History and the Name Game: It Makes Scents

Are the perfumes of the past likely to cast any light on modern times? Most people are inclined to say “no” and to emphasize that obviously a certain period of time has its own rules and its own habits and its own creativity. Some people can just discard the past; others may just adore it. A third possible way is derived from the fact that certain perfumes of the past are still available on the market.

Modern perfumes do not conflict with the older ones, which are perfectly integrated in the modern perfumery landscape thanks to the talent of marketing and communicating people. Chanel’s Number 5 probably is one of the best examples of this permanent updating of the image. Very few consumers know that Chanel’s Number 5 was created in 1921. To give another example: young ladies always have had the feeling that l’Air du Temps has just been created—and they have been convinced of it each year for nearly forty years.

The explanation that they are classics usually does not mean anything. I would like to remind you that these perfumes were not consciously designed to last for ages, The opinion then was that women should change their perfume according to the season, to their mood or to fashion—an opinion which is now coming back with the idea of a perfumery wardrobe.

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