Perfumers Become Superstars
Elsa Bustamante, Manager, Fragrance Industry Analyst ;
In the context of an increasingly saturated and commoditized fragrance market in the early 2000’s, consumers grew increasingly apathetic towards products they could no longer identify with and perfumes lost their ‘mystique.’ Frédéric Malle, the emissary of the independent movement, revolutionized the industry and re-legitimized the category. By putting the perfumer forward and focusing on artistry, quality, and originality, the fragrance world has regained its original aspiration, authenticity, and magic. For the past 10 years, these artisanal brands have driven the growth and innovation in the fragrance industry and they are still very dynamic today, growing 12 percent so far this year.*
As perfume-makers step into the spotlight, we are seeing a proliferation of perfumers’ scent lines, stores, books, and exhibits – a testament to society’s increasing enthusiasm for the world of olfaction. Following Francis Kurkdjian, perfumer Sonia Constant launched her own perfume label, Ella K, with a boutique by her name in Paris. To explain the métier of a perfumer, Dominique Ropion, master perfumer at International Flavors and Fragrances, published a book titled, Aphorisms of a Perfumer, a beautiful testimony to his daily realities, aspirations, and dreams. The exhibitions, “Perfume: A Sensory Journey through Contemporary Scent” and Chandler Burr’s “The Art of Scent” both explored the work of perfume pioneers that transformed the fragrance industry. Taking it one step further, perfume entrepreneur Mindy Yang’s multi-sensory discovery studio Perfumariē, which opened in New York last fall, is a fragrance incubator, educational platform, and creative community for brands, consumers, and perfumers to meet, exchange, and co-create through events, workshops, and classes.
These initiatives reflect an evolution in the relationship between consumers and the world of scent. While fragrances had become objects of consumerism, driven by brands and marketing, they are finally gaining their dignity back as a respected craft and art form. Our latest 2018 findings from Scentiments, NPD’s suite of consumer insights on the U.S. fragrance industry, highlight consumers’ heightened interest for understanding, learning, and honoring the creative process of perfume making. As the industry uncovers the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of perfumery and pushes the boundaries of sensorial exploration, perfumers have never been closer to you, ready to awaken your senses!
*Source: The NPD Group/ U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, January-June 2018
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