Nov

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL
Scents and Sensibility

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL

TFF’s Circle of Champions event on November 4th marked a major unveiling: The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship, a $100,000 academic award that will benefit FIT’s Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing programs on the undergraduate and graduate levels. The gift demonstrates TFF’s commitment to diversity and to education, and will open the doors to students who may otherwise have been unable to pursue studies at FIT. Here, FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown and Dr. Brooke Carlson, School of Graduate Studies Interim Dean, discuss how this scholarship will benefit both FIT and the fragrance industry as a whole. 

Dr. Joyce F. Brown

Stephan Kanlian, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, Virginia Bonofiglio

What does the scholarship mean for FIT?

We are honored that The Fragrance Foundation chose to establish this exceptional and very timely scholarship fund at FIT. FIT will benefit greatly from the perspective that diverse and underserved students will bring to our fragrance labs and classrooms–our students, in turn, will benefit from exposure to a superior faculty, a forward-focused curriculum and industry best practices. This scholarship will prepare them for executive ranks and leadership roles–and transform their lives. 

What does it mean for the future of the fragrance industry?

I think this scholarship fund is a wonderful measure of the commitment to achieving diverse representation in the fragrance industry on the part of the Fragrance Foundation. I hope it will help not just to open company doors to more diverse individuals, but also–importantly–to provide a meaningful career path so that they advance as far as their talent and hard work will take them.

What are the broader goals you share for DEI within education and within the fragrance industry?

Clearly, we are aligned in making diverse representation a priority both in educational settings and in the fragrance industry. FIT is taking actionable steps to increase the number of diverse youth seeking careers in the creative industries, and with our industry partners, helping to transform the culture within those industries so that current and future employees who are part of these communities can succeed.

What do you think will be the biggest hurdles?

We recognize that real change takes time–it often happens in increments and requires constant collaboration and recommitment to maintain the momentum. But I believe we have reached a turning point in this country, and I am encouraged by the commitment of partners such as The Fragrance Foundation.  I am optimistic that together we will affect meaningful change within the fragrance industry.

Dr. Brooke Carlson

Linda G. Levy, Dr. Brooke Carlson

What does the scholarship mean for FIT? 


The Fragrance Foundation scholarship program symbolizes the college’s interest in helping diverse professionals in the fragrance industry progress to managerial levels and beyond. The support encourages individuals with a passion for fragrance but may not be able to afford the cost of an undergraduate or master’s degree to pursue their educational goals. 

What does it mean for the future of the fragrance industry? 


This scholarship support will be instrumental in advancing the capabilities of the industry itself. In order to best understand and serve diverse groups of consumers, fragrance industry businesses and brands must reflect that same diversity internally among their leadership and in their teams. This is as critical as are the opportunities that will be provided to diverse professionals in the industry.  

What are the broader goals that you share for DEI within education and within the fragrance industry? 

The creative and business industries offer so many varied professional opportunities and we must broaden and focus our reach when it comes to educating our diverse youth and young adults about these career paths. This must be a sustained effort embedded in everything we do. As for the fragrance industry specifically, identifying and showcasing all the career options—from fragrance suppliers to independent manufacturers, small independent brands to large global brands, and of course, retailers—is key. 

What do you think will be the biggest hurdles? 

It takes time, effort, financial support and commitment by all stakeholders to realize change. Recognizing that we need the professional talent of diverse individuals who are also representative of the national and global consumer in order to create, innovate, market, and sell fragrances and fragranced products with authentic, compelling stories that resonate will result in overcoming any hurdles.

Sep

The Fragrance Index: Larissa Jensen

The Fragrance Index:  Larissa Jensen
Scents and Sensibility

The Fragrance Index: Larissa Jensen

The Fragrance Index:  Larissa Jensen

September 2021

The pandemic has had different implications across industries. In the case of prestige beauty, from the onset, areas of the market have been particularly hard-hit as so many beauty products are tied to social usage occasions. On the other hand, consumers deemed many areas essential, such as focusing on self-care and treating themselves to little luxuries. This validates the emotional component of the beauty industry. Despite the need to spend more time at home and observe social distance during the past year and a half, people have still wanted to look and feel good ― even in those moments when they were living in loungewear, working from home, or not venturing much farther than their own backyard.

Today, amid many uncertainties, we are seeing a return to some aspects of normal life, and the beauty industry is experiencing renewed growth across all its categories. Fragrance has emerged as the brightest star, posting unprecedented, double-digit growth against both 2020 and pre-pandemic 2019.

We asked Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor at The NPD Group, to help us understand fragrance’s strong growth.

What are the biggest takeaways in terms of the fragrance category’s performance so far this year?

In the U.S., fragrance sales began to recover in August 2020, and remained positive for the remainder of the year before surging in 2021. In the first half of this year, fragrance revenue grew by 82% compared to 2020, and by 35% compared to pre-pandemic 2019, which is nothing short of spectacular. Higher-concentration juices, such as EDP and parfums, have been by far the category’s strongest growth drivers. These higher fragrance oil concentrations enable a longer-lasting fragrance, which is a key consumer purchase driver. In fact, our latest Fragrance Consumer Report shows 70% of U.S. fragrance wearers are willing to pay more for a higher-concentration, longer-lasting fragrance.

Why fragrance, and why now?

There is no question that the past year and a half has been an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. And there is the science behind scent that could help explain why consumers are focused on fragrance. Research tells us the sense of smell is directly related to memory. In fact, smells trigger more vivid emotional memories and are better at inducing that feeling of “being brought back in time” than images. Our Fragrance Consumer Report shows three out of four consumers connect fragrance to boosting their mood or bringing back memories. As a beauty category, it is well positioned as a means to lift our spirits.

Could fragrance be the new lipstick index?

I believe it could be, especially given that lipstick is not exactly pandemic-friendly when wearing a mask that covers the lips. And the shift to fragrance — specifically luxury fragrances — is a solid indicator that consumers are treating themselves. This was validated in our recent omnibus study, where we asked consumers why they recently purchased fragrance. The top reason was as a treat for themselves.

How do you expect fragrance to perform during the critical holiday season?

Times of gift-giving associated with key holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and the December holidays, create excitement around fragrance. These are the biggest revenue-generating periods for the market. I expect double-digit growth in fragrance for this year’s holiday season. Clearly, the fourth quarter is an exciting time for anyone in the fragrance business, but despite the positive news there is no question that many unknowns remain. The delta variant is a major consideration, and we have no idea what’s around the corner. But the eternal optimist in me says that it’s because of all this uncertainty that our industry has many opportunities to maintain the momentum. It’s all about identifying those opportunities to drive your business forward.

To view the report prepared by NPD, FRAGRANCE INSIGHTS: THE NEW FRAGRANCE CONSUMER, click here available on TFF website.

May

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE
Scents and Sensibility

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE

May 2021

For this edition of ACCORDS, the Fragrance Foundation reached out to retailers to get their perspective on how the fragrance market has changed, and how it has been in many ways revolutionized by the pandemic. As we enter a new era, how have our shopping habits transformed and how will we continue to fortify ourselves with fragrance moving forward? No one has a closer eye on the consumer than those who watched and learned as their companies navigated the past year.

“Throughout the pandemic, we saw our customers responding to fragrances,” says Julie Walsh, VP, Divisional Business Manager, Fragrances, at Macy’s Inc. “Scent is powerful.  It reminds you of people and places. It makes you happy and brings you comfort. We all needed that this past year!” Elizabeth Miller, VP, Divisional Merchandise Manager for Cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s agrees that this is why the fragrance business showed so much success in 2020. “Smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. In a time where we are all longing for normalcy, it follows that we would look to scents that call back some of our favorite times, whether it’s a wedding day, a special vacation, or another memorable moment. In the past year, our Bloomingdale’s customers shifted from spending on experiences to investing in ‘little luxuries,’ including home and personal fragrance that bring a sense of comfort.”

Retailers pivoted to meet both a surge in demand and the shift to digital that the pandemic necessitated. “We had to think of how to engage the customer digitally, creating compelling content to keep her engaged, connected and excited to come back to hear the story around our fragrances in store, and how to ensure safety through touchless scented sampling,” says Mark Knitowski, VP, Product Development Innovation & Fragrance at Victoria’s Secret Beauty. “Our customers voted for collection fragrances, layering of scents and body products as well as candles and home fragrance,” says Gemma Lionello, EVP, GMM Beauty & Accessories, Nordstrom. “Our team did a great job connecting with our customers through digital events and digital master classes that were very well received. Our customers were able to learn about scent layering and finding new favorites with special event kits that our teams sent to their home. Sampling continued to be one of our core service values and our customers enjoyed being able to try several scents before they decided what to buy.”

All agree that the upswing in fragrance sales, as well as the agility of both retailers and consumers who will be excited to shop for their next scent both online and in store, will continue into the future. “While we anticipate our customer getting back to spending on travel and experiences, we believe the future of fragrance is bright,” says Elizabeth Miller, VP, DMM for Cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s. “Luxury continues to grow exponentially, as does our customer’s appetite for investing in quality items like luxury fragrances. We see the focus on pillar/hero fragrances within lines, while also evolving to include new formats and formulations of our customer’s favorite fragrances. As more shoppers return to our Bloomingdale’s stores, we see a return to in-store activations that our customer craves, and finally, utilizing technology to enhance the customer’s experience.” The key, says Knitowski is maintaining the gains. “We need to take this momentum we are seeing to catapult the category onward.  The customer sees fragrance as special again, we need to hold her attention and think forward to what she wants next.”

“The respect and trust our teams have with our brand partners continues to lay the foundation for success,” says Penny Coy, VP Merchandising, Fragrance at Ulta Beauty. “Our guests have reacted so positively to the many partnerships around new launches, exclusives and  spotlights on legacy.” As for the future? Coy sums up the retailers’ positive consensus perfectly. “We are very optimistic for the category to continue on its trajectory,” she says. “Our fragrance team mantra is “Can’t stop, won’t stop!”

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF
Scents and Sensibility

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF

May 2021

Video Interview – Click HERE To Watch!

The NPD Group is one of the world’s largest market research companies. This week, Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy joined Larissa Jensen, Vice President, Industry Advisor, Beauty, The NPD Group for a wide-reaching and optimistic conversation about the state of the fragrance industry.

Highlights from the discussion centered around consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how much of the change in purchasing priorities and patterns is expected to endure as the world returns to offices, travel, and social interaction.

The pair kicked off by talking about the incredibly strong performance and momentum that fragrance has shown in retail over the past year. Consumers have been purchasing higher ticket items such as larger sizes, high-concentration juices, and luxury brands throughout the pandemic. Remarkably, this has happened despite the shift to online purchasing. “I never thought that fragrance could be soaring the way that it is considering the pandemic where  the vast majority of sales are done online,” Levy says, predicting that even though brick-and-mortar will always be important to perfume purchasers, the shift to digital will continue to be substantial as a percent to total now that consumers are comfortable maneuvering in that space.

Home fragrances became incredibly important during the pandemic, as people rediscovered how scent can enhance an atmosphere and lift a mood. The category diversified, with candles, diffusers, and plug-ins becoming an essential part of creating a home sanctuary—and the market exploded. Similarly, fragrance came to be regarded as self-care, a beauty and wellness accessory that helps everyone feel good. Because the sense of smell is so intertwined with memory and emotion, consumers found that scent could provide them with an important sense of escape.

“In many ways we believe that fragrance has become the new lipstick index,” Jensen says, noting that an NPD survey showed that the number one reason people have been purchasing fragrance—at 50 percent of those who responded—is as a treat for themselves. Fragrance is an affordable indulgence, and, she says, “It really has become a luxury that people are buying for themselves.”

Not that they aren’t buying it for others as well. Holiday was a huge moment for fragrance in 2020, and Mother’s Day 2021 saw fragrance sales soar. According to NPD, 19% of Mother’s Day gift buyers purchased fragrance, double the rate of other beauty categories. During the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, fragrance sales posted a remarkable 33 percent growth rate over 2019. Levy points out that rose scents and florals in general were wildly popular, as well as categories such as candles, perfume oils, and hair mists. She predicts that “bridal registry is the new holiday,” now that people are gathering for events and celebrations and will want to share their love of fragrance.

Consumers have clearly awakened to a newly powerful love for fragrance. “Pre-pandemic, people looked at it as frivolous,” says Levy, “but now it is seen as important, part of their personality and how they feel every day.” She predicts that growth will continue as the market recovers overall. Ultimately, “it’s about understanding market dynamics and the consumer behavioral shifts,” says Jensen. “And companies that are able to do that are really going to win in the end.”

Mar

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON
Scents and Sensibility

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON

March 2021

Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH is an experimental psychologist who studies smell at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Her work focuses on the ways that we interact with scent in our daily lives, revealing the way that smell guides us through the world, affects our emotions, and colors our memories. The Monell Center’s research has taken on particular resonance in the Covid era, and Dalton has been working closely with individuals whose sense of smell has been impacted by the virus to develop scent training tactics designed to help restore their olfactive function. As the Fragrance Foundation has now established a close relationship with Monell, Dalton joined Linda G. Levy in an engaging conversation for Fragrance Day 2021, which you can replay here. For this month’s Accords, she goes into even greater detail about her fascinating work.

Tell us a bit about the Monell Center and what it does.

We were founded 52 years ago as a basic research center devoted to things that nobody was formally studying in an institute at the time: smell and taste. The institute started small, but it has grown exponentially over time, and our approach is a bit different now. The fundamental mechanisms of smell and taste have largely been elucidated and described so now we’re looking at the downstream effects. What happens when you lose your sense of smell? How does smell determine what you choose to eat, what kind of air freshener you choose, what perfume you wear? We’re trying to understand that in the context of everyday life.

Why has smell historically been less studied than the other senses?

One, it was undervalued greatly and so even a few years ago when people would go to their doctors and say, I can’t smell, or I’m having trouble smelling, it would be like, well, worse things could happen. It’s become very clear that that’s not true. Sometimes it is the worst thing for many people. Also, taste and smell are incredibly difficult systems to study and for a long time there was no standardized way of doing it. We knew how the visual system works a very long time ago, but we only really came to understand  the receptors for smell 20 years ago. 

Can you explain why smell is so connected to memory?

The olfactory system is privileged in its access to what we call the emotional center in the brain, the limbic system. And sensory stimulation from smell arrives in the cortex without having to go through a lot of different gateways. Our emotional reaction when we smell something is very immediate,  even when we’ve never smelled that item before. When we don’t understand what an odor represents, we’re probably going to be a little bit cautious, but this hedonic response immediately calls on our memory system and our emotional memory system to say, “ah, that’s, the smell of my first boyfriend’s cologne” or “that’s the smell of my grandmother’s kitchen when I would go to visit her.” It’s because of this privileged access between these brain structures that govern not only smell, but also emotional experience.

What are some of the things that affect the way that we feel about something that we smell?

Generally, our experience with it. I really love for there to be some definitive evidence one way or the other, but we really don’t know whether we are born as babies with innate aversions or preferences. We know that with taste, for example, all mammals will like something that’s sweet hours after birth. And if you put something bitter on their tongue, they will make a very characteristic gaping, like, get it out of here. These are hardwired probably because ingesting something sweet is nutritive and ingesting something bitter in nature could be toxic. But we don’t have any evidence that that’s true for odors.  In fact, you don’t actually see children start to mimic what we would call the standard cultural adult reactions to odors, liking or disliking, until they get to be about six to eight years old. They’re really learning from the people around them.

What happens to us physiologically when we smell something that we like?

We breathe very deeply. A very good friend and colleague of mine was studying a cinnamon apple odor at Yale many years ago when he was a postdoc. And he was amazed to see that their heart rate got much lower when they were smelling this odor. But what he wasn’t measuring at the time was how they were breathing. When they were smelling something they really liked, they took longer deep breaths, they slowed down their respiration rate, and of course that had an effect on their heart rate. People have studied breathing and relaxation for thousands of years, and it does have a beneficial effect. That’s why people tell you, when you’re stressed at work, sit back for three minutes and do some deep breathing. If an odor that you like can reinforce that, so much the better, right?

What fascinates you personally the most about smell?

The fact that I can’t really experience what anyone else is experiencing. For example, my husband is colorblind and so I know that he doesn’t see color the way I do, but I know that most other people in the world do. With odor, it’s so individual because it’s the genetics of the system that determines what we can smell, how acutely we can smell it, our own experience. With respect to odor, we really live in different sensory worlds.

So I might smell my perfume differently from someone sitting next to me?

Yes, and this is probably why most people don’t realize they have a loss of sense of smell until it’s completely gone. When I say to you “Do you see that?”, if you don’t see it and it’s sitting 10 feet in front of us, I know one of us has a problem. But if I say, “Do you smell that?” we’re much more likely to allow there to be huge individual variation. We don’t have the same confidence in the uniformity of our responses. So if you say no, I wouldn’t say “You need to get your nose checked,” whereas I would definitely say, “You need to get your eyes checked.”

What are some of the things that you’ve seen as far as that shift in thinking about smell due to COVID?

There’s much greater awareness about how devastating the loss can be. Not being able to smell makes you feel incredibly disoriented. We process odors in our environment almost automatically. And so walking into our home, our olfactory receptors are responding, but they’re not alerting us to anything as long as everything smells the way it should. But when your sense of smell is  gone, you have no marker for, “This is home” or “This is my office” or “This is the park I go to.”

How can scent training work to restore the sense of smell?

Generally, it started out by someone picking four qualitatively different scents from something that had been developed earlier as an odor wheel. You would bring these essential oils to your nose and try to inhale them for maybe a minute each, maybe think about what the odor might be, if you remember what it smelled like, like clove. It’s intentional mindful stimulation of the olfactory system. Some people have paired it with pictures, some people have started using it with odors that are specific to the individual and meaningful. There are a lot of variants to it, but it does appear to work. I think the outcomes are better the sooner you start it, and it probably relies on a certain amount of what we call synaptic plasticity. The system may not be responding but the brain representation of what that smell is still exists. We have to retrain the receptors to make those appropriate connections.

Keeping with the Fragrance Day theme, what have you learned about flower scents in your research?

We may have evolved to have some special preference for floral scents. It’s not just looking at things that are pretty and green or floral, but actually smelling them. I think that there’s a real opportunity to use floral scents in a way where they do have benefits for us in terms of relaxation and stress relief.

Finally, what does the support of the Fragrance Foundation mean for the Monell Center?

It brings us an opportunity to convey our science to a wider audience. It also provides us with a level of expertise in the world of fragrances, which is very valuable.  And I think because of the Fragrance Foundation’s reach in the industry and beyond in consumers, we can provide understanding of our science through another outlet. I think the synergy of the association is a beautiful thing.

Feb

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS
Scents and Sensibility

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS

February 2021

Once you’re a Notable, you are forever a Notable. Ever since TFF began honoring Notables in the fragrance community in 2015, those individuals have become a part of the TFF family, and have played a role in guiding policy and planning events via the Think Tank. At TFF, every voice is heard, and the power of the growing Notable community is that with each year that group of voices grows ever more diverse. Organizations have nominated Notables, too, from virtually every division and job description in the fragrance world, building a strong collaborative force with a real understanding of how things work and how we can all work together. For this issue of Accords, we checked in with some of TFF’s past Notables to see how they have found the experience so far.

Since becoming a Notable, many of our honorees have hit career milestones. “Since being named a Notable, I was promoted to Fragrance Director of Cartier North America and had to lead my team through the challenges of the pandemic, while maintaining a positive outlook,” says Anais Nouvet, North America Fragrance Director, Cartier, Class of 2018. “I am most proud of seeing the resilience and creativity that each of my team members demonstrated in these tricky times.” Alexandra Cassar, Scent Design Manager, Fine Fragrance, IFF, also Class of 2018, says, “Since having been named a Notable, my proudest achievement has been completing my FIT Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management Masters while juggling a full-time career. You realize you can take on more than you ever deemed imaginable. The difficulty is what has made it so rewarding.” Jordan Saxemard, Vice President Marketing, US Luxury Division, Coty, galvanized the launch of Gucci Guilty Eau de Parfum, beginning work with perfumer Jacques Huclier to develop the scent not long after his 2018 Notables Award. “Fast forward to Holiday 2020, the new Gucci Guilty Eau de Parfum helped the franchise reach its new peak position of #4 men’s fragrance brand in the US market: the stars were, indeed, aligned,” he says.

The TFF Think Tank meetings have been gratifying for all, with a common feeling that creative solutions are valued and that real change is being made. “I feel that they’ve provided fresh thinking and new perspectives on how the Fragrance Foundation can leverage new social platforms and utilize untraditional means to communicate with members within and outside of our industry,” says Ashli Hamilton, Project Manager, Ann Gottlieb Associates, Class of 2016. “I think the Notables Think Tank meetings have been great for TFF and the industry because we are able to effectively communicate and align on goals, values, and missions,” says Hannah Silver, Product Development Assistant Manager, NEST New York, Class of 2018. “These meetings are a safe place for us to clearly articulate what needs to happen and ignites an inspiring start for change.” Saxemard adds, “These meetings are crucial to the future of our industry. We must keep a pulse on present and future trends at all times to stay ahead of the game and continue to inspire the American people through the art of fragrance.”

The Notables also appreciate that they all bring something very different and special to the table. “I grew up on a dirt road in Western Pennsylvania. I now live on a graffiti-covered street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I combine a small-town boy’s appreciation for life’s simple joys with a New Yorker’s love of the fantastically weird,” says Justin Welch, Director of Marketing, Firmenich, Class of 2017. “We all took separate journeys to meet together in this industry. Our individual stories have the power to facet a beautifully colorful dialogue together.”

As the new year gets rolling, the Notables are brimming with ideas and goals that they hope to implement with TFF moving forward. When asked what she would like to see TFF accomplish in the coming year, Hamilton says, “A topic that’s been a hot button for me is the truth behind “naturals” and having a forum for industry leaders to debunk some of the myths around naturals being the holy grail for consumers. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and I think it would be helpful for us as an industry to demystify some of that information that natural isn’t always better.” Silver says she would hope to see TFF “bring more attention to sustainable practices across the fragrance industry. Right now, fragrance houses have done a comprehensive, dynamite job sourcing materials and ingredients in a sustainable way, but the same has not happened for packaging. There are so many innovative packaging materials for both consumer-facing and business to business. I am hoping TFF brings to light the amount of opportunity we have to implement ethical processes and practices.” And for Cassar, it’s all about spreading the good word: “I would love to see TFF achieve their goal in getting the word out to colleges. Our industry is so hidden, you either know someone who works in it or you fall into it by pure chance. Imagine the talent we could be missing out on?”

Lastly, they share advice for those who are just starting out, and dream of becoming a Notable in the future. “Work hard, and communicate with your team and colleagues,” says Liza Ketcham, Account Executive, Givaudan, Class of 2019. “Speak up when you need help and speak up when you’re ready to take on more. Take ownership when you make a mistake, and learn from it. Learn as much as you can from the people around you, not just in your area of the business. And finally, don’t always take everything so seriously—it is just as important to work hard and do your job well as it is to laugh and make connections with people and find joy in the parts of your job that you really love.”

Jan

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH
Scents and Sensibility

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH

January 2021

Rob Smith calls himself a “disruptor in traditional spaces,” and the work he has done to challenge norms within the fragrance industry is nothing short of astonishing. His Phluid Project community (and gender-free Phluid Scent Elixirs) gives underrepresented LGBTQIA+ youth a platform for their voices to be heard, as well as opportunities to forge career paths free from the hindrances or bias of the past. His emphasis as a leader in the Fragrance Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative is on education, and helping corporations transform their policies to make them more open and equitable. This month, he shares his thoughts on the DEI’s accomplishments, and the objectives he hopes to spearhead in the months ahead.  

Why do you think TFF’s DEI is so important, based on your experience in the industry?

To be honest, every industry should be focused on DEI, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s statistically proven that more inclusive companies outperform their competitors. The world continues to look more diverse, the global economy is booming, and companies that don’t stand up and face that reality, they will lose out. Starting with an inclusive workplace will bring the voices and insights into a brands voice, focus and strategy. 

Why do you feel so personally committed to this cause? 

I’m an openly gay man and I guess that I started off navigating a heteronormative Caucasian industry. Even after I came out as gay, I was performing as a straight acting executive. I suppose this helped to create a sense of empathy by being “othered.” I started to direct this passion into working within my companies to bring inclusive thinking and strategy into the workplace as well as working with nonprofits. The more I focused, the better I felt about my purpose. Now, it’s just a part of my everyday existence. But, I tell myself everyday, I can always do more and give more.

What are you proudest of that the DEI initiative has accomplished so far? 

I’m proud that we’re starting the conversation, knowing that we don’t have the answers, and we’re willing to expose our naiveté. That takes courage. We’re lifting up underrepresented voices and giving them a platform. It was shocking to me; the lack of diversity in the fragrance industry. We have work to do. But we’ve started to take the first step. And, that’s how the journey begins.

What are the next steps? 

We need to find more and more voices from underrepresented communities to join the group. Each bringing a unique perspective. And, then we need to listen and learn. Additionally, I learned during the BLM movement that it’s our job to educate ourselves and not just sit back and wait to be educated by a minority. Once you’re educated, you can have a much more intellectual and productive conversation. Then, we move from ally to advocate, helping to create change and impact within our sphere of influence.. and we have many of them. 

What do you consider the biggest challenges we will need to overcome? 

The biggest challenge is making change in a very traditional space. Fragrance is notorious for the exploitation idealism of what it is to be male or female. It’s a dated and very unhealthy representation of masculinity, femininity and beauty. Deconstructing this space to be more inclusive will take a great deal of work and courage. 

What do you consider your mission within the DEI as well as within the fragrance industry as a whole? 

My role is, and will continue to be, a peaceful warrior. I find a great deal of satisfaction being a disruptor in traditional spaces. I hope that I can help people to think differently as we enter a conversation with an open mind and open heart. The mission statement of The Phluid Project is to “challenge boundaries with humanity”. It could serve as my personal mission statement as well. 

You’ve offered to help educate TFF member companies on communication and culture surrounding DEI. Why do you believe this is necessary? 

One of the social codes from The Phluid Project is “we are all students and we are all teachers”. I have spent the past three years learning about Gen Z, learning about the fluidity in identity, expression, orientation. I’d like to share this insight with as many interested adults as I can find, navigating us through a portal into the future. You see, I’ve learned that binary constructs hurt all of us. We are binded into “rules” about how we’re supposed to act, believe and behave. Gen Z says “I’m not this or that. I’m this AND that. We all have the opportunity to join them on this crusade toward authenticity and self-expression. Let’s stop wasting time and get on with it.

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS
Scents and Sensibility

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS

January 2021

As the founder of Harlem-based luxury brand, World of Chris Collins, Chris Collins is a vital force in driving diversity within the fragrance community. His enthusiastic participation in the Fragrance Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative has been integral to the program, and by sharing his example and brand story he hopes to set an example for other Black brands to see and follow. Here, he shares his thoughts on the advances made so far, and where the fragrance community still has important strides to make to build a future where everyone is represented and given the tools and opportunities they need to thrive. 

Why do you think TFF’s DEI is so important, based on your experience in the industry?

When I entered into the world of perfume, there were very few examples of people of color that I could follow, if any. I think in high-end perfume, I had the first brand that was launched by a man of color. And it was a very tough road. I was well-accepted because I had great mentors and great support around me, but had I not had that, I think it would have been even more difficult. I think it’s important now that we shed light on the diversity in perfume. There’s so many smaller brands that don’t have the opportunity to be noticed. And I think that it is very important that the Fragrance Foundation, which has a very large, broad platform, shed light on them. I had a conversation with Linda right before the pandemic, that I thought it was a pretty big deal that a man of color had his brand sitting on a shelf next to the likes of Tom Ford, Creed, and Killian, which are brands that I look up to and that I admire very much. We should shed light on the fact that I’m next to those brands, so other brands can know that they also have the opportunity to do the same. I’ve learned so much along the way. And there’s so much to share with brands that are wanting to launch, or people who just want to be in the business, whether as a buyer, or an evaluator. People of color, both men and women, need to know that there is possibility in this industry.

Why do you believe it is crucial that people see diversity within the fragrance industry?

I just think the more you show diversity, the more people understand that they have the opportunity to be a part of it. There are some very cool brands out there, with really cool stories. I knew that once I broke into the industry, I would have to be a trailblazer, because again, people who follow, they have to know that it’s possible. I still have a long way to go. It’s not a situation that is fixed, or even up to par to where it should be, but we’re on track. And, with me and some of the other brands that are involved and with Prez Levy, I think we could really break some ground here, and open this up to a lot of brands, a lot more diverse brands, both men and women, around the world.

What are you proudest of that the DEI initiative has accomplished so far?

I’m proudest of the fact that it started as a conversation between Linda and me, and now it’s grown. And now we have so many retailers and buyers onboard who understand. I think the Black Lives Matter situation, the racial unrest that happened last year, lit a fire under a lot of retailers and a lot of people in the industry recognizing that we need more diversity in the field of perfume. I think it is happening, and I think it will happen, and I’m proud of that. I’m proud to be the brand that is being able to be discussed with these bigger brands. And now other smaller brands can see my example.

What are the next steps?

When you think next steps, it’s hard to see how this initiative will grow, but you just keep pushing forward. You put one foot in front of the other. There’s been new involvement within the Fragrance Foundation with other brands that are more diverse, so we just keep pushing. I think it’s a beautiful thing. Diversity is beautiful. Men, women from different walks of life, races, cultures, it just adds to a platform for new stories to be told.

Where would you like to see the program be in a year’s time?

Next year, hopefully, we’ll have more brands that we can shine a light on. And, we’ll keep having a conversation. We have a great Board. We have a lot of people who want to be involved, which is very exciting. I’m here to support. I’m here to help, and do whatever I can do. It will be one of my proudest accomplishments if my brand grows to a point where other brands of color have never gone, but also to bring some other brands with me. I take that job very seriously.

What do you consider the biggest challenges we will need to overcome?

The biggest challenge I think is just to convince people around the world, other retailers, other boutiques, to give us the opportunity. That is the number one thing that we all need as diverse brands, brands of color, both men and women, the LGBTQ community. We all need opportunity. Once we have the opportunity, I think we will be able to show that we’ve got good stuff. After the Black Lives Matter and racial unrest happened last year, there was new attention paid to Black brands. And, all of a sudden, I started to see all these brands come out of the woodwork that I didn’t even know existed. There are hundreds of beauty brands that are run or owned by men and women of different diverse backgrounds, and I thought that that was beautiful to see. There’s a place in this space for all of us. So hopefully, we can grow and move the initiative forward, and this time next year, we’ll have more brands on shelves by men and women of color.

What do you hope that aspiring fragrance brands can learn from your example? 

 I hope that they can learn from me that all things are possible. You have to put the work into it. I never wanted a handout. I never wanted someone to just give me an opportunity because I was Black, but I did want an opportunity to show work that I took a lot of pride in. So I hope people will give these brands at least a chance. I’m looking forward to seeing how the DEI grows, because there’s so much work we need to do, but there’s so much possibility that we can attain. I want to keep trailblazing. There’s more ground to cover. There’s more places to go, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking forward to making sure that there are more diverse brands in the market very soon.

Dec

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER Credit: The Estée Lauder Companies Archives
Scents and Sensibility

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER Credit: The Estée Lauder Companies Archives

December 2020

Leonard Lauder’s page-turner of a memoir, The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty, is essential for beauty junkies and aspiring moguls alike. The former CEO, who famously pens handwritten thank you notes on robin’s-egg-blue stationery, maintains that the secret to his success has been treating the company—including its employees and the brands it has acquired, including Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Kilian Paris, Le Labo, and Jo Malone—like family. He also writes thoughtfully about maintaining equilibrium and collaboration within the Lauder dynasty itself, nearly every member of which, from Leonard’s brother Ronald and son William to his nieces Jane and Aerin and even his grand-daughter, Danielle, have come on board to enhance and enlarge the house that Estée built. Here, Lauder reflects further on his business philosophies, and how a corporation can stay forever nimble. 

Fragrance is very personal. What is the key to devising scents that can be both very popular and very individual?

The key is to listen to the consumer! They will tell you everything they need.

You have talked about human nature versus marketing, and instinct versus strategy. Where is the line between the two, and how do you balance them?

These are very important concepts, and while they may seem like opposing ideas, they work hand-in-hand for successful business operations when balanced correctly. Marketing and strategy are two concepts you learn how to use successfully; human nature and instinct you experience. That said, I want to make one thing clear: one of the most important lessons I learned that would shape my career and my life inside and outside of the company was this: to trust my instincts. Instinct is something that is natural and ingrained, but also that has its foundation in experience. If you have enough experience, somewhere along the line, instinct will kick in—crossing the line from learned strategy to experienced instinct.

What is the key to keeping a business modern?

Never stop evolving! Never stop trying to elevate your game, to reach new heights, to explore the unknown. There is always learning that can be done, and a modern business is always evolving to learn what’s next.

Nov

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM
Scents and Sensibility

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM

November 2020

IFF Master Perfumer Carlos Benaïm is a true legend. Hailed by Frédéric Malle as the greatest American perfumer, he is the creator of a slew of instantly recognizable blockbusters, including Polo Green, Polo Blue, Calvin Klein Eternity for Men, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb, and YSL Libre. He is also one of Malle’s most prolific collaborators. As much to his surprise as to everyone else’s, his work with Malle began not with the invitation to create a bottled fragrance, but rather a collection of candles—the first wax-and-wick line-up, it would transpire, in the Editions de Frédéric Malle repertoire. Though Benaïm’s considerable expertise was in fine fragrance, not home scent, he took up the challenge—and the world’s rooms have been unforgettably transformed by the beauty of his creations. Here, the Morocco-born perfumer, who in 2014 received The Fragrance Foundation Perfumer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award,  talks to Accords about his journey with Frédéric Malle on the occasion of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle’s 20th birthday.

What originally made you want to become a perfumer?

My father was a pharmacist and a botanist. He was very interested in going through the mountains and the fields in Morocco and looking for plants that he could distill for pharmaceutical purposes. With him, I was able to see how distillation works—how you get the essences of plants—and that whole process brought me to perfumery from the ground up, not from being from a family of perfumers.

To be a perfumer was not in my radar. It was only something that I became interested in after the first year of engineering school, when I needed to do an internship. I was sent to Grasse through one of my father’s contacts where he used to sell his raw materials, and when I arrived, the chemist that I was supposed to work with had gone sailing and didn’t come back until the day before I left. Nobody knew what to do with me, so they just put me in a room with all the raw materials, naturals and synthetics, each one in those old-fashioned brown bottles with handwritten labels. I spent a month smelling. And through that I developed so much curiosity about the field of perfumery that I eventually took the plunge.

How did that unconventional beginning, and your studies in chemical engineering, affect your path as a perfumer?

It doesn’t hurt to have a chemistry background to understand the ingredients like chemists do, but fine perfumery is more of an artistic creation. When I basically abandoned chemistry at age 22 to go into an artistic career, it was a big step because it’s a completely different discipline, and it takes five to 10 years to know whether you’ll make something out of it.

I learned, not from a school, because I didn’t have any opportunities like that at that time, but more like the old masters used to teach their apprentices. I was invited to work in New York with Ernest Shiftan, who was the Chief Perfumer of IFF and had just retired to open a perfumery school. But it was not a classic perfumery school. It was more, “You learn by doing it next to me.” After that, I went to Paris for two or three years to continue because I had to get my visa. During that time, I worked with Max Gavarry, who was a Chief Perfumer in Paris, and we did a lot of the classical way of learning, which is to study all the classics in perfumery, just by smelling. I couldn’t wait to get to do real work in perfumery, but that only came when I arrived back in New York, and I started working with Bernard Chant, who was the Chief Perfumer then. I worked with him for 15 years as his right hand, and I just learned as I went along.

How did you first meet Frédéric?

I met Frédéric when he came to me to ask me to create a whole line of candles for the home for him. I had never done candles. I was very frank with him. I said, “Listen, you’re asking me to do something I’ve never done in my life. Are you sure you want to do this?” He insisted. He said, “No, this is an opportunity to put your imagination to work. You’ll have no constraints of price. Just try to do something beautiful.”

When you start working with him, it just becomes long conversations about everything and anything, while you are doing experimentation. By the time the lab is weighing what you’ve done, you talk architecture, you talk artistry, you talk France, you talk family, you talk anything. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasts today.

What was your process in creating the first collection?

I worked on them one at a time but they were introduced together—Jurassic Flower, Rosa Rugosa, Casablanca Lily… I wanted to bring a novel approach to this whole development. Frédéric and I both really admired one of the heads of research of IFF, an Indian man, Dr. Braja Mookherjee, who had been a brilliant, very religious man, who invented the Living Flower technology. So, I thought, why not take that headspace technology and develop candles based on the smell of those flowers in their natural environment.

How different was it for you to work on candles instead of perfume?

It’s very different in the sense that what counts is how the essential oils and the ingredients burn, not how much they smell when they are just freshly incorporated in the candle. And that is all technology that was really not my specialty. You want to create the feeling in the air of that flower when it burns without smelling the smoke. That was a challenge, and with enough experimentation we were able to do it.

Was there ever any discussion about making any of those into fragrances?

Yes, some did become fragrances. Eau de Magnolia came from Jurassic Flower. Jurassic Flower was such a success in the stores that the idea came naturally. But one thing is to have the smell of a flower, and another thing is to make a perfume that people can put on skin, that wears well, that has a beginning and an end and a beautiful sensual feeling. It’s one or two years of work before it becomes a real fragrance.

Another example was the candle calleafé Society. That started as a very sensual accord that I had made with patchouli and lavender. It was in my drawer and I had not shown it to people, but I showed it to Frédéric, and we made a candle out of it. A few years later, Frédéric suggested we go back and make it into a fragrance. That became Music for A While. In order to be a fragrance, it needed to be softened and surrounded by notes to make it prettier and sweeter, all those little things that you need to do to make a note that has a lot of character into something that people can wear more easily.

What do you think that Frédéric has done for perfumers and for the way that people perceive perfume?

The most important one is putting the name of the perfumer on the bottle because, previously, perfumers were ignored. They didn’t exist, basically. They were like ghost writers. What existed was the brand or the designer, but who were the creators? Nobody knew.

Frédéric broke the rules and started putting the name on the bottle and all of a sudden, the perfumer was celebrated. They were recognized, they had faces. The press fell in love with them. Everybody wanted to know who they were. And for the perfumer, that has been like a liberation. What Frédéric did was revolutionary and a big gift to the perfumers.

The second thing that he did that was very important was to bring back perfumery to the level of quality it had 50 years ago. He said, “You can create without any price constraint,” meaning use whatever ingredients you want. You could use sandalwood from India, you could use the best roses from Turkey or Morocco, anything. The main thing is that you be creative. That approach puts the perfumer front and center because the perfumer becomes very responsible. If your name is there, it’s your creativity that is at stake and your reputation. That was smart. And for the perfumers and the industry, it was a great advance.

You and Frédéric are aligned in your belief that ingredients shouldn’t be the main way that fragrances are presented. Can you explain?

The ingredient story was something people thought would impress the consumer. Somebody came up with the idea, “Oh, you have to give three top notes, three middle notes, three back notes,” but that’s not what a fragrance is. A fragrance is the intention of the perfumer. As with any art. What did the artist want to accomplish? Whether he used blue or yellow or green, it’s fine, but that’s not the point. The point is, what emotion did you want to get out of it? Is there any special theme that you have for your composition? Could be one thing, could be three things. It doesn’t need to be an ingredient. It could be the smell of autumn, and that’s it. I don’t need to tell you that I used the smell of a burned leaf. To me, that’s irrelevant.  The ingredients by themselves don’t paint the picture, the artist does. 

Oct

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN David Kien, Matthew Herman
Scents and Sensibility

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN David Kien, Matthew Herman

October 2020

How do you create a super-cool, millennial-friendly candle? In the case of Matthew Herman and David Kien of Boy Smells, it was simply by following their noses. The business and life partners were disillusioned with the way they saw scents being gendered, and—through kitchen-sink experimentation, hard work, and laser-focus vision—they set out to build a company that would appeal to, and embrace, everyone. With colorful vessels that pop on Instagram, out-of-the-box aromas such as Rhubarb Smoke and Cashmere Kush, and a witty, engaging approach to social media, Boy Smells quickly made good on that initial premise, and, since 2016, the brand has grown exponentially, embarking on high-profile celebrity collaborations and even introducing an “Unmentionables” underwear line (with more exciting news to be revealed in the coming weeks). As the brand meets another goal post in joining the Fragrance Foundation, Herman discusses the secrets to Boy Smells’ success.

What was the original spark, for you and David, behind Boy Smells?

David, my real-life and business partner, and I created Boy Smells in 2016 as an experiment in our home in Los Angeles. At that time, we were both drawn to fragrances that were more traditionally labelled as feminine, and also noticed that many of our girlfriends were drawn to more masculine notes. So we wanted to approach scent in a way that broke the traditional gender norms. As we moved in this direction, the “genderless” caption to beauty and wellness products didn’t resonate with us in the way we saw ourselves. Coming from previous careers in the fashion industry and also engaged in LGBTQ+ activism, we were seeing trends across industries move in the gender defying direction, but felt that there could be a better way the fashion and beauty industries should approach it. In 2016, we ditched our day jobs in pursuit of our passion: Boy Smells, a company that speaks directly to expanding gender identity in fragrance, adopting the term GENDERFUL. Genderful is a celebration of all different ways people identify gender identity and expression, recognizing that neither is static. 

What was the idea behind the name and how is that reflected in how you wanted to position yourselves and your messaging?

The name Boy Smells came to us as the perfect juxtaposition to our signature pink packaging, purposefully poking fun at gendering. It teases that what you’d find inside will defy norms and challenge the usual binary trenches often associated with scent.  

As gateways to gender expanding olfactive moments, we blend the traditionally “masculine” and “feminine” to capture the complexities that come with modern identity. The implication is to harness your power from wherever you find it. Something as simple as a candle has the potential to reflect the quickly evolving and a drastic reimagining of identity that is underway in society; and we saw an opportunity to contribute to the social discourse around gender by creating Boy Smells. 

How did you first go about getting the candles into the marketplace?

We showed the collection to our families, real and chosen, and sent samples to our friends in the fashion industry. In our first year we were in some of the best directional boutiques. From there it happened quite organically.

Your social media is how many of us found (and fell in love with) Boy Smells. How would you describe the aesthetic? What was on your mood board when you envisioned it?  

The success of our brand on social media was a complete surprise to us, and not something we master-minded. I hope, though, that it speaks to the spirit of our brand: fun, provocative, and progressive; something that resonates with today’s consumers.

While our pink label became more iconic than we could have ever imagined, we love seeing it in homes all over the world, dressing vanities, coffee tables, bedside tables, what have you. It’s always a thrill to see our customers posting about us on their social channels, just as they’d post an outfit, beauty routine, or a new piece of furniture.

What has social media, and the connection it fosters, brought to the brand?

It has helped us connect and build community. And, we now view it as an essential part of the brand. Social media has been hugely impactful in communicating our purpose-driven messaging, and we love that our brand can stand for more than just expecting a good fragrance. It is an intimate relationship we get to develop with our customers.

What was the process in creating the early fragrances?

Our very first scent, Kush, a cannabis-inspired scent, continues to be our #1 selling candle. Its long-term success took us from indie newcomers to an established brand with a known hit product.  We mixed all of our original fragrances at home and have since reworked them to be clean formulations with more refined olfactive balance.

How do you go about working with perfumers?

We work with fragrance houses Robertet and Firmenich, and each relationship is unique. We usually start with a brief. I like to use visual briefs of photography, graphic design, architecture, furniture, sculpture, wherever conveys the emotion we want the scent to occupy. We also start with a laundry list of fragrance notes we’d like to explore. I like to think of it as a conversation and collaboration.

What do collaborations – such as Slow Burn – mean to the brand?

We have been so excited to introduce two noteworthy collaborations thus far in 2020, the first of which being with Kacey Musgraves. Upon its debut in early February, the spiced and smokey Slow Burn candle sold out in less than 24 hours and generated an eager waitlist of over 15,000 people. The Slow Burn candle was the first ever musical artist collaboration for the Boy Smells brand as well as Kacey’s first major brand collaboration, bringing her creativity and great tastes to the complex world of fragrance. Our launch event at PUBLIC in NYC created a huge media moment that opened us up to an entirely new audience and the collaboration has sold out multiple times since. 

Another keystone moment was the launch of the PRIDE Collection this June, benefitting The Trevor Project. We partnered with 6 unique luminaries to ignite a campaign spanning diverse ethnicities, backgrounds, and industries who are breaking down boundaries towards universal acceptance for the LGBT community.  Each of the six ambassadors––including fashion model Richie Shazam, R&B rising star Rileyy Lanez, drag superstar Naomi Smalls, dancer Harper Watters, musical artist VINCINT and actor & musician Alex Newell, –– embodied their own hyper-hued candle from the limited collection to open the conversation about embracing one’s full spectrum identity. 

Why did you decide to also introduce underwear?

We view candles and underwear as objects you intimately relate to, integral to one’s personal care routine and identity. The objects we hold closest to us, candles, fragrance, underwear, should reflect our most authentic selves, before we put on our uniforms for the roles we play in the world. We always knew our next step after candles would be underwear, due to the fact that it’s perhaps the most gendered item out there. The way we label our underwear allows for the purchaser to decide how they relate to the product, we don’t dictate that. It’s effortless and uncomplicated, no shame in our Unmentionables collection. Everyone participates in their own way.

With underwear, perhaps more than any other category, binary ideas of gender are used in marketing to consumers  In our newly relaunched Unmentionables collection, each style and color is available with either a “Pouch Front” or “Flat Front,” shifting the conversation away from gender labels to the right fit and end usage for the customer. No matter how you define yourself, Unmentionables is here to support your comfort and confidence. 

What challenges have you faced as an independent brand?

At the onset of the pandemic as stores began to close, we found ourselves with close to 100% off our wholesale orders canceled. On top of that, our supply chain quickly came to a screeching halt with components coming from both Northern Italy and China. The early success we had experienced since the start of the year, along with our Q2 sales projections, seemed like they would no longer be a reality. We knew it was time to go back to basics and connect with our customer through a DTC-focused model. 

We have an amazing team, and we all learned how to pivot quickly and adapt our sales model to fit the current economic landscape. DTC took off significantly, hovering at about 1200% above last year!

What does it mean to you to officially join the fragrance community with the Fragrance Foundation? 

We couldn’t be more excited to become a part of this community. Despite not starting our careers in the fragrance industry, we have been so welcomed by all of our partners and TFF.

What is your vision for the future of Boy Smells? 

As we grow, we will continue to activate this conversation around identity expression with everyday products used to reaffirm and feel good. Our goal is to turn all of our daily routines into rituals of self-realization. There are exciting plans in the works for new product categories, with scents that go beyond anything we’ve ever done before.

@boy__smells

Sep

INSIDE THE INSPIRATION: JEAN-CLAUDE ELLENA, CATHERINE SELIG & CHRISTIAN ASTUGUEVIEILLE

Scents and Sensibility

INSIDE THE INSPIRATION: JEAN-CLAUDE ELLENA, CATHERINE SELIG & CHRISTIAN ASTUGUEVIEILLE

September 2020

Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year – Finalists

For the keen eye (and especially the talented nose), inspiration is all around us. But what elements spark the creation of a true Perfume Extraordinaire? The 2020 Fragrance Awards Finalists—and Winner—in this category are all perfumes that excel at bringing to life the unique vision and inspiration of their inventors. And they could not be more different—these singular scents originated from ideas summoned by the smell of freshly cut grass (Copper eau de Parfum by Comme des Garçons, by perfumer Aliénor Massenet), a rose (Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Rose & Cuir, by Jean-Claude Ellena), a family legacy (A.N. Other F/W 2020, by Catherine Selig), and a mysterious sea creature (the winning scent—Zoologist Squid, by Celine Barel). Here, the perfumers and creators provide a glimpse into the compelling backstories behind these olfactive masterpieces.

Jean-Claude Ellena

Rose & Cuir, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle

What was the initial spark behind Rose & Cuir?

A new idea of writing roses. 

How did the collaboration process with Frédéric Malle shape the finished fragrance along the way?

In complicity, friendship and mutual respect. 

How does Rose & Cuir express your style as a perfumer?

Elegant juxtapositions. Elegant interplays.

What are some of the elements that make this fragrance so unique?

New interactions between raw materials. 

What did you want to achieve with Rose & Cuir that you had not yet accomplished in your career?

Let the story go on until my last summer.

Catherine Selig, Takasago

WF / 2020, A.N Other

What was the family backstory behind this A.N OTHER fragrance?

The creative journey of the fragrance WF / 2020 from A.N OTHER started in the 19th century.  My great grandfather Meinrad Hilfiger Maitre Gantier Perfumer created a signature patchouli fragrance formula.  His secret formula manuscript was handed to me by my father when I was a child and I gave this elegant 19th century formula a new life when I redeveloped it with exclusive quality ingredients, a modern twist, and a new vision.

What were some of your considerations while formulating it?

I was inspired by thoughts of timelessness, elegance, and the uniqueness of an unforgettable trail. I purposefully chose only the best quality ingredients such as Italian Bergamot, French rose, Ambrette Absolute and Patchouli Coeur, the purest exclusive quality of Patchouli from Takasago, to create its unique and unforgettable trail.

How does the fragrance express your style as a perfumer, as well as your lineage?

The creation of this fragrance came to me naturally, all the ingredients combined beautifully with each other in harmony allowing each of them to radiantly diffuse. Within its first trials, this fragrance already displayed its unique characteristics and personality. 

My creative signature in every fragrance I create is a combination of  radiance and luminosity which resonates with the soul. The foundation of this fragrance is based on my family legacy of creating fragrances with pure lines, beautiful ingredients, luxurious simplicity with a mystical travel through time.    

What effect did you want the finished perfume to achieve for the wearer?

I wanted this scent to be the essential olfactive finishing touch that radiates self-confidence and inner strength of those who wear it.

This fragrance, like the Kelly bag from Hermes, will dress its wearer up to the effortless style of timeless elegance.

What does being a finalist for Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year mean to you?

Being a finalist for Perfume Extraordinaire is indeed a great honor for me.  It acknowledges the timeless craftsmanship of my fragrance creation and gives me the opportunity to tell the story behind that fragrance creation to those who wear and appreciate fragrances.

Christian Astuguevieille, Creative Director

Copper Eau de Parfum, Comme des Garçons

Christian Astuguevieille, the creative director for Comme des Garçons’ fragrances, worked with perfumer Aliénor Massenet to conceive Copper Eau de Parfum.

What was the initial inspiration behind Copper Eau de Parfum?

 The initial inspiration behind Copper was the green scent of fresh cut grass.

Were there challenges in conveying the idea of a material such as copper through scent?

We tried to work on the specific Galbanum green and metallic amber.

How does the composition express the brand?

We expressed the brand’s universe through the choice of high quality raw materials, from galbanum, blackcurrant buds, myrrh and metallic amber. This green is like no other, and originality is what we aim for in our olfactory writing. 

What effect did you want the finished perfume to achieve for the wearer?

I would like the wearer to have the wonderful sensation of wearing a true green. The mythical notion of green in perfumery.

What makes you most proud of this scent?

 I am very proud of the green we created. Green represents audacity. We stand behind legendary greens but today it is not very common anymore, and that is what’s so exciting.

Aug

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA
Scents and Sensibility

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA

August, 2020

Brazilian designer Francisco Costa has long been a force in fashion, having garnered accolades as creative director for Calvin Klein Womenswear for more than a decade. His newest project, however, is supremely personal: In 2019, he introduced Costa Brazil, a line of home fragrance and luxurious face and body oils using indigenous ingredients from the Amazonian rainforest. Costa Brazil is mindfully intentional and committed to proper stewardship of the environment—the ingredients are responsibly sourced, the packaging is recyclable, and the brand’s partnership with the non-profit Conservation International ensures sustainability. The products have drawn raves across the board, but it is their unique fragrance profile that has made them most recognizable and unforgettable. With Resina de Breu, a resin used by Amazonian tribes, Costa has introduced a novel experience to the home fragrance market. Once lit, the resin fills the surrounding space with an intoxicating aroma of soil, leaves, and wood—fulfilling Costa’s mission to remind us how interconnected we are to the earth. Here, Costa shares his inspiration with Accords

What has been your relationship with fragrance throughout your life?

Fragrance is everything, fragrance has the power to transport you. I remember taking walks in my childhood in the countryside near my town, the olfactive memory of my childhood is vivid. I also remember my sister’s lavender scent, an alfazema fragrant water she would put on after a shower.

How did you first encounter Breu, and what sparked the idea to introduce it as a home scent?

I discovered Breu during my time with the Yawanawa tribe in the region of Acre in Brazil. I noticed this incredible scent, I thought it was wood, but saw they were tossing Breu into the fire. It’s a wonderful home scent because of its healing and balancing properties; it stabilizes the ambiance in any space, and it is said to open up the 6th chakra.

Why was sustainability so crucial for you, and what have been the challenges and rewards of assuring environmental responsibility?

Beauty is inseparable from the health of the earth. This isn’t something we should be praised about, it’s something we need to consider every step of the way as our new normal. 

What feedback about Costa Brazil has made you happiest?

When people tell me they instantly recognize Costa Brazil through scent, without seeing it. 

As a newcomer to the US fragrance community, what would you say is the biggest difference between the fragrance world and the fashion world?

When fragrance walks into the room, it’s the last one to leave. There is more longevity. 

Jul

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR
Scents and Sensibility

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR

July, 2020

When Bombay-born fashion designer Shalini Kumar launched her fragrance collection in 2004, she did not hold back. Her goal, she says, was “to create opulent perfumes composed of the rarest, purest ingredients,” and the first scent out of the gate, Shalini, was a tour de force white floral composed by esteemed nose Maurice Roucel, who has since created a wardrobe of sumptuous showstoppers for the brand. With a background in architecture as well as couture, Shalini brings an attention to detail and eye for luxury to every Shalini Parfum, each of which is available for collectors in limited-edition Lalique bottles that are themselves works of art. Here, she shares her journey and inspirations with Accords.

What inspired you to start your fragrance brand?

I believe I was destined to create a collection of pure parfums. My first scent memory was as a baby being massaged in essential oils by my mother. There were different oils ranging from classic florals — rose and jasmine — to others like sandalwood, olive and ylang ylang. That’s when my love for fragrance was born.

I started my career at Valentino where I developed an appreciation for couture and the history of design, luxury, and longevity. Subsequently, I launched my own Haute Couture collection, Shalini Couture, focused on womenswear and a limited collection of jewelry. Shalini Parfum was conceived as a heritage brand built on the principles of classical French perfumery. I wanted it to be the ‘essence of luxury,’ and the fragrances to be modern masterpieces. Our fragrances are of the pure parfum concentration so the wearer can feel the quality of the natural essences. Each bottle is hand-poured and presented in beautiful black boxes handwritten with gold ink and tied with our signature Shalini yellow ribbon.

Historically, perfumes were not used merely for beauty, but for healing and prayer—the spiritual element. My vision for Shalini Parfum is returning to the healing properties at the root of perfume.  

How did you find and begin to work with perfumer Maurice Roucel?

I met Maurice through a friend and we instantly connected. He visited my atelier a few days later to see the couture collection and we had a very long lunch. Tuberose is my favorite flower and I lamented to Maurice that it was difficult to find a parfum composed of the pure tuberose absolute, often referred to as liquid gold. His response was “Let’s create one.” This was the beginning of Shalini Parfum.

I wanted to create the most exquisite tuberose and neroli fragrance. As a child I would sneak into the garden at night so I could inhale tuberoses by the moonlight. My first memory of neroli was arriving in Seville in the evening hours and the entire city was filled with clementine trees in full bloom. The smell of the orange blossoms was mesmerizing. So my Shalini parfum was originally created for my skin and we offered it to our special couture clients.

Maurice is a pleasure to work with. We connected instantly in creating something of lasting beauty. He captures what I am yearning for. It is a joyful experience. He has the soul of an artist and is very present and connected.

What challenges did you face getting established?

My journey with fragrance was rather miraculous. I didn’t experience many of the challenges faced by most brands. I desired to launch Shalini Parfum at the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman, and Pat Saxby, VP Divisional Merchandise Manager of cosmetics and fragrances at Bergdorf fell in love with Shalini immediately and decided to launch it. Pat is the Godmother of the brand. She recognized the uniqueness of my Parfums and has always believed in them. Harrods Salon de Parfums has also been extremely supportive. They have an exquisite display of our parfums and have dedicated their most coveted wall to them.

I do face some challenges in launching in the Middle East and Russia. We have many clients in both these areas and they would like us to launch the parfums there. However, the logistics and registration processes are rather complicated. 

Your Lalique flacons are so special. How did you begin to incorporate them into the world of Shalini?

For Shalini, I envisioned a bottle that would convey the exquisite beauty and the lightness of flight of the fragrance. I found the beautiful Lalique crystal flacon “Le Coquillage” in Paris. The design reminiscent of a butterfly wing echoes the preciousness of the fragrance.

It is an honor to be able to present our opulent pure parfums “Grand Cru” in the exquisite creations of Rene Lalique. Each parfum has its own Lalique flacon which reflects the inspiration of the parfum. The sense of the visual is extremely important to me and the Lalique flacon allows the wearer to engage both sight and smell. To hold the falcon in your hand as you apply the parfum on your skin is magical.

What do you love most about fragrance?

Fragrance transcends country, gender, culture, religion and season. Like music, it is an art form that is very inclusive. I compose my fragrances like poems that leave something to the imagination of the wearer to interpret based on their own memories and experience. My fragrances are inspired by moments and memories of my life—my magical childhood, my first love, endless days of summer by the Mediterranean, arriving in Seville in the evening hours, driving under the night sky of Dubai, fields of blue lavender in Provence…and the sense of the ethereal. 

The passion I bring is very deep. It is an offering of the self, at the soul level to the wearer. The wearer experiences that passion. Fragrance is what a person wears closest to their skin. It enters the body through the pores and affects the soul in the most subtle way.  Selecting a fragrance is a very personal commitment so our fragrances need to appeal to a deeper sense of self.

 What are your goals for the future?

We are planning to launch our new parfum, Iris Lumiere in Autumn. Harrods has an exclusive pre-launch in August, and we have a worldwide launch in September. There will be a sixth parfum of the series with Maurice Roucel planned for Autumn 2021.

We have a loyal following all over the world including Royal families on two continents. Our brand has been built through word-of-mouth by those who understand “the essence of luxury” that we stand for.  We are looking for an umbrella company which would understand the luxury and purity of our parfums and bring in the infrastructure to develop the brand worldwide.

How has being a part of The Fragrance Foundation benefitted your business?

Linda is a wonderful friend and mentor for me and I have immense gratitude for all the support of The Fragrance Foundation. It is a great community to be part of. There is also an immense learning opportunity in connecting with the foundation members at events.

Amorem Rose was a finalist for The Fragrance Foundation awards which brings visibility and honor to our brand, and Paradis Provence was also nominated for an award which was a great honor. The Fragrance Foundation is also very supportive in including our brand on Instagram and other media. This brings further visibility and is wonderful.

What can you teach other independent brands from your experience?

I always say find something you believe in and pour your heart into it. Trust that your heart and creativity will take you in the right direction. Don’t follow any trends, just your inner vision. I believe it is very important to be authentic in your creation as well as your message.

As a child, my grandfather took me to the races where he showed me that the thoroughbred horses wear blinders when they race so they are not distracted by others. He told me that to be a success in life you need to think like a thoroughbred and focus only on your vision and not what others are doing. To this day, I follow that advice.

Persistence and patience are extremely important virtues in any endeavor. I remind myself of this every day. I also feel it is very important to connect with your clients, spend time with them and laugh with them. I understood that during my time in haute couture where my personal relationships with our clients was very important.

How can you contribute to The Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

As a woman, creator and artist I have lived and traveled in many parts of the world. This shifts your awareness and everything you create encompasses your view of the world.

Our parfums are inspired by different places, and bring not only the essences of those places but also their culture and art, their very soul. Diversity begins with compassion and understanding of another culture, religion, food, music and art.  Once you raise your soul consciousness, diversity, equity and inclusion become a natural state of being. You transcend these definitions.

Jun

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU
Scents and Sensibility

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU

Jason Wu, lest he need any introduction, is one of the world’s leading fashion designers and lifestyle creatives—and the very scent-attuned, super-involved creator behind the beloved Jason Wu fragrance and its nighttime sister Velvet Rouge. Just as he has always broken down barriers with his democratic fashion vision, Wu has also been actively working to give voice to the marginalized, striving for progress and acceptance for all in his role on the Board of Directors of the GMHC [Gay Men’s Health Crisis] organization. Most recently, he aligned with the creative agency Collective Shift to design a face mask for Distance Yourself from Hate, a campaign that features social media PSAs from an array of voices from the arts, fashion, and entertainment worlds (think everyone from Rosie Perez to Diane Kruger to Latrice Royale) calling for an end to prejudice and discrimination. All proceeds help GMHC provide assistance to people in need throughout New York City. As he joins the Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Wu shares his thoughts on how the fragrance and fashion industries can be powerful players in communicating messages of love and solidarity that will make the world better for all.

How did you originally get involved with GMHC?

I’ve been on the board for about five years. I was originally on the board of ACRIA [AIDS Community Research Initiative of America], which merged with the GMHC, a much larger HIV/AIDS organization. I’ve been working with them at their center on 38th street and in many other capacities. We do the AIDS walk every year, and we do the Latex Ball, where thousands of voguers come to compete. These kids are just incredible, and it’s a great way for our community, which is very diverse, to come together and share their creativity. This year I took on more of a developmental role, to come up with ideas and see how we as a service can be even more inclusive.

What was the genesis of the Distance Yourself from Hate project, and why was it so important to expand the message to all kinds of discrimination?

With everything that started happening with the pandemic in March, we sought out a collaboration with my friend Jae Choi at the Collective Shift creative agency, and came up with the program for Distance Yourself from Hate. It started because it became very apparent that face masks would become important to our daily lives in the coming months, and we wanted, first of all, to address the issue that there was a lot of anger and discrimination against the Asian community at the beginning of the virus. Being Chinese myself, I felt singled out, just walking down the street. Jae is Korean American, so he felt the same way. We talked to the GMHC board, which is amazing, and together we thought, how can we expand our services? The GMHC came from the LGBHQ community in the 80s when gay men and women were targeted because of HIV/AIDS. So we’ve seen it before. And now we have technology to spread our message so much more quickly. But the work is not finished. That’s why today in addition to covering the LGBTQ community, we’ve expanded to work with other organizations to provide them with protective masks and food.

Fabien Baron graciously designed the logo. I know everyone in the fragrance world knows his name very well. He’s been a close friend for many years, so I looked no further than asking Fabien to design a logo that’s really beautifully executed and also powerful in its messaging. Then we created videos for social media that involve a hugely diverse group of people from actors to volunteers to people in fashion. It was very important to show our diversity, because in New York City you have such a diverse environment, but that’s not necessarily the case everywhere else. We wanted people who don’t live in big cities to hear from voices they might not hear from so often.

What is some of the most crucial work that you think needs to be done to overcome discrimination, and spread the message of finding real strength in solidarity?

Since we started this in March a lot of things that have happened in our country that have revealed that we have a lot more work to do as a society and as a country in terms of systemic racism and bigotry. As one marginalized community to another, we understand how that feels. We want to be spearheading the idea of leading with a voice of love not hate.

I think a lot of us in creative fields are particularly open minded because we have to open ourselves up to so many cultures and experiences in order to stay creative. We are often lucky enough to be able to travel the world, whether it’s sourcing materials for fragrance materials or for fabric, and there are a lot of lessons out there for us to take away. The creative industry is really primed for helping society move forward to be much more inclusive and forgiving, and spread the message of equality.

How can fragrance and fashion specifically help change people’s perspectives and build a more inclusive world?

I think we can actively use our platforms in order to communicate and spread awareness. Everything is connected. We created a mask, rather than a T-shirt or something else, because we wanted to make sure that we were making something that people actually need. I think it’s become painfully clear how overly consumeristic we are as a culture – and I know that’s weird coming from a fashion designer – but I think we have to slow down our consumption. It was important to create something functional, quality, reusable, and sustainable.

What do you hope to accomplish through your involvement with the Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

I think it will really open up the conversation. Every time I go to the Fragrance Awards, I’m always in awe about how international it is. This is more than a national movement, and we’re so solidly connected to the world through the Fragrance Foundation itself, more so than any other industry. I think the Fragrance Foundation can be a key player in helping us to unite and bring our voices together as creatives globally. When you go to the Fragrance Foundation Awards, it’s like the Super Bowl for fragrance. Everyone from the amazing Frederic Malle to the best perfumers in the world are there. And I think that’s something that’s so powerful, how one organization can unite different races and cultures and people from all walks of life who come together in the interest of creating beautiful fragrances.

And these people have all traveled the world. Having been in the fragrance game myself for about three years, I’ve learned so much about ingredients and where they come from, such as my favorite jasmine sambac, which we source from India. These amazing materials connect us, and we can use that connection to spread the word of love.

May

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH The Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors Meeting – January 2020
Scents and Sensibility

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH The Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors Meeting – January 2020

Like everyone, Fragrance Foundation board members have been adjusting to working from home, and finding new ways to spend their free time while social distancing. Here, Accords asks them to reflect on the silver linings—from having more family time to learning to cook—that they have discovered in their time away from the office.  

Marc Blaison, EVP, Cosmo International Fragrances

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down? 

We were lucky in the sense that our offices and factory remained open. And living in Florida, you don’t feel the same “lockdown” effect: space, garden, weather … Other benefits were: having our 2 girls back home from college, so definitely family time, some cooking (could share some recipes), gardening, reading, and relaxing! 

Penny Coy, Vice President Merchandising, Fragrance and Prestige Skincare, Ulta Beauty

What shows are you currently binging?   

Tik Tok has taken over TV for me and my family!  OMG before you realize, a half hour, hour goes by.  And we are seeing sales climb unexpectedly because a product showed up organically on this channel. 

Diane Crecca, SVP, Arcade Beauty

What shows are you currently binging?

Ozark—THE BEST SHOW.  The writing was pure genius, it’s the on-the-edge-of your-seat stuff you cannot turn off.

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

My cooking has gone from practically inedible, to “not bad”. I even understand a few of the cooking shows, which I used to put in the same category as watching golf on TV. Good background noise for nap time!

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

I have discovered that I like to talk back to the TV. It’s great therapy and gives me satisfaction – so there!

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

One ritual I enjoy is watering my plants—I was known as the Grim Reaper of the plant word a year ago. I actually felt sorry for the plants I bought because they were headed for a slow torturous end. Now I can actually keep them alive and thriving!

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

I am having a backyard barbeque—even if people have to wear snow boots. Nothing hits the spot like a grilled hot dog!

Maria Dempsey, CEO, Nest Fragrances

What shows are you currently binging?

Loving Nashville (we have watched over 60 episodes!), Normal People, Billions

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

I have been able to be more creative, to take time for myself and my family, to get back into cooking. I feel like I have a lot more time and am much more productive with my time.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

I need to exercise and meditate every day in order to stay sane! 

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

Meet up with friends, eat at a restaurant and ride the bus in NYC!

 Pierre Desaulles, CEO, Interparfums

What shows are you currently binging?

Money Heist on Netflix. Robbing a bank while being the good guy and being incredibly smart… Who does not want that? I watch only in Spanish—subtitles allowed—to get the savory and witty smell of Spain.

Also Versailles on Netflix. When history fascinates with romance, intrigues and spirits!

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

Unfortunately I did not slow down at all, quite the opposite. However I could share meals with my family and spend some quality time with them (even if it is sad to need this to make this statement).

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

That I play UNO well and I can actually handle multitasking.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

Being down to earth and just opening my eyes to see how lucky I am. That is worth all the mental support in the world.

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

I would love to do a Flashmob with my team in the office to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing! And then go back to my office routine that I love!

Nata Dvir, SVP/ General Business Manager at Macy’s – Beauty & Center Core

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

I try to schedule my day to allow for a run in the park in the morning or a virtual pilates class. I love that I now can build in a little me time during the day and be just as efficient. I find it helps me focus for the rest of the day.

I also try and shut down my computer and put it away and make a complicated dinner. I have cooked every meal for the last 8 weeks! It allows me to keep my hands occupied and away from the email.

Julien Gommichon, President Americas, Diptyque & BYREDO

What shows are you currently binging? 

Hollywood, Explained

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

Better control of stress and pressure, re prioritizing what is essential/less essential in life.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

Bike riding out of home; playing games with kids in the evening (vs video and tablets).

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

Reconnect with friends, colleagues and go to a French bistro!

Mark Knitowski, VP Product Innovation, Victoria’s Secret

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

Spending more time with my family, especially with my daughter, Sedona. We take hour-long evening walks each night, which has been great to hear her thoughts and ideas about so many things, fashion, beauty, influencers, apps, digital. Exercising, walking/running 5 miles a day.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time? 

Playing guitar, writing songs,

Julianne Pruett, VP Fine Fragrance Sales, Symrise

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time? 

I am not sure what I would do without my daily running!  It has always been my “religion”, but even more so now, to clear my mind, take in nature, and feel physically and mentally FREE!

Jerry Vittoria, President Fine Fragrance Worldwide, Firmenich

What shows are you currently binging?

Handmaid’s Tale, just finished Ozark.

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

Wish I had slowed down! But not travelling has allowed me to spend more time with the family and have more actual dinners together!

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

I need reading glasses! Staring at the screen all day did that .I also enjoy snacking way too much. 

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

Sleeping better due to less jet lag, eating healthier and more time to work out.

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

In Paris, we had it…..I went to the office and air hugged several colleagues! I had missed them!

Apr

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon
Scents and Sensibility

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon

As this challenging time continues, we at The Fragrance Foundation are focused on what we can do for our community as a team, and as individuals. Our collaboration for many months with the extraordinary artist and designer Rebecca Moses resulted in a magnificent campaign, focused on 7 ingredient ladies for Fragrance Day on March 21. For TFF and all of us in March, we took a sharp turn away from our big dreams and immediately created an alternative “Plan B.”  Fragrance Day will be back next year when we can all celebrate together around the globe.

As for Rebecca Moses, she has once again put her heart, soul, and extraordinary creativity into a new and unexpected creation. Rebecca has authored all on her own in her studio home, a social media campaign filled with exceptional beauty and content named “The Stay Home Girls.” The self-written stories of girls staying home around the globe are being sent to Rebecca directly and the results are phenomenal. Each girl’s portrait by Rebecca captures their essence in their homes. Please visit @rebeccamosesofficial and join this movement. I am honored and proud to be included [View Illustration Here], as well as these girls on our TFF team, Alissar, Sharne, April Long, our editor and TFF member Shalini, so far.

We are also proud that so many in our fragrance world and related industries are contributing aid and support in so many ways: production of sanitizers, masks, hospital equipment, medical supplies, food and financial donations on a global and local basis. There is a tremendous amount being done and even more to do, so to recognize and applaud all of these tremendous efforts, we have created #TFFCommunityDoingGood in our social media with ongoing communication of these valiant efforts.

We also pivoted our communication to focus our TFF social media on the benefits of fragrance as we work from home and stay home. Much of the population considered home fragrance and personal fragrances a pure luxury, and at times it may be. However, now we find our family, friends and even ourselves wanting to enjoy every moment at home with our sense of smell a source of comfort and enjoyment. Follow us @fragrancefoundation.

As stores are closed, most launches and planned events are postponed, or converted into virtual experiences, our industry is recalibrating the business. We need to reinvent all we do and take advantage of this time to think creatively how to re-enter the world which will have a new “normal.” Flexibility, agility and strategic decision making have reached a new level for all in our new daily routines. Our consideration and sensitivity to this global health crisis for all must be in the balance too.

Together we must join forces and use our resources to plan how we will engage the newly defined consumer. The time we have now is like no other time before, so education of our teams and spreading positivity daily is key to our current status and our future.

I used to have a saying: “Be comfortable being uncomfortable.” Now I think it best to find the place you can be the most comfortable possible, and be sure that every day you appreciate those in your life and spread positivity. Although we are all challenged, together we will emerge stronger, more resilient and hopefully better than we were before.

Feb

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER
Scents and Sensibility

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

Always forward-thinking, Leonard A. Lauder is known for the creativity and innovation he brought to The Estée Lauder Companies, implementing successful marketing and sales strategies, and establishing the company’s first R&D laboratories. But perhaps more than anything else, Leonard Lauder emphasized the importance of listening. He went out into the field on now-legendary van trips to visit sales people around the country, and cemented close relationships within the major fragrance houses. In his estimation, no individual was less important than any other, and as a result, he built a brand distinguished by loyalty and goodwill. In the second part of his conversation with Accords, he shares why that approach was so important as Estée Lauder defined the American fragrance landscape.

How would you describe your mother’s approach to fragrance development and working with perfumers?

Firstly, she had her favorite perfumers and she worked with them all the time. She had one person in particular who was her acolyte, Karyn Khoury, and they would work and work together until a fragrance was finished. We also never used consumer studies. Once she liked it and Karyn liked it, that was it. I used to just say to Karyn, is this a good fragrance? If she said yes, we would launch it.

How have your relationships with people like Patrick Firmenich and Nicholas Mirzayantz enhanced the work you’ve done with the fragrance houses?

I have to go way back because the Estée Lauder relationship with IFF’s predecessor was with van Ameringen-Haebler. My mother had a great relationship with Arnold van Ameringen. And we became very, very friendly with the whole family and they gave us their best perfumers to work with. And then later on, as we needed to expand the number of people who are able to do fragrances for us, we started with Firmenich. It was not yet with Patrick Firmenich, it was with his father, Fred-Henri Firmenich. Now we have a great relationship with Patrick. And before Nicholas at IFF, it was a man named Tom Joy. My relationship with Nicholas is fabulous, as is the company’s.

We spend more time working with our suppliers and thanking them for their help than we do with the people we sell to. I remember our first Christmas party, and it was a party for our suppliers. And from that time on, our suppliers were at the heart of what we did and we depended on them. We’re very loyal to them.

You also had a great relationship with your sales force and retailers, going out on now-legendary van trips to make personal connections at stores. How did that make the company what it is today?

We had a great field culture. We depended not on our advertising but on the people behind the counters, our beauty advisors and consultants, to sell our products. I would always make it a point to see them on our trips. We would take van trips and I would say to everyone, you all have a vote. You’re part of a family. When we talk about work, and what’s a good thing or not, you will have a vote. So, we’d all pile into the van and go out and then at four o’clock in the afternoon, we’d have milk and cookies. Then we’d have dinner at night. And on occasion I would have a dinner for the people who are working for us the field, plus their spouses. Because I wanted to thank them for the time their spouses spent working so hard.

My late wife Evelyn was also very deeply involved with everyone. If someone got ill, she was on the phone with them. And I would also take care of them. We love the people who work for us. We love them.

What else made your approach to retailers so successful?

Well, whenever I would meet with a member of the press, my job was not to ask them to support me, my job was to give them something that they could write about that no one could read about elsewhere. My job was to help them be successful. Same thing for the retailer. My job was to make them successful also. They all had businesses to run. I was trying to help them look at us not as a vendor but as a full partner.

Now, as time went on, it became harder because the people who owned the retail companies left. They retired one by one. The companies became professionalized. But I love finding people who love to see things sold, and I love to give them things that they can sell. And I try to make all of them heroes. We would give the launch of something to a particular store, so they could say this is ours alone.

I must say, my greatest gratification was the people who worked with me and for us and the people who I befriended. And I can tell you story after story, after story, of how so-and-so assistant buyer became the CEO of a store. I kept in touch with them throughout the years and they are still my friends. We are friends forever.

What do you think makes a great fragrance launch?

You have to start off with a good product. And there’re some things I don’t want to tell you because if you write about it, I’m telling my competitors. But we made sure that the launch was important. My phrase was ‘launch strong, stay strong’. We didn’t say, let’s try it and see if it works. We just did it and sampled it and sampled it some more. We believed in our fragrances so much. Although we had advertising, the key thing was: how does it smell?

How do you view the difference between a launch of a fragrance versus makeup or skincare?

Launching a fragrance was launching the brand again. Launching makeup or skincare was launching a product. When you’re launching a fragrance, you’re relaunching Estée Lauder.

How have you seen advertising evolve?

My view of advertising was always sell the brand, not the product. Because if you sell the brand, you sell many products. You have the customer’s trust, and they’re coming back and buying more later on. Brand means everything to me.

Dec

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD
Scents and Sensibility

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD

For decades, perfumer and author Ron Winnegrad has been opening people’s minds, lighting up their olfactory bulbs, and firing up their imaginations. As educator and de facto patron saint of IFF, Winnegrad has forged a very unique niche in the fragrance industry, thanks to his ability to help his students—who can be fragrance novices as well as perfume pros—“see” scent with color. After spending time with him, one walks away understanding not just the building blocks of an eau, but also how perfume can so powerfully tell stories, affect emotions, and connect individuals.

Winnegrad, who began his career as a chemist at Unilever before transitioning into fine fragrance, trained under the legendary Jean-Claude Ellena, and in turn mentored Thierry Wasser, who is now in-house perfumer for Guerlain. His resumé as a nose includes such blockbusters as Love’s Baby Soft and Lagerfeld Classic, but he maintains that his work as the director of IFF’s perfumery school has been his crowning glory. Winnegrad is truly someone who improves people’s lives—or at the very least, their days. A visit to his delightful stuffed-bear-filled midtown office is a treat, as is a perusal of his thoughtful blog, perfumewhisperer.net, or a dip into his 2017 book, InsBEARations: Warm and Wise Words of Encouragement, which pairs his whimsical and charming bear illustrations with wise quotations from the likes of Maya Angelou, the Dalai Lama, and Michelle Obama. As he writes in the book’s intro, “Happiness, it seems, is not about having everything you want, but about finding meaning, connection, and fulfillment in all the things you do.”

How have your unique life experiences affected your work?

I went to Syracuse University, where I became very good friends with my native American roommate. He invited me to his reservation, which was about six miles from the school, and I really hit it off with his cousin, who was the chief. He and his wife had two kids, and they kind of took me in. I never went home after that. I stayed there over the summers and I learned their ways, which is what made me who I am now. The native Americans believe in the circle – whatever you get, you give, and it comes back around. I started teaching 20 years ago, and it has been the greatest thing ever. When I was a perfumer, I trained some evaluators and I trained some perfumers, but when I was given the opportunity to come here and teach at IFF, I was so grateful. I get so much joy out of completing the circle.

You teach how to understand scent in a very unique way. How did that come about?

When I started training in 1968, perfume was talked about musically, in terms of notes and accords. But I’m tone deaf—so I couldn’t relate to that. I wanted to relate it to something, so I started thinking about it in terms of color, and the more I did that, the stronger it became for me. At the time, there was no Internet, and I didn’t know the word synesthesia. I didn’t know it existed. But years later, I was able to look it up and I learned so much more about it. And this is how I train: I train people how to smell using color.

How does synesthesia work?

Everybody’s born with synesthesia. But after about a year old, most people lose it. There’s only four or 5 percent of people in the world who have synesthesia as adults. But you can train yourself. And the more you train yourself, the stronger it gets. You actually wake up those neurons that were active your brain when you were born.

What inspired you to start your blog?

I started doing it in about 2015. First I only shared it internally, but I saw people’s reactions and I thought, maybe this could assist others. So now I have 300 and some odd people who have signed up for emails, and a lot of other people just visit the site. Sometimes I talk about fragrance and sometimes I just talk about life. I post every Friday. An early one that meant a lot to people was the Talking Stick. It’s something I teach to everyone, and a lot of people say it’s good for life in general. I learned it from going to meetings with the Native Americans where the chiefs meet. When one chief is talking, he has what’s called the Talking Stick. If someone wants to contradict him or add something when he’s through, they say, ‘Can I have the Talking Stick?’ And before they take it they have to repeat back to him what he said to show that they understand his point of view. Then they can say whatever they want. I teach people here at IFF that when the customer says, ‘I want a rose,’ they shouldn’t just say, ‘oh, they want a botanical garden,’ and walk out. Too many people leave a conversation with an impression, not the real desire. And there’s a difference. It’s important to understand what someone is saying.

What inspires your posts week to week?

Usually something I’ve read or come across. I don’t think I’m intelligent, it’s just that these are things that I find and I think they might interest other people, and I want to share them.

What are some of your sort of early scent memories?

Oh wow. That’s difficult. I guess it would be the first time I went to the South of France. That was really powerful for me. Everything was in bloom. The reservation always had a very strong smell for me, too—mostly of wood.  

Did you always recognize that you had a specially attuned sense of scent?

No, I didn’t. And that’s why I truly believe that it’s a skill. There are two degrees of being good. You can be just good. Or you can be very good, if you practice that skill every day or once a week. That’s why I train people the way I do—first to identify single ingredients, then the mixes. Because it doesn’t matter how many ingredients a fragrance has, there are only going to be 10 to 12 ingredients that give it its DNA. Think of this analogy: when you take a shower, you walk out, you have no clothes on, that’s you. You put on clothes, you’re still you. All the other stuff that’s in a fragrance is just the jewelry, the sweater, the tie. But the personality comes down to the core ingredients. And if you can identify them, you can find the DNA of any fragrance.

It all comes down to practice. Twyla Tharp wrote a great book on creativity and skill and she said that every day after practice Michael Jordan would stay and take basic shots, the type people take when they’re just learning, for about 20 minutes. The point being that no matter how good you are, practice will keep your skills sharp.

What would you say your philosophy of scent is?

To me, every fragrance should have a story. It should take you somewhere. If I give you something to smell and say, “I’m going to make you feel like you’re walking on a beach in Hawaii. And you’re going to see palm trees,” the same sites would light up in your brain that would if you were actually there. When I give you that message, you neural couple with me, and that creates trust. This is what I think the meaning of fragrance is. We’ve gotten so analytical about ingredients, and we have machines to tell us what they are. But what I teach people is that it what matters most is the story.

You’ve written on your blog a lot about trusting your intuition. What does that mean when it comes to understanding scent and creating perfumes?

When you have basic knowledge, it’s in your memory, which means it’s in your limbic system where your intuition is. So if you go with your first gut feeling, then you’re using intuition, which comes from knowledge. But once you smell something and you say, ‘I think it’s rose, but let me double check,’ you put it in your prefrontal cortex which becomes your reasoning. That challenges your intuition—and that’s when you start changing your mind.

When I train people, there are three things I teach. One is to use both nostrils when you smell. The next is to close your eyes, so that you can focus on the smell. The last thing, which takes time, is to use your intuition. When you doubt yourself, you might not try something new, and I believe in pushing boundaries. 

Nov

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM
Scents and Sensibility

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM

On December 10th, The Fragrance Foundation will join forces with NEXT for AUTISM to host Pedal Power, an exciting, purpose-driven spin class to raise awareness and funds as its premiere Give Back event . What could possibly make this event even more special? It will be led by AARMY, a new fitness studio created by rock-star SoulCycle instructor Akin Akman, and behind-the-scenes fashion and beauty legend Trey Laird, whose creative agency Laird + Partners has masterminded countless ad campaigns for everyone from Tiffany & Co to Tom Ford. Laird is enthusiastic about harnessing the combined energy of the fragrance, fitness, and creative worlds for Pedal Power, which he has chosen to be the first-ever AARMY charity event. ACCORDS caught up with him to talk about how getting physical can change the world.

What’s the idea behind AARMY?

It’s a new fitness experience and a new fitness brand that has both a physical side and a digital side. I founded it with my partner, Akin Akman, who has been the number one SoulCycle instructor in the world for the last five or six years. He’s a phenomenal force in fitness with incredible background training to be a professional athlete. So, it’s about bringing pro athlete training to everyone—really pushing people to find their best and be their best with mental conditioning as well as physical conditioning, across multiple modalities that they can personalize based on their goals. It’s about inspiration and innovation, drive, and determination, in a very elevated setting, with this incredible, next-level coaching experience.

How did it all start?

Akin had always had a vision to do this. He was a child tennis prodigy, and he’s had this incredible experience of top-level training for virtually his entire life. But when he began his coaching career and started training people and working with different fitness brands, he couldn’t find anything that matched the quality, authenticity, drive, and determination that he was used to as a real athlete.

My background is that I’ve had an advertising, marketing, and branding agency, specializing primarily in fashion and beauty luxury goods. I’ve had that for about 17 years and spent my whole career building brands for other people, doing everything from Lauder and Tiffany and Tommy Hilfiger and Jimmy Choo and Tom Ford. It’s been amazing, but I’ve always wanted to be involved in a brand in a deeper way. I met Akin through his classes about seven years ago. We became really good friends, and realized that we wanted to do this together.

Why did you decide to kick it off with a pop-up location?

We’re officially launching in a permanent location early next year, along with our digital app. But as that’s under construction, we wanted to start teasing the experience. We wanted to make sure that Akin’s loyal followers had a place to train with him and his hand-selected coaches build some buzz. So we’re operating a pop-up for several months in advance of our official opening.

How did you get involved with NEXT for AUTISM?

I’ve known Laura and Harry for many years as well as Tommy and Dee Hilfiger. Tommy’s been a client for years and a very close friend. And I’ve worked with Laura and Harry on various projects for fashion and fragrance and have followed their journey with this issue. I actually didn’t know that they had this type of fundraiser, but when I showed Tommy what I was doing with AARMY, he called Laura, who he knew wanted to do a benefit ride, and said, we’ve got to do this with Trey and Akin. It’s really an incredible way to join forces, and it will be our first charity event at AARMY.

What can we expect from the event on December 10th?

What’s incredible about Akin’s philosophy is that you really, you really commit. It’s not just coming in, taking a class, leaving, and that’s it. It’s building a foundation for something that can have a big impact in your life. And when you think about being able to give back and the way that any single person can have an impact on change, I think that’s what NEXT for AUTISM has done too. They’ve engaged families and broader communities of people that have been affected by autism to step up and do their part and recognize that everybody collectively can make a difference. And when you do something physically and you push yourself physically, but at the same time you’re doing it for something bigger than yourself, it means more.

To be able to engage NEXT for AUTISM’s community and the Fragrance Foundation community as well as the AARMY community, and be able to say let’s like physically put ourselves out there and move this thing forward, I think is really inspiring. And Akin is a master and a genius of pushing people to find something inside themselves. We couldn’t think of a better purpose for our first event than doing this to help people that we know, as well as all of those whose lives have been affected by this in some way, shape, or form.

How many bikes do you have? You might need to get more!

We have 62. And, you know, it’s great when people write a check because anything helps. But if you do something physically, it’s like you’re literally putting your sweat into this and you’re asking people to get behind you and, and support you to support this cause. You’re putting yourself out there, and that takes it to the next level and makes it more meaningful for everyone. It’s going to be a great ride.

Oct

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM
Scents and Sensibility

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM

The Fragrance Foundation’s Give Back Charity of the Year, NEXT for AUTISM, has been fearlessly and resourcefully helmed by founder Laura Slatkin since 2003. Slatkin, revered in the fragrance world as the founder of NEST Fragrances (and the 2019 Fragrance Foundation Game Changer Award honoree), became a crusader for raising awareness for autism and funding treatment and research after her son was diagnosed in 2001. As The Fragrance Foundation and NEXT for AUTISM gear up for their first major fundraising event, Power Pedal, on December 10th, ACCORDS spoke to Slatkin about the charity’s greatest achievements and future plans. 

What does it mean to you to be partnering with The Fragrance Foundation on a cause so close to your heart?

We’re extremely excited to be the Give Back charity for The Fragrance Foundation this year. It’s an enormous honor to have our colleagues and our partners supporting our organization and getting involved and helping us raise awareness for the organization, raise funds and further our mission.

Linda has been an amazing leader of The Fragrance Foundation, and for me, receiving the Game Changer was another terrific honor because we’re so flattered to have been recognized for what we’ve done in the field of home fragrance. My husband Harry and I worked very hard over the past 25 years to build our brands and help other people build their brands, really getting home fragrance growing and thriving as a category. 

All of this gave Linda and I a terrific opportunity to get to know one another, and she was impressed with the work we do for autism. When she came up with this idea that she would highlight our organization with the Give Back program, I couldn’t have been happier.

How do you define the NEXT for AUTISM mission?

We’re dedicated to improving the lives of individuals that are affected by autism and their families. We decided to start NEXT for AUTISM because we were very disappointed back when our son was diagnosed to find that there was such a dearth of services in the community that we live. There were no state-of-the-art schools in Manhattan that followed the principles of applied behavioral analysis, which is the educational curriculum that is reputed to be best practice. We started by opening up the first charter school for children with autism in the state of New York. We partnered with Mayor Bloomberg and our school chancellor. They had over 10,000 kids affected by autism in the New York city public school system, and they needed our help to improve the services for this population. Our first charter school was in Harlem, because I knew that Harry and I could get all the resources that we needed, but what about that single mom living in Harlem with three kids, working three jobs to put food on the table? How was she dealing with a child with autism and how was she going to find a proper education for her child? We then went on to partner with Columbia University, Cornell University and NewYork-Presbyterian hospital to build a medical center that would treat individuals with autism across their lifespan from diagnosis through adulthood. And at that Institute, The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, we accept all insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, all insurance, so no one gets turned away.

What are your ongoing goals?

We’ve always tried to partner with institutions that already are in the business of education or health care, and build a program that can scale up very quickly. We raise the money, we get these programs started, then they become self-sufficient, and we move on to the next issue. That’s why we’re called NEXT for AUTISM, because we’re always thinking about what’s next for this population? What else do they need? Now, for example, we’re focused on adulthood. So we’ve partnered with Arc of Westchester to build an adult program that contemplates how adults will live in our community and be a part of our community. If one out of 59 individuals are diagnosed with autism, we should be seeing them in our supermarkets and our movie theaters. That’s what we’re working on. Then there’s corporate consulting and we do employment programs and recreational programs.

What are you looking forward to most about the NEXT for AUTISM & Fragrance Foundation Power Pedal event?

We are always finding innovative ways to raise money to support the work that we do. So we’re doing this Power Pedal spin class with AARMY, which is a new training program that was started by Trey Laird, who has opened a pop up downtown. It’s kind of like the way one does a walk or a marathon. So, for example, I take a bike in this class and I pledge to either give or raise at least $5,000 and I send it to absolutely everybody in my email database asking them to support my ride. Obviously, we’ve partnered with The Fragrance Foundation, and when they had their recent board meeting everyone raised their hands unanimously that they would take a bike and participate. So we’re really, really excited about it. Tommy and Dee Hilfiger are co-chairing it with Trey Laird, Martha Stewart, myself and Harry and a bunch of friends and colleagues. We’re all going to have fun and raise money! 

Sep

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO
Scents and Sensibility

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO

Carly Cardellino Vaccaro is the beauty director for Cosmopolitan magazine, as well as its digital sister cosmopolitan.com. A true style and scent-loving tastemaker, Carly’s passion for perfume enhances the lives of readers she speaks to every day. Here, she celebrates the magic of her favorite fragrances, and reveals how the top trends in scent mirror the endless energy and transformative power of fashion.

I love fragrance, but it’s a tricky topic to talk about because it’s a very personal and subjective subject. One person’s whole entire day could be thrown off by the mere scent of rose, where another person craves a soft misting of the delicate flower. Me? I gravitate toward anything vanilla and musk (I’m looking at you, Cosmopolitan’s new Love, Unfiltered Eau de Parfum)—I actually don’t even feel put together unless I spray one of the many concoctions I’ve hoarded over the years that blend the two accords together. My most recent favorites are Love by Killian Don’t Be Shy and Kayali Vanilla—both instantly take me back to sitting at the table with my grandmother, getting wafts of her pure vanilla perfume as she passed by me with a grilled cheese (the crust cut off, obvi) that she’d just made for me. My grandma wasn’t obsessed with fashion, but man did she love an accessory—one of her most prized possessions being fragrance (and a lucite bracelet). In a way, her scent was the last accessory she’d put on and she inadvertently passed that tradition onto me. Cut to 30 years later, I’m spraying on a perfume from my very vast fragrance wardrobe—I have ones for day, night, vacation, running errands…the list goes on—that I’ve curated over the years, allowing it to be the final touch to any outfit, making me feel like I have my life together (I don’t, but a girl can dream, right?!). Fragrance just lets me feel like I can actually take on the day—a power fragrance of sorts, if you will—and that’s why I never leave my apartment without it on.

On that note, like fashion, it’s also one of the best ways to express yourself without having to say a word. Soft, floral fragrances can mean you’re looking to be playful, light-hearted, and free (I instantly picture Lily Aldridge in her new Haven campaign, running through a field of wildflowers—Hi, Lily!), while muskier, heavier scents scream that you’re confident and warm—or trying to be sexy (without actually trying). And then you have citrusy scents that give off fresh vibes, but also mean you’re ready to be a BO$$ (perfume PSA: grapefruit scents are amazing to wear on job interviews because they allow you to smell fresh and gives off an energizing aroma). And now, brands are going out of their way to think out of the box in terms of how people wear fragrance, like coating temporary tattoos, dousing woven bracelets in scent (hi, Diptyque!), hair mists—and even turning to huge fragrance houses to scent your favorite dry shampoo for a luxurious, lingering aroma that is sure to get your 1,000 compliments. What a time to be alive! Not to mention, the huge wave of genderless fragrances we’re seeing marketed to appeal to anyone and everyone—I, myself, wore Curve for Men in high school and everyone was always like, ‘Why do you wear a men’s scent?’ My response: ‘Why not! It’s just what I like.’ So it’s nice to see gender being more fluid in the fragrance industry because scent is simply what you gravitate to (Same goes with fashion!)—there aren’t meant to be, nor should there be any rules.

Aug

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN
Scents and Sensibility

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN

In 2020, the Master’s Program at FIT will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its launch. The brainchild of industry legend Leonard Lauder, it has become a true Think Tank: an incubator for talent, producing global business research and annual trend reports. Fragrance Foundation President Emeritus Annette Green championed the development of first the undergraduate and then the graduate Cosmetics and Fragrance curricula at FIT, and each successive Foundation President has served on the Industry Board. ACCORDS spoke with Professor Stephan Kanlian, who has been with the Master’s Program since its inception two decades ago. 

How did you get started with FIT? 

My wife saw the position in WWD, and urged me to consider it.  I had worked in global marketing in skincare, after several years with the diplomatic branch of the US Department of Commerce, running consumer product trade missions overseas. The final step of the hiring process in 1999 was a one-on-one interview with new college President, Dr. Joyce Brown.  I laid out my vision for a “think tank for beauty” and she said “let’s do it.”  She has been a champion of the program ever since.

What makes the FIT Master’s Program so unique?

No other industry has collaborated across competitive lines to create graduate business curriculum to train talent and undertake research. There is a close collaboration between industry leaders and the faculty: defining skill sets for successful leadership, and identifying business issues that need fresh and disruptive thinking by emerging leaders. 

How has the the curriculum at FIT evolved over the past 20 years to keep pace with changes in the industry?

The faculty have evolved the fragrance curriculum away from merely focusing on fine fragrance, to teach the fragrancing of all consumer products, as an integral part of the marketing mix and a sensory branding opportunity to reach consumers.  As the only college campus in the US with a working fragrance laboratory, this is a unique strength at FIT.

What, to you, is the most captivating thing about fragrance?  What do your personal favorite scents have in common?

Fragrance is incredibly intellectual, and yet simultaneously spiritual (primal, really), and as an academic that combination has always intrigued me. My favorite scents are generally artisanal fragrances, either floriental or gourmand notes, with an interesting combination of ingredients that is at once surprising and familiar.      

What stands out in your mind as you look back over a 20 year collaboration with the industry? 

The seamless partnership we have built between industry and academia is a model for the future of education, and the future value of universities. There is also the ability to effect positive change through a strong community of 350 alumni, who work across the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia. I’m also very proud to work in an industry that values education and nurturing talent as part of its culture. The Fragrance Foundation’s programs for The Notables and certification of consumer-facing store personnel are great examples.

What still surprises you about the fragrance and beauty industry?

Perhaps given that I am so invested in our student’s success, 95% of whom are women, it still surprises me that more Corporate Directors and “C Suite” leadership in beauty are not female. 

What’s the one thing you hope every student walks away with?

The gravitas that only comes from the conviction of great ideas, informed by solid analytics, and the executive presence to sell-through those ideas from corporate leadership to the end consumer.  

Has there been a specific moment in your career of which you’ve been particularly proud? 

There have been quite a few: the first student collaboration with the WWD Beauty Summit (2004); student research with IDEO presented at the American Express Luxury Summit (2007); students delivering the keynote for the Fragrance Foundation Summit (2010); publication of student research in the Wall Street Journal (2015); and most recently, two of our graduates being named Chief Marketing Officers, and a third becoming Head of Fashion and Luxury at Google. As a professor, nothing engenders greater pride than to witness your student’s success. I have been very blessed in my career in that regard.

Jul

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation
Scents and Sensibility

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

Featuring The Notables

What does the future look like for the Fragrance Foundation? The momentum is building, and the bar is set high. Over the past year, the Foundation’s reach has already expanded exponentially: the success of Fragrance Day, established in 2018, reached an audience of 200 million via social media in 2019. And that’s just one of the many ways that the organization is delivering on its mission —to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance—says president Linda Levy. Her goals for the coming year are even more ambitious. “For Fragrance Day 2020, we will focus our campaign on ingredients with a new and exciting artistic collaboration, as well as expert content on ingredient transparency, because product safety and sustainability are important messages for us to share with consumers,” she says. The organization will also make a tremendous international push, reaching out “to form new alliances with other countries to re-establish official Fragrance Foundations with Fragrance Day 2020 as a key pillar.”

There will also be a continued campaign to elevate and celebrate perfumers, something that was integral to 2019’s agenda, reaching its greatest expression in the series of perfumer portraits photographed by Michael Avedon for Fragrance Day. “Fragrance Day is a fantastic initiative that has brought perfumers in the store with consumers and celebrated perfume as a precious but accessible, mysterious but tangible product. It rejuvenates perfume and what it stands for,” says Fragrance Foundation Notable Lorraine Miche de Malleray from IFF. Many also appreciated how it impacted their perspective on their own work. “Fragrance Day was an opportunity for my team at Robertet to take a moment and celebrate the hard work we all do and each department’s contribution to the industry,” says Katrina Guillermo of Robertet Fragrances. “I was really impressed on how The Fragrance Foundation was able to use technology and social media as a platform to express love for fragrance.”

2019 also saw the Fragrance Foundation redefine and revitalize its communication strategy, with the new monthly digital magazine Accords, and the new weekly newsletter Note Worthy. These platforms will continue to provide exclusive and exciting content, including personal perspectives from industry icons, perfumers, and fragrance creatives, and, says Levy, enable the TFF to “continue to build our messaging with modern formats and unique messaging.” As Notable Malinda Appel of NEST Fragrances says, “Most of the members of the Fragrance Foundation are in competition but we’re also friends. The events and new communications are a neutral place for brands and fragrance houses to unite about our shared interest in growing the awareness and future of the fragrance industry. The new approach the Fragrance Foundation has taken feels fresh, and supportive of all organizations, large and small.” Notable Amy Rueckl from IFF agrees: “I think the fragrance foundation is doing a wonderful job of elevating their vision and image to begin to appeal to a new, broader audience.” Going forward, the communications will seek to engage increasingly more fragrance-loving readers. The ultimate goal, Levy says, is “to grow the dialogue in the fragrance community and most importantly, directly with consumers.”

As Levy announced at June’s resoundingly successful TFF Awards, the Foundation will also be ramping up its philanthropic GIVE BACK efforts, first by partnering with 2019 Game Changer honoree Laura Slatkin to benefit her charity, Next For Autism, by offering a full year of programs and events that raise awareness and funds for this important cause. Because in making the world a better place, as in all things, “The Fragrance Foundation and our members have a much bigger voice together than we would have alone,” says Levy.

The Notables program is another bright light for the future of TFF, as it unites young, enthusiastic minds to come together and dream up new possibilities and programs. “That fact that we’re asked for input is meaningful,” says Tracy Taylor of Firmenich. “TFF encourages new voices, ideas and perspectives in an industry grounded in heritage, tradition and ritual. Even emerging professionals have the opportunity to help shape the future of fragrance and a responsibility to preserve what makes it so special.”

The Notables program began in 2015, and honorees from each class continue to passionately contribute ideas to Think Tank meetings. When recently asked what they feel they can achieve as ambassadors to their company, responses varied from focusing on the network they can build (“I would like broaden my knowledge of other parts of the industry that are different from my own contributions,” says Kaleigh Prokop from MANE) to bringing the Fragrance Foundation’s mission statement to life in the world at large. “I feel confident that I can get people more engaged, educated and excited about the fragrance industry,” says Hannah Silver of NEST Fragrances. “There are so many resources and “seeds” that The Fragrance Foundation provides to its members. It is up to me to see the future and enlighten others.” Katie Bell from Cosmo International Fragrances, too, believes that being a Notable offers an exciting opportunity to be an ambassador for scent. “If we can continue to inspire the world to share the same passion we all have for fragrance through our talents as creators, storytellers, artists…then we are on the right track!”

For 2020 and beyond, the Notables have shared many ideas and hopes. Julia Olivier from Firmenich wants to see even more paying-it-forward work to help others on behalf of the Foundation: “We could develop a team of olfactive expert volunteers to either entertains kids in hospital with olfactive workshops or help adults that have lost sense of memory stimulating them with olfactive scents,” she suggests. Karissa Ciliento of Givaudan, is excited to see the Fragrance foundation “reveal and share the stories of the unsung heroes within the industry, “We are finally pulling back the curtain on the creative process with perfumers, but there are still so many more people to showcase behind the scenes of our fragrance world,” she says, “such as Evaluation, Sales, Lab Technicians, Marketing, Consumer Insights, Graphics, S&T, and Raw Materials.” Brand Strategist Gayathri Balasundar says, “I also hope TFF can promote more diversity in fragrance the way we are seeing in other categories. I don’t just mean diversity in color, though I think that’s critical, but also diversity in backgrounds.”

Simone Bolotin of COTY says, “The fragrance industry is evolving every day with new technologies, digitally native brands, gender fluid concepts and more, and I look forward to seeing the Fragrance Foundation continue to embrace and celebrate these new innovations.” And Lindsay Powell Schwartz of COTY says, “I hope that the Fragrance Foundation brings industry leaders together to thoughtfully address consumer concerns around safety and the need for more transparency. This will require an honest dialogue with multiple parties with different perspectives in order to ensure that the response doesn’t simply feel like propaganda to the consumer. I also hope that the foundation leads the way in identifying innovative ways to modernize the fragrance industry, including new technologies, formats, accords, ingredients, and ways to sample.”

Brooke Selitto from Cosmo International Fragrances, is “looking forward to The Fragrance Foundation continuing to connect the fragrance community through meaningful conversation and initiatives”. Perhaps more than anything, the Fragrance Foundation is a connector—of people, ideas, passions, inspiration and information. As Notable Anais Nouvet of Cartier says, “To me, the Fragrance Foundation is the “highest instance” of our industry. The Foundation keeps us all connected to what’s happening in our profession at a more human level, which is very different from the competitive reports or data we usually work with. It animates our network of passionate professionals through its amazing events.” Its work to unite brands, individuals, and the perfume-loving public at large will continue apace in 2020 and beyond—especially with so many enthusiastic members driving it forward. “Not so long ago, the fragrance houses were thought of as the “ghost writers” behind the perfume industry, yet more and more there is great interest from consumers to know the back story of fragrance design,” says Notable Liza Ketcham of Givaudan. “It’s an industry that many people know very little about, and I love what The Fragrance Foundation is doing to reveal the beauty, passion, and creativity that make up our world. My hope is that TFF continues to be an active force in helping to bring our perfumers to the forefront, and helping to provide a better understanding of our creative process and the storytelling behind each fragrance.” Finally, Alexandra Cassar from IFF sums up the feelings of many who work closely with the Fragrance Foundation and believe in the difference it’s making and will continue to make within the fragrance industry and beyond: “I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this movement and finally show the world what we do and who we are. Fragrances are much more than just a beauty product. They inspire, build confidence, and make people dream.”

Jun

Game Changer: Laura Slatkin

Game Changer: Laura Slatkin Portrait by Michael Avedon
Scents and Sensibility

Game Changer: Laura Slatkin

Game Changer: Laura Slatkin Portrait by Michael Avedon

Beneath Laura Slatkin’s soft-spoken demeanor lies a true Woman of Action. Not only is she a fashion plate, an incomparable hostess, and a philanthropic powerhouse, she is the home fragrance pioneer we have to thank for the fact that the category has become so vital. Slatkin first introduced luxury scented candles to the US market, along with her husband Harry, with Slatkin & Co in 1992. She went on to create home fragrances for a roster of brands including Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Jonathan Adler, and launched her own blockbuster venture, NEST Fragrances, in 2008. Slatkin implicitly understands that a candle, when constructed with the complexity and nuance of an eau de parfum, can glorify our shared spaces and offer an invisible welcome when we walk into a room, while also acting as a silent but profound communicator of who we are and how we wish to move through the world. As NEST has branched out into fine fragrance and body care, the brand’s spectrum of unique and addictive scents has made it truly iconic. “When I first started the company,” Slatkin says, “I’d go to a dinner party and sit next to someone and they’d say, “What do you do?” “I have a home fragrance company called NEST Fragrances.” And they’d say, “Oh,” and go back to their dinner. But now, when I say that I founded NEST Fragrances, they say, “I love that brand!” To see someone’s face light up—that’s my measurement of success.”

How does it feel to be honored with the Game Changer award?
It’s as exciting as it is for an actress to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards. That’s how meaningful it is to me, because it’s before all of the professionals who I work with, compete with, and partner with. It’s just an extraordinary moment.

When did your love of fragrance begin?
In 1992, after I married Harry. Prior to that I worked on Wall Street, and I was buried in finance, so I didn’t really think about it. It wasn’t until my brother-in-law told me, as an interior designer, that the final touch on a beautifully decorated home is a beautiful home fragrance. He showed me that to really create an ambiance in a home and please all the senses is something extraordinary. When we got into the business, I’d never even burned a scented candle before. It just wasn’t on my radar. But the first time a perfumer brought in samples for me to smell based on the inspiration I gave him, I picked one of them up and smelled it and said, “Oh my God, this is beautiful.” It really impacted me and moved me so that I could feel my whole body transform when I inhaled this beautiful fragrance. And then we lit it, and it filled the room with the most extraordinary scent. There was no question that this was perfection. It became our Bamboo candle, which has been our number one scent for 25 years.

At the time, there was nothing else like it. Do you think that’s why it was such an immediate success?
Yes, Slatkin & Co. started with 12 fragrances and went to 24 fragrances. Saks Fifth Avenue launched us on their couture floor, which was very unique at that time. Home fragrance was usually on the eighth floor buried in the back of the bra department. After that, we grew to be the number one luxury brand and everybody started getting into the business and coming to us for help in creating their assortments. When I started NEST Fragrances in 2008, my whole premise was, why can’t every scent be a Bamboo? Let’s raise the bar. Nothing gets launched unless it moves you, and impacts you, and transports you, in the same way that Bamboo did for me when I first smelled it.

What else do you think makes NEST so special?
There are a few pillars that we stand on. Number one, the glass packaging. You can put it in any room. If you have a modern house, if your room is green, if it’s orange, if it’s purple, it still fits in. That was really important to me. We also have the highest fragrance load in the industry in terms of the amount of perfume in our candles, and we have a proprietary wax formulation that we developed over 25 years that makes the candles extremely efficacious in filling a room with scent. That’s why NEST is loved. NEST is loved because each fragrance has a really strong personality; each one creates a different mood, and that mood is very apparent when you walk into a room.

Is that what defines a good home scent for you?
It’s one that really transforms the space. So much so that when people walk in, they say, “Oh my God, it smells so good in here.” That’s my definition. Those three words, “Oh my God,” are our guiding principles.

What was your creative process when launching your fine fragrance collection?
I’m always working with master perfumers for home fragrance. And in the back of my mind, I always wanted to do fine fragrance but never had the inspiration for it. What would it look like? What would its positioning be? It never really gelled until I was sitting in the library one day looking at some art books. And I came across this book on Mrs. Delany, an 18th century botanical artist whose work really moved me. From there, I commissioned an artist to paint paintings of flowers that I really loved, and then we took the paintings to the perfumer, who used the inspiration to create the fragrances. The collection was launched exclusively at Sephora in 2013, and today we are consistently ranked between 7 and 9 against 125 or so nationally advertised brands. I think what moves the needle is the passion, the creativity, the originality, and the inspiration coming together in a way that creates an authentic story.

You recently opened your first New York flagship. Why was now the right time?
We have NEST home fragrance in Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Nordstrom. We have fine fragrance in Sephora. The body collection was launched at Ulta Beauty. So we wanted one place where we can bring all of the categories together as a story. Because that’s the future for NEST, to start to bring together the brand in home, fine fragrance, and personal care now that it’s gained such incredible traction. To be this enormously successful in fine fragrances is really groundbreaking. And there’s a different way of looking at fragrances today. It’s about having a whole wardrobe. When I wake up every morning, I have all eight fragrances in my closet and I say, “Who am I going to see today? What kind of mood do I want to create? What am I wearing?”, etc. It’s no longer about a singular scent.

What kind of sensibility were you able to bring to the table when creating fragrances for other brands?
We’ve created home fragrance for over 100 luxury brands, which has given me my PhD in fragrance. Working with perfumers, and understanding the various notes and how they blend together, was an extraordinary learning experience. But I also had to get into the psyche of every brand. What is their DNA? Aerin Lauder and Vera Wang are very different than Jonathan Adler, and very different from Ralph Lauren. Everything from the packaging, to the vessel, to the scent, it all has to be harmonious. I found it very exciting and interesting to delve into that.

While you’ve been building this empire, you’ve also found time to do so much amazing philanthropic work. What are you particularly proud of in that area?
When Harry and I started NEXT for AUTISM, we were thinking about how when our son David was first diagnosed, the best place to get an evaluation was Yale, and there was a four-year waiting list. I just kept thinking about that single woman living in Harlem, three kids, working three jobs to put food on the table, one with autism. So what I’m most proud of is the fact that we have partnered with the government to bring services to that population that doesn’t have the resources. Whether it’s our charter schools, which are located in Harlem and the Bronx, or whether it’s our brain center that we built with Columbia, Cornell, and near New York–Presbyterian Hospital, which accepts any insurance, nobody gets turned down, and provides state-of-the- art care – we’re bringing that excellence to a population that normally wouldn’t have access to that.

May

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS
Scents and Sensibility

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS

Caroline Fabrigas is the CEO of Scent Marketing Inc., a full-service Scent and Sensory Marketing company, which creates signature ambient fragrances for companies to feature in spaces such as hotel lobbies and shops in order to cultivate an atmosphere that draws customers in and resonates with brand values. Previously, Caroline held senior positions in the corporate beauty world.

How do you define ambient scent?

Ambient scent is one of the most influencing factors in brand communication. It is one of the fastest and most effective ways to express the values, emotions and ethos of a brand. Ambient scent acts as the background, the canvas against which all else plays. It works to enhance all other branding elements such as a brand’s logo, color palette, vocal identity and sound track. In fact, it is a brand’s logo in the air: A well crafted ambient scent is an invisible influencer that envelops you, whispers a brands message in a deep, meaningful, and indelible way.

Scent Marketing has allowed me to gain a total appreciation for the art of fragrance and the talented perfumers who translate our brand briefs into magical scented compositions that embody a brand. And, through my experience with scent marketing, I’ve come to see how scent impacts our lives at every level. It touches our emotions, provokes our memories and even enhances every experience making it richer and more multifaceted.

How do your partners feel about bringing scent into their environment?

More and more companies are recognizing the influencing factors of ambient scent today. Brands are actively embracing the creation of signature scents and  get really excited about the scent development process as it often allows them to revisit the core values, philosophies and true mission as we consider how to express these through aroma. Our partners welcome the opportunity to use their signature scent to inspire their consumer base and internal teams and often charge their communities to help in the naming process.

Scent marketing not only enhances a consumer or guest experience but can also provide a lasting revenue stream for brands as the signature scent expands into scent extensions and a multitude of scent extensions. A successful signature scent becomes a part of a memorable experience and guests/clients often want to take a souvenir home with the which leads to the development of host of scent extensions for retail sale.

It’s wonderful to see the power that a signature scent, artfully crafted and perfectly delivered, can impact on a client’s brands, and to be a part of that growth is very fulfilling.

How does ambient scent affect people when they walk into a room, retail store or experience?

It’s fascinating to watch people enter a space with ambient scent. Reactions range from verbal outbursts exclaiming immediate love of the aroma, while others seems to relax and breath more easily as the environment envelops them and all at once they are at one with their surroundings. Some people don’t notice it at all but later report feeling good in the space and spent more time there than planned.

In the digital world, how is scent especially important?

As the world becomes more digital, the role of the brick-and-mortar has changed. A trip to a brick and mortar location must now offer more than an array of great merchandise it must also provide a unique consumer experience through multi-sensorial touch points. To this end ambient scent is one of the most powerful ways to capture share of mind and wallet.

How would you diffuse scent at a major event?

Scent marketing is a true balance of art and science and this is never more evident than when using ambient scent at a major event. The art of creating the “right” scent to communicate the desired message and align with the decor is key. However, it is through the science of diffusion that perfumer’s magic comes alive. Diffusers need to be accurately selected for the size and scale of the space, they need to be located precisely where the presence of scent is desired and finally they are calibrated to match scent velocity (level of scent in the air).

Ambient scent is the invisible influencer. You cannot see it, feel it or hear it….only the scent of a memorable immersive experience remains.

Apr

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019
Scents and Sensibility

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019

Following its momentous introduction by the Fragrance Foundation on March 21st last year, Fragrance Day 2019 was greeted with enthusiasm by members, consumers, and retailers, all of whom worked together to give this year’s celebrations tremendous visible impact. The Fragrance Foundation kicked it off with an Instagram campaign that ran from March 1st to the 21st, highlighting powerful portraits of 15 perfumers taken by esteemed photographer Michael Avedon, as well as brief video interviews. TFF also introduced highly popular fragrance giveaways to galvanize engagement with consumers—and these posts, featuring beautiful images of scents such as Dior Joy, Marc Jacobs Daisy, and Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime, generated lively conversation and interest, tallying up more than 10,000 comments on the Fragrance Foundation feed.  On March 7th, Avedon’s portraits were displayed at the Italian Trade Commission for a media launch event attended by the perfumers themselves and industry leaders which garnered 130,000 media impressions. And the media went on to toast Fragrance Day warmly: The March 21st celebration was covered in L’Officiel, Forbes, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue, among many others.

On Instagram, Fragrance Day was hard to miss: Over 60 TFF brands and retailers celebrated #nationalfragranceday on Instagram, reaching a combined total of 200 million followers. Influencers such as Mona Kattan called out Fragrance Day in Instagram Stories, and Sephora—with 17 million followers—spotlighted the event on Instagram Live. In stores, retailers such as Bond No. 9, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and Tom Ford hosted special events and displayed bold signage in windows and on counters to recognize and promote the significance of March 21st, giving Fragrance Day 2019 even wider reach.

“Fragrance Day March 21st continues to gain momentum as retailers and brands join the annual celebration,” says Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy. “Although many agree every day is Fragrance Day, The Fragrance Foundation leads the charge to spread the word to consumers. As always, we work to spread the message based on our mission: to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance. We have so much more to discover as perfumers share their insights and creativity through storytelling.”

— April Long

Mar

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon
Scents and Sensibility

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon

I’ve always been drawn to scent because of its associations with memory, and the way it draws you back to a time or a place or a person. When I return to Southeast Asia and smell the exotic and strange scents there, for example, I immediately get a bolt of the same awe I felt when I first went at the age of 16. I find perfumers’ talents, and their ability to compartmentalize scent, absolutely astonishing.

For this project, I photographed 15 perfumers from the major houses, and they were all extremely delightful and kind. My overall impression was that they had a tremendous discipline and work ethic, and a strong sense of new beginnings. Like Bob Dylan said, “You should always be in a state of becoming,” and I could tell that they all had a creative charge to keep creating, and to always push the boundaries.

They were all photographed in the same environment of tranquility, in a kind of ethereal, angelic, glowing white light. That removed them from the lab, and gave everything a softness and delicacy.

The idea was to incorporate objects that were important to them, so I worked with capturing a sense of who they were through the visual interplay with their chosen object. It was interesting for me, because I’m usually just focusing on people, but this was about finding a psychological compromise between the object and the sitter.

Some were challenging because when you have an object that’s rather large it can take a lot of attention from the viewer, and I wanted to emphasize the perfumer’s identity and their spirit while also portraying an object near and dear to them. The objects ranged from a bust of Buddha to dancing shoes to a wonderful piece of art created by a dear colleague. It was fantastic, and galvanizing, to see this dialogue between the sitter and the thing that was so important to them.

— MICHAEL AVEDON

Feb

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp
Scents and Sensibility

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp

The Fragrance Foundation 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer

Perfume is my life. Perfumers are addicted to this all-consuming work we love and to the rush of excitement we experience when we’ve created something truly new.

Every generation of the Cresp family loved sweets. My childhood memories are of cakes baking; as a child I had even had my own specialty: candied fruit cakes. So it’s not surprising that one of my creations was Angel by Thierry Mugler, which opened the door to a new olfactive family: the gourmand.

I decided to combine edible, sugary notes like licorice, honey, and special vanillas. This led to praline mixed with cocoa to add a chocolate inflection to patchouli. Something very addictive resulted!

Gourmand scents transport us through the power of olfactory memory. Easily recognizable and reassuring, their “edible” quality makes gourmand scents irresistible.

Another addictive fragrance I am proud to have created is Dolce Gabbana Light Blue, a surprising combination of sexy, warm woods and inviting citrus notes. One of the earliest woody fragrances for women, it continues to be successful.

I believe today’s consumers – especially millennials living in big cities like London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sao Paolo – want to live life intensely. They travel the world, which is more accessible now because of the internet, and enjoy extreme sports for the strong sensations they impart. Living life to the fullest, they have lots of energy, and seek immediate gratification, so the scents they wear must complement their complex lives. They must be both comforting and captivating to grab and hold their attention.

Addictive ingredients and fragrances, then, are more relevant today than ever and still resonate strongly with me. I’m proud that, in October, 2018, I launched my own niche brand with my daughter Anais, an architect, and her husband Jack. Called AKRO, which means “addicted” in French, it is a collection of daring and disruptive unisex fragrances inspired by uncontrollable, delicious dependencies – the simple pleasures of life that keep us coming back for more!
My work is figurative. I prefer working with something tangible rather than abstract. I enjoy reproducing the actual smells around me and then making them wearable, with wonderful diffusion. So this project suits my creative style very well.

Each AKRO fragrance relates to a different time of day –and the little daily personal indulgences. AWAKE is a delicious combination of coffee, cardamom and caffeine to start the day right, like our morning expresso. Next, we reach for the DARK – an intense chocolate note to finish our midday meal. We might follow that with SMOKE – naturally addictive notes of tobacco leaves with nicotine. Then we unwind after work with intoxicating MALT and its vapors of whiskey and rum. Now it’s NIGHT – and the animalic allure of “dirty rose,” agarwood and cumin notes evoke the nocturnal pleasures of sex. Finally, HAZE and the daze we’re in from cannabis and cardamom, letting go with a joint after a long, often stressful day at work.

Personally, I am addicted to dark chocolate with a good espresso, so DARK and AWAKE both fit my personality well. Maybe AKRO’s tagline should be “Wear without Moderation”!

— OLIVIER CRESP

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