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Meet the Conductor—Neil Katz

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: September 4, 2009, from the September 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
Neil Katz

Neil Katz, chairman and CEO of Parlux, Inc.

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Paris Hilton won the coveted Fragrance Celebrity of the Year at the 2009 FiFi awards, the fragrance world’s equivalent of the Oscars, for “a wardrobe of five fragrances that continue to enjoy unprecedented popularity.” In introducing her at the gala, Katz noted that Hilton has a strong and a wide-reaching audience, which he attributes, in part, to the way she interacts with her consumer base and builds iconic imagery on top of her already iconic image—while also being an identifiable personality.

“Obviously, her major fan base is young people, and they enjoy her celebration of life,” says Katz. “My personal belief is that to succeed as a celebrity fragrance, the celebrities must have a unique ability to have people identify with them, like them and want to help them. These three areas are what entice consumers to purchase celebrity fragrances. Sometimes this appeal has nothing to do with how great a singer you are, for example.”

With her newest fragrance, Siren, launched in July 2009, Hilton conjures a fantasy mermaid. Katz recalled the film Splash, featuring Darryl Hannah as a mermaid living in two worlds. “Darryl Hannah did a great job as a mermaid in the film, and Paris does a wonderful representation of the mermaid for the Siren fragrance, in which she appears in the ad campaign,” he says. “With its mermaid charm dangling from the neck of the bottle and its mermaid tail splash etched into the glass, it’s the complete package.”

The fragrance, created by perfumer Honorine Blanc, features top notes of mandarin and apricot nectar that flow into an aurora of frangipani blossom to meet a heart of honeysuckle, water lily and coconut orchid before combining with a base of vanilla bean, sandalwood and musk.

As Paris herself noted, the idea for the fragrance was based on legends of fantasy creatures that men can’t resist through a modern interpretation. Katz agreed, saying, “Although Siren is inspired by ancient Greek tales of beautiful women, mermaids and water fairies who were incredibly enticing and tantalizing, it is also contemporary, and invites every young woman to jump in and have fun exploring the fantasy of being phenomenally desirable, the way only a mermaid could be.”