick Knight and Tamara Mellon were named to the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's birthday honors list. Harold Tillman, who owns Aquascutum and Jaeger, was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. [Vogue UK]
  • "It's always a tricky thing, trying to make aid sustainable," says Liya Kebede, about her ethical fashion line Lemlem. "It's important that we try and help the workers become independent, so by employing traditional weavers we're trying to break their cycle of poverty, at the same time preserving the art of weaving while creating modern, casual, comfortable stuff that we really want to wear." [Observer]
  • Mark Indelicato says his position at Teen Vogue "is like a real internship … like they have me putting together boxes and stuff. They don't treat me like a celebrity." [Crushable]
  • Marilyn Monroe's pink satin column dress with matching gloves from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes sold for £213,000 at auction, beating the expected price by over £40,000. [Daily Mail]
  • "Anyone who wants to be famous is completely insane. People think they'll love fame, but money and attention wane, and then you're left in a life that's been dramatically changed for ever. You can't even walk down the street without people staring at you." Okay, Lizzie Jagger. We'll take your word for it. [ToL]
  • This interview with Charlotte Ronson is deliciously awkward. "The first few minutes are awful, so bad that I find myself telling Ronson, 32, that she looks really fed up and asking if she hates interviews..." [Telegraph]
  • Robin Givhan, ever walking the line between hopeful and culpably naïve: "The frock trade survived the recession — with neither bailouts nor mass bankruptcies — and emerged with a more mature approach to style. And, even more important, the industry as a whole exhibited a greater sensitivity to diversity in race, age and even size." [WaPo]
  • Coach may be developing a new, cheaper brand that will be sold exclusively at Macy's. [WWD]
  • A former executive vice-president of Aéropostale was fired in 2006 for having too cozy a relationship with one of the brand's suppliers. Last week, he was charged with fraud. Christopher Finazzo allegedly gave $350 million of Aéropostale's business to the supplier, in exchange for $14 million in secret kickbacks. Aéropostale overpaid for the merchandise. Such back-end deals are not unheard of in the garment industry: after Christian Audigier left Von Dutch in 2004, the company sued him for allegedly receiving $3 million in illegal kickbacks from vendors. [WSJ]
  • Teen clothing spending is down. Among 13- to 19-year-olds, apparel spending dropped 9.4%, to $34.7 billion, in the 12 months ended April. During the previous year, the same age group spent $38.3 billion on clothing. Stores like Hollister and the ever-precarious Abercrombie & Fitch are facing renewed competition from H&M and Zara. [WWD]
  • The Independent picked up Gawker's excellent American Apparel employment-discrimination scoop. [Independent]
  • Meanwhile, a former American Apparel sales associate says her firing coincided suspiciously with a store visit from Dov Charney during which he seemed to find her body lacking. [The Gloss]
  • However, the financially troubled company has been thrown one important lifeline: main creditor Lion Capital is said to be willing to strike a deal with American Apparel that will prevent the triggering of a debt covenant breach, and associated penalties. American Apparel's stock price took another nosedive when it announced it was not on track to repay its debt, and could be in breach by the end of this month. [Reuters]
  • Kate Moss's hair stylist, James Brown, is struggling to stay in business. His line of branded hair products is in bankruptcy administration with over £3 million in debt. Of course this is made salacious by the (alleged) fact that Moss refused to loan him money to stay afloat. [Daily Mail]
  • "In a move that blurs the line between show biz and shoe biz as well as advertising and entertainment, Nicktoons will air Zevo-3, an animated show that's based on comic book characters developed by Skechers." Brandweek always brings out the angry, unsophisticated 14-year-old AdBusters-reading anti-consumerist in us, because we find the very idea of this cartoon seriously depressing. [Brandweek]
  • Franz Ferdinand will play the Pringle of Scotland men's show live. Sellouts. [WWD]
  • Gucci is opening a hotel in Dubai, like competitor Armani. [DailyFinance]
  • "Great customer service is expensive, and the payoff is two or three years down the road. If all we wanted was to maximize our 2010 profits, we'd fire everyone and stop answering the phones." — Zappos C.E.O. Tony Hsieh. [Newsweek]
  • Sonia Rykiel is eager to expand in the U.S. market. The company will be staging showroom presentations here for its pre-spring collection for the first time. [WWD]
  • Uniqlo's sales rose by over 50% in the U.K. on last year. [Independent]
  • Here are some Hello Kitty Doc Martens. [Nylon]


A Small Turnip

The profitability of perfume is extremely variable. I mean, astoundingly so. The markup quoted above sounds obscene (and to be sure, if any of the component parts of a perfume are created by treating workers with vile contempt, they are obscene. But if you actually look at the numbers—whew. The perfume biz ain't a sure-fire money-spinner. At all.

There are an almost unfathomable costs associated with launching a big perfume, whether it's by Dior or Britney Spears. There are the astronomical costs of the marketing, the advertising, the shipping, the commissions, the splits, the freebies—and this is even after the scent itself is designed, sourced, tested, re-tested, allergy-tested, created, macerated, bottled and packaged. Believe me, it adds up. We hear about the terrific success stories like Calice Becker's J'adore for Dior, or Olivier Cresp's Light Blue for Dolce & Gabbana, and think, God, what a piece of piss this perfume business is. Plonk a bit of flowery oil in some alcohol, add a bit of synthetic musk for interest and longevity, stick it in a ludicrous bottle and away you go. No. The vast, vast majority of perfumes, celebrity or not, lose money. They don't make back anywhere near what they cost to make. It is easy to tut reprovingly at the rumoured profitability of certain scents, but quite honestly, it's not as simple as we would all like it to be. And nowhere near as lucrative.