Volume 92, Issue 28

Friday, October 23, 1998



Scent of a woman - or a man

Graphic by Brahm Wiseman

By Irene Wong
Gazette Writer

Fragrances are making their big comeback this season and with holiday cheer and gift giving right around the corner, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

They never really faded into the background, but the season's newest releases are stealing the spotlight from the reality-based and somewhat utilitarian stance of the CK One phase. Fragrances are a part of dressing for the day and are no longer saved for evenings or special occasions. Popular types of daily wear fragrances, such as Tommy Girl, Tommy Athletics, Polo Sport, Dolce & Gabbana and Escape, prove both athletic and casual fragrances are popular as daily scents.

"Individuality" is another catch word repeated often this season. So forget about unisex fragrances making the scene again.

"It's mostly women who prefer to wear the unisex fragrances," says Leila Abadi, a promotional contractor at Sanofi Beaute, a company which distributes fragrance brands such as Escada, Oscar and Burberry's of London. "I've had many female customers who prefer to wear some of the men's scents as opposed to the women's. It's all in personal taste."

An example of this is with the new release of Tommy Athletics – it's geared towards men, but women also find the scent appealing.

When buying a fragrance for someone else, it is important to never buy anything based on your own personal taste. "Your choice should reflect the personality and mood of the person you are purchasing for," says Marion Bendeth, owner of Sixth Scents, a fragrance consulting firm in Toronto.

Another suggestion for buying fragrances for other people is to take note of the scent the person usually wears. "People's preferences usually belong in the same family of fragrances," says Cherry Chen-Egan, cosmetics and fragrance manager at Eaton's department store in Masonville Place.

"Fragrances are broken down into several groups: floral, spicy, green and gourmet, to name a few. Most people's wardrobe of scents is commonly a collection of similar fragrances. [They] tend not to stray too far from their personal preference, but building a fragrance wardrobe of various scents is an ideal way of suiting [your] different moods," Chen-Egan says.

"Fragrance family" is a term used in the industry for various categories of scents. Some of the better known categories are "floral," such as the new Romance from Ralph Lauren, Splendor from Elizabeth Arden and Dazzling Silver and Dazzling Gold from Estee Lauder. Others include, "fruity," such as this past summer's premiere of Escada Sunny Fruity, "spicy," such as Escada Collection, "fresh and clean" as exemplified by the new Tommy Athletics for men and "oceanic," such as Ocean Dream by Georgio of Beverly Hills and Davidoff Cool Water.

To maintain the luxury status of owning a fragrance, many of the more couture fragrance companies are gearing towards marketing limited editions where only a couple of hundred bottles are available across the country for a limited time.

"Some of these limited editions are created to coincide with the season's new fashion design," says Darlene Hashem, territory manager at Sanofi Beaute Canada. "Escada Collection features limited edition packaging. The bottles are dressed in the same material used in the clothing line. There are only 240 being sold across Canada."

The new generation fragrances such as Tommy Athletics, Calvin Klein's Contradiction, Envy by Gucci and Diesel Fragrances are doing well with the 20-something age category. "This generation is heavily influenced by the media and thus are more aware of fragrances," Hashem says. "Magazines are a primary literary source for them and fragrance companies take advantage of this by directing most of their marketing in this area."

"It's all in the marketing," Chen-Egan says. "Cosmetic fragrances are being more linked to Hollywood than fashion is." Chen-Egan also warns that a Spice Girls fragrance will be appearing on the market in the near future.

"This is the best time of year to start buying for the holiday season," says Chen-Egan. "Everything tends to go out of stock by the beginning of December. Plus, the earlier you purchase, the more bonus gifts you can get."

To Contact The Focus Department: gazette.focus@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998