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  1. #1
    N_Tesla's Avatar
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    Exclamation The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    One might easily speak of French perfumery as teetering on the edge of decline as an art form. I believe that the balance between art and profit is out of synchronization. It is a curious thing about revolutions; they start with ideas. No matter how hard the empire resists, the Niche industry is already arising out of the accumulating ashes of the great fire that now consumes what once was the great French perfumery empire. As goes Oakmoss and other baned fragrance substances so goes the advantage to Niche perfumers who IMO see the bans as an advantage to gain market share by delivering higher quality perfumes in the old tradition. It is sad indeed to see the great houses gobbled up by corporations who care greatly about profit but, about art, IMO, not so much. Are we who love the perfumery art the vanishing Druids of the old magic; doomed to oblivion? What think you in this matter?
    Last edited by N_Tesla; 22nd May 2010 at 05:14 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    Art vs. Commercialism was one of the great debates that got hashed out time and again when I was in school - along with "Are the American crafts purely Craft or also Fine Art?" It was amazing to watch professors go for the jugular over that one (picture a bunch of academics mud wrestling and you'll come close).

    The life cycle of [modern] Art:

    Ingenuity → Mainstream / Commercialism → stagnation → revolution. Repeat.

    Enter original 80's powerhouses → copy-cats→ way too many → Aquatics

    With the shift from naturals to synthetics maybe we're waiting for the turn around of some larger cycle with greater innovations. Perhaps that will come from France and the meg-corps, or not. But they'll cling to their Imperial status as long as possible.

    Oh, who will save us from the lengthening shadows of Middle Earth? The niche houses - and e-bay?
    Anakin: What was that all about?
    Obi-Wan: Well, R2 has been...
    Anakin: No loose wire jokes.
    Obi-Wan: Did I say anything?
    Anakin: He's trying.
    Obi-Wan: I didn't say anything!

    -ROTS


  3. #3

    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bon Vivant View Post
    Oh, who will save us from the lengthening shadows of Middle Earth? The niche houses - and e-bay?
    Hehe, sadly Sauron's shadow grows longer.

    Niche perfumery is only safe for so long.
    A number of countries have adopted the IFRA regulations as shrink wrapped rules for their producers and some even for import products. There was a bill in the UK not too long ago to adopt the IFRA regulations for everyone although I believe it failed. It's safer to adopt industry funded "research" on the off chance a constituent suffers a rash from a perfume and no legislator is going to spend fund to study products that don't do any actual harm. The IFRA has annexed any number of similar industry groups in the past few years and, aside from Cropwatch, no one is doing much to oppose them. The push for an IFRA intellectual property mediator is the next interesting development but that surprise just recently passed and has yet to be revealed to the public at large.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    The Niche fragrance industry is still largely part of the French fragrance industry. Most of them are located in France, most are French trained, many worked for the large fragrance companies or have ties to them, and almost all purchase ingredients from the major French suppliers.

    Niche is still largely French, and still revolves around the same large industry players. Just the labels are different.

    The French influence in perfume isn't shrinking, it is growing, and Niche is part of that growth.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louslice View Post
    The Niche fragrance industry is still largely part of the French fragrance industry. Most of them are located in France, most are French trained, many worked for the large fragrance companies or have ties to them, and almost all purchase ingredients from the major French suppliers.

    Niche is still largely French, and still revolves around the same large industry players. Just the labels are different.

    The French influence in perfume isn't shrinking, it is growing, and Niche is part of that growth.
    I, for one, am glad to hear it.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
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  6. #6

    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    I've recently counted the number of French perfumers involved in the various top ten bestseller lists in different countries, and they are still the majority. If you look at niche houses, not counting the more artisanal operations, you'll also find they dominate the field. Though the corporate-owned giants no longer turn out masterpieces like the ones composed by the likes of Jacques Guerlain or Edmond Roudnitska, perfume is still very much of a French culture, developed over centuries.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    To think of the decline and fall of the French fragrance empire just breaks my heart and shakes me to my very soul. But there still seem to be some wonderful things happening in my homeland.
    I just read about new releases from Honoré des Prés which are supposed to be truly lovely and "organic"..and created by Olivia Giacobetti. What could be more hopeful than that.
    I feel there is still much hope for La belle France and its parfum industry. LVMH may try hard to destroy it from the inside out, but it has been thriving since the days when Catherine de Medici brought her parfumeurs from Florence to France.
    Hopefully it will continue to reinvent itself and by-pass all of the foolish; bureaucracy, greed, regulations and just plain lack of inspiration that seem so prevalent at the moment.
    Last edited by Brielle87; 25th May 2010 at 10:40 PM.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Decline and Fall of the French Fragrance Empire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    To think of the decline and fall of the French fragrance empire just breaks my heart and shakes me to my very soul. But there still seem to be some wonderful things happening in my homeland.
    I just read about new releases from Honoré des Prés which are supposed to be truly lovely and "organic"..and created by Olivia Giacobetti. What could be more hopeful than that.
    I feel there is still much hope for La belle France and its parfum industry. LVMH may try hard to destroy it from the inside out, but it has been thriving since the days when Catherine de Medici brought her parfumeurs from Florence to France.
    Hopefully it will continue to reinvent itself and by-pass all of the foolish; bureaucracy, greed, regulations and just plain lack of inspiration that seem so prevalent at the moment.
    Brielle, the words "French" and "perfume" belong in the same sentence, IMO.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

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