As many of you are undoubtedly aware by now, major changes are sweeping over Serge Lutens. They extend beyond changes to the mere look of bottles or their pricing and entail a whole reshuffling and revamping of the many lines or collections within the brand, thereby signifying a new marketing and business approach by Shiseido which took over the full management of the Serge Lutens brand a year ago. Many of you have already read the news of the specific changes elsewhere, but not everyone follows the same perfume sites or groups, so I thought it was worth a post here on Kafkaesque so that everyone had the chance to buy any old favourites whilst they could before the higher prices kick in.
At the end of this article, I’ll share some thoughts about the possible larger meaning of all this, why I think Shiseido differs from other companies (like L’Oreal or LVHM) that have taken control of perfume houses, why the nature of Shiseido’s relationship with Lutens might be cause for cautious optimism, and, finally, which Lutens fragrances have, in my opinion, have already undergone reformulationprior to the new bottling.
Photo: Don Daniele at 500px.com (Direct website link embedded within.)
I read a fascinating article the other day on China and fragrances which set off my curiosity on a few issues, got me digging into others, and made me ponder a few impenetrable questions that only time will tell. The article is called, “Sweet smell of success: Foreign fragrances dominate China’s perfume market,” and it’s written by David Dodwell for the South China Morning Post. Mr. Dodwell is the Executive Director of the Hong Kong-APEC Trade Policy Group and appears to write extensively on China. This time, he turned his attention to perfume after spending a day in Heathrow’s Duty Free section in Terminal 5 and seeing “a flock of fashionable mainland Chinese women scenting their way through the Jo Malone part of the fragrance section.”
That led him to the following question: given China’s global manufacturing process and the emergence of so many Chinese brands, why couldn’t he think of a single Chinese-made perfume? I have my own personal theories on that issue, but what interested me more were other points he made in passing, like Mao‘s Cultural Revolution or the role of oud (chen xiang (沉香)). I’ll be talking about all of that today, in addition to China’s fragrance history, fragrance culture, and its changing attitudesto scent over time.
This morning, Alessandro Brun, one of Masque’s co-owners/co-founders shared that information on the blog’s Facebook page following yesterday’s review on the company’s upcoming release, Romanza. His comments were in response to a discussion in regarding the new Romanza bottle, its size, its price, and the difference as compared to Masque’s existing fragrances.
Romanza costs €138 for 35 ml of eau de parfum. (I don’t know its American price yet.) It will be released on or around April 26th, which is when I think Masque will be launching L’Attesa, a new iris eau de parfum, as well. It, too, will be in the new 35 ml bottle for €138.
I have a few updates to share with you regarding LVMH’s shutdown of the Monsieur Guerlain website and his associated social media accounts. Monsieur Guerlain has clarified a few points about the matter, I was given some information on Guerlain, and I’ve done some digging into the law. To me, those new facts indicate a very different situation both legally and factually than what I had initially thought. In my opinion, they demonstrate that the issue is not the trademark/copyright issue of using the Guerlain brand name that everyone had thought. There is much more going on.
[ADDITIONAL UPDATES regarding developments on 2/10 and 2/11 are posted in new sections at the end.]