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  1. #1
    N_Tesla's Avatar
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    Question What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Without a Guerlain at the helm can the great House of Guerlain survive? It gives one pause to ponder whether Thierry Wasser will be able to carry on the tradition. Idylle seems a departure from what one would expect going forward with guerlain. I just feel uneasy with my favorite House's fate. Change is inevitable but not always good. As long as the Guerlain Classics still are produced I will be happy but as for new fragrances I am not certain that even Jean Claude Ellena would be up to the task, although I would feel a little more at ease with him at the helm. I wonder if you share my concern?
    Last edited by N_Tesla; 26th March 2010 at 02:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    I see Guerlain as a house in decline. All this is in my opinion, of course, but Guerlain's recent releases have neither continued the classical traditions of the house nor have they broken new and daring ground.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Guerlain will see the decline in the artistic department the way Christian Dior and Givenchy did. After all, they're all under LVMH. Unless, a miracle happens and someone would be daring enough to release something a little out of the norm. Samsara was pretty good IMO, if only the scent was not cloned by toilet scents. But the more safe they try to play it, the more this house will decline in the eyes of the Perfumistas, just like how Dior and Givenchy fell.

    I do hope, however, the surprise perfume that Jean Paul Guerlain would come up with within this year continues the tradition of those rich opulent scents that Guerlain is famous for, instead of the few recent dissapointments (idylle, the aqua allegoria line, L'instant, insolence, Guerlain Homme) they may sell good but at the cost of artistic intergerity.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Good thing I have purchased enough scent in the past six months to, perhaps, last the rest of my life then.

    (but yes, it would be a shame if the classics and new classics did not come from the LVMH version of Guerlain.)
    Actias luna's fragrance reviews | Now blogging with AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty at Il Mondo di Odore
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    - along with some impromptu "performance writing" here on Basenotes!

  5. #5

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    The other sad fact is their distribution: here in malaysia, L'instant eau extreme has been spirited away due to poor sales (or so the sales rep claims), and apres l'ondee, l'heure bleu and the rest of the iconic stuff is nowhere to be found. Only mitsouko, jicky, habit rouge, shalimar, vertiver and their more modern offerings...

    /rant

  6. #6

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    I think it was inevitable. All the classic Guerlains had a powdery iris note that, to me, comes close to ruining even the ones I love, like Mitsouko and Liu. The smell of grandma's CornSilk powder just isn't coming back and they haven't been able to replace that guerlinade with anything equally compelling but more modern. Just my $.02 though.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    I agree that Guerlain is probably on the decline- its heyday is over and it does make me sad. I have Idylle but frankly I now don't think I like it much . It's not inspired as were Jean Paul and Jacques Guerlain's creations were . I think being bought by LVMH is like a death call for such a house as Guerlain. How can LVMH understand what a perfume house like Guerlain needs ,to survive ? It's the old oft repeated and tired phrase... " it's all money money money".
    We'll wait and see the outcome.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Makes me wonder if little houses will make the next great scents. Just thinking.
    Actias luna's fragrance reviews | Now blogging with AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty at Il Mondo di Odore
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    - along with some impromptu "performance writing" here on Basenotes!

  9. #9

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by actiasluna View Post
    Makes me wonder if little houses will make the next great scents. Just thinking.
    Most probably the niche houses

  10. #10
    N_Tesla's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    All of your statements are meritorious and bespeak my trepidation over the future of Guerlain and other Houses. As an observation; big business has a tendency to buy up successful businesses, run them into the ground for every penny that can be had, buy some more, do the same endlessly and limit creativity and competition in the market. The artistry and reputation of a quality product, which is initially created by a profitable House passes into the event horizon of the black hole of big business, everything goes in and nothing comes out, ever. The comment about the next perfumery works of art coming from the "little houses", I believe is quite logical. The other side of that coin is that they too may be devoured . The unlitmate losers are the lovers of the perfumery art , that would be us. Cynicism is not lost upon our plight my friends.
    Last edited by N_Tesla; 26th March 2010 at 10:50 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by actiasluna View Post
    Makes me wonder if little houses will make the next great scents. Just thinking.
    It seems to me, that this just might be the case. They seem to have more creative control than the biggies like Guerlain IMHO .
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
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  12. #12

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Some of the l'Art et Matiere line is impeccable. HR EDP is one of the finest masculines around too. I think they still have a bit of life left in them yet, personally.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    Some of the l'Art et Matiere line is impeccable. HR EDP is one of the finest masculines around too. I think they still have a bit of life left in them yet, personally.
    but sadly not accessible......I have the HR EDT and i feel its already quite impressive. Sadly the EDP as well as a bunch of other Guerlains are nowhere to be found in my country. Most of their counters closed, now leaving only 4 counters in the whole of Malaysia.

    As long as JP Guerlain is alive, i still have hope that they would come up with something that would remind me of the wonders of perfumery(like the older offerings of apres l'ondee).

    I just realized that L'instant PH has a lot of similiarities with eau de beaux / armani attitude(diamonds? the one with cocoa in the notes) another "our version of..." GUERLAIN!!!! NUUUU BE ORIGINAL!!
    Last edited by joey86; 26th March 2010 at 10:20 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    A few comments...
    I think if you moved this conversation to Guerlain's exclusives we'd have a different thread going. I limit my sniffing to higher quality scents, and can say that Rose Barbare held up to 98% of the roses out there has no equal. The Art and Material line in general is one of my favorites (along with the Caron fountain parfums). The Charnal line plays it safe, but even so is pretty darn good.

    Guerlain, IMO, has done a bravo job of bringing their scents into the new world of IFRA and global warming (with its shrinking materials supply). I've tried vintage Guerlain of my favorite fragrances, and prefer the newer EDP versions (see my thread on Chamade).

    Nope, this house isn't going anywhere, me thinks, but they do need to start taking more risks, because houses like JHaG and Sonoma Scent Studio are a definite threat.
    Passionate supporter of parrot welfare www.thegabrielfoundation.org

  15. #15

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    The kind of creative impulses Guerlain gave to perfumery in the 19th and 20th centuries can no longer be expected these days from larger firms and even less conglomerates such as LVMH, due to the unwavering tyranny of profit above all. Guerlain is slowly turning into a Nazgul in Sauron's hand, economically powerful, yet just a ghostly shadow of its former palpable aesthetic self, reigned by the pure evil of profit maximization and brand exploitation. The future for lovers of perfume lies in artisan perfumery and ultimately in non-IFRA controlled "therapeutic" and bespoke perfumery, where certain banned essences will remain permitted due to a different regulatory code.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    I have a different perspective. We look back upon the Guerlain 'greats' with great fondness and proclaim that they embody their 'era' remarkably. Point in case: the whole 1930s aviation theme with Vol de Nuit and Sous le Vent etc... a time of spirited forays into uncharted territories.
    I wonder - with hindsight being 20/20 of course - whether we will look back upon these "less attractive" recent releases and find they actually epitomise our "cultural fingerprint" in the 90s, 00s and 10s. It is true that sometimes we have to take a step back in order to see the broader picture (think: Monet).

    Although I too feel the efforts of Thierry Wasser have been lack-lustre to date, I do hope Guerlain is not so much a house on the decline, but rather a house undergoing a modern transformation that one day may be viewed (perhaps by our children, or our children's children), with a similar measure of fondness.
    Last edited by Sorcery of Scent; 26th March 2010 at 07:07 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    Guerlain is slowly turning into a Nazgul in Sauron's hand, economically powerful, yet just a ghostly shadow of its former palpable aesthetic self, reigned by the pure evil of profit maximization and brand exploitation..
    This set off a weird imagination, of a fragrance LOTR's with Andy Tauer as Bilbo Baggins, Ellena as Gandalf and Olivier Creed as Gollum.

    Back on topic, Guerlain is just another stud brand on LMVH's cash cow ranch, along with Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo etc. Corporate priority is to maximize shareholder gain; corporate officers can be fired or even sued if they are percieved as not acting in accordance with this aim. That's not to say corporations are evil Mitsuoko-devouring monsters, just that the creation of epic perfumes (on par with those formulated under the older, less commercial system) will be incidental to fulfilling the shareholders' wishes. Putting money towards advertising looks like a much better bet, Britney Spears' perfume proved that people will buy anything if the marketing is right.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zizanioides View Post
    This set off a weird imagination, of a fragrance LOTR's with Andy Tauer as Bilbo Baggins, Ellena as Gandalf and Olivier Creed as Gollum.

    Back on topic, Guerlain is just another stud brand on LMVH's cash cow ranch, along with Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo etc. Corporate priority is to maximize shareholder gain; corporate officers can be fired or even sued if they are percieved as not acting in accordance with this aim. That's not to say corporations are evil Mitsuoko-devouring monsters, just that the creation of epic perfumes (on par with those formulated under the older, less commercial system) will be incidental to fulfilling the shareholders' wishes. Putting money towards advertising looks like a much better bet, Britney Spears' perfume proved that people will buy anything if the marketing is right.
    Exactly! The epicenter of artistry and aesthetic innovation has shifted elsewhere. Guerlain is no longer an idea, just a profit-generator. Anything good left in it is due to the (fading) strength of its heritage - and what is truly to be mourned is that all the knowledge and experience amassed by the dynasty is now in hands unwilling to put it to a better use than maximizing profits.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    There are so many good points made here in relation to Guerlain -in particular by Dimitri ,the good life and Zizanioides. Can't say it better !
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 26th March 2010 at 10:23 PM.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Interestingly- i think the houses that are making exciting stuff right now are Romano Ricci's JHAG and parfums de Nicolai. Does Caron have a grandchild out there???
    Passionate supporter of parrot welfare www.thegabrielfoundation.org

  21. #21

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    On the other hand, if the folks at LVMH are smart enough to eye on the success of Creed and Annick Goutal, they might just leave Guerlain to be a more artisanly perfume house so that they can tap into the niche market. It wont be too long before they realize that a house releasing bad perfume but with good marketing wont work.

  22. #22
    N_Tesla's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    I wonder if anyone who has a say at Guerlain will ever read these comments and if so, take them seriously. I suppose we can only hope. As for me, wither goes the perfumery art also goes my money spent. I like to think of it as; with no one present still the tree fallen in the forest does not go unnoticed and did really fall.
    Last edited by N_Tesla; 26th March 2010 at 10:49 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by N_Tesla View Post
    I wonder if anyone who has a say at Guerlain will ever read these comments and if so, take them seriously. I suppose we can only hope. As for me, wither goes the perfumery art also goes my money spent. I like to think of it as; with no one present still the tree fallen in the forest does not go unnoticed and did really fall.
    anyone wanna leave this link at slyvanie delacourte's blog?

  24. #24

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    They need some consistency with regard to their position in the market IMO . They should either be exclusively high end which is how I imagine LVMH would like them to be seen - although it would be commercial suicide , completely cut out the mass market bread and butter crap - Idylle , Monsieur Guerlain etc , or go the other way and just be like many other fragrance houses with mass market appeal and very little integrity . Either way IMO they are walking a very shaky path

  25. #25

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    they should, continue to produce quality and creative mainstream stuff like what they were doing before JP Guerlain retired. I do not want to see a Guerlain's version of Le Male. now thats truly sad.

  26. #26

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pour_Monsieur View Post
    They should either be exclusively high end which is how I imagine LVMH would like them to be seen - although it would be commercial suicide , completely cut out the mass market bread and butter crap - Idylle , Monsieur Guerlain etc , or go the other way and just be like many other fragrance houses with mass market appeal and very little integrity . Either way IMO they are walking a very shaky path
    'Commercial suicide' is right, but the threat for Guerlain could lurk in their past. Guerlain's best sellers aren't the Aqua Allegorias or the new releases; on every market analysis of the best selling perfumes that I've seen (scant few) Guerlain's best entry (by market/gender etc) is usually a fragrance that was created 30-80 years ago. Habit Rouge is often their best selling men's and Shalimar for women. Guerlain aren't so much perfume makers as they are perfume archivists, faithfully recreating their classics year after year for the commercial public. But the tide of reformulations can wash away the customers accumulated over decades as their cherished product is replaced with a thin changeling. Reformulations are less frightening if you are a company that successfully pumps out new blockbusters (Dior, Coty, L'Oreal subsidiaries etc.) but older firms could be at risk of a fatal mauling. Some people love the new fragrances and others (myself included) dislike them but only time will tell who the customers side with.

  27. #27

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    IMHO it's also good to keep in mind that Guerlain has created more than 300 fragrances, and we tend to focus on the handful that have come down to us as classics. I can't imagine this is the first time creativity has been at loggerheads with commercial viability in this house. Although it's tempting (very tempting) to say that LVMH sounds the death-knell for Guerlain, I'm willing (for the moment) to consider it an awkward growth stage. The Eternal Optimist, eh?

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'll wait for the next blockbuster as I continue to enjoy the classic Guerlains. Of course, waiting doesn't = inactivity, and I'll be sniffing around other houses with an open heart and mind.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Lets just hope that this is just a learning curve for Guerlain and not its doom.

    however after seeing CD and Givenchy, my confidence isnt exactly at its peak with LVMH.

  29. #29

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Sad but true Guerlain's biggest money maker is not fragrance but their bronzing range.

    Perhaps if they went the Serge Lutens route and started releasing some of the boutique exclusives in department stores as limited editions it might just get the normal perfume buying public interested. It would also give them more of niche feel. The newest fragrance releases are just the same old same old as the other popular sellers of the moment. Oh florals are in this season so every house releases the same fragrance with their own name on it.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: What Fate Awaits the House of Guerlain?

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255 View Post
    Sad but true Guerlain's biggest money maker is not fragrance but their bronzing range.

    Perhaps if they went the Serge Lutens route and started releasing some of the boutique exclusives in department stores as limited editions it might just get the normal perfume buying public interested. It would also give them more of niche feel. The newest fragrance releases are just the same old same old as the other popular sellers of the moment. Oh florals are in this season so every house releases the same fragrance with their own name on it.
    They already have a niche exclusif range. La petit robe noire, Le arte en matiere, Les exlirs charnels etc......

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