Luxe packaging and novel juices are propelling the fine fragrance market into 2020. Linda Levy, president, The Fragrance Foundation, New York, NY, took time to chat with Happi.com about consumer demand and how both mass and prestige marketers are working to satiate store shelves with delectable perfumes.
Happi: What qualities are shoppers looking for in fine fragrance and where do they go to find the latest products?
LL: Fragrance shoppers are looking for quality, brand story authenticity, fragrances that work with their body chemistry and staying power. For many years, the consumers have been pre-shopping online before buying fragrances at their go-to department or specialty stores. The majority of fragrance purchases still happen in brick and mortar stores because they can experience the scent in person.
Some shoppers buy monthly perfume subscriptions to try several scents without leaving home before committing to buying a full-size bottle. This is an attractive solution if fragrance fans are truly undecisive. Le Labo, Phlur and Frederic Malle offer discovery boxes of sample vials of their select fragrances while Scent Bird, Scent Box, Scent Trunk, and Ofactif offer subscription services.
Happi: What are the hottest trends right now in fragrance and why?
LL: Brands continue to introduce fragrances marketed for women and men, however, there is a continuing momentum with the gender-neutral fragrance launches. This shared category speaks to men and women who enjoy wearing notes that are traditionally gender-specific, i.e., florals for women and woods for men. Some of the newer launches include Gucci Mémoire d'une Odeur Eau de Parfum, Maison Margiela's Library Eau de Toilette, and Tom Ford Ombre Leather.
Fragrance houses and brands have also created programs to be more sustainable. For many years (pre-dating the Millennial demand) fragrance houses have created global initiatives to establish a sustainable society and fragrances for consumers. The programs are very comprehensive and include multiple long-term goals such as eliminating waste, protecting the environment, reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing, ethical sourcing, recycling or replacing processes and upholding fair trade.
A great brand example is UK import, Floral Street. Floral Street debuted at Sephora this month to great reviews. Each fragrance is packaged in pulp cartons made from recyclable and biodegradable paper packaging and held together with reusable color bands.
Brands have expanded the fragrance category via interior scents (hair perfumes, soaps, body washes, candles, room sprays, and diffusers) and keep finding new ways for consumers to experience fragrance.
Influencer marketing has made its way to the fragrance arena. Before fragrances, influencers dominated makeup, hair care, and nail art. To shine the spotlight on Calvin Klein's Eternity for Men, they have partnered with wrestler Jordan Burroughs, actor Rick Gonzalez footballer Thiago Alcantara, and others. The campaign will showcase their lives at work and at home.
I am very impressed with recent packaging design and innovation. Consumers often buy a fragrance because of the bottle and brands want to be noticed.
The House of Sillage collaborated with designer Christian Cowan and transferred a black and white checkered print onto a bottle, lipstick case, and travel spray. Paco Rabanne recently introduced a unisex collection of six fragrances housed in their soft cushion and futuristic silver bottles with ombre effects in shades representing each scent. Lancome Idole's sleek glass bottle is inspired by the silhouette of a slim smartphone that can be paired with a protective case.
Happi: Are there any ingredients that are big right now in the juices and why?
LL: Citrus notes are generally associated with summer fragrance launches but perfumers have recently included prominent zesty citrus notes. Brands include Chanel's Les Eaux de Chanel Paris Riviera with Sicilian orange and neroli, Aerin Limone di Sicilia, Armani Prive in Orangerie Venise with citrus, and bitter orange oils plus Ouai's North Bondi includes Italian lemon mixed with floral notes.
Florals are never out of season. I am seeing fresh florals infused with fruity notes such as Lancome Idole, Gold Coast by Bond No. 9, and Cosmopolitan Magazine's Pure Sugar or florals anchored by deeper notes such as Byredo's Slow Dance with Opoponax (Sweet Myrrh) and Lily Aldridge's romantic floral with a musk base.
Happi: What are the future trends in fragrance we need to look out for in the market?
LL: There is a new conversation regarding the cannabis trend as it's a growing category in skincare and supplements. Editors are devoting shelves to house all the new CBD launches in their product closets, Cannabis or hemp notes are included in some fragrances but not necessarily the "top" headliner note. Pioneers in this category include Malin+Goetz and Ellis Brooklyn. Trends do come and go and cannabis is trending right now.