When Michael Jackson sang, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white,” he wasn’t crooning about fragrance. But one look at this fall’s launches show he could have been, with milky white pristine packaging or the polar opposite dominating the landscape. “Black signifies great sophistication, elegance and empowerment,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “White signifies clarity, an ethereal quality and a pure, pristine presence.” In terms of the fragrance counter, both represent a departure from the teeny-bopper brights of recent packaging. “Even though the use of black and/or white expresses polar opposites of the “yang” or “yin” of color, still they both speak of very classic design and a need to return to the basics,” says Eiseman. “The message of both black and/or white can cut through the clutter.”

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