Elusive Elixers: The Mysteries of Perfume

“A women’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting”                                                  Christian Dior

What we know is that perfume, scented oils and fragrances are as old as time in the human experience.  We also know that most cultures use perfume in ceremony, life, births, deaths and all that is in between.  Perhaps with the modern “creation” by Coco Chanel of the first fashion branded perfume along with Christian Dior, we began to understand two things:  Perfume and Brand.   That the house of Chanel could create a point of view by choosing to create a perfume which continues in popularity to this day, is a testament to her uncanny ability to know what women want.  Wearing a scent, tells everyone who you are.  Classical, exotic, fresh/sporty, and the list goes on in endless combinations that continue to attract us.  A story of a perfume, is powerful, sensual, addicting, and can change a life, in a moment.  That seems quite dramatic, I know but if you ask people about their memories, you will get answers that often involve a scent that has effected them in that particular moment. Recently, the trends in perfume and fragrance marketing, have gone to a 20th century medium; a film or filmed story has lately become the most powerful method for selling perfume.  The mysterious experience we have as humans watching and connecting with film,  has become one of the most important elements in a strategic perfume campaign.  With the ability to share across all the media channels, a scent campaign that is based on a film is not only powerful emotionally, but the reach and depth of a film as a tool for selling fragrances cannot be matched by any other advertising medium.

A point to take into consideration in the past 15 years in the fragrance world, is that the campaigns often have overshadowed the quality of the fragrance, the brand of the fragrance has taken on “super star” levels of reach that has threatened to overshadow what a fragrance should really be about: a deeply personal expression of ones style and personal point of view.

Oddly, in a parallel universe, the “reaction” against mass market fragrances has taken hold with the artisanal fragrance becoming powerful new market force.  These fragrances rely on their uniqueness to sell, and the artisanal characteristics of their manufacture to establish their brand and positioning, rather than a celebrity, or large scale campaign to reach their audience.

In a parallel universe that has continued to pick up steam in the world of fragrances, Boutique or Artisan fragrances, have become a “reaction” to the overly branded, designer driven fragrances.  This has put large luxury perfume houses on notice and it will be a strong trend in the future of marketing fragrances.


Mlle Gabrielle Dorziat wearing one of Chanel's...
Mlle Gabrielle Dorziat wearing one of Chanel’s first hats. Photograph by Talbot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Christian Dior Store in Ginza”Japan
“Christian Dior Store in Ginza”Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)