lundi 28 juillet 2008

Yes, but is it original ? -- Oui, mais est-ce original ? Comment(aire)s

Comme vous l'avez peut-être remarqué, la fonction commentaires du post ci-dessous a été accidentellement désactivée. Je n'ai trouvé que cette solution pour y parer... Si vous avez des commentaires, laissez-les ici !


As you may have noticed, the comments function has been accidentally disabled for the "Yes, but is it original?" post. This is the only solution I've found... Please leave any remarks here !

24 commentaires:

  1. Well, I'm taking my newfound status as blogging muse seriously and posting the first follow-up. One of my most pathologically upsetting and counter productive tendencies as a perfume addict is to fall into the easy trap of waiting for a less expensive dupe or doppleganger. Go on basenotes--there are endless threads looking for "Coco, but cheaper," or "Vetiver Extraordinaire for $10!" Like my initial obsession for vintage, I've found that simply buying what you like when you find it is the easiest way to be happy. Don't worry if there are other perfumes that smell like it. The worst thing that can happen, when you think about it, is that you end up finding other scents quite similar to the one you like and end up with more than you need of something you love. There are also tiny nuances to every scent, no matter how much of a twin it seems to be at first. Yes, there are a ton of Cuir's, as Helg points out, and a ton of Fleur d'whatevers, but if you like something, buy it when you smell it.

    Of course, I'm all for saving a buck, but the endless search for something cheaper or something more original can lead to hours of sad internet trolling with little result.

    Which is really all a long-winded way of saying that there are tons of incense interpretations out there, but, if Serge Noire is as good as you make it out to be Denyse, I will still buy (or covet).

    Thank you for the shout out and thank you for continuing to post great articles that make my work day go by much faster.

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  2. Wise words indeed, o muse... While we can dismiss a new (or old) scent as derivative,when we find something that works perfectly for us, we might as well nab it. Or at least buy/swap for a decant.
    Fragrance has always been a copy-cat business anyway: when you smell long-gone vintage scents, you keep finding variations on the great successes like N°5 and Arpège. Some of which are small masterpieces in their own right.

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  3. bel article qui m'a passionnée. Mais qu'est ce l'originalité?Original par rapport à quoi? Tout est encore question de comparaison par rapport à ce qui existe ou a existé, ou encore par rapport à une bibliothèque mémorielle olfactive.
    Pour mon cas, je peux trouver originaux des accords que je n'ai jamais senti auparant, mais s'ils sont originaux pour moi, le sont'ils pour d'autres?
    Disons que vu mes connaissances actuelles olfactives, je pourrais trouver original de très anciens parfums que je ne connais pas, donc en espérant retrouver des formulations originales, ou encore dans l'avenir , nos chimistes trouveront de nouvelles molécules de synthèses tout à fait inovantes et qui seront utilisées de façon "originales" par nos parfumeurs, tout est lié, car pour l'instant, avec ce qui sort actuellement, j'ai l'impression de tourner en rond

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  4. What amazes me in the discussion of this dilemma is how a limited-run marketing strategy, an interesting package, etc, can push the price up inordinately when (at times) something very similar (if not a few carbon molecules short of identical) can be had for a song. And, inevitably the blogosphere will praise the former while panning the latter. This industry is a big psychological game in the absence of discerning people who like to wear perfume and won't settle for crap.

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  5. Véro, vous dites très justement que déceler l'originalité est aussi une question de mémoire olfactive liée à une grande culture de l'histoire de la parfumerie. A moins d'être Jean Kerléo ou Guy Robert, difficile d'y parvenir...
    En revanche, on le "sent" très bien quand rien, ou très peu, ne distingue un nouveau parfum de l'autre. C'est malheureusement souvent le cas aujourd'hui. Mais on peut toujours rechercher le petit quelque chose en plus, l'expression plus raffinée d'une idée, la note inédite dans un accord...

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  6. Of course, C., susceptibility to marketing ploys and snobbery (which I confess to) will often trick us into praising something we wouldn't haven't given a second sniff to if it had been sold in a drugstore. But would you have any specific example ?

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  7. OK, I have Thierry Mugler on the brain right now, so I'll mention Miroir des Secrets (a bittersweet floral aldehydic) which just seems artless and insipid for its price. I'd put it alongside something like the new Juicy scent, Viva La Juicy, which fetches less than half the price. As Octavian points out in a recent post, invoking the inclusion of a "natural aldehyde" as if the perfumer was giving fire to mankind cannot save what is at base a feeble effort just short of feeble. And in a collection that is otherwise very enjoyable and beautifully presented.

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  8. Natural aldehydes, pschaw... Not that they don't exist, but what do they bring that the good ole lab one don't? I haven't smelled the two scents you mention, but I'm thinking of a few examples of my own... I've been bothered by the Parfums d'Empire, which I think you like: push away a couple of notes and you've got previous niche successes. Maybe I haven't given them a proper chance, and Marc-Antoine Corticchiato is a lovely guy, so I'm giving him the benefit of doubt. But Fougère Bengale... hey, Eau Noire?

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  9. With that comparison, you really hit the nail on the head! Both well-executed though, whereas the Mugler MdS is insipid.

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  10. But you have to admit that Cuir Ottoman is really a masterpiece...

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  11. How many more outrageously expensive and poorly executed clones of overtly sweet vanilla and gourmand amber scents called "leather" do we have to put up with? I 'm not into mainstream fruity florals but at least they 're non-pretentious, everybody knows they 're marketed for young girls who want to smell young, fresh and sexy, nobody does ladies perfumes anymore because the woman 's ideal in 2008 is a 16 yr old girl. In Hollywood nobody wants to see a 40 yr old woman in a romantic comedy, it wasn 't like that at all not too long ago and that certainly reflects in fashion and perfume creativity.
    To the exception of Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle and Fleurs d 'Oranger, niche perfumers won 't be making profits from me. In the meantime I wear true "original" perfumes all in their original vintage versions: Mitsouko, Cabochard, Scandal, Narcisse Noir, No 5, just to name a few.


    emmanuella

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  12. C., yes, I agree that the Parfums d'Empire are all but insipid and they are certainly well executed. About the Mugler Miroirs collection: haven't smelled them (shame on me) but in releasing a series, some of them are bound to be below par, I suppose.

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  13. B., I'll admit to nothing! ;-)
    I know Cuir Ottoman has its passionate admirers, and I will give it another try when weather allows. On me it turned into an amber monster, but that may just be my nose picking up the cistus labdanum, which it tends to do.

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  14. E., you raise a good point: fruity florals are innocuous enough. When they're done by Juicy Couture, fine. I just get annoyed when a house with as prestigious a perfume heritage as Lanvin puts them out.
    I'm not quite as radical as you in the no-more-niche stance and I'd be very sad indeed to have to rely on the dwindling stock of vintage scents. Sometimes I'm in the mood to wear a fragrance that's a little more contemporary in feel and texture. Classics are so demanding, you know?

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  15. L'originalité ne serait-elle pas finalement de s'éloigner des parfums de niches, qui pullulent ces derniers temps et où, comme tu le dis si bien Carmen, il y a du bon, du moins bon, voire du mauvais, pour se recentrer et "oser" porter le dernier flanker à la mode (commerciale) ?
    Qu'est-ce que l'originalité ? Qu'est-ce qu'un parfum original ? De quoi notre mémoire olfactive se souvient-elle ? Qu'a-t-elle sérié, trié, séquencé, retenu, oublié pour que nous puissions aboutir à la conclusion "pour moi, c'est un parfum original" ? Car comme le dit Véro, la notion d'originalité varie selon les personnes, leurs histoires personnelles, leur manière d'appréhender les odeurs.
    Pour ma part, j'en viens à penser que, saturés de tous ces produits proposés, sans âme et qui se succèdent à une vitesse vertigineuse, nous tourner (ou nous retourner) de plus en plus vers les vintage, qui, eux sont littéralement "originaux", originels, premiers, serait la manière la plus évidente (et peut-être subversive) de porter quelque chose d'"original". Mais alors la boucle serait bouclée, et il nous reste encore assez de peau pour des années d'essais parfumesques. Alors... the show must go on !

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  16. Oser porter les flankers à la mode, ce ne serait que transgresser son propre snobisme... Pourquoi pas? Le problème, comme Octavian l'explique dans l'un de ses récents posts, c'est que beaucoup de ces compositions actuelles se délitent lorsqu'elles arrivent à la base. Un petit cocktail hédione+Iso E + galaxolide, hmmm...
    Quant aux vintages, je résiste à m'y consacrer exclusivement et je m'aperçois que même ceux que j'ai, je ne les porte pas si souvent, à moitié par peur de ne plus en avoir, à moitié parce qu'ils sont trop complexes pour m'accompagner au quotidien.
    Donc, je continue d'explorer et de ré-explorer...

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  17. I am very much enjoying the article and the follow-up conversation, and have also visited Helg's article. I am going to make an observation that veers slightly away from "is it possible to be original in perfume anymore" to a thought prompted by the follow-up conversation...

    Regarding creativity and genesis in the marketplace: It is a tradition in many production areas (cars, clothing, electronics, etc) that developments and innovations tend to happen in the high end, then "trickle down" and/or become part of the set of expectations for less exclusive (more affordable) versions/markets. In fact, as billy d so well illustrates, there are those who RELY on this progression: as the saying goes, champagne dreams, beer budget.

    There are more who can appreciate the finery than can afford it, methinks. I could say more about the ingredients aspect here, too--how demand for the finest, rarest ingredients can lead them to a) overharvested, b) be available to select few, or c) inspire others to find the best mimic possible, allowing more to experience the concept...perhaps you see where this is going. But then we could talk about how you have to be in front of the Mona Lisa to truly understand it...yet, if I want a Mona Lisa moment, I can look at a reproduction...blah blah blah....

    I do appreciate the way you tickle both my fragrance fancy and my often fallow critical thinking! (Hope you don't mind... ;) )

    ScentScelf

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  18. ScentSelf, how could I mind? You're bringing in a new dimension to the discussion... Among the famously innovative mainstream scents I quote, every single one has been cloned and downmarketed to death.
    I don't know if a parallel can be drawn with the "real presence" of a work of art in the age of reproductibility (channelling Benjamin here). The Mona Lisa has been reproduced so many times that to actually see it is only to verify its existence, rather than fully experiencing its presence.
    Could the same be said of an Angel knock-off? I don't have an answer...

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  19. CC,

    I once drew a faithful portrait of Umberto Eco in his own style, during a lecture he was giving, and afterward in a fit of youthful amusement, asked him to sign it...then help me understand if it was therefore "authentic." He indulged me, as you have, with a twinkle in his eye.

    Indeed, what of the Angel knock-off?

    Aw, bunions...I'm leaving off and going to check out my new samples. :)

    (Though I am now pondering the possible marketplace benefits if knock-offs and near dupes actually expand the consumption of perfume...that could only lead to economic support for more creations, eventually leading to more "just rights" for all the perfumista Goldilocks, right?)

    Oh, dear...

    SS

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  20. SS, what you're going to see, as niches multiply, is labs selling formulas rejected by bigger brands to smaller brands who can't afford the time to develop original fragrances. In fact, I suspect that last year's flurry of Francis Kurkjian roses came after he had been commissioned Rose Barbare by Guerlain. Either that, or he was really stuck on roses.
    So we might be getting more interesting, quirkier versions of the same idea. Or just less achieved ones. Not really copies -- though there's a lot of that too...
    Nothing to do with Mr. Eco.

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  21. Carmencanada, I know my vintage craze sounds radical but actually just like you I don 't wear them all the time. What Octavian confirmed on his blog (the Construction topic) is something I suspected already. I have yet to try Etat Libre d 'Orange Rien that you beautifully reviewed the other day and I too long for contemporary yet alluring truly original perfumes. I just read your By Kilian Prelude to Love sneak preview, I 'm glad it sounds more promising than previous releases.

    emmanuella

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  22. I've found quite a few new things that I liked (many of which I've reviewed). There are at least half a dozen Lutens, three Malles and as many new Chanel Exclusives (not to mention Beaux's classics) that make me quite happy. Two of the Kurkdjian MDCI (Promesse de l'aube and L'enlèvement au sérail) are tributes to classic perfumery, without smelling old-fashioned.
    Enough to give my vintage collection a breather!

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  23. C. diversity is the key and you got that: each perfume style brings a unique set of attributes and vibes that enhance our curiosity and passion for perfumes.

    emmanuella

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  24. Exactement! That's what keeps us sniffing...

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