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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    What is Luxury Perfumery?

    A catch phrase of marketing and capitalism. Mass market products with luxury pricing. The paradox of the perfume world. Creating accessible products for the masses that will not degrade LUXURY at its core.

    Is it location exclusivity?
    Is it pricing?
    Is it the high quality raw materials?
    Is it the bling-bling perfumer?
    is it haute perfumery?
    Is it the long french fragrance names?

    What defines Luxury in Perfumery? What smells cheap? What smells expensive? Where do you find that balance?

    What house has strike that balance?

    For me that house is Hermes, they strike gold in getting jean claude ellena, a perfumer that is good in communicating inspirations and a perfumer that embodies, the hermes brand. Understated luxury.

    Other designer houses are now wallowing in muck of negative brand imaging because inconsistent product lines. Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain - somewhat pillars of mass perfumery are repairing damages to its luxury branding because of mass availability. Damage was been done, no amount of exclusive/expensive private lines will repair.

    I hope you will add your opinions.

    I know the general perfume section is dead in basenotes, I hope writing interesting topics will divert some interest to this part of the forum.
    Last edited by happyscent; 27th February 2014 at 02:03 PM.
    "Nature and all her wonders guide me...Emotions find expression in fragrance. Fragrance is the music of my dreams. Fragrance is my inspiration." - Annick Goutal

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    Quote Originally Posted by happyscent View Post
    What house has strike that balance?
    Very interesting topic. The houses of Guerlain and Caron strike that balance for me.

    Is it location exclusivity?
    Is it pricing?
    Is it the high quality raw materials?
    Is it the bling-bling perfumer?
    is it haute perfumery?

    To an extent an affirmative to the questions above.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie Mocha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    I hope you don't mind some disagreement.

    Chanel, to me, has done a brilliant job maintaining its luxury image, and is one of the most successful examples of that. Obviously they sell very popular mainstream fragrances as well, but they have a two-tiered strategy, and the luxury tier still is, to me, very successful artistically as well as commercially. Note that I mostly wear women's fragrance, which might explain the difference in our perceptions with regard to that brand.

    I think Guerlain has been trying to revive its traditional luxury image, and I think they have been succeeding.

    Don't be upset, but Hermes, to me, is not really luxury, not in perfume at least. Admittedly, I am not as big a Jean Claude Ellena fan as some. I actually like his writing, but find his scents increasingly facile and fleeting for my tastes. But that is no more than a matter of taste, and I am certainly out of the mainstream in that regard, so I don't think that's influencing my opinion. His work is in step with current trends and commercially successful. But I don't think it's luxury, and I don't really think it's marketed that way. I actually think Hermes has maintained its reputation for luxury in leather goods and fine clothing. But, in an attempt to juice sales by expanding the fragrance line, I think Hermes has actually, on purpose, brought their perfume image downwards to fit in a much more accessible and popular niche. The Sephora niche. It's nice, it's good quality, and it's well-designed product, but to me it's no longer luxury (in perfume).

    I think some of the niche brands with limited distribution, excellent ingredients, interesting bottles and high prices do foster and maintain a luxury image. Examples at random would be Clive Christian, Xerjoff and Roja Dove's various ventures. I'm not sure about Amouage; I see a certain amount of discount distribution all of a sudden, and I think keeping a tight handle on distribution outlets and prices is a large part of the luxury image.

    Just my opinions, though.
    Currently wearing: No. 5 by Chanel

  4. #4

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    I am fine with dissenting opinions, it actually makes me happy because forums have a tendency to think like a crowd where everyone express almost the same opinions and everyone is afraid of offending anyone and then everyone plays it safe and that is that. stagnation.

    Good points actually raised for hermes as pursuing mass appeal in their fragrances.
    "Nature and all her wonders guide me...Emotions find expression in fragrance. Fragrance is the music of my dreams. Fragrance is my inspiration." - Annick Goutal

  5. #5

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    I'd say a House like Parfums MDCI. Especially the 'busted' bottles.

    There is an outlet in Florence though who produce fragrances for the 'top end of the market' and cost thousands of pounds.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    For me, the quality of the fragrance (this means quality of raw materials as well as composition) and packaging is the only thing that defines luxury in perfumery. Things like pricing, availability and high profile noses are just there to create an illusion of luxury, which is fine if people like that sort of thing. But first and foremost must always come quality.

    Brands seem to forget this, and think they can take a short cut through high budget advertising campaigns, when, really, the reason why people bought luxury in the first place was because those luxury items - bags, shoes, perfumes, etc - lasted forever, and felt and looked good all the while.

    I think Guerlain is doing it fairly well. They have LPRN and Idylle, true, but they also create quite a few fragrances in which you can smell the quality of the materials and the luxuriate in the development of the composition. Their fragrances are almost always interesting, balanced and offer good longevity. There might be another brand out there that also does this but I can't think of any at the moment.
    Currently wearing: Treazon by Ayala Moriel

  7. #7
    Halo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Ciudad de Buenos Aires

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    Coco Chanel´s words: "Luxury is invisible perfection"...and this pretty much applies to everything.
    I can further deepen into this concept saying that this translates into masterful art, flawless execution and the best raw materials possible. Then everything else is a consecuence of this. Limited distribution due to scarcity, high price due to high costs, beauty al around due to art. And never the other way round.
    This is my point of view.
    SOLOMON saith: There is no new thing upon the earth. So that as Plato had an imagination, That all knowledge was but remembrance; so Solomon giveth his sentence, That all novelty is but oblivion.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Defining Luxury in Perfumery

    Perhaps (and just as a personal opinion), apart from certain more or less objective factors like technical skills, price, less synthetic/more natural ingredients, packaging, scarcity- irrespective if being part of a niche/vintage/vaulted/designer exclusive etc. line or not, a certain amount of non-generic/underground/connoisseur appeal, experimenting with less familiar notes and accords, I guess the definition of luxury can never be complete with some more subjective factors, different for each individual fragrance user/purchaser/aficionado.

    So, at the end of the day, I guess that luxury is what one makes of, perhaps beyond the more obvious, regular aforementioned indicators of luxury.

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