THE GLAMOUR QUOTIENT
Byline: Alev Aktar / with contributions from Kerry Diamond
NEW YORK — After several years of easy-to-wear transparent fragrances, major manufacturers are making a play for new customers with luxurious, full-bodied florals.
In line with the heady scents, most of the new entries — including Elizabeth Arden’s Splendor, Ralph Lauren Romance and Estee Lauder’s Dazzling Silver and Dazzling Gold — have positioning that is both glamorous and romantic.
But today’s glamour is decidedly different from the kind reflected by the power scents launched in the Eighties. It’s less ostentatious and more alluring than outright sexy, as are the new fragrances.
According to Ann Gottlieb, president of Ann Gottlieb Associates in New York, the trend is an attempt to recapture the customers that were temporarily abandoned.
“People are buying these fruit punch fragrances [because] we have convinced customers they don’t have to wear fragrance for the men in their lives. We were convinced it was time for a woman to wear fragrance for herself. Although there’s no hard data on it, I suspect that is why sales are down or flat,” she said.
“By appealing to the very part of a woman’s psyche that is easily seduced, that of romance, we are trying to get her back. If these look like they’re successful, you’ll find a rash of romantically positioned fragrances.”
For Annette Green, president of The Fragrance Foundation, the new luxurious fragrances are part of the modern woman’s ever-changing fragrance wardrobe.
“Women are using fragrance more creatively for a variety of different moods and occasions. They’re looking for luxurious fragrances for the evening, going out, and for romantic situations. Also, women are looking for more luxurious experiences without breaking the bank.”
Herb Kelhoffer, vice president and general manager for fine fragrances at Quest International, says that many of the new fragrances are modern takes on classic scents.
“A lot of the new fragrances have elements of traditional perfumery with an updated twist. They’re more provocative, intricate and geared to special occasions.”
“Consumers are looking for more exotic, sensual fragrances as a counterpart for the light, transparent scents that they’ve been wearing for the last few years,” he added.
“Classics are being reinvented in thoroughly modern ways, as evidenced by the reemergence of such glamour icons as the cigar and martini,” said Benedicte Bron, vice president, U.S., fine fragrance evaluation at IFF. “Glamour is in style again, but with more sophistication and passion,” she continued. “Fragrances houses are placing more emphasis on classic fragrances like Tresor, Eternity and Beautiful, while creating new, modern fragrances with the luxury and sensuality the new glamour embodies.”
For Cosimo Policastro, senior vice president of fine fragrance at Givaudan-Roure, the new scents are part of the late Nineties urge to pamper oneself.
“Consumers are looking to indulge, and fragrances support that. There are more decidedly feminine and masculine fragrances. They’re more seductive and full-bodied. Before, in the early Nineties, lifestyles were more casual. Now, with a shift in lifestyle, we’re looking for things that are more special.”
There’s also a shift in the way that romance is portrayed in the ad campaigns for these new fragrances, according to Cathleen Montrose, vice president of creative development at Firmenich.
“For fall, we’re seeing couples again, although with Dazzling and Splendor you don’t really see the man’s face. It’s about the woman’s empowerment, and that’s what makes this theme of romance not tired. We’re doing more for ourselves and to ourselves.”
“Olfactively, the new fragrances are radiant, more textural florals,” she noted, “and today, we’re playing with the whole flower. The effect is heady, rich and voluptuous. These fragrances have more of a floral personality, and they’re not your mother’s florals. “In the future,” she added, “I think that there will be a wave of more romantic men’s fragrances.”
Meanwhile, retailers have high hopes for the updated glamour scents.
Barbara Zinn Moore, senior vice president of fragrance and cosmetics at Macy’s East, reports: “There’s a return to dressier fragrances, to luxury, to classics, to tradition, to the home, family, comfort and togetherness. Many classics came back stronger than ever at Mother’s Day, and going forward, many new fragrances fit into those categories.”
For Dale Crichton, vice president of cosmetics and gifts at Nordstrom, the new scents fit into a time of general exuberance. “I think that we’re all approaching the next millennium, and there’s a sense of celebration and we’re in a happier mode.”