FRAGRANCE WEEK’S CLASS ACT

Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — Asserting that Fragrance Week has become too commercialized, Annette Green, president of the Fragrance Foundation, plans to inject some consumer education into the hoopla.
Green said the festivities, held each June, have changed in the 15 years since Fragrance Week’s inception. She noted that “a certain cachet seems to have been lost,” as department stores increasingly focus on product launches and promotions. The week was originally intended to entertain, educate and “bring the consumer into a sensory world,” she added.
“We’ll let the stores do their thing,” she said, noting that the Foundation will continue to support retail activities. But a new element will be added: a Fragrance Fun Day will be held on June 5 in the tent at Lincoln Center, which will also be the site of the dinner for the FiFi awards on June 3.
With a budget estimated by Green at $200,000, the day of activities, scheduled from noon to 8 p.m., will consist of educational discussions, events and services. For example, “fragrance makeovers” will be offered, during which women will sit on stools around a fragrance bar and foundation-certified beauty advisers will discuss the fine points of picking a fragrance. There also will be a Winners’ Circle exhibit of the latest FiFi-winning fragrances.
About 5,000 tickets will be printed, and they will be sold for $5 each for adults, while children under 12 will be admitted for free. The foundation will be looking for underwriters, wherever possible.
The day will be advertised in the New York Times and on the Time Warner New York City cable channels, Green said. A logo has been designed by graphic artist Julia Ptasznik. The tent, which will have been decorated for the FiFi dinner, will have added touches for the Thursday event. The decor will be done by Philip Haight of Fiori Ltd., and the events will be coordinated by C. Madden Productions.
Mini-tents will house various activities, such as sense-of-smell testing at the ingredient bank and readings of people’s fragrance horoscopes. There will be classes in aromacology taught by scientists from the Olfactory Research Fund, and FIT professor Peg Smith will give a class in fragrance marketing and communications.
There will be fragrance games for children in a play room. Green also envisions an olfactory laboratory staffed by perfumers.
Fragrance-oriented books will be on sale with some authors in attendance, and appearances are scheduled by what Green described as “stars” of the business, such as designers, models and fragrance experts.
A fragrance theater will feature videos, films and commercials. Antique bottles will be on display, and there will be a fragrance information center, complete with a computer hookup.

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