With Chanel's latest "exclusive" Sycomore, I've think this trend is getting out of hand. I was looking forward to trying this one but at $190, it's a little out of my price range. It seems that in the last few years, mainstream design houses need to bring out an "exclusive" scent that is marked up between 150% to 200% from their mainstream wares. Why do they feel they need to appeal to the niche crowd? And what makes a scent an "exclusive"? I dare someone to define it. Insiders will tell you that the juice in these exclusives is pretty much the same blend of synthetic & natural molecules as in their normal juices. Don't get me wrong, I happen to like some "exclusives' (Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille to name one) but find the whole affair a shameless exercise to appeal to the bourgesois' "taste". These design house "exclusives" should be exposed for what they are - another ploy to charge more money for the same product. Maybe Marx was right after all...
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Another way to make money. The only exclusive thing about it is the price tag.
it all may be a way to wrap up more expensive ingredients per litre and get paid accordingly. If you believe the ideas that Burr furthers in his new book, the costs per litre of ingredients keeps slipping as the beancounters have more to say about the bottom line and Wall Streets quarterly reports are more of a factor.
I'll gladly pay more for better smelling, more expensive ingredients. And if that means that the house of Chanel looks ridiculous releasing 13 exclusives (I thought exclusive meant...one) so be it.
The big question then is when you plop down the dollars, are they using the better ingredients or are they ripping you off.
So far the beginning of Burr's new book has been informative if you can stand the triteness of a lot that's been included.
I just focus on what I want. If Sycomore's good I'll buy it. I'm not out to solve the world's problems. Chanel is one of the few houses that has unlimited access to the best perfume ingredients in the world. Most niche houses don't have that access.
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I believe that this trend is uplifting and good for industry.
Think of last 20 years of jewellery perfumes, selebrity perfumes, auto-perfumes and even car-perfumes - and all that hundreds of perfumes and flankers launched every year. Think about the perfume that becomes an inhabitant of bath-room - instead of treasure.
All this approach makes from perfume - some kind of scent, like chewing gum or air-freshener, or tooth-paste. Cheap stuff, that is. The cheapest thing from Dolce&Gabbana or Chanel is perfume.
And those `exclusives` just makes those perfume industry brands more luxurious. Price makes luxury.
But price itself (or beautiful PR-legend, or name of perfumer, or expensive ingredients, or sexy advertising, or juicy rumours) does not matter if I do (or don`t) like the smell.
Check yourself - what do you buy when you buying fragrance?
Bottle? Smell? Review of brother-Basenoter? Emotion? Piece of art? What?
And as there`re two fools on the market: seller and buyer - we could buy or do not buy.
I won`t buy some cheaper frags - and I do buy exclusives. And vice versa.
Price is just a barrier on the road of my desires.
Vetiver The Great!!!
seems that Chanel and I have the exact same access to perfume ingredients. Money talks, Bullshit walks as they say.
The problems of the world? here?
The perfume industry has squandered its lifeblood - the mystique built around fragrance as something rare and beautiful - over the years by inevitably and relentlessy pursuing market expansion and profit maximization. In a way Marx was indeed right, as the result was the exposure of the inherent contadictions of a commodity subject to the rules of capitalism but relying for its success on supposedly expressing the transcendence of capitalist values (perfume as individuality, liberation, eros, emotion, irrationality, the animalic etc. pp.).
Perfume has become vulgarized and now the perfume corp.s of the world want to reinvent prestige and get a piece of the niche cake. Of course their exclusivity is just as manufactured as any other PR image.
On a different note I can't help but feel that the neoliberal economic order is leading to a re-Victorianization of class hierarchies the world over. We're moving back to a world where the upper class employs servants, nannies and gardeners and requires spaces shut off to the plebs and products inaccessible for the common man - one reason perhaps why high-cost niche has become a major trend not just in perfume but in any market from cars to shoes to food.
Last edited by the_good_life; 25th March 2008 at 02:25 PM.
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"Exclusive" to me just means that I can't afford it
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Right on! Most of the Chanel Exclusifs are quite good, to my nose, and I'm looking forward to smelling Sycomore.
I believe the real issue in the price range thing is this: The proliferation of perfume products is increasing at an enormous rate; there are over 500 new introductions a year. In order to compete, the players have to put very big bucks into advertising so that they can turn a profit on their investment.
When you buy a perfume from a designer house like Chanel, they have to advertise to the mass market, and you have to pay that advertising cost as part of the product price. Niche houses do much more narrowly targeted advertising for their products, because they appeal to a more restricted market niche. They also have the economies of scale against them, because they produce and sell in much smaller quantities than the designer houses.
You can see, therefore, why each marketing strategy makes the stuff so expensive. If you are a designer house and you want to put out something a little nicer than your run-of-the-mill offerings, you have to pay the extra cost for ingredients and pay for mass market advertising. If you are a niche house, you rely on making a better product (at least ostensibly so), but your low sales volume drives up your unit price.
I think that's why both designer exclusives and niche scents in general are so expensive.
Another point: the designer houses put out many fewer units of their exclusives, so the economies of scale are also against them in marketing these.
Last edited by JaimeB; 25th March 2008 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Yr good bud,
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Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
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"A complex mixture of irones is what gives iris-root butter its magnificent, melancholy smell," writes Luca Turin, author of The Secret of Scent, estimating the price of the raw material as more than 70,000 (50,000) a kilo. "Good iris notes in fragrance are correspondingly rare, but, when properly executed, exude a frosty luxury that everyone falls in love with, sooner or later."
Chanel I would imagine uses a bit more of ingredients such as this in their exclusives. The concentrate (pre-addition of alcohol?) used for Chanel No. 19 is about 1500 euros per kilogram due to the use of iris root butter. Chanel No.5 concentrate is 525 Euros.
The best I leave till last. The average fine fragrance concentrate is 85 Euros.
Last edited by fredricktoo; 25th March 2008 at 07:21 PM.