Hints of Globalization

In the second half of the twentieth century, the French couture world spawned a splendid group of designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Guy Laroche, Pierre Cardin, and Paco Rabanne. Before long, all became perfume aficionados as fragrance and fashion became inextricably connected.

Fragrance in the United States, at the time was primarily French and considered a luxury to be worn only on special occasions. An interest in American fragrances began to accelerate when Estee Lauder introduced Youth Dew in 1953. The first perfume in an oil base (versus alcohol), it was particularly long lasting and became a nationwide success. The launch of Norell, however, catapulted America into the fashion/fragrance arena. Norell was the first American designer to lend his name to a perfume. Revlon introduced it in 1969. The sophisticated floral became the olfactory touchstone for exec utive women throughout the country. It suddenly became de rigueur for these career women to keep Norell perfume bottles in full view on their desks.

By the 1970s, American designer fragrances multiplied. Halston led the way with his first fragrance in 1975. Presented in the famed Elsa Peretti bean bottle, it was an immediate favorite. Ralph Lauren set new fragrance standards with Lauren and Polo in 1978. Calvin Klein rocked the fragrance world in 1985 with Obsession and its provocative, risqué advertising. He followed up in l994 with the first important unisex fragrance, CK-1. It created a sensation. America's designers Oscar de la Renta, Liz Claiborne, Bill Blass, and Donna Karan moved quickly to join the fragrance explosion.

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