By  on August 3, 2007

This fall, look out for oriental hybrids, a chypre revival andecstasies in violet. But the usual suspects - celebrity and fashiondesigner scents - will launch in droves, too.

ORIENTAL EXPRESS
U.S. consumers are getting "more adventurous" with their fragrance preferences. According to Karen Grant, NPD senior beauty industry analyst, the market has seen a movement away from florals toward mossy wood and soft oriental scents. Traditionaland soft florals now make up half of the top 20 women's fragrances,down from 73 percent in 2003. "People are looking for more variety, especially when it comes to new fragrance families," says Grant, addingthat the oriental category has experienced continuous growth over thepast three years, as the top 20 women's fragrances include 8 percentfloral orientals and 24 percent woody orientals.

GENDER BENDERS
What is masculine and what is feminine? The lines are blurring. Instead ofchallenging gender norms by launching unisex scents - a conceptexplored by Calvin Klein with CKOne in 1994 and Jean Paul Gaultier with Gaultier2 just last year-the industry is now offering women'sfragrances featuring traditionally masculine wood notes and men'sscents with edible and floral notes often associated with the fairersex. "There's more creativity with the borrowing of male and femalenotes. You're seeing notes now crossing the line," says Kate Greene,vice president of marketing at Givaudan, who cites Abercrombie & Fitch has a new women's scent with a fougère note, something usually reservedfor men's colognes. As for the boys who are raiding girls' drawers, shenames Jean Paul Gaultier's latest men's introduction, Fleur du Male,which has an orange flower note, and DKNY BeDelicious for Men, which prominently features an apple note. "The rulesare going away a bit," Greene observes. Which is not to say thatmasculinity is on the wane. "The trend to release floral scents intothe men's world offers a new and refreshing option without being anyless masculine," said Rochelle Bloom, president of The Fragrance Foundation.

EAU NATURAL
"Go green!" might be the fragrance industry's next rallying cry. Oil houses from Givaudan to Symrise are seeing their clients tap into a movement gaining momentum. "Variousbrands are positioning themselves to meet consumers'need to be touchedby nature," says Isabel Lopes, vice president of evaluation at Symrise."Consumers are seeking products with natural expression and what betterway than to capture the natural world in fragrance?" Be that as it may,she acknowledges the challenges of including natural ingredients in acommercial fragrance. These include cost and safety restrictions aswell as the availability of natural essential oils. "The safety profileof natural ingredients have limits on the amount that can beincorporated into a fragrance," Lopes said. "The palette of materials aperfumer can use is smaller in comparison to the wide variety availablefrom other sources." Still, incorporating naturals might be worth theeffort. Consumers can be captured by a single natural note, such as arose, that delivers "a natural signature" to the fragrance, she says.

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