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  1. #1

    Default Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I hear people refer to fragrances becoming outdated. I really donít feel that a fragrance or any work of art for that matter, can really become outdated. Certainly there are notes and styles of fragrances that are more or less popular in a given time but to me that has more to do with marketing then anything else. My view is that there are a few fragrances which raise above the rest to become classics, the rest are just not good enough for long term sustainability. Once the artificial popularity of a fragrance note or style passes, the true limitations of the fragrance which use these notes or styles becomes obvious. That is not to say that these fragrances donít have anything to offer, it is just that when I go into a fragrance shop and have to compare two fragrances side by side to tell the difference, it is clear that in the long term, most of them are not going to make it.

    So I guess what Iím saying is that a fragrance being outdated is simply marketing speak for the market being so saturated with similar scents that there is going to be a shake out. Being outdated means that the shakeout is or has happened. Am I being an old, style less fuddy duddy?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I think a scent becomes outdated when it was part of the defining trend of an era and that trend passes. You know something is outdated (or perhaps nostalgic) when you know what decade it's from without any prior knowledge. You'll be wrong occationally with this type of stereotyping - but when you are wrong you have found a scent that "smells" outdated rather than "is" outdated. Rive Gauche is a good example - it does NOT smell like a 21st century cologne. I'm not old enough or "well smelled" enough to place it's proper era, but I know it smells like days gone past.

    Does that mean you are "out of style" if you wear outdated frags?

    Yes and No. There is usually a mainstream style at any point in time, but few people (especially few men) follow too closely to that style. There are lots of elements of men's fashion that tend to be "timeless" or at least evolve veeeery sloooowly. One extra perk is that vintage is in right now and I'm going to make a very dangerous prediction that vintage acceptability is here to stay.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    As fragrances can also be seen as a type of clothing / part of your outfit, it can be outdated just like these imho.

    But one man's "outdated" is another's "retro" or "oldschool" or "classic", there's no one (and certainly not the market) to tell you which of it is true for you. Again, just like with clothes

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    So Tony by saying "vintage is in right now" I can be both trendy and a fuddy duddy!

    So you are saying that fragrances in general is rather like music in that a style of scent can define an era but that certain classics are able to transcend that era and remain in use and/or inspire new fragrances based upon that era.

    I knew I was getting old when my daughter came up to me and said "Papa, my favorite kind of music is Olden Days Music, like from the 80's".

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Picture yourself wearing the bright clothes, body shirts, flaired pants that were popular in the early to late seventies (like in Saturday Night Fever and Starsky and Hutch original series). If you pulled them out of a wardrobe and walked down the street wearing them, would some people consider you outdated?

    I think some scents have an equivalent feel to that clothing analogy. But other much older scents survive very well, in the same way that either jeans or business suits travel well through all the decades.

    But that equivalent feel would only really be prevalent among people who are into scents, which a lot of people aren't.
    Renato

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I'm not sure that I agree with a fragrance being a type of clothing. Clothing has a physical and functional aspect to it where as a fragrance is purely sensory. So to me a better analogy is music. You fragrance is sort of your theme song that you bring with you. While there are certain types of music which very definately are tied to a time, top 40's type music for example, most other music tends to be much more timeless. I see similar things in the fragrance industry with certain types of fragrances going after the trendy market where as others trying to build a timeless fragrance, Creed for example. I really don't see Creed fragrances getting outdated.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by oolong
    I'm not sure that I agree with a fragrance being a type of clothing. Clothing has a physical and functional aspect to it where as a fragrance is purely sensory. So to me a better analogy is music. You fragrance is sort of your theme song that you bring with you. While there are certain types of music which very definately are tied to a time, top 40's type music for example, most other music tends to be much more timeless. I see similar things in the fragrance industry with certain types of fragrances going after the trendy market where as others trying to build a timeless fragrance, Creed for example. I really don't see Creed fragrances getting outdated.
    Well there is no such thing like a personal theme song, so I think the clothing analogy holds. Anyone can like any music, but a fragrance pretty much is part of your appearance, and as such not anyone can wear anything (at least that's what I think when I smell Gucci ph ), while anyone can listen to any kind of music. One could expand clothing to jewelry for example, which has little functionality.

    As for Creeds, some of those I tried simply smell older than others. If that's good or bad is, as I tried to say, a matter of tastes. Besides, looking at the newer Creeds I tried I don't really think they are that immune to the greater market trends.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by oolong
    I'm not sure that I agree with a fragrance being a type of clothing. Clothing has a physical and functional aspect to it where as a fragrance is purely sensory. So to me a better analogy is music. You fragrance is sort of your theme song that you bring with you. While there are certain types of music which very definately are tied to a time, top 40's type music for example, most other music tends to be much more timeless. I see similar things in the fragrance industry with certain types of fragrances going after the trendy market where as others trying to build a timeless fragrance, Creed for example. I really don't see Creed fragrances getting outdated.
    I like that analogy oolong. There are colognes that come along which could be considered "timeless". Decades may come and go but some colognes have the ablility with their special notes to become a scent that will never be outdated. Also, a scent to you can never seem "outdated" on your skin and you may think this will never go outdated, can be thrown under the bus by the next guy. It is personal preference really, some colognes have a greater ability to never be considered outdated than others.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I don't agree there is no such thing as a personal theme song. Many people have songs which they feel catches their essense either in general or at a given point in time. I certainly do. But regardless of if you agree that there are personal theme songs, I think the analogy still works. Music is a purely sensory experience which evokes emotions. Different types of music evoke differet types of emotions. To me this is what I'm thinking when I select a fragrance, what emotional message do I want to send with this fragrance. The problem I have with the clothing analogy is that while there is definately an aspect to your choice in clothing which makes a statement about who and what you are, it is also muddied by functional and practical aspects.

    Most non top 40's music such as Jazz, Classical, Zideco... have a timeless quality to them. If I listen to a Jazz song I don't get people telling me that is so retro 20's. But if I wear clothing from the 20's, I would really stick out as being retro.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    The problem I have with that is that you don't wear music like you wear fragrance. Wearing something is much more of a statement than consuming something. Just like you choose your frags your way, I think about it as a clothing accessoire. Does it fit me, the occasion, my clothes that day, and so on.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Ultimately all analogys break down. Fakepurseninja, you do have some valid points about a fragrance being the same as clothing but ultimately the analogy you end up using is really tied to the point you are trying to make. For me scent evokes an emotion, a feeling as does music (for me). Can an emotion or feeling be outdated? To a certain extent it can be associated with a time, the greed of the 80's for example. One could say that the greed and over indulgance of the 80's is reflected in the fragrances of the time, but I really never feel that emotions are outdated. If I went out for a night on the town wearing Creed's Royal English Leather I can't see anyone saying, "Oh my god he is so 1700's" but if I came dressed from clothing of that era they would. An extreme example but valid and makes the point. Also with clothing you have to make your selection within the limitations of your body type and coloring along with the activity you are going to be involved with. So the emotional tone you are trying to set with your clothing is much more muddied by physical limitations. With fragrance and music, I'm far less limited by these.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I don't know English Leather, but if it smells like I would expect it to smell, I would probably say it smells old. So maybe i would say (to myself) "Oh that's something rather vintage I smell here". Besides, my fragrance choice is pretty much limited by the activity I am going to carry out. Club, work, hot summer day, cold winter day. On this board we are talking about summer frags, winter frags, rainy day frags and so forth.

    You asked if a fragrance can become outdated. I think it can, for some people (like me), but for you it obviously can't. Because fragrance means different things to different people.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by fakepurseninja
    I don't know English Leather, but if it smells like I would expect it to smell, I would probably say it smells old.
    In that case I would expect that it smells different than you expect.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Some like Royal English Leather, still smell amazing, complex and relevant today.

    Others like Caron Pour un homme, although still good, smell dated with their simplistic blend and an accord which dates to a particular time in the past.
    -

  15. #15

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I don't see how any fragrance could ever be outdated, so long as you don't wear a fragrance to "fit in". I wear fragrances that refelct the mood I'm in, or at least my goal of the night. When I'm wearing M7, I am on the prowl, I am dark I am dangerous. Dracula could have worn m7 hundreds of years ago and it would have served the same purpose. I had hoped that most basenotes wore fragrances for reasons other than fitting in to current trends.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by oolong
    I'm not sure that I agree with a fragrance being a type of clothing. Clothing has a physical and functional aspect to it where as a fragrance is purely sensory.
    I'm not sure I agree with your notion that fragrance is purely sensory, and is not physical or functional.

    Functional - smelling fresh vs smelling foul on a hot day, after a long trip etc can have practical consequences in one's dealing with others, and how they respond to you. You may have lousy underwear on, but can mask them with fresh clothes, and similarly you can mask body odour with certain fresh scents.

    Physical - surrounding yourself with coloured fibres vs surrounding yourself with complex gaseous molecules - both exist and their physical presence can be measured with the right equipment.

    Music - Physical sound pressure waves that can be measured with the right equipment.

    When thinking of timeless music, I think of Classical Music - the kind that gets played time and again in various TV commercials over the decades (kind of like Caron Pour Un Homme and how interpretations of that lavander keeps popping up over the years). I don't think old time Jazz really qualifies.
    Renato

    P.S. I like this topic, as I keep arguing both sides in my head, but I'm writing the one currently prevailing.
    Last edited by Renato; 22nd September 2006 at 02:21 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Isn't the bottom line that frags are part of fashon and can thus be considered outdated? Sure I think of fragrances as art, but art can be outdated too. Think about the pop art of the 60's, and (this is a good one) that horrible resurgence of uh, impressionist, I think (hotel art) in the early nineties.

    I think marketing also has a lot to do with it. I mean, marketing can make ANYTHING outdated. Think about your car, you could keep it running forever, but you don't. most people buy a new one every few years. I understand the financial aspects almost mandates a new vehicle, but seriously, why buy something that has all the new bells and whistles unless you are trying to make a statement? And like cars, frags make a statement about you to others, no matter if you want to or not.

    Or maybe it's just that some accords are overused and played out during their hayday. No one wants to smell AdG anymore, you know?

    On the other hand, we link up smells to memories in a different way then we do music or clothing, right? Maybe that's why we might associate the cologne our dads wore as being outdated...

    And maybe that's why we keep using "outdated" frags long after the rest of the world (aka the marketing folks) have moved on...

    Great thread, I like cool discusions like this!
    24, San Francisco, California USA

  18. #18

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Renato, yes there is a physical aspect of both scent and sound but they are in essence invisible. I guess following your point to the extreme one could say that the only time you are ever nude is when you are in a complete vacuum. I don't think that would fly in a court of law so I'm not going to push my local indecent exposure laws. The way we experience fragrances and sound is in a non-physical way, invisibly through the air. We can't reach out and grab the scent or sound in the air. It comes invisibly and unbidden though the air to us.

    I have a similar problem with you saying that fragrance is functional. Yes, you are in a very technical sense correct in your statement as far as it goes but scents are functional in the sense that they are adjusting people's emotional reaction to you. Maybe I was not precise enough. Clothing is used for modesty, warmth, protection from the environment, modesty... Any functionality that comes from fragrance is purely via how it adjusts our and other people's emotional reaction to us.

    Classical is a classic example of timeless music but every type of music really has certain songs which transcend time and will be listened to well past their initial release. Top 40 type music is really an anomaly in that it has a very short shelf life.


    Bill

  19. #19

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    nicolastutor;

    Your comments beg the question is outdated and out of fashon the same thing? I don't think they are.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    My feeling is that if a frag (or notes) are so associated with a certain era or people, it could be perceived as outdated. Someone with a father who was into citrusy frags may perceive something like Eau Sauvage or YSL PH as outdated. Someone without exposure to those frags would not.

    Another thing is that someone who is really into frags which are fashionable of the moment might perceive differing frags as "so yesterday."

    Just a stab.
    K
    MisterK / Vicomte de K / K
    Ephemeral Top 5: YSL PH HC, Worth PH, Equipage, Monsieur Rochas HC, Acqua di Gio

  21. #21

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by oolong
    Renato, yes there is a physical aspect of both scent and sound but they are in essence invisible. I guess following your point to the extreme one could say that the only time you are ever nude is when you are in a complete vacuum. I don't think that would fly in a court of law so I'm not going to push my local indecent exposure laws. The way we experience fragrances and sound is in a non-physical way, invisibly through the air. We can't reach out and grab the scent or sound in the air. It comes invisibly and unbidden though the air to us.

    Bill
    Which leads to interesting questions that have never been raised here -
    "What scent would you wear at a nudist colony?" and
    "Which scent would you wear in a vacuum?"

    Anyhow, remember that when you see clothes on another person you can't usually go and feel them, measure them, test their warmth etc. All you can do is physically sense them from a distance using reflected light waves. And you get some kind of effect from them. Is this really that different from sensing complex scent molecules from a distance and getting some kind of effect from them?
    Renato

  22. #22
    Overcome By Fumes
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    Default Re: Can a fragrance truly become outdated?

    I very much doubt that more than a handful of even us enthusiasts could pick out the decade of production for an unlabelled vial of fragrance. Certainly there are prominent themes for certain time frames, but there is far more variability across the spectrum than those themes would tell you. While tie-dyed shirts may evoke the sixties for many people, many people in the sixties were not wearing them, and many other people have worn them every decade since. Original fragrance compositions may never become outdated, while copycat versions are outdated as soon as they are in the bottle.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    I"m always saying Obsession is too nostalgic and shoudln't be worn, only a signifigant population isn't old enough to appreciate that, so. .. who's out of date now?

    I love mure et musc, but something about it says to me "antique". The artisan bottle doesn't help matters. Only recently have I felt. . . questioning of it, somehow, for this reason. And while I was at first suspicious of it as just watered down mem, finally I was kind of seized with excitement over cologne mure et musc cause it has this nowness infused into it with the basil...it's like. . . a post modern version of mure et musc or something but then I read here it's a joke as to staying power and sillage. That is really too bad! I would love to wear post modern mem.

    anyway these extrasensory ideas about mure et musc aren't really against the scent and become useful as influencing how to think about when to wear it.

    anyway the concepts of "dated" and "eternal" are... short sighted!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truly become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by docluv45
    I very much doubt that more than a handful of even us enthusiasts could pick out the decade of production for an unlabelled vial of fragrance. Certainly there are prominent themes for certain time frames, but there is far more variability across the spectrum than those themes would tell you. While tie-dyed shirts may evoke the sixties for many people, many people in the sixties were not wearing them, and many other people have worn them every decade since. Original fragrance compositions may never become outdated, while copycat versions are outdated as soon as they are in the bottle.
    A great point. I agree that almost no one outside of fragrance junkies would be able to tell you what era a fragrance came from. They just don't know the elements that would be required: what notes are indicative of certain eras, why certain eras used certain notes, and so on.

    People who are "in the know" in any field tend to categorize and label things as (out)dated or new and fresh. They know the basic elements. People who don't know a field often follow the marketing, which both leads and follows popular trends. Marketing usually leads the general population to a trend, but follows those "in the know" for a given category. For this reason, I don't think dated and out of style are not the same things.

    I don't think dated and out of style exist as static things either - like once the label is attached, that's it. They are mental constructs are completely fluid. They are not actualities, but ongoing processes.

    Let's take popular music as an parallel example. Just a little over 10 years ago it would have been inconceivable for Iron Maiden to have a top selling album and for young bands to be citing AC/DC as an influence. Grunge and Cobain were still all the rage and hard rock bands were out. Now, however, Maiden's latest album entered the charts at #9 - their highest entry ever - while one of the most popular young bands, Wolfmother, cites AC/DC and Zeppelin as their biggest influences (and also completely rips their image and style!). In the 90s fans of popular music couldn't give you reasons for "why" AC/DC, Maiden, and the like were out of style, they just were. If asked they would have said something like "it sounds old" or "my dad listens to that" and so on. Likewise, they can't give reasons why it's now acceptable and in-style. Some of these folks involved in this trend are the same people - we're only talking 10 years or so here.

    Now, it's possible to play old Maiden and AC/DC and such and to younger folks it sounds fresh because they don't have it associated with any past popular trend or social movement. They can't tell you why it's fresh to them. And they don't have the cultural associations older folks would have (e.g., the counter-cultural obsession with satanism and the correlated rise of the religious right to power in the 80s, growing inequality and discontent in the 90s, etc.). My 15 year old cousin is in love with Zeppelin, the James Gang, and tons of 70s and 80s bands because their style is different than what he grew up with, different than what the previous generation liked, and listening to it brings no memories of things that were happening in the 70s and early 80s, e.g., the transition from the culture of the 60s.

    So, these things are fluid, they change, what's dated one day is fresh and exciting the next, and then dated once again. Classics are classics because they do the style they do well, though that doesn't mean that that particular style will always be in the style of the moment. And if it's not, it doesn't mean it will always be out either.

    Sorry if this is a rambling post. It's too early in the am for me. This is a great thread and I wish I could contribute more, but I have to go out of town for the weekend. I'll check in when I get back to see if there is anything left to comment on. But by then this thread may be dated.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    In functional fragrance terms, different scents do become outdated: the coal tar soap smell that my grandparents associated with 'clean' has been replaced to saturation point with light musks and/or citruses. Undoubtedly, fragrance is worn to do more than smell clean, but there's no doubt that as fashions change, certain scents do seem very much of their time, socioculturally, even if some aficionados claim they are still of the moment. Iquitos, for example, smells to me like the 1980s in a bottle, but congrats to guys who still love it - I don't personally want a scent reminder of that time...

    But then, there's nothing wrong with nostalgia in a bottle either - I love sniffing Old Spice to be reminded of my coal tar loving Grandpa.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truly become outdated?

    Quote Originally Posted by docluv45
    I very much doubt that more than a handful of even us enthusiasts could pick out the decade of production for an unlabelled vial of fragrance.
    True - but is it relevant?

    An awful lot of people may well be able to smell a scent and just think "old", without specifically knowing the era.

    When you go to a supermarket and pick up a can of Lynx or whatever underarm antiperspirant they sell, or aftershave balm, you are most unlikely to find one with a style of scent perceived as dated by a large segment of the population.
    Renato

  27. #27

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    >>Or maybe it's just that some accords are overused and played out during their hayday.<<

    I agree with this statement, certain fragrances were worn by so many people during a certain time that, to me, they smell completely outdated, like Giorgio, Emeraude, Old Spice, Schiaparelli Shocking, Chanel 19, Jean Nate or pure patchouli oil. It doesn't mean they don't smell good on their own, but to me, BLECH, you are bringing me back to a time when these scents were overused by a certain segment of the public. (I would add Shalimar to that list, as well as Evening in Paris.)

    Crabtree & Evelyn fragrances smell outdated to me now, too, whatever is in them reminds me of the air fresheners in public restrooms and older Avon scents smell like the sachets in the underwear drawers of women in my grandmother's generation.
    Last edited by beachroses; 23rd September 2006 at 05:24 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    Hi,

    I dont believe in outdated scents at all - some unfashionable scent are complitely wearable a bonus also nobody will wear it arround you !!!

    To resume - if this scent is you ... wear it ...... so simple !!!

    Laurent
    Invisible Power

  29. #29

    Default Re: Can a fragrance truely become outdated?

    NO! Simple as that!
    ďI am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.Ē-Anais Nin

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