The one absolutely necessary attribute for reporting on celebrities is the ability to throw a sharp elbow. (Well, that and to be able to ask questions that will elicit more than a stock response.)
On Friday night, sharp stilettos (for self-defense purposes, as well as style) might also have been an asset at Macy's Herald Square -- where more than 2,000 screaming fans, overly enthusiastic store security and a large group of Coty employees showed up to see David and Victoria Beckham.
The duo, who made their first-ever joint appearance for their fragrance brands, were at the store to promote Beckham Signature for Her and Beckham Signature for Him, their newest Coty scents.
The fans seemed to see the event as a cross between a soccer match and a Spice Girls concert -- Becks (in Tom Ford) and Posh (in Giambattista Valli) were having a bit of an issue making themselves heard over the screams of "I love you, Victoria!" and "I love you, David!" (depending upon who they were crushing on.) Arriving fashionably (about 30 minutes) late, the pair -- who seemed surprised by the size of the crowd -- were whisked through the press gauntlet before taking their seats on stage. After an hour and 300 or so autographs for an audience that skewed heavily toward twentysomethings of both genders, the pair departed. As did the police and the store security staff.
Contrast that with the same floor space Monday afternoon, when Jennifer Lopez appeared to promote her new men's fragrance, Deseo for Men -- also produced by Coty. Clad in a white Fendi dress and jeweled Yves Saint Laurent sandals, Lopez drew as large a crowd as the Beckhams -- although her fans were better behaved (as with the Beckhams, the police were present, just in case). Sure, there were shouts of "Jennifer, over here!" from eager fans and photographers, cheering when Lopez stepped onto the selling floor. But the singer/actress/designer -- relaxed, gracious and anxious to get home to her seven-month-old twins -- took it all in stride, spending an hour and a half signing for a decidedly diverse group of fans, ranging from pre-teen to post-menopausal. Bearded gray-haired men in peach polo shirts stood side by side with Goth-decorated teenagers and soccer moms on line waiting to talk to Lopez. Fitting, as she kicked off the most recent incarnation of the celebrity fragrance mania in 2002 with her first scent, Glow by J.Lo, which garnered more than $100 million in retail sales globally in its first year. Lopez is now on fragrance number 10 and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.
The crowd sizes and the dollars done at both events were a draw (for each, sources estimated a take of $35,000 in retail sales). But the greatest beneficiary in the end was Macy's -- because for as many people who were in line to meet Lopez and the Beckhams, many more were behind barriers -- and a captive target for the store's sales clerks.