Here here......I agree with this post.
You know I just have to put word to page in an effort to express my frustration with the fragrance industry. As a patron of the art and business of fragrance I see my relationship as one deserving a little more than I get. The fragrance industry has subjugated art in "art and business" of fragrance and the bean counters have lost sight of the old adage that the customer is always right. To the industry I say this, do not expect my loyalty and money while you continue to pillage the art of fragrance. I (we, if I may) don't have to purchase your product unless you make us happy. Fact: I (we) are not happy! Not happy with reformulation and the reuse of historic brand names that no longer represent what they once were. I (we) are not happy with houses discontinuing product lines because they don't sell millions of bottles. (ever hear of carrying fringe items that provide a full line and continue the good name of a company?) Quit worrying about which celebrities name is going on the bottle. (Brand recognition should be quality statement alone.) If you, the fragrance company are not equally involved in the ART of fragrance as well as the business then do us a favor and get out of the business. Perhaps junk bonds would be a better involvement. Bitter am I? Yes, and with good reason. To the faithful of the industry I say, I will keep buying your product.
Here here......I agree with this post.
I guess my question would have to be to whom do you feel still deserves your loyalty? Is there any house that offers a product unchanged since its inception - especially for those scents released more than twenty years ago? I feel bad for people in their seventies or eighties who had the opportunity to wear fragrances unfettered by regulation of any kind except imagination. Imagine how disappointed they must be with what I think of as, "classic". As for dropping things that fail to generate a profit, well, my first car was a Studebaker so I feel your pain but have come to accept that the corporate mindset is far removed from mine. What I like or don't like has never made an impact and until I become a voting shareholder with more shares than most I don't see that situation ever changing.
Marketing has seemed to become the end-all these days. Not all new creations are bad to a classic guy such as myself. The only problem I encounter is that most of them have this communal syntheticism that I find sub-par compared to the ingredients used in original and classic fragrances. It's what I grew up around and it can't be helped.
Same goes with the younger generation of today. You are accustomed to what is marketed toward your target group and that is what you are used to.
I'm just glad I still have the opportunity to search for the vintages I like and usually still get a pretty good deal on them.
When I was one and twenty I heard a wise man say, give pounds and crowns and guineas but, not your true Mitsouko away.
Now I am forty and twenty and oh for endless rue, my Mitsouko has been reformulated and oh tis true tis true!
Apologies to A. Houseman
Reformulations wouldn't be so bad if they continued to use ingredients as good as the originals.....but I guess that would defeat the purpose of MAKING MORE MONEY.
Absolutely, my friend. Imagine what kind of business a company could garner if they produced quality fragrances from the great noses at a reasonable profit, no reformulations and no discontinuations, where the bottom line is important but not the only reason for existing. Compared to what is out there this could be a recipe for success for the perfumer and the public. I believe that this is why Niche houses are springing up.
Last edited by N_Tesla; 19th June 2009 at 07:25 AM.
One of the big problems of the corporate mindset of today is that they view their businesses from the top down instead of the inside outward. And since decisions are made by Shareholders instead of trained Managers, their mantra is profit before product, profit before community, and profit before people. That ivory tower-perspective has given rise to our now vast wasteland of mediocre products and under-utilized artists in favor of the pursuit of what is easy, cheap and deceptive.
What really ticks me off about the perfume industry, and what plays so easily to younger, novice perfume lovers, is their continued exploitation of the “haute couture” mystique to shroud their often mundane scents in. A perfume house with an established reputation could easily give some dollar-store scent a trendy name, a fancy bottle and a celebrity identity and suckers will still buy it in droves. And for the already established ‘classic’ perfumes with a loyal following, they don’t mind practicing sleight of hand to change their formulas and misdirect us with advertisements to complete their shell games. How different are they from carnival hucksters and charlatans in designer suits and slicked-back hair?
I would venture to say that most of us here play into this game of trying to have the latest and most fashionable perfume most of the time and don’t even realize it, or just really do not trust that something without a big promotion behind it could be desirable.
It’s really a shame, since true craft and artistry is not just in the backseat because of all these restrictions, it’s in the trunk! Included in the victims are the reined-in perfumers and chemists, working mostly in the shadows, who can not work their magic and artistry because of corporate dollar signs and lawyer-speak. So goes the perfume industry – so goes the world.
OK…I’m sorry for spewing. I feel only slightly better now.
I am not a "niche" guy only because I so own many vintage frags that I love and pursue. I have a few niche and love them and have sampled even more that I also like very much.
I am happy niche houses are being launched into existence. We would be stuck with design houses that frankly do not meet my ingredient standards. People of our ilk are the reason the new houses are created and viable.
I can only hope niche doesn't do an about-face in the near future and end up traveling a different road to the same destination.
Last edited by AromiErotici; 19th June 2009 at 08:07 AM.
You know I think the answer to this problem actually lies right here on basenotes. I'm 53 and I've grown up with the music industry and I have seen first hand the rise and fall of it all from the Beatles to the sorry state of affairs now where the writers and many artistes are having to think about getting a day job. The industry screwed up - not the writers or players.
The big labels, and from the look of it the big perfume houses, seem still to have to rely on the 'Hollywood big launch' approach. "This one hit will solve all our problems". It's only natural the accountants are going to be tinkering and focus grouping stuff to death long before any audience or conumer get a look or a listen or a sniff.
But the internet has created a new (and still largely misunderstood) playing field. I dilike the term 'digital tribe' but it's clear that people who do look for quality, originality or just for something 'different' are able to congregate and share ideas and tips and these pockets of interested individuals are 'the audience' for those who are looking to create and sell quality goods.
There will always be 'mass' and for sure there will reformulations and perfumes designed to grab the teeny boppers in that crucial first 10 seconds when they spray at the counter, but from what I can see the artisanal approach and 'patrons of the art' who are willing to gamble on a boutique line still offer hope - and have a shot at succeeding. As long as sound business sense is there to match the artistry this model can work in this day and age. To an extent I think it is the way forward. You do not NEED a counter in every department store in the world these days - rather than bemoan the fact look to digital marketing and distribution. I also think the Hermessences and Chanel Exclusifs approach bodes well - bigger brands trying to offer a line that does shoot for quality ingrdients and a culture of sorts - but that's another story.
Dunno - sorry if I'm raving but I empathise (look, I took it personally when Paul Smith decided to get his socks made in Italy 10 years ago instead of Japan - quality sunk like a stone), but I try to remain optimistic. We are in a global shift and it's going to be a few years before the dust settles, I think.
Advice to the younger ones out there? If you really like it - buy a back-up or two
Last edited by mr. reasonable; 19th June 2009 at 11:58 AM.
Ahh, dis-illusion is a great thing if it truly means shedding the false images we are surrounded by, rather than losing hope. Most of what's out there, in any cultural field, is crap, because crap is the guiding principle of mass production and consumption societies dependent on ever faster consumption cycles. Things of lasting worth are bad for this kind of economy. The goal is to keep the consumer forever semi-content and eager to gobble up the next round of crap, same stuff, different color. But there are always pockets of resistance that evolve in correspondence - McDonalds spawned Slow Food, designer crap spawned niche, niche crap spawns artisan individuals marketing their product on a shoestring through the internet. It's kind of comforting to know that out of the 5000 perfumes released every year, 4990 aren't even worth trying and that one can calmly focus on the two or three dozen people and companies in the world crafting fragrant art.
AromiErotici: Look at Proctor and Gamble, they are already, acording to rumor, looking to buy up Niche houses so that they can rule high end fragrance too. Look what they did to Patou. IMO the quality went down or the product got discontinued because it didn't sell a gazillion bottles. (Patou 1000 for example.) Big companies are the bane of fragrance patrons and the houses they ruin.
It would be nice to think that one or two of the decision makers of these large companies would actually read and act upon what has been written in this thread with a focus on change. Ever the optimist and usually the disapointed.
There is some good news. The trend in luxury goods in general is going toward less ostentation and more into uniqueness and personalization. It could be soon that some of the luxury houses re-learn that the true meaning of luxury is not to pander to everyone's tastes, but of the loyal, select few who's willing to pay for quality.
After reading the recent article on Farina (and 4711), then knowing about D'Orsay and Rance--who can one believe?
Maybe the best advice is to just trust the nose.
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."