Revlon: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Revlon Incorporated
Type Public (NYSEREV)
Founded 1932
Founder(s) Joseph & Charles Revson, Charles Lachman
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Key people Alan T. Ennis, President and CEO
Industry Cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, personal care
Revenue $1.4 BillionUSD (12/31/2007)
Net income -$16.1 Million USD (12/31/2007)
Employees 6,800
Parent MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings: 60% (74% of votes)
FMR Corp.: 20%
Website US Site

Revlon (NYSEREV) is an American cosmetics company.



Revlon was founded in the midst of the Great Depression, 1932, by Charles Revson and his brother Joseph, along with a chemist, Charles Lachman, who contributed the "L" in the REVLON name.[1]

Starting with a single product — a new type of nail enamel — the three founders pooled their resources and developed a unique manufacturing process. Using pigments instead of dyes, Revlon developed a variety of new shades of opaque nail enamel. In 1937, Revlon started selling the polishes in department stores and drug stores. In six years the company became a multimillion dollar organization. By 1940, Revlon offered an entire manicure line, and added lipstick to the collection. During World War II Revlon created makeup and related products for the U.S. Army, which was honored in 1944 with the Army-Navy ‘E’ Award for Excellence.


By the end of the war, Revlon listed itself as one of America's top five cosmetic houses. Expanding its capabilities, the company bought Graef & Schmidt, a cutlery manufacturer seized by the government in 1943 because of German business ties. This acquisition made it possible for Revlon to produce its own manicure and pedicure instruments, instead of buying them from outside supply sources.

Up until the 1940s, Revlon's magazine ads were drawn by hand and mostly in black and white. Beginning in 1945, Revlon began launching full-color photographic advertisements in major magazines and stores across the country. Revlon introduced matching nail polish and lipsticks with exotic and unique names. These ads were taken by the top fashion photographers of the day including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, and John Rawlings. Some of these ads were for "Paint the Town Pink" and 1945's "Fatal Apple" with Dorian Leigh. In 1947 Revlon introduced "Bachelor's Carnation" and in 1948, "Sweet Talk".


"Fire and Ice" and Dorian Leigh

In 1950, Revlon introduced a red lipstick and nail enamel called "Where's the Fire?" Revlon used the word "fire" again later in their "Fire and Ice" ads.

One of the world's first supermodels, Dorian Leigh, starred in some of Revlon's most memorable advertisements of all time. In 1946, Dorian was covered in purple flowers and wrapped in a pale purple sheet for "Ultra Violet." In 1947, Dorian appeared in "Fashion Plate." In 1953, at the age of 36, she appeared in "Cherries in the Snow." Later that year she appeared in the legendary "Fire and Ice" ad shot by Richard Avedon.

Originally, Dorian appeared in a tight, silver-beaded dress with an enormous red wrap. Her black hair had a silver swirl in it and she had her hands, with long red nails, positioned in front of her breasts. Charles Revson rejected Avedon's original ad as "too sexual."[2] They re-shot the ad, this time with her open hand in front of one hip, the other in front of her cheek.

The advertisement became Madison Avenue legend because of the full-page quiz next to the sensual ad. The ad asked, "Are You Made For 'Fire and Ice.'" It further asked:

"What is the American girl made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice? Not since the days of the Gibson Girl! There's a new American beauty. . . she's tease and temptress, siren and gamin, dynamic and demure. Men find her slightly, delightfully baffling. Sometimes a little maddening. Yet they admit she's easily the most exciting woman in all the world! She's the 1952 American beauty, with a foolproof formula for melting the male! She's the 'Fire and Ice' girl. (Are you?)

In November 1955, Revlon went public. The IPO price was $12 per share, but it reached $30 per share within 8 weeks.

Suzy Parker

Dorian Leigh's 15-years younger supermodel sister, Suzy Parker, also shot numerous Revlon magazines ads. Unlike Leigh, whom Charles Revson was smitten with and wanted to perhaps marry,[3] Revson supposedly hated Parker. Parker said,[4]

"I would do the Revlon ads with Dick [Richard Avedon]. I never had a contract. What Mr. Revson offered me was such peanuts I told him to go take a flying jump. But I always ended up doing retakes for all these other models. Revson got so mad that he said, 'You will not use Suzy Parker.' So they gave me these weird names like Bubbles Macao, and we'd be doing it in the middle of the night, the ninth retake after eight other models."

One of these re-takes involved holding on to an out-of-control white horse at night, on a beach.

Some famous Revlon ads red-headed Parker was featured in were: "Love Pat," 1956's "Futurama," and "Satin Set," 1957's "Touch-and-Glow," 1959's "Colors Unlimited," 1961's "Fresh Emeralds," and "Colors Avant Garde."


In the 1960s, with both supermodel sisters Dorian Leigh and Suzy Parker retired, Revlon ads featured a number of different models. Some ads were 1963's "Jungle Peach," 1964's "La Dolce Look," 1965's "The Worldly Young Innocents," and 1968's "Moon Drops."

In the 1960s, Charles Revson segmented Revlon Inc into different divisions, each focusing on a different market. He borrowed this strategy from General Motors. Each division had its own target customer: Princess Marcella Borghese was an upscale, international line; Ultima II was the premium line; Revlon was the largest and most popular-priced brand; Natural Wonder was aimed at the junior customer; Moon Drops was aimed at dry skins; and Etherea was a hypo-allergenic brand. There is an unsettled debate as to whether Estée Lauder stole Revson's idea and created Clinique, or the other way around. However, there is no debate which hypo-allergenic line became successful. Revlon's non-beauty ventures were not so successful, either.

In 1957, Revlon acquired Knomark, a shoe-polish company, and sold its shoe-polish line Esquire Shoe Polish in 1969. Other poorly chosen acquisitions, such as Ty-D-Bol, the maker of toiler cleansers, and a 27 percent interest in the Schick electric shaver company were also soon discarded. Evan Picone, a women's sportswear manufacturer which came with a price tag of $12 million in 1962, was sold back to one of the original partners four years later for $1 million. However, the 1967 acquisition of U.S. Vitamin and Pharmaceutical Corporation did make Revlon, for a while, a leader in diabetes drugs.

The company had begun to market its products overseas at the end of the 1950s. By 1962, when Revlon debuted in Japan, there were subsidiaries in France, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, and Asia. Revlon's entrance into the Japanese market was typical of its international sales strategy. Instead of adapting its ads and using Japanese models, Revlon chose to use its basic U.S. advertising and models. Japanese women loved the American look, and the success of this bold approach was reflected in the 1962 sales figures, which were almost $164 million.

In 1968, Revlon introduced Eterna27, the first cosmetic cream with an estrogen precursor called Progenitin (pregenolone acetate), as well as introducing the world's first American fashion designer fragrance, Norman Norell. Later, Revlon launched Braggi and Pub for men, and a line of wig maintenance products called Wig Wonder.


In 1970 Revlon acquired the Mitchum line of deodorants.

In 1973, Revlon introduced Charlie, a fragrance designed for the working woman's budget. Geared to the under-30 market, Charlie model Shelley Hack in Ralph Lauren clothes, personified the independent woman of the 1970s. This is the first perfume ad to feature a woman wearing pants. Charlie was an instant success, helping to raise Revlon's net sales figures to $506 million for 1973 and to almost $606 million the following year. Shelley Hack appeared on Oprah in 2007 to talk about the power of these Charlie print and commercial ads. Their follow-up fragrance, Jontue, quickly became the number two best seller.

Also in 1973, model Lauren Hutton signed the first exclusive modeling contact ever. She agreed to pose for Revlon's Ultima line for $400,000 for two years. The following year, Hutton appeared on the cover of Newsweek because of her ground-breaking cosmetics contract.[5] Additionally, famed photographer Richard Avedon was signed on as the exclusive photographer for the brand - another cosmetics industry first[1].

In 1975, Charles Revson died. Michel Bergerac, who Revson had hired as President of the company, continued to grow the organization. Revlon acquired Coburn Optical Industries, an Oklahoma-based manufacturer of ophthalmic and optical processing equipment and supplies. Barnes-Hind, the largest U.S. marketer of hard contact lens solutions, was bought in 1976 and strengthened Revlon's share of the eye-care market. Revlon purchased Armour Pharmaceutical Company, a division of Armour and Company, from The Greyhound Corporation in 1977. Other acquisitions included the Lewis-Howe Company, makers of Tums antacid in 1978. These health-care operations helped sales figures to pass the $1 billion mark in 1977, bringing total sales to $1.7 billion in 1979.


By the mid-1980s, Revlon's health-care companies, rather than Revlon's beauty concerns, were innovating and expanding. Reluctant to initiate beauty-product development, Revlon lost ground to Estée Lauder. Lauder was a privately held company whose marketing strategy of high prices with accompanying gifts, were featured in upscale department stores, not drugstores where Revlon was found. Estee Lauder's "high-class" ads also featured only one supermodel, Paulina Porizkova, shot by famous Chicago fashion photographer, Victor Skrebneski. This caused Revlon's share to drop from 20 percent to 10 percent of department store cosmetics sales. Sales at the drugstore also declined as Revlon lost share to Noxell's Cover Girl brand (advertised by Christie Brinkley).

Revlon compensated with more acquisitions; Max Factor, Ellen Betrix, Charles of the Ritz, Germaine Monteil, Almay, Fermodyl, Lancaster, Aziza, and Halston. The 1977 acquisition of Carlos Colomer, a Spanish professional beauty supply distributor, brought Fermodyl and Roux and helped introduce Revlon to the world of ethnic care: Creme of Nature, Realistic, Lovely Color and Milk and Honey became highly successful international. In 1983 the company attempted an unsuccessful hostile takeover of Gillette.

On November 5, 1985, at a price of $58 per share, totaling $2.7 billion, Revlon was sold to Pantry Pride (later renamed to Revlon Group, Inc.), a subsidiary of Ronald Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings. The highly leveraged buyout--engineered with the help of junk bond king Michael P. Milken--saddled Revlon with a huge $2.9 billion debt load, which became an albatross around the company's neck for years to come. Pantry Pride Inc. offered to buy any or all of Revlon's 38.2 million outstanding shares for $47.5 a share when its street price stood at $45 a share. Initially rejected, he repeatedly raised his offer until it reached $53 a share while fighting Revlon's management every step of the way. Forstmann Little & Company swooped in at $56 a share, a brief public bidding war ensued, and Perelman triumphed with an offer of $58 a share. Perelman paid $1.8 billion to Revlon's shareholders, but he also paid $900 million of other costs associated with the purchase.[6] Perelman had Revlon sell four divisions: two for $1 billion, the vision care division for $574 million, and the National Health Laboratories division which became a publicly owned corporation in 1988. Additional make-up lines were purchased for Revlon: Max Factor in 1987 and Betrix in 1989, later sold to Procter & Gamble in 1991.[7]


Despite the enormously successful campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s featuring models, Revlon decided to drop almost all fashion models and to instead focus on female movie stars. Their ads featured a number of different actresses including Kate Bosworth, Jaime King, Halle Berry (she has appeared in dozens of Revlon ads since 1996), Susan Sarandon, Melanie Griffith, Julianne Moore, Eva Mendes, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Connelly, Beau Garrett, and Jessica Biel. In 2009, Australian supermodel Elle MacPherson became a new spokesmodel for the company.

As of June 2007, Revlon has reported 27 consistent quarterly losses, with only minor relief through selling off divisions and businesses. Today Revlon is but a fraction of the size it once was, only housing the Revlon, Almay, Mitchum, and Jeanne Gatineau lines. It still owns Ultima II, which is no longer sold in North America, and is rumored to be next on the chopping block.


Corporate governance

Current members of the board of directors of Revlon are: Alan Bernikow, Paul Bohan, Meyer Feldberg, Debra Lee, David Kennedy, Ronald Perelman, Linda Robinson, Barry Schwartz, Kathi Seifert, Ken Wolf, Richard Santagati and Ann Jordan.[8]



  • Almay, Inc., a Delaware corporation
  • Charles of the Ritz Group Ltd., a Delaware corporation
  • Charles Revson Inc., a New York corporation
  • Cosmetics & More Inc., a Delaware corporation
  • North America Revsale Inc., a New York corporation
  • PPI Two Corporation, a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon Consumer Corp., a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon Consumer Products Corporation, a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon Development Corp., a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon Government Sales, Inc., a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon International Corporation, a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon Products Corp., a Delaware corporation
  • Revlon Real Estate Corporation, a Delaware corporation
  • RIROS Corporation, a New York corporation
  • RIROS Group Inc., a Delaware corporation

Foreign subsidiaries

  • ACN 000 189 186 Pty. Limited (Australia)
  • CEIL — Comercio e Distribuidora Ltda. (Brazil)
  • Cendico B.V. (Netherlands)
  • Deutsche Revlon GmbH (Germany)
  • European Beauty Products S.L. (Spain)
  • Européenne de Produits de Beauté S.A.S. (France)
  • New Revlon Argentina S.A. (Argentina)
  • Productos Cosmeticos de Revlon, S.A. (Guatemala)
  • Promethean Insurance Limited (Bermuda)
  • REMEA 2 B.V. (Netherlands)
  • Revlon A.B. (Sweden)
  • Revlon Australia Pty Limited (Australia)
  • Revlon Beauty Products, S.L. (Spain)
  • Revlon B.V. (Netherlands)
  • Revlon Canada Inc. (Canada)
  • Revlon Chile S.A. (Chile)
  • Revlon Modi Revlon PVT LTD INDIA
  • Revlon China Holdings Limited (Cayman Islands)
  • Revlon Europe, Middle East and Africa Ltd. (Bermuda)
  • Revlon Group Limited (United Kingdom)
  • Revlon (Hong Kong) Limited (Hong Kong)
  • Revlon (Israel) Limited (Israel)
  • Revlon Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan)
  • Revlon Ltda. (Brazil)
  • Revlon Manufacturing Ltd. (Bermuda)
  • Revlon Mauritius Ltd. (Mauritius)
  • Revlon New Zealand Limited (New Zealand)
  • Revlon Offshore Limited (Bermuda)
  • Revlon Overseas Corporation, C.A. (Venezuela)
  • Revlon Pension Trustee Company (U.K.) Limited (United Kingdom)
  • Revlon (Puerto Rico) Inc. (Puerto Rico)
  • Revlon Real Estate Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan)
  • Revlon, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico)
  • Revlon (Shanghai) Limited (China)
  • Revlon South Africa (Proprietary) Limited (South Africa)


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Girl Who Had Everything, The Story of 'The Fire and Ice Girl,' by Dorian Leigh and Laura Hobe, 1980, page 88.
  3. ^ The Girl Who Had Everything. The Story of the "Fire and Ice Girl," Dorian Leigh and Laura Hobe, 1980, page 89.
  4. ^ Model, by Michael Gross, 1955, page 121.
  5. ^ Model, by Michael Gross, 1995, page 212.
  6. ^ Stevenson, Richard (1985-11-05). "Pantry Pride Control of Revlon Board Seen Near". New York Times. p. D5. 
  7. ^ "MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc." (HTML). Funding Universe.;-Forbes-Holdings-Inc-Company-History.html. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  8. ^ "Board of directors". Revlon Investor Relations. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 

External links

Written in 1990

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address