For nearly a century, women have been wearing Chanel No. 5. You can buy it just about anywhere fine perfume is sold. I've seen it online, in department stores, in duty-free airport boutiques, and on my mom's dresser. Marilyn Monroe wore it. Nicole Kidman wears it.
There are probably baby girls right now who will grow up and call this their favorite fragrance. So why does a perfume like this last and other perfumes fall by the wayside? Look at another perfume that came out around the same time as Chanel No. 5. It's called Evening in Paris and it was concocted by the same perfumer who developed No.
5 for Coco Chanel. He was a Russian immigrant to Paris named Ernst Breaux. Breaux' Evening in Paris was a huge hit; at one time (back in the 1950s) it was a top-selling fragrance in the U.S. Evening in Paris is still manufactured, but you'd have to go to the Vermont Country Store to buy it. They import it as a "hard to get" item.
They get it from France, where it is still made, but to a lot less fanfare. The fact is that the perfume business, like most other businesses, relies on marketing to make and keep its products in the public eye. When marketing efforts die down, a fragrance can fall from favor or just gradually fade from memory. I suspect that many grand and glorious scents have disappeared from the scene because they simply were no longer promoted (or promoted as aggressively) by their manufacturers. What about scents that seem trendy? So many fragrances get tied up to the fashions of the day that they disappear when the fashion gets dated. I suspect that 10 years from now, the sugary, fruity scents so popular today will seem less appealing.
But they won't all disappear because some will make it to the pantheon of the classics. Take Youth Dew, a celebrated oriental scent by Estee Lauder that was extremely popular in the 1960s. Youth Dew is a bit at the opposite end of the spectrum of what is popular in perfume today: Youth Dew is potent, feminine, and full of those sultry oriental notes that are so rare today. This perfume is much more powerful than anything that is commonly worn today. In fact, Youth Dew recently got an official remake to update the scent in the form of Youth Dew Amber Nude (to accommodate today's lighter preferences).
But Youth Dew remains a classic because the original is still on the market and it's still sold and worn today. (I wear it, myself . on occasion.) The reason that Youth Dew has lasted even though the fashion in fragrance has shifted is a testament to its classic status.
A classic is a perfume that works well. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit that it has balance, harmony, charm, and appeal. To me, classic scents are memorable. If you can remember what the fragrance smelled like (even imperfectly), you are likely dealing with a fragrance so skillfully put together that it has classic potential. Some fragrances from the 1960s have all but disappeared.
Looking for Tigress? Tweed? Love? Some fragrances from way back then are still around but just tougher to locate. Remember Muguet du Bois by Coty? I consider that a classic, not just because it's still around but because it's an amazing fragrance. It's lily of the valley but its lightness gives it a fresh quality that makes it amazingly appropriate for today's tastes. Today's tastes may or may not churn out classics.
With an abundance of fruity florals, sugary scents, and gender-spanning fresh fragrances, the fragrances of the turn of the millennium are definitely going to be distinctive. Where will perfumery take us next? From the days of Marie Antoinette till now, we've never ventured too far from the florals. True, in the days of the celebrated French queen, florals were natural and in the days of the celebrated French icon (Coco Chanel), florals were spiked with artificial "sparkly" notes of aldehyde, and even today, florals are dressed up with smells of soap (Grace by Philosophy) or food (Groove by Carol's Daughter). Then again, perfumery could detour us back to the spicy scents of the ancient world. Queen Esther and the ancients before her used myrrh, frankincense, and other bitter elements.
Youth Dew was an homage to this kind of scent, and you can still see elements of the ancient oriental in Burberry Brit and Angel by Thierry Mugler. Classic perfumes are the stuff that lasts, not just on your skin, but on the store shelf and in the minds of perfume lovers. When a perfume can jump a generation and be worn equally well by mother and daughter (and grandmother), that's a classic. When a perfume lasts longer than the latest in color or the newest trends in hemlines, it could just be a classic.
A classic is not a scent that is "young" or "old" or "hip" or "mature." I think even calling scents "daytime" or "nighttime" paralyzes the classic nature of those scents that just always work, in or out of fashion.
Your Perfume Profile will tell you what kind of perfumes would work best for you and suit your lifestyle and personality. Get yours free at http://www.ThePerfume-Reporter.com . This article was written by Joanna McLaughlin.