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Charles of the Ritz

Charles of the Ritz is a cosmetics brand known today for its line of perfume fragrances.

Foreground

In 1916, coiffeur Charles Jundt took over the Manhattan beauty salon of the New York City Ritz (later the Ritz-Carlton) hotel. He founded his own cosmetics company in 1919, and in 1926, began marketing beauty products under the name "Charles of the Ritz". Perfume was added to this line in 1927. Below is a list of the house fragrances, and their year of launch.

Fragrance name Year of launch
A 1927
B 1927
c 1927
Jean Nate 1935
Spur 1937
Tingle 1938
Summertime 1939
Wintertime 1940
Love Potion 1941
Spring Rain 1941
Flower Show 1942
Jester 1944
Sea Shell 1944
Soignee 1944
Water Sprite 1944
An English Garden 1945
Damask 1945
Little Women 1945
Ritual 1945
Baby Pink 1947
Directoire 1948
French Provincial 1949
Floreal 1950
Country Wedding 1951
Ishah 1954
Simone Mounir 1957
Ritz (Classic) 1972
Charles of the Ritz 1977
Enjoli 1978
Charivari 1978
Aston 1979
Senchal 1981
Forever Krystle 1984
Carrington 1984
Xi'a Xi'ang 1987

History

In 1932, at the age of 24, Richard B. Salomon was named president of Charles of the Ritz, Inc. Twenty years later, he was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, by then a $60- million firm. Mr Salomon was an internationally known businessman, philanthropist and humanitarian who served as chancellor of Brown University from 1979-88.

In 1935, Charles of the Ritz launched the highly successful Jean Nate line of body splashes and fragrance. They also later acquired the cosmetics company Alexandra de Markoff.

Charles of the Ritz expanded distribution from upscale salons into upper-end department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In the early 1950', he was said to have mocked Estee Lauder and her practice of free samples and gifts with purchase, saying "you will never go anywhere in this industry."

Expansion

In 1963, Ritz acquired 80% of the house of Yves Saint Laurent. Ritz launched an entire line of skincare and makeup under the Yves Saint Laurent Beaute brand.

In 1964 Charles of the Ritz merged with the Lanvin group. It was from then on known as Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz.

In 1969 the legendary makeup artist Way Bandy joined Charles of the Ritz as the salon director of makeup.

E.R. Squibb ownership

In 1972, Mr Salomon retired, and the company was acquired by pharmaceutical company E.R. Squibb, with a market value of $100 million.

In 1977, Yves Saint Laurent Beaute launched Opium.

In 1978, Ritz introduced a new women's fragrance, Enjoli, designed (as noted in its popular television commercials) as "the eight hour perfume for the 24-hour woman"; the commercial's theme song was a remake of Peggy Lee's 1963 hit song I'm A Woman. In 1984 Charles of the Ritz launched the immensely successful fragrances based on American television drama Dynasty characters Forever Krystle and Carrington.

Yves Saint Laurent to Revlon ownership

In 1986, Squibb sold the entire division back to Yves Saint Laurent for $500 million, who invested heavily in a new men's frangrance called Jazz. Jazz was not particularly successful, and, coupled with the October 1987 market crash, Yves Saint Laurent sold Charles of the Ritz Incorporated (excluding Yves Saint Laurent Beaute) to Revlon in 1987. Revlon, still reeling from its unsuccessful takeover attempt of Gilette in 1983, declared they were interested in several acquisitions, and along with Charles of the Ritz, they bought Max Factor, Almay, Halston, Borghese, and Germaine Monteil.

Revlon could not manage the brand and it began to slip in image and prestige. In 1991 they launched a line called Express, aimed at a more savvy customer. The brand became associated with lower-end stores like JC Penney and maintained a focus on the "mature" customer. After several years of unsuccessful revival attempts, (including an endorsement deal with Kathie Lee Gifford for their Timeless line of products), and facing massive debt, Revlon put (among many others) the line for sale, but had no takers. Analysts suggested the very name - Charles of the Ritz - lacked consumer recognition.

End of Charles of the Ritz

Revlon finally shut down Charles of the Ritz in 2002. Many of the former Ritz fragrances, such as Enjoli, are still sold today under the Revlon name.

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