Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A Fragrance For Our Times?





(perhaps not this one)




Harry ponders perfumery.
Some years ago I used to visit a client with headquarters just outside Geneva. They shared their location with a sister company who were , and still are, in the business of flavours and fragrances.
In the reception area were a number of glass display cases. And in some of these were giant flagons of perfume. With names even I recognised. Over lunch one day in the director’s dining room ( very fresh and healthy Swiss cuisine and only Swiss wines) I enquired about this side of the business. I was fascinated to learn that in this huge plant fine perfumes were indeed created in large volumes.
I have scanned their current annual report and have found the following list of new products: L’Oreal: Ralph Wild by Ralph Lauren
LVMH: Vivara by Pucci• My Insolence by Guerlain
P&G: Rock’n Rose by Valentino
Puig: Infusion d’Iris by Prada
Men’s Fragrances
Coty: Pure Energy by Adidas
Estee Lauder: Unforgivable Multi Platinum by Sean John
LVMH: Fahrenheit 32 by Christian Dior
Liz Claiborne: Juicy Couture




But I was also told that the majority of the company’s fragrance business was in a far less glamorous sector. All those pine –fresh and alpine and lemony and citrussy and whatever smells that go into so many domestic products. Each one would be separately commissioned and sourced for any number of global companies.
But I was then told , much to my amusement ,that one fragrance the company was particularly proud of was ‘new car smell’. That unmistakeable (and actually quite exciting ) aroma you get from a pristine vehicle had in fact been synthesised and was now marketed successfully to used car dealers around the world.
Who says business lacks imagination and creativity?
Anyhow, I think this product of theirs will be going from strength to strength in the foreseeable future.

( The Citroen DS. When the future looked stylish. And fragrant. )

Fashion: The end (for the moment)


Sarah Mower in the Telegraph

Amazingly, the one thing almost no one in Paris and Milan had applied themselves to is how to make pragmatic, smart, uplifting daywear for someone who goes about her business in a city. Dries van Noten, with his accessible, silky, graphically rational system of dressing, was the only designer in Paris to win universal applause from both press and buyers on that score - and he's a Belgian.

And now I've limped home and reviewed the 148 shows I've seen for next spring/summer, it strikes me that I want nothing to do with anything that's going to be touted as a mainstream fashion trend. In that sense, yep, fashion's over.

If I'm going to spend, it will be on things whose value I calculate in terms of love+price+longevity; stuff I know will still be valid two or three years hence. I would much rather spend money on something that is not an obvious part of a big-brand operation. Oh, and I won't be bothering with passing novelties that turn out to be one-wear disasters: jumpsuits, that means you.

I'm convinced that's the mentality most women will be applying to fashion next year, if not already. I'm only likely to be tempted now by fantastically well-thought-out elements of urban elegance, or things that deliver surprise and delight in a delicious package of usefulness. And when I check back over the season, I find that it's London's designers - usually marginalised as infant crazies or unrealistic fantasists - who have had the clarity to come up with all that.

In the confusion that's reigned over the season, our British-based community of designers (and I include people who show in New York and Paris) pitched things so excellently that their collections stand up incredibly well against much bigger international labels whose shows lurched all over the place.

Chocolate: a short announcement


One of my regular readers sells chocolate for a living. A hard, hard life. And in a recession do you want to see this poor working woman lose her livelihood? No!

Well go and sign up to her newsletter and buy some mail order chocolate. We've all got to do our bit to keep the economy going.

And here is a short educational film on the subject of choconomics.

Support the economy during British Chocolate Week