As the end of 2010 approaches I started to wonder if 2010 was a good year or not.
Chanel launched a new fragrance for men, Bleu de Chanel, 11 years after Allure pour Homme. We would have expected to be THE launch, but unfortunately what we got was an americanized French brand that disappointed its fans, with 2 strikes right into the heart. Chanel Eau Tendre, also launched this year, is a weak interpretation of the original chypre-floral Chance from 2003. Mystic Chanel was buried, and what we got was a teen version of a fragrance that once had personality. One more fruity pinky dumb perfume to join the vast group of pink-fruity-florals. Too bad for Chanel. 2010 was not your year.
The house of Guerlain launched many fragrances this year, but what caught my attention was L'Abeille Impériale and Idylle EDT. The first I had the pleasure to smell for a very brief moment, from a sample flacon of a friend, and the second one I bought one bottle for myself. What can I say? I would love to have the one bottle of L'Abeille because it is a dreamy nectar, but it is out of my financial reach. The honeyed flowers are so delicate, so luxurious and so special that it brings tears to my eyes to think I will never have it. So I was fortunate to have the second amazing launch of Guerlain.
Idylle EDT is a marvelous chypre. It has a luminous sultry chic flowery mossy green aura that makes me smile for hours. Thank God I can give now Miss Mademoiselle Chanel some rest! So, in terms of creations, 2010 was a good year for the house. In terms of PR, needless to say, Mr. Jean Paul Guerlain must reconsider his public appearances.
Dior expanded the Couturier Parfumeur Collection, and added one more Scale to its list of ports with Scale aux Marquise (not to mention that Ego Facto should be suing someone, but this is not my business). Nothing special, nothing worth writing about. J'Adore L'Or supposedly done by hand with extremely expensive fragrant components did not reach the luxury of J'Adore Absolu, so I will stick with it. 2010 was a blank year to the Maison.
YSL brought a modern version of Opium - Belle D'Opium. The flacon is very appealing, very sexy. But what to say about the fragrance. Let's make it short and kill it in one fast strike: I will stick with the original, thank you very much! They did the same mistake, AGAIN. Did they not learn anything with Parisienne??
The house of luxurious jewelry, Van Cleef & Arpels launched two fragrances: Oriens and Midnight in Paris. The second is indeed what French perfumery is all about! Hip hip hurray for IFF.
Thierry Mugler worked some of his constant flankers, which are totally a waste of his time and than, he comes with Womanity. The ugliest flacon of 2010 but somehow he came up with a sweet salty fragrance that is the hit of the moment. Let's take it that he is creative and Womanity is not an exception. Caviar is a fishy note and he wants to celebrate women...wow! Who would ever think that someone would have the guts huh?
Cartier expanded their Les Heures de Cartier with 3 new fragrances, and launched two successful perfumes: Roadster Sport and Eau de Cartier Essence D'Orange. They worked hard in 2010, the public is thankful!
Annick Goutal went down the hill with their roses and the green grass pudding Ninfeo Mio, so I can tell that some people will have to hit the road in 2011 if the brand wishes to keep their solid name.
Hermés presented us with a new version of Eau de Merveilles, The Eau Claire de Merveilles, younger and less oriental - not bad at all. Voyage d'Hermés was the most successful fragrance surrounding water. Serge Lutens was null. Many others launched their "less is more" fragrances, but the only one striking a success was the brilliant Jean Claude Ellena. We have one more coming out of the lab, Iris Ukiyoe, but I haven't seen it yet, so I cannot comment on this one. The group LVMH bought more shares of the house, so we don't know how this will effect the quality and the creativity of the fragrances. Hermés is still running the game, and I hope they will hold their cards, at least in the fragrance department.
Some fragrances received new modern versions of bottles. Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps transformed itself, from romantic to hard core punk - the new bottle is edgy, different. For a fragrance that lost its originality long time ago, who cares??? Andy Tauer became hexagonal. Acqua di Parma became black (like everyone else these days...). Carolina Herreira's 212 became golden, in the 212 VIP flanker. A beautiful flacon, but a hard pill to swallow! Jade Jagger brought a fresh modern look to Shalimar and we are all happy with it. Fendi, Gucci and Paco Rabanne brought beautiful flacons to the shelves and boring fragrances with numb names such as Fan di Fendi, Guilty by Gucci, Lady Million ...but we love design, don't we? So I guess they are all excused! Victorinox brought an amazing perfume bottle this year for the fragrance Swiss Unlimited. Yes, unlimited creativity! And the price is nice.
In terms of events, Chandler Burr left the New York Times and his fragrance reviews to be a curator of The Center of Olfactory Art. Acclaimed to be the first by ABC news, but come closer and I will tell you a secret (he is not the first in anything! He is a hard working man committed to fragrances, that is for sure, but not the first in anything concerning fragrances).
Speaking of new and not so new: OsMoz launched an Iphone application - scent sational, so you can get information about your favorite fragrances via cell phone. But Givaudan has done that already, didn't they??
To be continued...
meanwhile, Frank Sinatra will sing along....