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There’s no beauty product that’s more powerful than perfume. One spritz, and the experience becomes highly personal: Suddenly, you’re overcome by memories of your grandmother’s rose garden, find the confidence to take a chance on love, or shake out a grumpy mood for a bright and cheerful one. Despite the economy, fragrance will always be an attainable luxury that suggests escape, says Kate Greene, vice president of marketing, Givaudan Fine Fragrance. Where will it take you next? Here’s a sneak peek at four fragrance trends, coming soon to a beauty counter near you.

LOOK TO THE PAST: With economic stress, expect to see a return to nostalgia. “We look to history to provide a glimpse into the future. We watch how the pendulum is swinging as a forecast. For example, during difficult times, consumers seek what is nostalgia and comfort; and most often gravitate towards classic florals. During the Great Depression, it was the big bold floral statement of Joy by Jean Patou that was popular, while Chloe was a top seller during the turmoil of the 70’s—both comforting, classic florals. There’s a sense that the demand turns to what’s familiar and safe,” says Greene. Recently, big floral perfumes have been bestsellers, in response to the current economic recession. In the next couple of months, be on the lookout for new perfumes dominated by floral notes that your mom and grandma loved, like rose and violet. “Those scents remind you of a simpler time, and that memory can be a great comfort when you’re stressed,” says Sue Phillips, owner and founder of Scenterprises Limited, a global fragrance consulting firm.

SPOT A BRIGHTER FUTURE: For 2010 launches, think bold, exciting and fantasy. “The perfumes coming down the pipeline are going to be vibrant, saturated, a collection of technicolor ingredients. As we move out of sobering times, the consumer will crave escape and color, and will be much more experimental. We’re all ready for some fun,” says Greene. Sophisticated, rich scents are also having a moment, edging out light citrus and watery florals, as the heart and soul of new perfumes. Look for warm, woody notes, like sandalwood, amber and resin that have heft and character. “These notes are natural, down to earth and last longer,” says Mary Ellen Lapsansky, vice president of The Fragrance Foundation. “Traditionally, strong woods have been associated with the men’s fragrances, but the lines between men and women’s fragrances have been blurring for some time now.”

BE YOUR OWN NOSE: Once reserved for only those-in-the know, personalized, custom fragrance is gaining popularity, thanks to newer, more accessible ways to get it. The $10,000 bespoke blend still exists, but customized perfume is happily now at a realistic price point, about the same that you’d pay for a bottle of fine fragrance from a niche perfumer. Look for custom fragrance bars at department and chain stores, where you can sample single notes. Another custom trend: Perfume parties that let you create your own formula with three or four harmonizing blends. A consultant guides you through the notes and accords, and you walk away with a true signature scent. “Women want something that reflects their individuality. Everyone is focusing on what’s the wisest way to spend their money now, and this is an affordable luxury that you can honestly call your own,” says Phillips, who also works with The Perfume Studio, a company that organizes custom fragrance parties and seminars. Designing your own fragrance is well worth the investment—you spend time getting to know what you like, experiment with different aromas, and leave with a memorable, transporting experience.

TELL A TALE: Perfume companies are realizing that it takes more than a whiff of the scent to get people interested. “Right now, story telling is especially relevant. People want to know how a fragrance is made and the work that has gone into it, as well as tap into its emotional connection. Fragrance sends a very personal and emotional message,” says Greene. And with more than 1000 perfume launches last year, a story is the advantage a new fragrance needs to stand out. “There’s a real quest for authenticity at the moment. When you know why the perfumer chose the notes and his inspiration, the whole experience draws you in and becomes more genuine,” says Celene Aguilar, director of US sales and marketing for L’Artisan Parfumeur. How to get the story told? Salespeople, of course, but companies are also experimenting with innovative new outlets, like social media, blogs, dvds and short films, that ultimately, leave a lasting, and fragrant impression.


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