Designing a Fragrant Future

France's commitment to fragrance and its formidable fashion designers also continued unabated. In the 1980s, new cutting-edge designers made their mark: The 1990s witnessed fragrance launches from Jean-Paul Gaultier and Issey Miyake. By the time the century was over, fashion designers from Italy (Armani, Moschino, and Dolce & Gabbana), Spain (Carolina Herrera and Paco Rabanne), and Germany (Jil Sander and Hugo Boss) were international fragrance stars.

In the twenty-first century, competition heated up with fragrance blockbusters from the newest fashion leaders in the United States and abroad: the namesake fragrances of Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Vera Wang have joined John Galiano's Kingdom. The ever-widening development of odor identical molecules and computer-generated techniques that extract and reproduce scents previously undetected or available has dramatically expanded the perfumer's palette. Amongst the original olfactory experiences that emerged are food, oceanic, and ozone notes. Researchers have explored scents emitted by coral growing in the Caribbean. Flowers have been sent into space to determine how the weightlessness impacts the flower's odor stability. Work has been undertaken to develop pleasing odor environments and delivery systems for future space stations. Research has revealed that humans are not comfortable living under odorless or negative odor conditions.

The key to the success of the designer scents has always depended on how well each designer interprets his or her fashion image in the packaging, name, advertising, and, of course, the fragrance. The appeal is especially powerful to the majority of consumers who could not afford the couture designs that appear alluringly in the pages of magazines, in store windows, and on popular TV shows. The perfumes have made it possible for almost everyone to experience the panache of the designers. As a result, designer fragrance successes have multiplied and captured the imagination and dedication of women everywhere.

There are eight basic fragrance categories: Green, single florals, floral bouquet, oriental blend, modern blend, fruity, spicy, and woodsy mossy. In recent years, fantasy formulations have grown increasingly popular. These are fragrances that defy description and are olfactory experiences based on the perfumers imagination.

In the twenty-first century, creating a fragrance demands scientific, technical, and artistic expertise. The time frame from start to finish can be as long as three years. Usually, a team of perfumers, assistants, and eval-uators work against what the industry calls a "perfume profile." The profile identifies the type of fragrance (floral, spicy citrus, woodsy, green, or oriental), the characteristics of the type of woman who would wear the fragrance (sophisticated, conservative, sporty, adventurous), the pricing, the packaging, and among other factors, imagery. A number of perfumers from different supplier companies compete to win the assignment. Once the winning fragrance is selected, it is market-tested, which could take another six to eight months. During this period, the packaging, advertising, marketing, and sales promotion (including sampling) strategies are finalized.

There are only a handful of great perfumers and like all fine artists they are considered key to the success of creating a great luxury brand. They are in demand and remunerated accordingly. Because of the many elements involved in bringing a fragrance to market, there is no hard and fast rule for allocation of costs.

The future promises to expand the rarity and enjoyment of designer-inspired fragrances. New technologies and packaging concepts will make them available in a myriad of forms for personal wear and travel, as well as in the home and in public spaces. The olfactory adventure of the twenty-first century absolutely knows no bounds.

See also Cosmetics, Nonwestern; Cosmetics, Western. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses. New York:

Random House, 1990. Classen, Constance, ed. Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell.

London and New York: Routledge, 1994. Corbin, Alain, ed. The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986

Cunningham, Donna. Flower Remedies Handbook: Emotional Healing and Growth: With Bach and Other Flower Essences. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 1992. Dyett, Linda, and Annette Green. Secrets of Aromatic Jewelry.

New York: Flammarion, 1998. Le Guerer, Annick. Scent: The Mysterious and Essential Powers of Smell. Translation by Richard Miller. New York: Turtle Bay Books/Random House, 1992. Murris, Edwin T. The Story of Perfume from Cleopatra to Chanel.

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984. White, Palmer. Elsa Schiaparelli: Empress of Fashion. New York: Rizzoli, 1986.

Annette Green

PERMANENT PRESS. See Performance Finishes.

PETTICOAT The petticoat is derived from the jupe or underskirt of the eighteenth century. As the skirts of women's robes were open at the front, the jupe had to be as highly decorative as the robe, and was often constructed of the same rich material. Around 1715 the petticoat became an undergarment that gave structure to the outer skirt by means of a series of whalebone hoops.

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