In 2002, CEW UK initiated its Achiever Awards to honour women who made significant contributions to the UK beauty industry.
We pay tribute to Mary Brogan, who recently passed away at the age of 94, shedding light on the remarkable career of a woman who devoted 33 years to Selfridges, where she oversaw the beauty department. Mary’s legacy was celebrated with a special industry award by CEW UK in 2004, and below are heartfelt tributes from some of those who had the privilege of knowing and working with her. Her impact on the industry was far reaching and we celebrate her life with you today.
Pictured left at CEW Achiever Awards in 2004 and right in 2019 on the occasion of her 90th Birthday
“Mary Brogan’s exceptional journey in the beauty industry was marked by her dedication and unwavering commitment. Her significant contributions to Selfridges and the industry, as a whole, are an enduring testament to her passion and leadership. Mary’s impact continues to inspire us all.”
Caroline Neville MBE – Executive Vice President, CEW UK
“Mary had a long relationship with The Estée Lauder Companies—one we truly valued. She had such vision when it came to selling perfume in the department store setting, and she did everything with gusto. She knew everyone there was to know, which is why so many tributes are pouring in. We’re thrilled to be among those who got to do business with her.”
Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
“Mary Brogan, what a very special lady with that special smile, electrified by those wonderful sparkling blue eyes; she was a legend, unforgettable, top of her class.
It is the end of an era; Mary was a perfumery buyer writ large, she was in charge and knew the game, always professional and skilful the iron hand in the velvet glove. Talking of gloves, Mary was one of the last Grand Dames, always perfectly presented, elegant dress with hat, heels, gloves and hand bag, a lady to enjoy the swankiest lunch in town with. I remember her favourite starter at Marks Club, boiled egg with the best beluga caviar sprinkled on top, “never mind the expense” she was worth it. Selfridges were top of the town, the best of best, due to Mary always being on the lookout for the finest of new novelty and innovation. With Mary passing, we lose a Star in the Sky, as they say “They don’t make them like that anymore. God bless Mary, you deserve the rest.”
Kenneth Green, Founder Kenneth Green Associates
“Mary’s relentless commitment to Selfridges, her job, and the beauty industry was truly exceptional. She was a remarkable manager, always approaching challenges as new opportunities. Mary’s creativity and effective PR strategies, coupled with her knack for handling budgets, left an indelible mark on Selfridges’ history. Her positive outlook on the industry and government was an inspiration, and her legacy will be cherished.”
Robin Vincent, Previously Managing Director, Clarins
“Despite the competitive nature of our industry, Mary and I shared a wonderful friendship. We relished attending countless parties and product launches together. I remember a particular moment during a road trip when we both burst into laughter, envisioning the industry’s dilemma if we were to crash. Mary was full of fun, and I cherished the times we spent together. Her absence will be deeply felt.”
Pat Newell, Previously Harrods Perfumery Buyer and Director of Fashion
“Stepping into Mary’s shoes was a daunting task, as she was held in the highest esteem, a true trailblazer. She graciously guided me through the transition from fashion to beauty. Her vision for Selfridges’ Beauty Hall was unwavering, and she tirelessly ensured the retail offer outshone her competitors. I’ll never forget the fragrant adventures we embarked on during our New York trips. Mary was a one-of-a-kind trailblazer who left an indelible mark on the industry we cherish today.”
Hilary Dart, Previously Head of Beauty, Selfridges (President of CEW 1999)
“I first met Mary Brogan in 1975, and I vividly recall my initial meeting with her. She was a force to be reckoned with, and her gaze demanded immediate action to rectify any business-related issues. Over the years, I marvelled at her innovative promotions, her pioneering of the Beauty Playground and Fragrance Fiestas, and her adept management of the department. Her retirement dinner in 1989, attended by 350 industry professionals, was a testament to the respect and warmth she commanded. She later became a beloved member of my family, celebrating milestones and creating lasting memories. For many of us, she will always be Miss Brogan and Auntie Mary.”
Aileen Taylor, Previously MD Guerlain 1979-88, MD Revlon 1988-1992