Festivities began at the St. Regis with Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation, and Donald Loftus, president and CEO of P&G Prestige Products and chairman of the board of The Fragrance Foundation, acknowledging the accomplishments of the evening’s honoree. Patrick Firmenich, CEO, Firmenich, presented the award. Gottlieb worked with Firmenich in the 1990s, and credited him as being a forward thinking and nurturing friend and associate. Firmenich noted that the fragrances Gottlieb developed account for $1.5 billion in sales.
“What I do is intensely collaborative, so this is definitely not a one person award,” said Gottlieb. She ventured to say that collaborations with Unilever, Calvin Klein and others had been “among the greatest experiences” she has had.
“It’s a great time to be in the fragrance industry,” said Gottlieb. “For the consumer, there’s never been a sweeter time. To translate emotion into scent is what I have been doing for 40 years.” She acknowledge unprecedented, new leadership in the three or four major fragrance houses—acknowledging the great strides of Givaudan spearheaded by Cosimo Policastro and “the democratic process that has taken place, which allows more room for individual perfumer’s growth.”
After heartfelt thanks to her family (including her mother, to whom she said “How fortunate I am to be swimming in her gene pool.”) Gottlieb introduced her friend, opera singer Renee Fleming, who performed the stunning aria, Vissi d’Arte from Puccini’s Tosca.