Ref NoGB1752.EA
Alt Ref NoOFR:
LevelCollection
TitleElizabeth Arden Ltd
DescriptionThis collection is currently not fully catalogued.
Please note access is only permitted to open and catalogued records subject to Unilever’s closure periods.
In line with UARM's policy on confidentiality and closure periods, certain records in this collection may be closed. For more information contact archives@unilever.com


There was no order to the material received by Corporate Archives, so an artifical system of arrangement has been imposed upon it. The collection includes statutory records, financial and legal records. Of particular interest are the collection of advertisements, photographs, packaging and samples.


Florence Nightingale Graham, born in Toronto in 1878, was the daughter of a poor truck farmer. Flo went to New York in 1908 and after several jobs learnt about the beauty treatments business. With a $6000 investment from a friend, she opened her first salon in 1909 with a business partner called Elizabeth Hubbard. The parlor was located at 509 Fifth Avenue.

Florence soon quarreled with Miss Hubbard, but was able to keep the premises. It was during 1910 that the salon was named Elizabeth Arden, the second name inspired by a Tennyson poem called Enoch Arden. At first Flo presented herself as salon manageress, but after two years she changed her name completely and announced that Elizabeth Arden herself was available for consultations.
Initially, Miss Arden would sell only to stores on Fifth Avenue. Then, to maintain her company's prestigious image as it expanded, Elizabeth Arden products were only available in the most exclusive stores around the world. The first product was a skin treatment selection called Venetian Collection.

A salon environment of total luxury was designed to attract women of wealth and position. Every salon upheld the exacting standards Miss Arden demanded from the very beginning and they were recognisable by their red doors with bold brass across the top and damask pink interiors. The Elizabeth Arden Salon indulged its clients in the concept of total beauty. A woman could book an appointment for facials, beauty makeovers and massage and the salons offered lessons in tap dancing, fencing, yoga and more.

1914 - A second salon was opened in Washington DC; Elizabeth also made her first trip to Europe this year.

After a trip to Paris, Miss Arden introduced eye shadow and mascara to America and taught application techniques to women.

1915 to 1920 - Elizabeth introduced more preparations than any other cosmetics manufacturer in the world. With recognition growing and Europe beckoning, two salons were opened in Paris. Elizabeth's sister was trusted as manager.

Elizabeth Arden products were also available to the Japanese market from this year.

1920 - In the UK, the 1920s saw the opening of the 25 Old Bond Street salon, in the same style as the New York salon with a red door and pink interior. There was also a factory in Coach & Horses Yard behind New Bond Street.

By this time Elizabeth Arden had 108 products in 595 shapes and sizes. In the 1920s, she produced the first exercise record and film, shot on the beach in California, and introduced the 'Salon in a Box concept': an at-home treatment collection with a record entitled "The Sound of Beauty" explaining how to use the Elizabeth Arden system.

1925 - The wholesale business had expanded greatly by this time and made $2 million this year. By the end of the 1920s this figure had doubled.

1930 - Due to business growth, production moved premises to a purpose built factory in North Acton.

At this time there were 29 salons (19 in the US and the rest in major capitals of the world including Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Paris). Miss Arden could justifiably say, "There are only three American names known in every corner of the globe: Singer Sewing Machines, Coca-Cola and Elizabeth Arden."

In the 1930s, she changed the cosmetics business with the idea of designing makeup to go with clothes rather than with hair colour.
Until this time, makeup colours were restricted to go with the three basic skin tones - dark, medium or light. Miss Arden made cosmetics fashionable by introducing the first collection of lipstick shades. Colour collections for mascara, rouge and powder soon followed. In an age when most skin creams were heavy and greasy, she introduced the Venetian Cream Amoretta, the first treatment cream that was light and fluffy to the touch.

Arden was also revolutionary in marketing her products. With the introduction of Ardena Skin Tonic, she became the first beauty entrepreneur to put the company name on a skincare product, making every bottle an advertisement. The company was the first in the cosmetics business to personally train and send out a team of travelling demonstrators.

At this point Elizabeth Arden had 108 different products available in her department stores, in 595 different shapes and sizes.

1934 - Elizabeth Arden opened the first American spa, Maine Chance. It was also in Maine that she discovered a love of horses. Blue Grass, one of the most successful Elizabeth Arden fragrances, was named after the bluegrass country of Kentucky where her horses were stabled.

1939 to 1945 - During World War II, when silk was in short supply, Miss Arden developed Velva Leg Film -- easy to apply and quick to dry.

1966 - By the time of her death at the age of 87, there were 17 different Elizabeth Arden corporations and 40 salons worldwide.

1968 - Miss Arden's Pink Powder was the first Elizabeth Arden preparation introduced in the UK, and was sold exclusively in Harrods from this year.

1970 - The new salon at 20 New Bond Street opened on 15th June.

An association was formed with the Paris-based House of Chloe and its then designer Karl Lagerfeld. The result was the hugely successful Chloe fragrance. The company went on to form a joint venture with Italy's Fendi sisters to develop and market the popular Fendi fragrance.

Arden was approached by Universal Pictures to help create an 'Anne Boleyn look' to tie in with their new film 'Anne of the Thousand Days'. The film went on to be nominated for ten Oscars. A special exhibition was also opened at Harrods in London, displaying the award winning costumes as seen in the film. The makeup for the mannequins was again carried out by Elizabeth Arden.

Mr Carl W. Gardiner, President of Elizabeth Arden world-wide, retired at the beginning of July after 22 years with the company. Mr Gardiner had stepped up to the role of President after Miss Arden's death.

The Board of Directors announced in October that an agreement had been reached for the acquisition of Elizabeth Arden Sales Corporation and its worldwide operations by Eli Lilly and Company. It was anticipated that the sale would be completed by 1971.

1971 - The company celebrated its Golden Anniversary this year. The celebration coincided with the launch of the new Directionale Make-up Collection. To accommodate this new collection, the Elizabeth Arden counter at Harrods had to be extended.

The newest fully air-conditioned salon opened its doors in Singapore on 1st February.

During April Cornelius W. Pettinga was announced as the new President of the world-wide Elizabeth Arden organisation.

1972 - It was announced in February that Mr William A. Hanley Jnr had been elected President of Elizabeth Arden Incorporated effective from 31st January.

Mr Frederick Quirk was appointed to the role of Area Director for the UK, Eire, Scandinavia and the Republic of South Africa.

1974 - The Skin Dynamics skin care products, a runaway success in the United States, were launched in the UK from 15th March through to June this year.

1976 - Princess Margaret paid a visit to the London Salon on 23rd September to present the Visible Difference Award.

1982 - Elizabeth Arden celebrated its Diamond Jubilee year.

1983 - Arden launched a new makeup range called 'Springfevers'.

1985 - Jacki Adams, a star in the top models world was named as the face of Elizabeth Arden. As a public symbol Jacki was seen through all Arden advertising, public relations and promotional material.

1986 - Elizabeth Arden was incorporated on 10th December 1986 as Growthwell Ltd, with the name changing to Elizabeth Arden Ltd on 4th January 1988.

A Beauty Make-up Computer named 'Elizabeth' toured the UK this year, allowing for the simulation of the application of cosmetics onto a clients face via advanced video technology. It was the first case of a video cosmetic makeover. Each woman could receive three different looks in thirty minutes. The tour included Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London; Boots, Nottingham; Frasers in Glasgow and Edinburgh; Selfridges, Oxford and Fenwicks, Newcastle.

1987 - Eli Lilly sold Elizabeth Arden to the Riklis Family Corp.

Faberge acquired Elizabeth Arden in December (and subsequently launched the fragrance Red Door named in honour of the salons).
A subsidiary Elizabeth Arden Salon & Beauty Spa Ltd (company number 2185499) was incorporated on 29 October 1987 as Legendchain Ltd.

1988 - Legendchain Ltd changed to Burberrys Fragrances Ltd on 4th January.

1989 - In July Faberge, and therefore Elizabeth Arden, was acquired by Unilever. The sale represented three quarters of the total cost of acquisitions this year, with Unilever expanding its Personal Products business with no less than five companies in the space of four months. (Elizabeth Arden and Faberge, Evyan, Calvin Klein, Rimmel and Chicogo)

Unilever decided to incorporate its own cosmetics and fragrance company, Parfumes International, into Arden.

The association with Unilever saw the innovation of products such as LipSpa lipsticks and the Ceramide Time Complex range. Other brands included MakeupFoundations, Colour Compacts, Exceptional Lipstick and LipTalkers.

Skincare - Visible Difference creams, Visible Difference Pore-Fix C Cleansing strips & Eight Hour Cream, Modern Skincare, Ceramide and Millennium.Fragrance - 5th Avenue, Red Door, Blue Grass, Sunflowers, True Love, Very Valentino , Splendor.

Parfumes International - Elizabeth Taylor, White Diamonds, Cerruti, Chloe and Lagerfeld

1990 - A newly formed division within the fine fragrance side called 'Couturier and Celebrity Fragrance' (CCF) was created during March.

In New Zealand the companies turnover reached NZ$20 Million, leading the cosmetics market with an overall share of 23 per cent.
The company discovered a new ingredient called Ceramine 1. The ingredient, a moisture enhancing lipid, supports and hydrates young skin and helped to revolutionise skincare.

During April this year, Elizabeth Arden was signed up to supply skin cream to the SAS. The company's Eight Hour Cream that was designed as a smoothing cream was chosen by troops to help heal battlefield wounds.

1991 - A new image was adopted with chic black and gold counters incorporated into the main department stores in Tokyo.
Burberrys Fragrances Ltd changed its name to Elizabeth Arden Salon & Beauty Spa Ltd on 15th February this year.

1994 - Elizabeth Arden became the exclusive sponsor of the women's singles event at the US Open Tennis Championships this year, running from 29th August to 11th September at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York. The women's singles final that took place on Saturday 10th September was known as Elizabeth Arden Champion's Day.

The company was also appointed as the official sponsor for the World Figure Skating Championships that took place in Makuhari, Japan.

The company set up a system of electronic transactions with retailers, suppliers, carriers and financial institutions in the US and Europe. This paperless trading system helped to revolutionise the company, with electronic commerce achieved through EDI (Electronic data interchange). The system had grown immensely, so much so that by 1997 it covered 80 per cent of all accounts held worldwide. The company saved millions of dollars, thanks to the reduction of paper costs as paper based trading became obsolete and reduced the need for employees to work on data entry.

Arden centralised its £40.2 million European media planning and buying account as it planned to boost its product range. Initiative Media clinched the account from O&M who had held it since 1990.

The new products launched this year included Elizabeth Taylor's latest perfume collection, Fragrant Jewels, a range of women's fragrance/toiletries called Sunflowers, an anti aging lotion called Alpha Ceramids and a women's fragrance line called Nuits Indiennes.
1995 - Unilever United States announced during August that Peter W. England would head Elizabeth Arden as the new President and Chief Executive of the company. Mr England replaced Kimberly A. Delsing, who had previously held the position of President at Calvin Klein Cosmetics.

Two major launches occurred during the second half of the year as part of Arden's new product development programme. In August Flawless Finish Makeup was introduced, then in December new women's fragrance True Love was launched.

1996 - Amber Valletta was named as the 'new face of modelling' this year, coinciding with Arden's launch of new fragrance 5th Avenue.

1997 - Two new products were launched under the company's concept of 'Modern SkinCare' - Daily Moisture SP15 and 2-in-1 Cleanser.

2000 - Unilever announced its intention in this year to close the UK factory at North Acton by 2001 and move production to the US and to third parties.

2001 - In late 2001, Unilever sold the Elizabeth Arden business, brands and certain assets to FFI Fragrances, based in Miami Lakes, Florida, USA. Included in the sale were the Elizabeth Arden fragrances, colour and skin care brands and the White Shoulders brand. FFI also acquired the licence to Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds and Passion fragrance brands. The sale also included related Elizabeth Arden offices and a distribution facility. Unilever retained the 'prestige' designer fragrance brands Cerruti, Lagerfeld,
Chloe and Valentino which became part of the Unilever Cosmetics International (UCI) business, to join other UCI-managed brands such as Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Nautica, Vera Wang and BCBG.

Date1920s-1999
Extentc100 boxes
Access StatusOpen
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