Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Parfums Carven: A Story of Clever Marketing & Great Fragrances

Just after World War II ended, Carmen de Tommaso, a French-born who originally studied architecture and interior design, opened a couture house with the aid of three businessmen friends who had happened to have been war prisoners together. Ailed by her minute size, what we call 'petite" nowadays, de Tommaso had the idea to cater to women who also had a comparable figure. To inflect her brand with a more Parisian (rather than Andalusian) flair, as her base of operations was Paris, Carmen, like Charles Revson (of Revlon), substituted a letter in her name and became Mademoiselle Carven ever since.

What made for the success of this couture house, one among many starting in the mid-20th century Parisian landscape, such as Dior, Piguet, or Balmain? Simple, original ideas and the proper dose of marketing.

Please refer to this link to read my article on the History & Vintage Fragrances of the French company parfums Carven.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Best-Sellers Feminine Fragrances: France 2015 (first quarter)

Last time we posted a perfume best-seller list on Perfume Shrine, a most interesting discussion sprang in the comments section. That's probably because French women and their fragrance is always a popular topic, France has a wide selection of both low-end, high-end and niche fragrances (plus distinctive classic style) and French women are characteristically non snobbish about them and because, well, discussing what people buy allows for feeling like we can probe into what makes people "click". Sort of "the knack" but in perfume terms.

via viacomit.net

For today's list I'm consulting the French Sephora site, who publish the top-30 of feminine best-seller perfumes in France for the first quarter of 2015. Some unsurprising "modern classics", some upstarts and some mind-boggling choices make the cut. Let's see them in order of sales.

1. La Vie Est Belle (Lancome)
2. Black Opium (YSL)
3. J'Adore eau de parfum (Dior)
4. La Petite Robe Noire eau de parfum (Guerlain)
5. La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraiche, aka 'Petals' (Guerlain)
6. La Nuit Tresor eau de parfum (Lancome)
7. Si eau de parfum (Armani)
8. Miss Dior eau de parfum (Dior)
9. Hypnotic Poison eau de toilette (Dior)
10.Shalimar (Guerlain)
11.Lady Million (Paco Rabanne)
12.Lolita Lempicka le premier parfum (Lolita Lempicka)
13.Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet (Dior)
14.Flower by Kenzo (Kenzo)
15.Chloe eau de parfum (Chloe)
16.Narciso for Her eau de toilette (Narciso Rodriguez)
17.Flowerbomb (Viktor & Rolf)
18.Angel (Thierry Mugler)
19.Si eau de toilette (Armani)
20.Narciso for Her eau de parfum (Narciso Rodriguez)
21.Eau de Merveilles eau de toilette (Hermes)
22.La Petite Robe Noire eau de toilette (Guerlain)
23.Patchouli (Reminiscence)
24.The One (Dolce & Gabbana)
25.Very Irresistible (Givenchy)
26.Eau dynamisante (Clarins)
27.Nina (Nina Ricci)
28.Rogue (Rihanna)
29.Sweet (Lolita Lempicka)
30.Alien (Thierry Mugler)

It's interesting to note that Guerlain has 4 fragrances on the top-30 list, of which 3 are part of the La Petite Robe Noire stable and its ponies, with only one classic, the perennial Shalimar.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ancient Fragrant Lore (part 6): Scents of the Roman Times

Like their modern day counterparts who become accustomed to the effluvium from a beloved, often recharged bottle of fragrance, the ancients were no less acclimatized to the ritual of their favorite perfume, rendering them increasingly unstirred by the fumes emanating from themselves.

Could it be that it was this function of fragrance which became the sword of Damocles over the head of L. Plancus's brother, twice consul and censor? Proscribed by the triumvirate as a political enemy to be exterminated, he was discovered in his hideout at Salerno due to the emanations of his fragrance, like a former-day Marie Antoinette stopped mid-escape by the revolutionaries. What's more, Pliny asks in a surge of luxuria condemnation, "Who wouldn't find the death of such a man a just cause?"

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, The Roses of Heliogabalus

Thus runs my article on scents and perfumes in the Roman Empire published on Fragrantica. 
The roses, the resins, the decadent rituals, the opulent bath oils...
You can read it on this link and comment here or there if you wish.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Portal

'The Modernist Austrian architect Adolf Loos is famous for his 1908 contention that "ornament is crime." I love Peter Schjeldahl’s response to this. "Ornament is not crime, OK? Crime is crime." But spray on E07 and you’ll experience how a single work can make you understand Loos’ point of view. E07’s scent artist is, moreover, categorical about agreeing with the architect’s strong, clear aesthetic vision. Loos talked about a 'passion for smooth and precious surfaces', and E07 has one of the smoothest and most precious surfaces of any work of olfactory art ever created.." '

~ Chandler Burr

David Harber "The Portal", 'a dramatic (and substantial) garden sculpture' as per Shioban Casey, 'comprising an amalgam of oxidised steel and mirror polished stainless steel. These two metals have been interwoven creating random organic petals, designed to mimic and reflect the patterns found in nature itself'.

Thus concludes the presentation of the S02E07 "unlabeled" fragrance in Burr's  Untitled Series project.
I usually withhold predictions, yet this time I will make an exception: it must be Eau parfumée au thé vert by famed jewelers Bvlgari and perfumer Jean Claude Ellena.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Clean: Two in One

I have been lagging a bit due to prior engagements, so apologies frequent readers of this blog. However I have composed a few articles of pertinent nature, which might come useful for those of you in search of new spring fragrances, for a gift for mom if you're in the UK (Mother's Day is this Sunday) or would like to accompany spring clean with a "clean-smelling" fragrance.

illustration by Adrian Valencia, found on Google search

So here are the links for you:

5 Fragrances to Get You In the Mood for Spring

Clean fragrances: a selection of sorts (with some not-often mentioned choices, from Cerruti to Hermes to Acca Kappa)

And some tips for when sampling perfumes (hey, if you're buying a gift, tuck in some blotters in your purse to show her and let her choose!)

Finally, below are some Perfume Shrine archives links re: "spring scents" for you:

Spring Floral Fragrances Delicate Beauties Yielding Under your Caress

Scents That Sing Spring: top 10

Aquarelle Scents: When Perfume Behaves as Art

Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing, Spring Comes, and the Grass Grows by Itself

Green fragrances: a Slice of Nature (since St.Patrick's Day is around the corner!)


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