1) So many lovely new releases were mainstream perfumes that could be actually had at a big store. From Infusion d’Iris by Prada to Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia by Estée Lauder through Hèrmes Kelly Calècheand Gaultier Le Fleur du Mâle, I found quite a few scents that I am thinking of upgrading into a full bottle in the future. There is something to be said for being able to purchase a decent perfume without having to jump through hoops or paying inordinate amounts of money on online auctions or sellers.
2) So many fledging or “smaller” (in terms of reputation or business volume, not value) perfumers have come to my attention in the last year and it has been a real pleasure knowing them and sampling their work. Although Perfume Shrine has shown an interest for the artisanal houses from the very start, it is encouraging to see that those perfumers have gained recognition and respect. We will continue to back up their efforts whenever they deserve it.
3) The vogue for “celebrity” scents has finally begun to show signs of waning. Although the releases have been certainly numerous, they have often gone out of the scene without making much of a bleep on the radar. This is what I mean by waning…I interpret this as a healthy sign, after whole seasons when there were sane people who were eager to purchase Jessica Simpson’s nauseating Dessert line! This will allow the few, decent and sometimes quite good fragrances that have arisen from this trend of emulating one’s favourite celebrity through olfactory terms to stand prouder on the shelf and be unapologetic for their till now declassé image.
4) The direction towards the new “chypres” away from the fruity florals of the past few years is a welcome relief. However, this is risky, because they might pose the danger of becoming ubiquitous themselves. In fact they’re about to…I can’t begin to note how many feature the “clean” patchouli base so prevalent among these new contestants: YSL Elle, Dior Midnight Poison, Gucci by Gucci, DKNY Delicious Night, Britney Spears Believe... Companies, take note!
5) Givenchy did the coup and issued decent, delectable re-issues of their classic fragrances in their line Les Mythiques. If only every house did it as well. Brownie points, good people at Givenchy: you have redeemed yourselves for the lapses of previous years which had turned a luxury brand into a run-of-the-mill department store name.
6) Perfume lovers are not that stupid after all. After a scandal on Ebay this past summer, when someone was revealed to be bying and filling up vintage empty perfume bottles with undefined juice and then selling them masquerading as the authentic thing, it was determined that people do pay attention. Some more than others; but that’s nothing new. At least, those who did had the good sense of community to alert other people to the scam. Justice hasn’t been metted out yet, because damages to disenchanted buyers haven’t been paid, but at least now people pay a lot more attention and are not that ready to believe that there is some huge vault of vintage treasures that someone out of the goodness of their heart is selling at moderate prices.
6) The huge readership of Perfume Shrine has shown yet again that they are here for the –hopefully good- content first and foremost and not for public relations or networking. I value that and appreciate it more than you know. Even you, numerous lurkers who don’t want to admit reading us regularly! Heartfelt thanks for the support, your interesting commentary and your valueable feedback on assorted scented matters.
What I didn’t like in 2007
1) The pretence in advertorials continues: from the Nasomatto manifesto for their scent for hysteria(!) ~which reminds me of 19th century “scientific” treatises focusing on abusing women~ to the By Kilian encyclopedic name-dropping of famous authors and oeuvres (to a zenith of excess!), there is a point of saturation when a little modesty and restraint might serve them better. The consumer becomes jaded or sceptical after a while and –dare I utter the word? - a little repulsed.
2) The prices of niche lines have escalated inordinarily. At this point one has to put a small mortgage on one’s house, car or favourite pet in order to be able to get the scent they have been craving. Surely, more expensive doesn’t automatically equate more upscale quality.
But the online business catering to perfume lovers has also gone upward in prices. Understandably, they need to make up for the costs. But somewhere deep, deep down it saddens me to think that people who would really love to sample an exclusive Serge Lutens have to pay upwards of 130$ for a bell jar that is 1/3 full, when the new, full one is available throughout Europe for –the comparatively meak- 100euros. For their sake, I hope prices go down.
3) Chanel decided to make it hard for their discerning fans to get Les Exclusifs. I have elaborated on this sufficiently in the past. But, to add insult to injury, they have withdrawn the small extrait de parfum bottles from the online shops and almost all the boutiques across the world (barring Paris ~and Harrods perhaps), making it very difficult to get what is essentially the best representation of their illustrious creations. On top of that, private sources that shall remain unnamed tell me that at L’Osmothèque there is a practice of recreating the jus from the rather recent batches of Chanel parfums and not the vintages from the start of the century. This is sad…
4) Lancôme also decided to abandon the plans for a complete revival of their long lost wonders. Cuir/Révolte proved too costly to produce, Climat is getting harder to get when it was widely available before, Sagamore and Sikkim are not the easiest to come by. Lanvin is comparable: Rumeur has been drastically changed and although very pretty in its recent incarnation, it is misleading to retain the old name. Scandal is not scheduled for re-issue. Ever.
5) Luxury seems to have lost its meaning. What passes for luxury is overpriced scented liquid that has an obscure place of origin and is only available at two doors tops around the world. I am sorry, but this is so bourgeois to want to have that just because of its above mentioned attributes that it self-evidently contradicts the élite approach of luxe.
What happened to the genuine enjoyment of something that you love for the associations it has or its intrinsic value? The privilege of time and the attention to detail that went into selecting it for a loved one? The intimate knowledge that you are wearing it in your own unique way on your own unique person that will never be the same as anyone else’s? There will come a time when luxury will be to wear nothing but one’s own natural skin odour. That will be a hard time for the perfume industry I predict.
6) Ava Luxe decided to take an indefinite break. Just when I was discovering her line and finding favourites, worse luck! Serena Ava Franco needed a break after filling order after order for her coveted samples: I can understand that it must have gotten on her last nerve after a while, not being able to do nothing much besides. I just hope she returns full force at some point.
7) I was not really surprised, but I was a little disillusioned to find that so many people (judging by comments left here and there on the Net) found the Nasomatto practice of not issuing notes for their ~variable in quality~ fragrances lamentable and even insulting. For once, I thought this was an innovative and trully liberating move; a course of action that would allow us to really smell what we perceive with our olfactive nerves and not what we have been conditioned to smell through advertorials about notes and accords, when in reality the actual ingredients bear no relation to them.
But I am asking too much, I know... It's cool, Dude!
Our Leather posts will continue next week with a review of a rare gem. There will be lots of exciting surprises too.