By and  on March 4, 1994


Last year's tidal wave of new fragrances is showing no signs of subsiding.

Michael Sweeney, corporate vice president of creative and commercial marketing of fragrances for North America and Europe at International Flavors & Fragrances, historically the largest of fragrance suppliers, said, "We are into a very up-tempo market. It's publish or perish for the major companies."

He added that last year's flow of new project profiles "has not slowed down one beat for us."

As for the contents in the bottle, Sweeney said progress is being driven by science. "What has happened over the last decade is that we have seen the influence of technology on perfumery," he said.

"The living flowers technology in the last decade gave our perfumers a 25 percent increase in the available materials they had to work with, and I see no reason why that shouldn't continue into this decade."

As for fragrance trends, he said, "in women's perfumery today we are into the romantic mode -- the new romantics. This type has a fresh, floral, bright topnote with a warm background.

"The flip side is the sexy, subtle side of perfumery," he continued. "It is the Obsession [from Calvin Klein] to Eternity."

One of the more popular forms is what Sweeney called "the new Oriental, or sheer oriental. It is a clear, see-through scent, yet warm and sensuous."

Sweeney cited the special effects that sprang out of research and development, which IFF spent around $77 million on last year. "We can affect the apparent coolness or warmth of a fragrance," he said. "We can affect the texture of a fragrance. When you smell a fragrance, you can tell if it is creamy or if it is wet."

As an example, he pointed to Wings by Giorgio Beverly Hills. A cool floral note -- something that does not exist in nature -- with a sensual background was created for the fragrance by IFF.

The techniques can apply to men's fragrances, where the new fresh trend continues, Sweeney said, adding that the trick is not to rely on ozonic notes while looking for new fresh substances.

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