Originally Posted by Somerville Metro Man
Not sure I agree with this. The more I meet the creative directors of a lot of the niche houses the more I've come to realize the creativity of a perfume is not solely in the domain of the perfumer. The best of these creative directors work diligently to create the vision they are going for alongside the perfumer. My experience has been that it is both the creative director and perfumer who come to an agreement when the development is done. All that I just said is really only true of the best niche perfume houses.
For the mass-market the commercial and the regulatory issues which are becoming a perfect storm of restraints are leading to a dumbing down of what is being sold as perfume. I am wondering if we are coming closer to what Luca Turin's suggestion was a few years ago of labeling things as room fragrance and carrying a warning label which says "Not to be worn on skin." I would be happy to but a room spray which somehow makes its way onto my skin by accident if the perfumers would be free to use all of the restricted ingredients.
This combination has lead to what I think is the worst year since I've been paying attention in the mass-market releases. There have been a couple of good ones but few memorable ones. In year's past as I start to make my short list for the end of year "best of" lists there have been anywhere from 6-10 mass-market fragrances I am considering this year on my short list right now there are two. As I look over my list I am struck by how good the niche and artisan offerings were this year. Usually paring down the list is pretty easy but I think this year will be very tough and I am going to feel bad about some I leave off the list because I think they are really good.
All of this is a long way of saying I think that the leading edge of olfactory art is happening at the niche/indie/artisan level of things and like any artistic endeavor there will be one of these creations which will catch fire and break out of our community and into the mainstream at some point. When that happens things will change dramatically. I just wish i knew when that was going to happen.
Good points, Mark.
I know this bothers me, but maybe it's just something we have to accept - the bifurcation of perfumery into "art scents" and "commerce scents".
I love the suggestion of room fragrance being code for "good, old-fashioned fragrances". I'll be honest - if that is the choice that the regulators force us into, then let's just suck it up and do it. It's *SO* Soviet Union.
The Diptyque John Galliano room scent was a great example of something that was basically too good to *not* wear. We need some more things like that.
Here's a trick that the industry can try. Take some classic fragrance that has basically been gutted by IFRA, and release a room scent in its old glory. Don't even touch the issue of wearability. Just note in the fine print that it's the "original formulation".
Then just stand back. We'll figure it out.