Fabergé (cosmetics)

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Fabergé (pronounced: [fabɛʁʒe]) was a brand of cosmetics manufactured between 1964 and 1984 under the direction of George Barrie. In 1984, McGregor acquired Fabergé and discontinued many Faberge products.

History[edit]

The American oil billionaire Armand Hammer collected many Fabergé pieces during his business ventures in communist Russia in the 1920s. In 1937, Armand Hammer’s friend Samuel Rubin, owner of the Spanish Trading Corporation which imported soap and olive oil, closed down his company because of the Spanish Civil War and established a new enterprise to manufacture perfumes and toiletries. He registered it, at Hammer’s suggestion, as Fabergé, Inc. The Faberge family did not learn about this until after World War II ended. Unable to afford protracted and expensive litigation, in 1951 they settled out of court for US$25,000 ($230,000 today) for the Fabergé name to be used in connection with perfume. Soon, Rubin added cosmetics and toiletries under the Faberge banner, usually sold in upscale department stores. Faberge had a high, prestige status, similar to rivals Coty, Guerlain and Elizabeth Arden. However, by 1964, Rubin sold Fabergé Inc. for $26 million to George Barrie and the cosmetics company Rayette. In 1964, Rayette changed its name to Rayette-Fabergé Inc., and, in 1971, the company name was changed back to Fabergé Inc.

Cosmetics brand[edit]

From 1964 to 1984 under the direction of George Barrie, Fabergé launched many successful cosmetics products and hired celebrities to endorse them. In addition a media division made feature movies.

Mr. Barrie supervised Fabergé's introduction of the popular Brut toiletry line for Fabergé which was promoted by the football players Joe Namath, Paul Gascoigne and Kevin Keegan, as well as the boxers Mohamed Ali[1] and Henry Cooper, and the actress Kelly Le Brock [2] among others. Brut became the best selling cologne in the world at the time. It is still available in stores worldwide today.

In 1967 movie star Cary Grant had been appointed a "creative consultant" to Rayette-Faberge. He spent a year attending sales conventions and visited Faberge plants around the world. In May 1968, Grant was elected a member of Faberge's board of directors. He received a salary of $15,000 a year, a rent-paid luxury apartment in New York City (where Faberge's HQ was located), unlimited travel expenses and the use of the company's private fleet of helicopters and planes. By 1970, Grant divided his time between Los Angeles and New York. He never endorsed specific products or appeared in commercials.

In 1977 Barrie launched the Farrah Fawcett hair product and fragrance lines and he signed the actress and star of Charlie's Angels to a promotional contract with Fabergé. A famous Fabergé TV ad featured Joe Namath being shaven by Farrah Fawcett.

James Bond actor Roger Moore became another celebrity board member in 1970. George Barrie established Fabergé's filmmaking division, Brut Productions, in 1970 and produced the Academy Award-winning movie, A Touch of Class in 1973 and other feature movies.

Barrie launched the Babe fragrance in 1976 which, in its first year, became Fabergé's largest-selling women's fragrance worldwide.

The granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway, model and actress Margaux Hemingway, received a $1 million contract to promote the perfume Babe by Fabergé in a very popular advertising campaign. Her famous Babe campaign was remembered again by millions after her mysterious death in 1996. Babe received two awards from the Fragrance Foundation for its launch, Most Successful Introduction of a Women's Fragrance in Popular Distribution and Best Advertising Campaign for Women's Fragrance.

By 1984, the company had expanded its personal care products to Aphrodisia, Aqua Net Hair Spray, Babe, Cavale, Brut, Ceramic Nail glaze, Flambeau, Great Skin, Grande Finale, Just Wonderful, Macho, Kiku, Partage, Tip Top Accessories, Tigress, Woodhue, Xandu, Zizanie de Fragonard, Caryl Richards, Farrah Fawcett, and Fabergé Organics.

In 1984, McGregor acquired Fabergé and discontinued many Faberge products. The company launched Mcgregor by Fabergé cologne the same year. New product lines were introduced including men's, women's, and children's apparel under the trademarks Billy the Kid, Scoreboard, and Wonderknit.

In 1986, Mark Goldston, a specialist in evaluating areas of untapped sales and profit, was named President of Fabergé. He was principally responsible for targeting and acquiring Elizabeth Arden from Eli Lilly and Company.

Fabergé Inc was acquired by Unilever in 1989 for US$1.55 billion. In 2001 Lever Fabergé was formed through the merger of Lever Brothers and Elida Fabergé, two long-established Unilever companies. Lever Fabergé today owns hundreds of cosmetics, household, and other brands including Dove, Impulse, Sure, Axe, Organics, Timotei, Signal, Comfort, Domestos, Surf, Sun, and Cif.
Unilever removed the Fabergé name from all its products and packaging. Brut is now marketed in Europe by Brut Parfums Prestige.

On January 3, 2007, Pallinghurst Resources LLP, an investment advisory firm based in London, announced it had acquired Unilever’s entire global portfolio of trademarks, licenses and associated rights relating to the Fabergé brand name for an undisclosed sum. The trademarks, licenses and associated rights were transferred to a newly constituted company, Fabergé Limited, which was registered in the Cayman Islands. In October 2007 it announced that the company intended to restore Fabergé to its rightful position as the leading purveyor of enduring and endearing personal possessions. Furthermore, it announced the reunification of the Fabergé brand with the Fabergé family with Tatiana Fabergé and Sarah Fabergé, both great-granddaughters of Peter Carl Fabergé, becoming founding members of the Fabergé Heritage Council, a division of Fabergé Limited, which was to offer counsel to the new company.

Future[edit]

The new owners aim to make Fabergé a luxury goods brand and to sell individually branded Fabergé gemstones with guaranteed provenance and ethical sourcing of the stones. Mark Dunhill became CEO in 2007.[3] The company launched its 'Haute Couture' jewellery collection in 2009.

TV commercials[edit]

Promotion[edit]

The cologne Brut 33 by Fabergé had a product placement in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. In the fight in the dancer's dressing-room, Roger Moore sprays two of the villains in the face with an aerosol can of what is Brut-33 anti-perspirant, a nod to the Fabergé company with which Moore was associated. [4]

Limited licences to endorse products with the name Fabergé were given to Barbie, Limoges, The Franklin Mint and others.

References[edit]

External links[edit]