By Anna Sekula Posted June 15, 2010, 12:53 PM EDT
Returning to the 69th Regiment Armory to honor the best of the fragrance industry, Thursday night's FiFi Awards struck a positive tone this year as a way to reflect the rebounding economy. Infused with brighter colors and lighting, the Fragrance Foundation's biggest yearly gathering looked to move away from the somber attitude of the recession and give executives from brands like L'Oreal, Elizabeth Arden, and Estée Lauder an opportunity to relax and have fun. Key to this idea was extending the post-award reception and adding some entertainment to entice the 800 attendees to linger.
”[Last year] was a tough year for everybody, and within the beauty category, fragrance suffered the most. But I feel this year, like everything, it turned around and people are out spending again,” said the foundation's president, Rochelle R. Bloom, who worked in tandem with producers from Dalzell to expand on the lounge concept of previous iterations.
Knowing that limited budgets would prevent many companies from hosting their own parties following the ceremony, Bloom saw the chance to integrate an after-party into the show's program. This meant bringing in live musical entertainment for the first time and supplying a spread of dishes capable of feeding a large crowd. But rather than tack this on to the tail end of the event, the organizers used a Cuban motif to tie together the food and decor from the first half of the event to the music, dancers, and dinner buffet of the after-party.
Great Performances served appetizers like green chili chicken empanaditas and pressed turkey cubano sandwiches, and pots of leafy plants decked the lounges and stage, setting the tone for the awards presentation Latin beats from Cubanoson and stations of whole roasted suckling pig and seafood paella carried the theme through to the post-show reception.
Joined by honorees Usher and Michael Kors, attendees included presenters Kim Kardashian, actress Lelee Sobieski, and American Idol judge Randy Jackson. Among the night's winners were Marc Jacobs's Lola for best women's luxe fragrance, CK One for best men's media campaign, and Couture Couture by Juicy Couture for best bath and body line.