Thursday, August 28, 2008

Guerlain and Chanel upcoming launches: fragrance rumours

As a coda to the Guerlain news on new fragrance we had announced the other day, we were able to find a little more info that might elucidate one of our claims. It was hypothesized that the phrase Guerlain, Une Ville, Un Parfum, recently trademarked by la maison Guerlain, might indicative a commemorative limited edition or a concept similar to Comme des Garcons with their Incense Series, inspired by different cities around the world steeped in the tradition of incense, each evoking a special atmosphere.

Digging and asking we got hold of more info on the Guerlain idea: apparently there are some names that do indicate the latter rather than the former. There are the deposited names of Guerlain 01 Moscou, Guerlain 02 New York and Guerlain 03 Tokyo, as well as variations that combine Paris with each city (ie. Guerlain Paris-Moscou etc.) It is obvious that Guerlain is going for a more glamorous choice of metropolies rather than the anchorite approach of the Japanese brand. And it was further elucidated to us that although the term Guerlain, Une Ville, Un Parfum is indeed a communication tool that has or will be used, as Octavian Coifan suggested the other day to us, the above names with cities included are on the contrary on the same level as other perfume names such as L'Instant or Tutti Kiwi (one of the lastest Aqua Allegoria scents).
That would be interesting to watch!

There is also the name Habit Noir, perhaps a flanker to Habit Rouge, the classic 1965 masculine counterpart to Shalimar, with its deliciously powdery notes. Noir is the new...eh...can't say "black", as it does mean black, but let's just say it's on the lips of everyone right now. I don't see the innovation in naming something "black" or "noir" anymore, especially in view of it being used for compositions that are as far removed from the dangerous, illicit air they imply as possible. Could they have replaced that name with the Habit de Metal flanker which they released in March 2008? Although I am kind of intrigued on what the names Mephisto and Centurion are doing there as well!

Oh, and after Insolence, My Insolence and the newest Insolence Eau de Parfum, prepare yourself for an Insolence Tendre ~probably for next spring launch. Just what we have been anxiously awaiting for, n'est-ce pas?

And what about Chanel? Apart from the newest inclusion in Les Exclusifs, Beige, of course; an addition which erupted like a sleeping volcano under our nose (click to read) as being a white floral with a pronounced (?) musky base and launching at Saks in a week.
I think it's fairly safe to assume that the next one to join in about a year will be either Rouge, or Bleue, judging by my info. Octavian knows the vintage Rouge was strong on rosy tones anchored by Javanese vetiver with lots of sweet powdery orris-violet notes. But we have already ascertained through Sycomore and Beige that the new variations bear no similarity with the vintage alchemies, therefore all possibilities are open. The violets potential however is something up till now untapped in the Chanel stable, therefore the new Rouge might veer towards that.

Good news for us though: Cristalle is not only not showing signs of being discontinued as had been feared by many perfume bloggers and participants on online fora, but there seems to be a series of flankers programmed or at least in the process of thought to exploit its chic and insouciant pedigree. Variations, such as Eau Aromatic ~shouldn't it be Aromatique, though?~, Eau Citrus and Eau Rosée. And/or perhaps also Vert and Bleu de Cristalle, which seem older (abandoned?) trademarks.
Whether these will be issued under the collective name Cristalle Facettes (Facets of Cristalle) or the term Facettes is reserved for some makeup addendum is dubious. We will soon enough see for ourselves.

Perhaps there might also be another Chance flanker, under the name Chance Folle? I'd say this is pushing one's luck (how much more pedestrian can they go for Chance?) but I am not averse to the name itself, what with its gambler's nuance which would fit with a sophisticated commercial I had posted about previously and with its allusion to Divine Folie by Patou (although I am sure it won't have any relation to that one). My personal opinion is it will be a phrase used in the advertising, rather for a stand-along fragrance. Les Lignes de Chance is perhaps the collective name under which the flankers could be marketed.

But the most intriguing should be Jersey de Chanel, which directly alludes to the fashions Coco herself introduced in the 1920s, inspired by the material previously used for masculine undergarments.

The above are of course mere hints at what we might or might not expect ~some plans do get abandonded mid-term sometimes. They have not been officially corroborated before the firms are ready to proceed with press releases and carefully mapped-out marketing strategies.
But it's fun to speculate nevertheless.

Guerlain ad via Okadi, Chanel Les Exclusifs photo courtesy of New York Times.


  1. Wow this is all very interesting and exciting!

    Very glad to hear that Cristalle is looking safer. I can never understand why this one isn't more appreciated. Whenever I ask people to try it they like it and seem surprised but it does seem to be dissappearing in some shops, certainly in the UK.

  2. Anonymous13:36

    It looks like we will be bombarded by many many flankers. :-)
    If the names of the metropolies are correct, I am not sure if I like it. It starts to be very unoriginal. I don't like the name of Dior's Escale a Portofino, because Portofino is a very snobbish place. But NY or Moscow etc. is vague too. There are many interesting places to choose from (if they need a geographical name), aren't there? What about Padova, Cordoba...? :-)

  3. Very tantalizing!

    You made me LOL with your droll black/noir commment. Yes, it is on the lips everywhere!

  4. Rose,

    is it really?
    I find that they're doing rather strange things with those. Guerlain especially with the cities concept. What is that all about?
    Too many programmed launches/toughts about launches as well.
    And Centurion (!!?!!): where does that fit? In a Roman "peplum" flick?

    I completely agree with you on Cristalle: I haven't met one person who doesn't like it or at least finds it acceptable. It's a mystery why they don't promote it more.

  5. Hello, E. What great detective work here. I agree with you, I find Guerlain's approach baffling at the moment, with all the names and launches and lines. A bit like watching a large Cadillac swerving and careening down the street, driven by a team of arguing monkeys. The same monkeys are probably in charge of the ad copy for the recent Elixirs Charnels.

    Glad to hear that Cristalle is not in danger of being discontinued at the moment. I'm finding the joys of this perfume obsession are marred by the constant anxiety over reformulation and discontinuation of favourite fragrances. *rolls eyes*

  6. L,

    that's what I thought as well. All this trademarking of names...seems like a "better do this now" tactic.

    I like your suggestions on cities much, much more (love them!), but I fear that the focus is on their most robust markets (US, Russia, Japan) and not on a conceptual project as it might seem at first.

  7. Karin,

    thanks. It's rather perversely interesting to watch and unearth this tidbits of info. Let's see how they play out in the near future, shall we?

    I admit that if I hear about "noir" or "black" or any of those things ("nero" perhaps?) one more time I am gonna scream. Enough already! Or have the cojones to really put something daring in that bottle!

  8. J,

    thank you for the compliment. I was intrigued after all the news and searched a bit to find out more.
    I fear I am beginning to sound like a mad person in front of a crystal ball prophesizing or someone holding a skull in Amlet-esque fashion, trying to talk with the dead! LOL

    But really, the whole Guerlain situation, especially after reading the soft core ad copy on Posse today is more than baffling!
    I love Guerlain, but...
    "A bit like watching a large Cadillac swerving and careening down the street, driven by a team of arguing monkeys": What a TERRIFIC simile you made, I think I will quote you later on when I approach this in a little more depth, if you don't mind.

    I do hope they keep Cristalle intact. I'd hate for it to be messed with. Let's hope the flankers, if they materialize, will insure its continuation. *cross fingers*

  9. Hi again,

    Okay badly expressed.

    Releases and strategy= interesting, not necessarily in a good way.

    Both brands seem to be releasing a great deal and I wonder if it's a reaction to all the constant releases we get these days. I also think are at risk of diluting their brands with all these releases and to some extent that has already happened for me.

    I am almost offended on London's part that it hasn't been reserved but perhaps it's a blessing.

    and exciting= Cristalle being given a bit more attention at last! yippee

    Although even then with the Cristalle I would still prefer they just stuck to the one scent and gave it a bit more publicity.

  10. Sometime names are trademarked to protect an existing commercial product. In other words to make more difficult the use of a similar idea/name. In history a similar case occured when Poison was launched and Dior trademarked many names that could match its concept.
    For Chanel - Le Rouge de Chanel is their new lipstick already advertised through a short movie.
    Through the trademark class it can be seen what they applied for - a product or something else.

  11. forgot to say: there was quite a popular french fragrance in the past (till 80's) called Eau Folle.

  12. E, I don't know if you had seen this post on Aromamundi?
    This sweet gentleman had access to the new Guerlain Homme quite some time ago, and talks about new Guerlain releases for 2009, including ("including", goodness gracious!), I quote, a "Voyages à ..." series (might be the capitals you spotted?), "Une Petite Robe Noire" centered around a candied cherry note, and the "Habit Noir" you talked about - I thought back then that the black suit/black dress scents were a duo, I hadn't spotted the - indeed, obvious - link with Habit Rouge. Doh.

    I am eager to smell anything called Mephisto. Heck, "Méphisto de Guerlain" has a wonderful ring to it, I'd buy it based on that name alone!
    On the other hand, Insolence Tendre doesn't make me that much excited, for some reason ;))

    Also, the notes given for Chanel Beige make it indeed very different from its old namesake. It has honey and flowers. Honey. The lemming, she is coming big time ;))

  13. The pressrelease on Chanel Beige is already online on ScentedSalamander!

  14. Rose,

    please, no need to excuse yourself, I was a bit abrupt, sorry.
    I meant that what most of us feel is that there is too much product, too soon, we're a little confused with all this. And yes, they're risking the dilution you're talking about.

    Sorry about London, don't know what they're thinking: one of my favourite cities!

    And I doubt the old Cristalle will get much of publicity for the old composition, alas. I fear the best they could do is the ads for the EDP (which I like a lot!) in 1992. I haven't heard anything more since! At least maybe those new flankers might help younger consumers discover the original scent? Let's hope.

  15. Dear Octavian,

    thanks! I assumed so, seeing all the names of existing products and several different phrasings (Essence de Guerlain, L'essence Guerlain etc.), it stands to reason. I wasn't aware of the specific Poison example though, so thanks for the info.

    And yes, I am aware of Le Rouge de Chanel lipstick which I have used with pleasure. (I think it's the one with a commercial inspired by Le Mepris?)

  16. Forgot to add: I mentioned Rouge because as it is already deposited and Beige too, it might mean that they could use it in the trio of scents which evoke the older ones described in your post. They only have Bleu to trademark.
    (kind of silly to trademark colours' names, though, come to think of it!)

    I do recall Eau Folle by Laroche!! In fact I had included its advertisement in this post of mine last December, as part of the "Optical Scentsibilities" feature.
    Good ad, huh?

  17. Dear S,

    your words and this link confirm everything I have been suspecting, then!
    "Voyages" must be the line with the capital cities, Habit Noir must indeed be another Habit Rouge flanker and the Petite Robe Noire (sounds like an Frenchified Avon that one!! LOL) must be a new feminine limited edition, perhaps (a la Cherry Blossom?)

    Fantastic info, thanks so much!

    Mephisto has so many possibilities the mind boggles. It does play again on the -surprise!!- dark, noir, forbidden idea.

    Centurion though, I find too funny for words, I feel like a tragicomedy a la Waiting for Tommy coming!! ;-)

    NB: Despite Aromamundi's enthusiasm, Guerlain Homme doesn't sound my style at all :-(

  18. Octavian,

    off to go read the press release! Thank you!

  19. They should trademark the blue chanel... at least to remember they had a fragrance called like that!

  20. Indeed they should.
    Do you reckon they remember?! ;-)

  21. Dear Helg,

    Just got back from my holiday 1 hour ago and received an update on the Guerlain-Vodianova story. It's now the newest entry on my blog so check it out! (I'm sure you shall do justice to the story on your next blog entry.)

  22. Welcome back Albert!
    Hope you had a good time.

    A ha! So Vodianova for Shalimar. Funny I wouldn't have cast her as the type. Indeed it would be an interesting theme for a post. I will be sure to link you and mention you as the source. Thank you!


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