The industry people I’ve been talking to in France – perfumers, consultants, sales assistants – seem to be somewhat crestfallen of late. Too many launches, too much dreck; brands ripping each other off and counting on the consumers’ ignorance to pass their stuff as “NEW!” and “ORIGINAL!” ; perfumers pushed to the forefront as the latest marketing ploy rather than as a real move towards authorship.
The dream is gone, they say when they’re in a dark mood. We’re just going through the motions, feeding the machine. When’s the last time you were truly blown away? they ask. Do you ever feel really moved by a new fragrance nowadays?
Actually, I have been moved and excited quite a few times over the past year: that’s the stuff I write about, mostly – the story the perfume tells in smells a springboard for a story in words.
But I’m finding it more and more difficult to stray from “my” authors: the people I can trust to come up with compositions that give me sensuous pleasure and appeal to my intellect; that bear the distinct imprint of their style and bear witness to their constant evolution. When I stick my nose into a genuinely good piece of work, trying to come up with something insightful to say is just as much of a thrill as the sheer sensuous pleasure of wearing it, of letting myself be seduced and surprised by it. And then, I believe it’s still possible.
Otherwise… It’s bad enough not to be able to wear the stuff I love as much as I would were I not blogging. I’m finding that more and more, I can’t be bothered with the rest. Life’s too short to wear mediocre stuff just to write about it. And there’s just too much of it.
I’m also starting to find that the online perfume landscape has changed: the sheer volume of discourse seems to have increased exponentially of late -- not a week goes by without my finding out about a new blog. I’m not begrudging fellow perfume lovers their pleasure in writing about their passion, far from it – writing about perfume is both a way of fine-tuning one’s appreciation and of generating community, and new voices are always interesting. But clearly, the perfumed blogosphere is metastasizing like crazy, with the attendant risk of draining away the members of the community who could write insightful comments on other blogs or in forums – why repeat what you’ve already written about at length on your own turf? I’m not complaining: I find the level of the comments I get very high, and I’m gratified to have set up a space for the type of discussion that takes place here.
To sum up, though I’ll certainly be back with new reviews very shortly, I’m feeling the glut.
Meanwhile, I put these questions to you:
When was the last time you were enchanted by a perfume, and which one(s)?
Are you starting to suffer from launch fatigue?
And are you restricting the number of houses/perfumers you follow as a result?
Do you feel moved to seek out new voices online? Or is it all just too much to keep up with?
Illustration: Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard's The Little Soldier (1963)