In January 2019, Napoleon Perdis’ makeup company called in the administrators with estimated debts of $22 million in Australia alone.
At the time, the former make-up mogul and his family owned opulent homes around the world, including a mansion in the Hollywood Hills, a Double Bay villa and an apartment in New York. Now they’re all gone.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Perdis says that on the day his empire collapsed, “my world didn’t go up in flames, it just evolved.”
“And as it was evolving I failed to understand that I had to keep pace with it as well. But I was from a Greek immigrant background in Parramatta and I was a self-made businessman without a mentor,” Perdis tells the Australian media outlet.
“I was trying to turn a profit for the company and have some success without looking at the big picture.”
Perdis was one of the world’s top 10 make-up artists, with shows at New York Fashion Week, his own program on The Discovery Channel and an exclusive partnership with the Primetime Emmys.
What actually went wrong at Napoleon Perdis is contested but Perdis’ brother Emanuel, who was the company’s managing director, said at the time the biggest factor was its failure to thrive in the United States. The brand launched there shortly before the Global Financial Crisis began.
For his part, Perdis had blamed “greedy landlords,” “dead” shopping centres, online shopping and bankers “milking me for money.”
Today, Perdis and his family have relocated to his ancestral homeland of Greece, based in Athens, where they lead a more Spartan lifestyle.
His eldest daughter, Lianna, is studying digital communication in London where Angelene, one of his triplets, is studying law. The other two, Alexia and Athena, are working in the beauty industry and for an app developer.
But even before the perils of COVID, Perdis was struggling to adjust to his new lifestyle. At his lowest point, he often found himself sitting in an Athens’ square, day and night, chain-smoking cigarettes and pondering his future.
“One evening I found myself getting very emotional about my journey. My wife Soula-Marie called to ask where I was. As I tried to explain, she cautioned that I shouldn’t allow this state of mind to become a disease, I should cut it out and start to rebuild,” Perdis tells the Sydney Morning Herald.
“[She] also reminded me that everything we’d created to date was so much more than our parents or even in the average person would ever experience. She convinced we can do it again.”
Perdis gradually started to formulate a new concept – a skincare collection called CUL – or Conscious Urban Living. He plans to launch the brand in Athens, then Britain and the US, and has no plans to return to Australia in the near future.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald.