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  1. #1

    Default 10 releases a year - the culprit: Guerlain

    I thought I'd share a morsel of info with you I found in Stamelman's Cultural History of (French) Perfume:
    He points out that the 1890s saw a paradigmatic shift in the perfume market, initiated partly by the shift from soliflores to complex perfumes made possible by synthetics (he doesn't discuss sociodemographic shifts creating new consumer classes). This lead to the industry as we know it: the creation of product lines built around a perfume (Roger & Gallet had 16 beauty products related to Vera Violetta) and increasingly short life spans for products which were hyped heavily based on exotic imagery and a catchy name only to be rapidly replaced by new supposedly more enticing products to keep the buying public hungry. Sound familiar?

    By 1900 there were 300 perfume manufacturers in France employing 2000 retailers and securing 20000 jobs. Most of their products were ephemeral and not particularly original. Thus the house of Guerlain released, between 1890 and 1900, the amazing number of ten perfumes a year!!! The Hugo Boss of its day and age ! As Stameleman point out this underlines the exceptionality of classics such as Coty's L'Origan (1905) and Jicky (1889) which survived for decades. Jicky lives until today, but it was rejected by consumers at the time for over two decades, becoming an acclaimed success only around 1912.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 10 releases a year - the culprit: Guerlain

    I knew that the continous launch of new products was not new, as stated in Slater's Consumer Culture and Modernity. But he doesn't address the Hugo Boss of its time. Thanks for the info!

    BTW, should get that book ASAP. My Senior fashion design students will be grateful.
    Last edited by Pollux; 18th December 2008 at 11:05 AM. Reason: Typo

  3. #3

    Default Re: 10 releases a year - the culprit: Guerlain

    Very interesting. I'll have to get my hands on a copy of this.

  4. #4

    Thumbs down Re: 10 releases a year - the culprit: Guerlain

    Fantastically interesting post, Thank you.
    I've spent most of my life working in the music industry and have seen decidedly clear parallel as it relates to recorded music. It seems apparent to me that in both cases, the accounting departments and CFOs ( I don't think they were referred to as CFO's in the late 19th~early 20th C., but I'm sure that you understand what faction I'm addressing) in both cases directed these decisions. Obviously, "Fine Art" was a secondary consideration. http://community.basenotes.net/images/icons/icon13.gif

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    Default Re: 10 releases a year - the culprit: Guerlain

    Quote Originally Posted by Ecoture View Post
    Fantastically interesting post, Thank you.
    I've spent most of my life working in the music industry and have seen decidedly clear parallel as it relates to recorded music. It seems apparent to me that in both cases, the accounting departments and CFOs ( I don't think they were referred to as CFO's in the late 19th~early 20th C., but I'm sure that you understand what faction I'm addressing) in both cases directed these decisions. Obviously, "Fine Art" was a secondary consideration. http://community.basenotes.net/images/icons/icon13.gif
    Interesting to see how in the music industry indie music makes its way into mainstream. Had the chance of seeing how Moby got into mainstream here in Argentina: his records were unknown because radios did not play them. He released Play and it caught the attention of many free distribution music magazines. A guy I know bought a copy in an obscure music store for which he paid nothing, showed it to a groups of friends of which one was an advertising professional. This guy showed the record to a friend working in an indie radio. He loved it and played it. A year after it was a success, all radios playing songs of the record.

    I have the theory that CFOs are quite conservative when assesing the financial potential of projects, thus they just don't consider valid anything that could represent a rapture with the status quo. Thye will stick to models of what has been succesful in the past, thus the reason why so many formats are replicated again and again. This is analogous to the fact that releases in perfumery are quite similar.

    So the only way of innovation in terms of contents would be that independent author make their way until corporation they get the attention of coporations.

    Guess the Internet and the Web 2.0 are changing this radically.

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