How Revlon revolutionized the cosmetics world

Once a cosmetics juggernaut, Revlon on Thursday filed for bankruptcy to manage its debt, which it said stood between $1-10 billion

In a court filing late Wednesday, Revlon initiated Chapter 11 proceedings to manage its debt, which it said stood between $1 billion and $10 billion. AFP

Weighed down by heavy debt load, surging costs and the inevitable disruptions to its supply, Revlon has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In a court filing late Wednesday, the company initiated Chapter 11 proceedings to manage its debt, which it said stood between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Revlon, known for its signature nail polish and lipstick, reported long-term liabilities of $3.3 billion in the first quarter.

“Today’s filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades, while providing a clearer path for our future growth,” CEO Debra Perelman said in a statement.

In the United States, Chapter 11, known as reorganization bankruptcy, allows firms to restructure themselves while being protected from creditors and continuing to operate.

The company said it expects to receive $575 million in financing from its lenders if its bankruptcy is approved in court.

Owned by billionaire investor Ronald Perelman and run by his daughter, Debra Perelman, Revlon reported a net loss of $67 million from January to March.

The company, which lists Elizabeth Arden, Almay, and Britney Spears Fragrances among its brands and has operations in more than 150 countries, has suffered from the global supply chain crisis and high inflation.

Revlon also has also faced increasingly tough competition, which has hurt revenue in recent years.

Let’s take a look back at the one-time cosmetics juggernaut’s revolutionary history:

Started in 1932 by brothers Charles and Joseph Revson and Charles Lachman by unveiling a revolutionary nail enamel. It was only in 1935 that the company advertised for the first time. It was in the New Yorker Magazine.

In 1937, Revlon introduced nail polish and started selling in stores and beauty salons.

Revlon introduced lipstick into the product portfolio in 1939 for the first time and promoted it
Revlon in its heyday throughout much of the 20th century was the second largest cosmetics company by sales, behind only Avon. Now, it’s ranked number 22.

In 1952, Revlon’s iconic Fire and Ice lipstick and nail campaign featured a Vogue partnership and celebrity endorsements with model Dorian Leigh, shot by Richard Avedon.

The company expanded its business internationally in 1955. “The American Look” campaign by the company with model Suzy Parker in 1960 caught the attention of customers the world over.

Revlon’s successful sponsorship of The $64,000 Question TV show in 1965 drove sales and brand awareness.
It also launched ColorSilk hair color the same year.

Breaking more barriers, Revlon became the first cosmetics company in 1970 to feature a Black model, Naomi Sims, in its advertising.

The year 1973 marked another milestone in the company’s upward trajectory as it became the first brand to sign an ambassador, Lauren Hutton. It also launched Charlie Fragrance and became the number one global fragrance.

In 1975, co-founder Charles Revson died and Michel Bergerac assumed leadership of Revlon.

In 1979, Revlon acquired Henry Colomer and launched Revlon Professional with Sensor Perm.

The cosmetics company launched a supermodel campaign in 1980 featuring diverse, famous and new models including Iman, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington.

Revlon was bought by MacAndrews & Forbes, run by billionaire Ron Perelman for about $2.7 billion.

Revlon launched ColorStay Lipstick as the first non-transfer lipstick in 1991.

In 1996, Revlon was listed on the New York Stock Exchange as a public limited company. The IPO price was $24 per share.

In 1997, it launched Age Defying, anti-aging makeup line.

Revlon sold its Professional Products division to Beauty Care Professional Products Luxembourg in 2000.

In 2013,: the company acquired the Colomer Group and reunited it with its professional products division.
Brands acquired include Revlon Professional, CND, American Crew and Creme of Nature.

In 2016, Revlon acquired Elizabeth Arden for $870 million, completing the global acquisition of Cutex.

In 2018, Debra Perelman, daughter of Ron Perelman, became its first female CEO of Revlon.

With inputs from agencies

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