Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Are we focusing enough on giving the consumer a reason to buy a second time?"

The Fragrance Foundation hosted the inaugural Executive Roundtable Discussion: “The Fall and the Rise of the Fragrance Industry,” at the French Institute / Alliance Française on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

The Fragrance Foundation President, Elizabeth Musmanno, led panelists Robin Burns-McNeill, Chairman and Co-Founder of Batallure Beauty; Michael Gould, former Chairman and CEO of Bloomingdale’s and Frederic Jacques, VP of Fine Fragrance NA at Takasago in a discussion that ranged from the challenges of growing the business in today’s economy, to the role of mobile and online retailing, to how best to reach millenials.

“The key to doing it right is to build desire and awareness. You have to understand who your consumers are and what media they use, and you have to build an imaginative plan to reach them,” said Robin Burns-McNeill, “There is a lot of sameness out there. Without imagination and courage, you tend to stay in one place. You have to be very agile. You need ‘fast feet.’”

“The challenge is not in the launch,” said Michael Gould. “The issue is what we do after. We need to build transactions into relationships. It’s about what creates excitement. People want an emotional connection. There is not a lack of traffic, there is a lack of conversion and a lack of follow-up.”

“We need innovation from the bottle to the packaging,” said Frederic Jacques. “Are we focusing enough on giving the consumer a reason to buy a second time?”

The Fragrance Foundation President, Elizabeth Musmanno ended the evening saying, “Clearly there is an opportunity for an innovative product to stand out.”

The Executive Roundtable series was conceived by The Fragrance Foundation to bring together industry veterans twice a year for a no-holds-barred look at the state of the fragrance industry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Perfume Book: Dior, Les Parfums

For the first time, an official Dior perfume-centered book is set to launch this September: Dior Les Parfums (or "Dior The Perfumes"). The book reprises the history, the artistry and the description of the Christian Dior fragrances from 1947 (the year of the original Miss Dior perfume, currently circulating as L'originale; for valuable info on distinguishing Miss Dior editions consult this link) right up till 2014.

Its author, Chandler Burr, is best known to fragrance aficionados for his fascinating book on the industry, his NY Times scent critic stint, his MAD tenure and his scent dinners.
In 2013 Christian Dior Perfumes approached Burr and proposed a collaboration in which they would create a list of works Burr independently considered aesthetically and intellectually important—commercial scents like “Higher Energy”, though financial successes for Dior, were therefore not included. While writing, the author worked closely with Frédéric Bourdelier, Brand Culture & Heritage Manager of Christian Dior Parfums. The photography is by Terri Weifenbach, fine art photographer and teacher.

Dior, Les Parfums ("Dior, The Perfumes") is published by Rizzoli USA (115$) and comes out on the 24th of September. The book measures 9.75 x 13.75 and costs $76.16; you can preorder it on Amazon following this link.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Christian Dior fragrance reviews 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Jewels of Mumtaz Mahal: a Guerlain Exhibition

A meeting between Laurent Baillot (President & General Director at Guerlain) and Vinita Jain (an aficionado and collector of Mughal jewelry, an entrepreneur and part of the family possessing the Darjeeling plantations at the slopes of the Himalaya) during the shooting of the Shalimar perfume commercial in India resulted in an exhibition that is currently being shown at the flagship boutique of Guerlain between 3rd September and 14th November 2014.
Their common passion for the Taj Mahal is the trigger that brings us The Jewels of Mumtaz Mahal, the love story of whom is enshrined in the famous Guerlain parfum phare, Shalimar, commemorating the gardens in which she took promenades with her husband Shah Jahan.

But the image of the great beauty, Mumtaz Mahal, doesn't correspond to the favorite wife of the most mighty ruler of Asia, the contemporary of Louis XIII. She accompanied her husband during his travels and visits to the utmost posts of his empire and even to his military campaigns! And it's during one of the latter that she died, giving birth to her 14th child.

The three spectacular jewels of Mumtaz Mahal that Vinita possesses (a necklace torque, a "secret" ring and a headpiece jewel)  became the focus of the exhibition that Guerlain's president is all too proud to present today. Three months worth to admire the jewels worn 400 years ago, worthy of A 1001 Nights.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Le Labo Cuir 28 (Dubai exclusive): fragrance appreciation reprisal

Far from the crowd pleasing orientalism of Benjoin 19 (Le Labo's Moscow "city exclusive") which I had reviewed for Fragrantica last autumn, Cuir 28 by Le Labo reprises some of the butcher elements of the great leather perfumes tradition and marries them to a woody-peppery chord with unisex appeal. This brings it at a no man's land of leather scents, as it doesn't fit the mold of any category really; is it like Bandit (Piguet), Cabochard (Gres), Cuir de Russie (Chanel), Cuir de Lancome, John Varvatos Vintage, Tuscan Leather (Tom Ford), Bel Ami (Hermes) etc etc? It's like none of these things.

Phenols (tar-like notes resembling melting asphalt) resurface in Cuir 28 as a leathery note aspect on top; agressive and oozing with bitumen, the "cuir" note in Cuir 28 is unpresentable, tough and butch, probably an echo of Parchouli 24 which also presents an odd and visceral experience, especially if you're an acolyte of the school of sweet orientalized "suede" leather scents. The hardcore leather bar crowd however should find it eminently intriguing due to this very reason, although a bit of vanilla does surface later on; a respite of human affection after the hate fuck.

The fragrance segues into a iris-peppery combination that makes for the prolonged elegance of Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon, diverging into two slices in the Le Labo creation, a still dry and with hints of vetiver earthiness medley that feels like a different person has walked into the room. The two slices do not meet in the pie and remain sort of disjointed throughout, which produces an odd but trippy experience for the wearer; in a way it's probably a test of whether you'll have your perfumista card revoked: do you have the patience to discover the unfolding?

The final phase of Cuir 28 comes through a hint of musky vanilla that tries to efface the butch factor of the top note, small comfort for the wild ride. For the full review please consult this link on Fragrantica.

Though a Dubai exclusive (Le Labo reserves some of its fragrances for city-specific distribution only resulting in the City Exclusive) for the month of September 2014 ONLY Cuir 28 can be found online at the official Le Labo site and Luckyscent. (I had been able to review this thanks to a generous procurer of the sample; you know who you are, thanks)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Perfume quote: by Maurice Roucel

Maurice Roucel, the acclaimed perfumer behind such block-busting fragrances as 24 Faubourg for Hermes, Insolence and L'Instant for Guerlain, Missoni by Missoni, Tocade for Rochas and cult wonders like Musc Ravageur (for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle) has pronounced his judgment.
You have been warned. Sail out to the world broadcasting the right Mors code.

Photo of fashion and cinema icon Catherine Deneuve by Helmut Newton.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin