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  1. #1

    Thumbs up - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Heres a recent article on the rise of "bespoke" fragrance service in the perfume industry.

    Watch out for a gem of a quote (and an emotional outburst) by none other than Luca Turin himself: "I think its total crap!", snapped the leading fragrance authority when asked about this service, "Perfume is like beer; its an industrial product", continued the author of Science of smell.

    Dont worry, the article is interesting enough:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/184eccae-b83...0779e2340.html
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Great article - thanks zztopp.

    Luca Turin likes Brut, huh? That was a surprise. My dad loves Brut.

  3. #3

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23
    Great article - thanks zztopp.

    Luca Turin likes Brut, huh? That was a surprise. My dad loves Brut.
    Brut, alongwith Old Spice, is a classic ! I would like an EDP version of Brut

    And damn, 52,000 euros for a Patou bespoke service ! Thats only eclipsed by the $73,000 that Olivier Creed charges (for 10 liters)
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  4. #4

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    I too would welcome a Brut EDP but it would have to be in the glass bottle.

  5. #5

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Great article, thanks ZZ.

    I think the point about customers not being able to articulate what they want is a good one.

    But is good, old spice is good and blue stratos is good.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  6. #6

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Post deleted
    Last edited by yepyep; 14th February 2007 at 02:07 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by yepyep
    Luca Turin is an elitist snob. What a jerk. There's not one thing you can do about it, Luca, you total piece of crap.
    It seems to me Mr. Turin was arguing against the "snobbery"/elitism of it all:

    Some experts, however, are unconvinced about the bespoke trend. “I think it’s total crap,” says Luca Turin, a leading fragrance authority and author of The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell. “Imagine asking a writer to write a novel specially for you; it’s ludicrous. I’m violently opposed to the snobbery of this thing. Perfume is like beer; it’s an industrial product.”

    Part of Turin’s objection is that the talent of a great master should be limited in this way to the benefit of the few rather than the many. “Composing a really serious fragrance takes a year or a year and a half for a good perfumer, so what a waste to have him make it for a Cartier private client; why not make it for Cartier instead?” He admits that his feelings are “really a matter of pure jealousy. I don’t want them to work for some rich woman in New York who wants to have a unique perfume. I want Jean-Michel to be doing the next Joy.”

    He also feels there are “so many good fragrances on the market” – among which he includes the likes of Jennifer Lopez’s offering and even Brut – that most people should be able to find their perfect one from what’s available. And, he says, “if you were really good enough to explain to a perfumer exactly what you want you’d probably be good enough to compose it yourself”.

  8. #8

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by asleep
    It seems to me Mr. Turin was arguing against the "snobbery"/elitism of it all:

    Some experts, however, are unconvinced about the bespoke trend. “I think it’s total crap,” says Luca Turin, a leading fragrance authority and author of The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell. “Imagine asking a writer to write a novel specially for you; it’s ludicrous. I’m violently opposed to the snobbery of this thing. Perfume is like beer; it’s an industrial product.
    The words in bold are so good that I made it my new signature... I agree with Luca Turin entirely.
    Celebrating 10 years on Basenotes - and smelling better than ever

    My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."

  9. #9

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by MFfan310
    The words in bold are so good that I made it my new signature... I agree with Luca Turin entirely.
    Perfumes certainly didnt start that way (i.e, an industrial mass market product).

    Maybe the author of the article should be shown the reactions of Luca Turin when he is dousing himself in the chanel exclusifs and Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist/Borneo (surely these aren't "beer" fragrances). I find it amusing that the article only states fragrances like Brut and the J-lo frag as Turins' favorites.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Post deleted
    Last edited by yepyep; 14th February 2007 at 02:07 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by yepyep
    Luca thinks that only celebrities should be able to have their own fragrances. He is trash.
    Where has he ever said this, or said anything that implies it?
    There are people to whom the truth of language does not matter — they are known as liars.

  12. #12

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    edit: ELUARD beat me to this question by a minute!

    Quote Originally Posted by yepyep
    Luca thinks that only celebrities should be able to have their own fragrances.
    Really? What's the evidence that he thinks this?
    Spray it, don’t say it…
    WARDROBE

  13. #13

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC
    edit: ELUARD beat me to this question by a minute!



    Really? What's the evidence that he thinks this?
    Maybe the fact that he thinks J-lo's frag is great, but is against the idea of "bespoke" frags ?
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  14. #14

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Post deleted
    Last edited by yepyep; 14th February 2007 at 02:08 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    Maybe the fact that he thinks J-lo's frag is great, but is against the idea of "bespoke" frags ?
    Uhh J-Lo's frags are not bespoke fragrances for J-Lo, they are commercially available fragrances. Being against bespoke fragrances for anyone, does not mean being against celebrity fragrance lines.

    (I have to think ZZ that you are just stirring here, because you do not normally post something so obviously wrong. But I agreed with you about Turin's faux common man stuff — that was hilarious given the direction his tastes actually run.)
    There are people to whom the truth of language does not matter — they are known as liars.

  16. #16

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard

    (I have to think ZZ that you are just stirring here, because you do not normally post something so obviously wrong. But I agreed with you about Turin's faux common man stuff — that was hilarious given the direction his tastes actually run.)
    Heh.. the main gist of Turin's argument is that bespoke service can take away a perfumers unrestricted creative flow. However, many perfumers (Serge Lutens/Sheldrake, Olivier Creed, Ellena, etc) have stated that they work on multiple fragrances simultaneously, so I dont think its that big of an issue.

    Plus, consider the fact that some of the finest Creed fragrances were bespoke fragrances (ofcourse Creeds perfume history started as a bespoke service)
    Last edited by zztopp; 14th February 2007 at 01:10 AM.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by yepyep
    Luca Turin is an elitist snob. What a jerk. There's not one thing you can do about it, Luca, you total piece of crap.
    This seems to suffer from the very same problem that Turin himself sometimes suffers from - making imperious pronouncements without offering an explanation of why, therefore lacking in any instructive value.

    But even when he fails to instruct and comes off rather arrogantly, Turin is still consummately articulate and entertaining. That's worthy of some respect in my book.

  18. #18

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    Heh.. the main gist of Turin's argument is that bespoke service can take away a perfumers unrestricted creative flow. However, many perfumers (Serge Lutens/Sheldrake, Olivier Creed, Ellena, etc) have stated that they work on multiple fragrances simultaneously, so I dont think its that big of an issue.

    Plus, consider the fact that some of the finest Creed fragrances were bespoke fragrances (ofcourse Creeds perfume history started as a bespoke service)
    Well, the other part of his argument is that if something is really good everyone should be able to enjoy it — and that part of his argument is hardly elitist.

    The only good argument I can see for bespoke fragrances is that you may be able to make something with no expense spared on constituents, something that is not commercially viable. Or that breaks EU restrictions on the use of particular oils. But even there it isn't a very strong argument for bespoke.

    I think bespoke is just a way of fleecing the rich. But I'm on the side of Turin here: I want them to make better commercially available product — so that they fleece people like us!
    There are people to whom the truth of language does not matter — they are known as liars.

  19. #19

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by yepyep
    That's exactly it. Read the article.
    I did read the article, thanks. As others have pointed out, you've clearly misread it. A J-lo fragrance is not "for" J-lo, it's for anyone who wants to buy it (and can afford it). This is in total contrast to the case of a bespoke fragrance being exclusively for the person who commissions it.

    But I agree with zztopp that it's not worth getting worked up over the idea that great perfumers are spending their time making bespoke fragrances. There's plenty of good stuff reaching the open market.
    Last edited by PaulSC; 14th February 2007 at 01:51 AM.
    Spray it, don’t say it…
    WARDROBE

  20. #20

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    I wasn't aware that "Bespoke" meant that it was exclusive to the person who made it. In that case, I was wrong about Luca. I thought "Bespoke" just meant a fragrance based on someone.

  21. #21

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    I have always appreciated Luca Turin’s writings on perfume. On his blog, which was active for the last half of 2005, Luca Turin had a little more to say about bespoke perfumes. Here is a link for downloading Luca Turin's blog:

    www.flexitral.com/research/Blogtextweb.pdf

    Once you have the blog text downloaded, search for the word “bespoke” or go directly to pages 126 and 127 in order to read Luca Turin’s comments about bespoke perumes. Here is some of what he has to say:

    From an aesthetic standpoint, perfume is a shared, industrial product, more like wine, music and books than like a painting or a jewel, and there is something ugly about asking a great artist to do one just for you. From a commercial standpoint, I couldn’t figure out what makes these well-paid professionals (and the houses that employ them) do such a thing. After all, why waste a good idea on some rich bitch when you can have everyone wearing it? I asked around, and some answers emerged. First, the daily grind of the perfumers’ job, making things that smell good with 100$/kg to spend on the formula, i.e. using ingredients that mostly smell less than great, is getting depressing. All involved in bespoke perfumes relish the opportunity to use great raw materials, ignore all “health” regulations and travel back in time to the golden age of fragrance.

  22. #22

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Yeah, I'm a total prick, lol. I actually agree with him. I should've looked up "bespoke" before I spoke. Did I just accidentally make a pun? =)

  23. #23

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Yea I guess bespoke/made-to-order suits and dresses for the elite by famous designers is also pretty stupid...

    The personalized fragrance is a service, and the perfumers/houses charge a hefty amount for it. The world famous houses probably know more than Luca Turin about the industry economics. If the perfumers/houses feel that they are "burning out", they can always stop offering the service. Pretty simple really.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard
    The only good argument I can see for bespoke fragrances is that you may be able to make something with no expense spared on constituents, something that is not commercially viable. Or that breaks EU restrictions on the use of particular oils.
    Eluard, I am impressed! You have discerned pretty much exactly what Turin discovered when he asked around to figure out why professional perfumers created bespoke fragrances (see the Turin quote in my previous post).
    Last edited by Rockford; 14th February 2007 at 03:04 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockford
    Eluard, I am impressed! You have discerned pretty much exactly what Turin discovered when he asked around to figure out why professional perfumers created bespoke fragrances (see the Turin quote in my previous psot).
    Isnt that the premise behind the Frederic Malle perfumes ?
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  26. #26

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    Isnt that the premise behind the Frederic Malle perfumes ?
    I do believe you are right!

    Except that the Malle perfumes are sold commercially and therefore cannot ignore health regulations regarding the ingredients used in the creation of the perfume.
    Last edited by Rockford; 14th February 2007 at 03:17 AM.

  27. #27

    Exclamation Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    I tend to agree with Turin. IMO, part of a fragrances appeal is the mystique of the house, the nose and the packaging. Also, it's about branding. In the end, like the French Couture concept, you will have a handful of clients that are rich enough and vain enough to order Bespoke Creations and perhaps the houses will make enough money to break even. But, like Graucho Marx said, "I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me for a member".

  28. #28

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockford
    Eluard, I am impressed! You have discerned pretty much exactly what Turin discovered when he asked around to figure out why professional perfumers created bespoke fragrances (see the Turin quote in my previous post).
    Yes, but now I am puzzled about Turin's outburst! How could he have listened to the "noses" and been sympathetic to what they say, and then turn around in this interview and ignore their opinion and damn all bespoke creations? Or was the blog entry written after the interview was done. (Surely not.)
    There are people to whom the truth of language does not matter — they are known as liars.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard
    Yes, but now I am puzzled about Turin's outburst! How could he have listened to the "noses" and been sympathetic to what they say, and then turn around in this interview and ignore their opinion and damn all bespoke creations? Or was the blog entry written after the interview was done. (Surely not.)
    See Turin's blog entry on p.126 - posted July 05, 2005
    "...The history of perfumery before this subdivision of niche was manufactured, both literally and imaginatively, is a long one, with thousands upon thousands of fragrances. The true fragrance lover takes each fragrance one at a time, and examines it preferably outside of the imaginatively manufactured categories and, in doing so, builds up a steady, informed basis for seasoned comparative judgments based on the sampling and information gathered from such sampling. This is why any one on the board who ever has anything particular interesting to say about fragrances as fragrances rather than as categorical constructs always has an abiding interest and passion for all kinds of fragrances and not just a narrow niche of fragrances. Conversely, the "niche whores," the more and more narrow their interests become, the more and more they mimic the ad copy of the very companies they worship. I know whose posts I like to read..."

    “Perfume is decidedly not about two things: it isn’t about memory and it isn’t about sex. Perfume is about beauty and intellect,” .......... “A perfume is a message in a bottle—not a smell—and the message is written by the perfumer and read by the person who smells it.”

    Book recommendations:

    Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
    The Emperor of Scent
    The Perfect Scent
    Scent and Chemistry

    Feeding the Monster: IFRA and the EU Parliament
    www.firstnerve.com/2013/06/feeding-monster-ifra-and-eu-parliament.html

    -http://www.firstnerve.com/2013/06/feeding-monster-ifra-and-eu-parliament.html



  30. #30

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard
    Yes, but now I am puzzled about Turin's outburst! How could he have listened to the "noses" and been sympathetic to what they say, and then turn around in this interview and ignore their opinion and damn all bespoke creations? Or was the blog entry written after the interview was done. (Surely not.)
    I would assign more credence to what Luca Turin himself wrote on his blog rather than what he was quoted as saying in an article stitched together by a different writer. On his blog, Turin had total control over the communication of what he wanted to say. On the other hand, Turin’s quotes in the article written by someone else could have been taken out of context and inadvertently twisted and interpreted in a way that didn’t exactly express Turin’s thoughts and feelings.

  31. #31

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockford
    I would assign more credence to what Luca Turin himself wrote on his blog rather than what he was quoted as saying in an article stitched together by a different writer. On his blog, Turin had total control over the communication of what he wanted to say. On the other hand, Turin’s quotes in the article written by someone else could have been taken out of context and inadvertently twisted and interpreted in a way that didn’t exactly express Turin’s thoughts and feelings.

    My exact sentiments...

  32. #32

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    As soon as I read that the bespoken fragrance will last your lifetime at one of the houses, I wondered, what if I want to break it off with my bespoken. What are the house's rules on that. Will I continue to pay, will it revert back to the house to be tryed on the next person who wanders in looking for "bespoke". The public has never smelled the bespokes. Could Turin's own work in the field plus that of other perfumers have resulted in warehouses full of drums of fragrances waiting to be "bespoken" for?

  33. #33

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    I think the way it works is:- you pay your money and get a very large amount of perfume (with creed it is ten litres) initially. If you want more, you order more later (presumably at a lower cost as no development this time). The formula remains secret and only orderable by you until you die after which the house is free to market it if it so chooses.

    I think much of turin's point rests on the quantity issue. Ten litres is a silly quantity of perfume for one person, yet it is financially silly to make less. In fact, it makes financial sense to make more. The actual cost of producing more, once you are producing some, is minimal. The price you pay is largely: 1) for the perfumers time and experience (fair enough in my book) 2) the exclusivity (ridiculous in mine and Turin's books) 3) a relatively small cost for the materials and packaging.

    I also agree that most people are in no way qualified to make the decisions necessary. I am more aware than most people (non basenoters) about notes, construction, development etc but know I do not know enough to develop my own fragrance. I know some people here do make their own concoctions, they may know more, but I suspect many of them are working on learning that which a highly trained and experienced nose knows.

    I can understand if you know a lot about what you want and have the money to burn (e.g. someone here may be looking for an ultimate rose accord for them and have a good idea they want it minty and fresh) but these must surely be very few.

    (After the revolution, bespoke perfume services will only be available to those with at least two years basnotes membership, over 2000 posts, and proof from their bank that they have put their livliehood at risk by overspending on the failed search for that which they would like created .)
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  34. #34

    Default Re: - The rise of "Bespoke" fragrance services -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockford
    ...From an aesthetic standpoint, perfume is a shared, industrial product, more like wine, music and books than like a painting or a jewel, and there is something ugly about asking a great artist to do one just for you...
    I guess a parallel to Turin's case would be a great soprano who was under exclusive contract to a "wealthy prince" only to perform for him---the world would be deprived of her talent. Or if Van Gogh's life's works sat in a greedy collector's private home, never shown to the public---how sad. You can imagine the character: "It's mine, all mine hah-hah!"

    It seems in Turin's mind, there are a limited number of great "noses" in the world who are able to create masterpiece scents. I think it's another expression of over-inflated ego extremes you see these days......paying $30,000-$80,000 for my very own personal perfume, c'mon. My father would say that's just an extension of an old adage, though: "A fool and his money are soon parted."

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