Friday, September 16, 2011

The Butterfly Effect and Perfumes

As a blogger and fragrance editor, I always find it very challenging to succeed to describe something so intangible like perfumes. Although you can see the liquid in the bottle, once you spray it on your skin, it changes to tiny drops that you no longer see, but can still feel its presence till it evaporates completly. 
I have been comparing fragrances to many forms of art, characters, sensations, emotions, colors..and many other understandable concepts in order to express what cannot be exactly expressed. 
Last year I was thinking (the philosopher in me...if I can say I have one...) about the butterfly effect.

Butterfly Effect is a chaos theory, and a chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are very sensitive to its initial conditions. So, the Butterfly Effect is a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a tiny change can result a large difference in a non linear system, to a later state.
There I was, sitting in my yard, watching a butterfly sucking nectar from my flowers, thinking about fragrances and how the addition of a single note changes a perfume. How many look-alikes fragrances there are in the market, with just one tiny little change, new box and new flanker name... But my thoughts got lost in my mind, hidden by my daily preoccupations, as butterflies flew away to my neighbor's sweeter nectars.

Yesterday I decided to spend an hour in the local shopping mall to check if there was any fragrance that would inspire me (which nowadays seems to be more challenging than describing the ones I do find!). Sitting in a cafe and savoring delicious pastries, the butterfly effect came back to my mind again(weird huh?). Butterfly Effect, fragrances, BUTTERFLIES! Fragrances are like butterflies!! A fragrance development project is just like the life cycle of a butterfly.

A butterfly is an insect with 4 scale covered wings, that can be very colorful and complexed or plain, but equally beautiful. They are fascinating creatures with the ability to mimic other species or exhibit polymorphism. They feed primarily from nectars, than pollen, sand, dirty or tree sap. To me, the most fascinating thing about butterflies is their life circle. From a tiny egg called  chorion, the butterfly starts its life as a larvae (caterpillars). This tiny egg, in perfume development can be understood as an inspiration, desire, idea for a fragrance. It is in a shell called creativity. A beginning to what can be considered a masterpiece or a total disaster. The fragrance "egg" belongs to brands, to creative directors and some times to the perfumers (if independent).

Photo credit: Jay Cossey

The caterpillar is a creature with a promise to become a beautiful butterfly. It does have amazing skills like the ability to release scent to protect itself from other animal, through structures called osmeteria. They can communicate with ants (god knows what they talk about!) by vibration and chemical signals. Some caterpillars can inflate they head or create false spots to mimic eyes also for protection. The body is build in layers and in the last stage of the caterpillar's development, the wings are developed.
Caterpillars are the fragrance briefs - an idea described in details with a promise to become a beautiful perfume, the newest hit, the new Chanel Nº5 of the contemporary world. Although it looks weird, and sometimes it has to be redefined many many times, it is an intermediary phase between the intangible to the golden liquid in a bottle.

The last stage before turning into the butterfly is the Pupa. The caterpillar looks for a place for pupation that it is usually under a leaf. It makes a button of silk, usually with a golden color, and it becomes a Chrysalis.

It is a time of introspection. The skin hardens and the butterfly continues to develop inside. In 10 days app. the butterfly will emerge.
For fragrance developments the pupa is the lab, and Chrysalis is the many formulations and reformulations. The numbers 01,02,03,04 and 05 of a legendary tale of a Chanel fragrance. In the lab the perfumer will sit apart of the world and focus on how to transform words and corporate meetings into a product. He will be surrounded by olfactive notes in little flacons with raw materials, and he or she will design the perfume.

The butterfly is obviously the final phase. The desire, the inspiration, the idea, that started in a tiny egg became this delicate, sumptuous, beautiful and colorful creature. It will fly and flow to the hands of perfume passionates just like butterflies fly to flowers. Perfumes cannot exist without us my dear readers, as butterflies cannot exist without nectars, and the other way around! Flowers need butterflies and other insects to make pollination, just as perfumes needs us to appreciate them, to talk about them in our blogs or in our social groups so they can reach others.

If a tiny drop of fragrance can change your mood, define or redefine who you are, and this will affect another person, in the other side of the globe, you just applied a "certain" Butterfly Effect to your dynamic world.

Have a nice weekend my dears!!!


Lucy said...

Lovely! The butterfly effect describes the process perfectly on many levels. Also the word getting out in one place about an affecting perfume, moving through the ether around the world to other enthusiasts, reaching every corner. The breeze of one butterfly wing affecting someone a thousand miles away. Brilliant image!

+Q Perfume Blog said...

Thank you Lucy, always refreshing to have you here.
Indeed I think that perfumes do have an impact in a person's life. They can move you in such a deep way, bring memories, improve self stem...
Some are very colorful or delicate like butterfly's wings.

jhon said...

surely the impact of the perfume on a person will effect his personality .. really nice post!
Pakistani Dress Collection

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Thank you Jhon...I really think perfume effects our personality :-)

john petter said...

THIS PERFUME is original & have amazing fragrances.. Alain Delon

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