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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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And Katz understands the special quality of celebrity to play on consumers’ desire for fantasy in their fragrance choices. “With Paris’ fragrances we are playing on fantasies,” he says. “With two of her previous fragrances, Can-Can and Fairy Dust, the fantasies have told a story. Whether it was the Folies Bergère or fairy tales, the people populating these scenarios are always pictured as beautiful or alluring, and there’s a whole fantasy surrounding them.”

Meeting the Queen

Always on the lookout for personalities who connect with an audience on a variety of levels, Katz says he recognized the special quality and audience possessed by Queen Latifah and envisioned a fragrance that would represent the confidence and radiance she projects. “When I first brought up the Queen Latifah license, it seemed to run differently from every other,” he says. “Queen Latifah doesn’t fit the size 4 imagery, yet she was named one of the top 100 beautiful people by People magazine in 2008, and I believe, is probably more representative of many of the women in our country who identify with her, aspire to be like her and appreciate her unique beauty.”

Queen Latifah is quoted as saying, “Beauty really does start on the inside. It’s like a state of mind, a state of love, if you will. So I see fragrance as just a natural expression of this state of love. Scent expresses a woman’s confidence and sensuality; it’s how she embraces her body, her mind and her strength.” Katz concurred, “Every woman is a ‘queen’ in Latifah’s world. With that sense of empowerment in mind, this first fragrance, Queen, naturally expresses not simply beauty and sensuality, but inner strength and an exuberant sense of confidence. [Queen Latifah, herself,] draws from both an urban and suburban demographic—as well as the hip-hop world, theater and film—and her fragrance is an embodiment of her style and charisma. She pulls in a multicultural audience.”

The fragrance opens with a sparkling, sensuous accord, reminiscent of aged golden tequila, and blends with Italian bergamot and Mediterranean mandarin, to form the top notes. The heart notes are Baie rose, jasmine, cognac and Moroccan coriander. The base notes create a mysterious accord for the Oriental fragrance, with Indonesian patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka absolute and a fragrant finish of Egyptian incense and musk. The bottle is a ruby red faceted glass, edged with gold borders on a solid square shape, bearing a dimensional heart at its center to reinforce the message of beauty from within.

A Star-studded Venture

Katz spoke of his most recent Parlux collaboration—formerly introduced as the Iconic Fragrances partnerships and now renamed the Artistic Brands partnership—designed to include its licensees as company shareholders. The fragrance manufacturer and distributor has initiated worldwide licensing agreements with Grammy award winning and multiplatinum-selling superstars Rihanna and Kanye West, and has also completed negotiations with hip-hop mogul Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, while an as yet unnamed fourth member is planned for inclusion in the project.