It is interesting to note that two of the greatest sellers sit at the two ends of the spectrum. In the L’Air du Temps/Norell family we have Charlie and in the ever-loved oriental area we have Youth Dew, a great classic that recently gave birth to Opium.
A great creation came along just a few years ago. The central theme is an orris note handled, for the first time, as the sexy note of the fragrance Chanel No. 19. I have noticed that the word “sexy” is mentioned maybe too many times and to describe many different types of fragrances. But, to me, this is one of the greatest attributes of a perfume and can mean something different to every consumer.
We should not leave the women’s market without mentioning reverse inspiration… when we are inspired by the taste of the public rather than the other way around. I am talking specifically about such trends as Musk. Let’s face it, we did not do it. It was the choice of the campus and the young generation. We just followed and developed this trend that is still so widely used. What does this teach us? It is not enough for our inspiration to come only from our training or tradition. We must be ever aware of the changing social and cultural environment. We must pick up important signals and not just send them.
Let me turn now to the Men’s Market. The creations for men are not as noteworthy as those for women. We have, so far, dared less. We have controlled our imagination. Men, for a long time, have been afraid to use something too different. They will accept only small departures, small new steps. So the study of the influence of the men’s market is more a study of why certain fragrances are successful in spite of the fact that there are few new creations and breakthroughs. I will mention the exceptions as we go along.
Up to the early sixties, men were wearing only fragrances that made them feel safe… Old Spice used familiar spicy notes and nobody could be accused of being feminine. Or Mennen… here you clearly see that men like sweet fragrances for themselves and I will come back to the theme of sweetness. Or Aqua Velva with the theme of a fresh and elegant fougere.