Monday, February 11, 2013

The black code in fragrances - TREND RADAR

Franknweenie by Tim Burton

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

If you think that both movies Frankweenie and Les Misérables, and fragrances like Tom Ford Noir, Coco Noir by Chanel, Bulgari Jarmin Noir L'Elixir, Armani Eau de Nuit, Boss Nuit pour Femme, Gucci Guilty Black, or even Bertrand's Enchanted Forest have nothing in common, you are not really following marketing trends. It might look like they dont have a connection, but in fact they do.  They are all part of a trend that Li Edelkoort explains like nobody else:

“Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in the way of feeling.” Charles Baudelaire

Since the dawn of time, black has a lot to tell, it expressed mourning, poverty, denial, revolt and it exalted the avant-garde and haute-couture. Both rive gauche and rive droite. From lacerated and studded leather to the perfection of the little black dress, from brutal bondage clothing to the gorgeous prom dress, from mods’ modest turtlenecks to the monks’ modern hoods, the same black made a lot of ink flow, black or almost black too. It is able to express love and romanticism as well as hate and racism, in equal proportion and with the same ardor.
Black matter will be forever engraved in our teenage souls; film noir, black coffee, the black jacket, pinot noir.

Today, black is lustrous and magnificent, swallow-tailed, raven or horsehair, is seen in lace of a domination mask, veil of seduction and burka of discretion. Black reflects opinions like a pollster of the air of the times. The surveys all agree; again, we vote for black. However, behind this dark veil hides a myriad of attitudes, divergent tastes and disparate characters.

In a chaotic century, which still cannot find its way, it seems that there is only one way out. One direction to take. In one way or another, we have to merge opposites and erase contrasts to embrace and exploit the idea of creative hybrids from various disciplines to finally bridge the gap between the two brains. To abolish bipolar thinking in favor of a universal and holistic reflection.

Suddenly, black seems to be the unifying of disciplines, the cloth becomes language, drawing pretends to be text, the volume is seen as flat, materials bristle, painting becomes textile, while the photo is thought of in monochrome and videos are selling like paintings. We are the witnesses of an artistic scene in fusion in which all the arts combine to make a single movement, a single vision and a single discipline addressing all the senses, suspended between dimensions.

As such, revisited romanticism can be seen as a reaction against reason, capable of enhancing the mysterious and fantastic. A romanticism to escape from reality and enter into the enchantment of dreams, finding the sublime in the morbid and millions in a skull. The vanity of fashion and design calling us from beyond the grave.

This is probably why black is coming back strong, because everything can be merged into it, anything can unite. Color mixing and blending genres, black becomes silent and dull, can absorb everything, and erase everything. Black sunblock. a way to move on, refocus and fade differences. Suddenly, the black becomes the flag of a political movement that does not yet exist, an altruistic movement is being born, a morality becomes capable of boosting creation outside of economic tracks, instead of suffering a cultural fatality.

To live our time, black establishes itself as a romantic expression, even frenetic. With a return to rural life combined with a deep respect for the ordinary spirituality, a return to a normal life. A romanticism to have great experience and feel a need to escape, a visceral craving of landscapes, seeing the horizons of one's life. A desire to disappear too, like an urgent need of anonymity. An abstraction as a retreat which becomes the study of black, material expressions, alarm cries. The icons commit suicide, forget themselves, disappear.

Following, the grand return of cloaks, redingotes, of long dresses and sweepers skirts. All underlined with boots and many hats. Painter shirts, cigarette pants, monk robes and terrorist hoods. We ironically mix all the exterior signs of religions to make a point of devotion.
So black draws life, silhouette and fate at the same time.
(extracted from The exposition - The Black Code - by Li Edelkoort)

Besides using words like Black, Noir, Nuit, Night, or black shinning flacons, or seductive and mysterious advertising ads, perfumers translated this trend by using odorants suggesting obscurity, mystery, the sensual aspect of the night, and romanticism.
In the composition of Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince, Bertrand used black currant the main core of the fragrance, suggesting that when combined with the odor of the forest, it would result into a dark, mysterious  and super natural aura that was never explored this way in perfumery.

In Coco Noir, Chanel brand reveals a black that is intimate, seductive and intensely brilliant, translated in a combination of notes of grapefruit, bergamot and a sumptuous blend of woods and resins. 
In Oriflame Amber Elixir Noir, notes of patchouli, vanilla, amber, incense, benzoin provided a darker and more mysterious version of a night scent.
For Gucci, patchouli is the key ingredient for the duo that is said to aim fearless, shameless and unpredictable people. A frantic romance translated into a black version of the previous launches.

Researches have been publishing many essays and theories about the relationship between scents and colors. A vast majority of them agree that dark colors are related to oriental and woody fragrances. Also many florals (specially narcotic ones also give a sense of darkness - specially flowers blooming at night). 
According to professor Brian Moran (expert in Business Anthropology), the black color in perfume advertising is related to femininity and seduction. In his work he presented tables with results of 20 years of research in the field of perfume advertising, and the shown results were such as: the notes associated to black are patchouli, sandalwood, jasmine, vanilla and musk/fragrances with this dark connotation are mostly launched during winter and autumn time by the perfume industry.
Shinning black in perfume advertising shows excellence, while black in general can be also used for exclusivity, and that is the reason why many limited editions come in black and gold colors.

So there you have it my dears. 2012 winter and many months to come in 2013 will be populated with "black" perfumes, for the same reason why the movie "Les Misérables" will ace many Oscars, or for the same reason that Frankenweenie is simply a must see. Because we are craving for black. 


theperfumeddandy said...

Too true. It's all part of our two decades too late fin-de-siecle 'something of the night' fetish..,

Lyubov said...

O, my Goth, I am in the trend with my crush on "The Vampire Diaries"!
"Black matter will be forever engraved in our teenage souls; film noir, black coffee, the black jacket, pinot noir." - Loved that!
But the mot 'black' fumes I am wearing lately are John Galliano edp and 2 - Comme des Garcons. As a matter of fact, I consider a perfume to be black not by its package and ads. And the only 'black' aroma to me from all that you mentioned is Tom Ford's Noir.
But you did such a great resume, that I can only aplaude and go see Frankweenie asap!

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Dear Lyubov - what about Encre Noir? Do you know this fragrance?
XX Simone

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

The perfume dandy - I love this trend too..
Black and gray were always my favorite colors!

Lyubov said...

Encre Noir but not pour elle! I loooove the 'men' original. To be sinesthetically sincere, it seems steel-grey to me, not black.

Francesca said...

Enjoyed your review, as always!

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Thank you Francesca!

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