Mr. Puig grew up atop the corporate’s places of work and manufacturing unit, in a six-story constructing within the Eixample district the place a loud dumbwaiter carried packages to the road and huge tanks of alcohol sat within the basement. After visiting the vats in his youth, going downstairs together with his father to be taught the science behind fragrance, he earned a chemical engineering diploma and commenced working full time for the household enterprise.
Many years later, he admitted that he by no means had an excellent nostril for fragrances. As a substitute he possessed a expertise for slicing offers that remodeled Puig, the corporate that bears his household’s identify, right into a vogue and perfume powerhouse. Jetting world wide with a suitcase full of soaps and perfumes, he negotiated licensing preparations and acquisitions with high designers resembling Paco Rabanne and Carolina Herrera.
Mr. Puig, who was solely 29 when he took the reins of Puig in 1957, led the corporate with assist from his three brothers till retiring as chief government greater than 4 a long time later. He was 93 when he died April 13 at a hospital in Barcelona, in keeping with firm spokeswoman Emmanuelle Durand, who didn’t give a exact trigger.
By the point Mr. Puig stepped down as CEO in 1998, Puig was one of many few family-run companies remaining within the luxury-goods business, which is dominated by company conglomerates resembling LVMH. “Our opponents simply 5 years in the past have been household firms and had the names of their founders on the door, however partitions disappear, markets evolve,” he stated in a farewell speech. “Solely 15 p.c of firms survive the transition from the second to the third technology.”
It remained some extent of delight for Mr. Puig that his enterprise weathered that changeover and continued to thrive. The corporate is run by his son Marc and has grown to incorporate manufacturers resembling Isdin, Charlotte Tilbury, Jean Paul Gaultier, Penhaligon’s, Dries Van Noten, Uriage, Apivita, L’Artisan Parfumeur and — by a licensing settlement — Christian Louboutin. In 2019, it reported gross sales of two billion euros, or about $2.4 billion.
Whereas Mr. Puig’s older brother, Antonio, targeted on inventive and design points, Mr. Puig spearheaded the corporate’s enlargement overseas, opening a U.S. subsidiary within the Sixties to convey Puig’s fragrances and soaps to shops together with Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Area and Neiman Marcus. He additionally started negotiating with Rabanne after deciding that the corporate “wanted a French product coming from Paris” to interrupt into the American market, as he later advised Women’s Wear Daily.
The designer was by then often known as the enfant horrible of French vogue; he had created a futuristic assortment titled “Twelve Unwearable Attire,” and when he met with Mariano and Antonio Puig in his workplace for the primary time, he provided them a seat on stools made out of bicycle saddles. “They appeared very fashionable to me. They needed a reputation that was ‘virgin’ within the subject of perfumery,” Rabanne later advised Eugenia de la Torriente, writer of the 2014 company historical past “Puig: 100 Years of a Household Enterprise.”
Their collaboration acquired off to a troublesome begin. Shortly after signing a contract with Rabanne in Could 1968, Mr. Puig and his brother went in search of Champagne to have fun. Strolling by Paris, they discovered themselves in the course of violent pupil protests, with automobiles burning and barricades within the streets. Attempting to seize the spirit of the occasions, Rabanne prompt a perfume that smelled like steel and a bottle formed like a screw.
These concepts advanced into Calandre, a success fragrance with a floral scent and a particular, square-cornered bottle — impressed by the U.N. tower in Manhattan — that Rabanne sketched on a paper tablecloth over dinner with Mr. Puig. “It was an ideal success on this interval. We didn’t have the cash to purchase aggressive firms, however we felt ourselves capable of create one thing,” Mr. Puig advised Ladies’s Put on Each day in 2014. “We outlined ourselves as being brand-builders.”
Mr. Puig acquired Rabanne’s vogue and equipment strains in 1987. Round that very same time, he signed an settlement to provide perfumes by Herrera, a Venezuelan designer who had risen to prominence in New York. She later told the web site Enterprise of Vogue that she backed out of one other licensing deal after assembly Mr. Puig at a celebration at her residence, impressed partly by his firm’s method to enterprise.
“Household companies give me confidence,” she stated. “It’s very regular — the way it must be.”
The second of 4 sons, Mariano Puig Planas was born in Barcelona on Dec. 8, 1927. His father, Antonio, based Puig in 1914. Throughout the Spanish Civil Struggle, Mr. Puig left city together with his siblings and mom, a homemaker, taking refuge at a tuberculosis sanitarium based by his aunt. The household firm was collectivized throughout the conflict, with the elder Puig staying on as a employee, in keeping with the 2014 company historical past.
As a younger man, Mr. Puig was a champion water skier; he later served as president of the Spanish Waterskiing Federation and helped arrange the 1971 World Championships in Banyoles, Spain. He went to Geneva at age 18 to be taught from the fragrance firm Givaudan, graduated from the Chemical Institute of Sarrià and took on rising administration duties at Puig starting within the Nineteen Fifties.
His father, who died in 1979, insisted that Mr. Puig and his brothers work collectively whereas working the enterprise. “We’ve by no means made an necessary determination with out dialogue, by phone, throughout weekends, or in a extra formal vogue,” Mr. Puig later stated. “We’ve not all the time been in settlement, however now we have all the time come to an settlement.”
Mr. Puig graduated in 1964 from the IESE Enterprise Faculty, a part of the College of Navarra. He later recalled that his determination to broaden Puig was pushed partly by his collaboration with Max Issue Jr., whom he met within the early Seventies after touring to Los Angeles together with his spouse, María Guasch. Collectively they persuaded the American cosmetics government to let Puig distribute Max Issue merchandise in Spain.
“That’s how I discovered what it means to be a multinational firm, and I discovered manufacturing and advertising and marketing methods that have been very helpful to us,” he stated. “Spain was small and closed, and that made me take into consideration what we needed to do and be.”
Survivors embody his spouse, whom he married in 1954; 5 youngsters, Marc, Marian, Ana, Ton and Daniel; and 9 grandchildren.
In his final years as CEO, Mr. Puig acquired Herrera’s vogue enterprise and acquired the Paris vogue and perfume home Nina Ricci. He served as chairman of Puig’s holding firm till 2003 and was president of the Puig Basis till 2014. He was additionally a founding member and former president of the Household Enterprise Institute in Spain.
Mr. Puig usually shunned the highlight, giving few interviews however showing at fragrance conferences, the place he was generally requested concerning the business’s future. He was sometimes optimistic — he had seen his father lead Puig by the Spanish Civil Struggle, World Struggle II and the troublesome interval that adopted, when Spain was remoted from the worldwide financial system underneath Franco’s regime. It was troublesome to promote something in these years, however the enterprise had survived.
“In occasions of disaster,” he as soon as stated at a convention panel in Paris, “it’s possible you’ll not purchase an house or a brand new automobile, however you all the time have sufficient to purchase fragrance — or let’s hope so.”