The personal touch
The niche fragrance market has given way to a micro trend: personalisation, and even demi-bespoke fragrance creations. It is no longer enough to just buy into the niche fragrance brands that only a handful of people could own, but also necessary to have those niche scents customised to your individual taste. Brands such as Burberry and Atelier Cologne have jumped onto the customisation bandwagon by making it possible to have your name or initials monogrammed on the My Burberry bottle or having your Atelier Cologne tucked into a leather pouch embossed with your name.
“Personalisation — it’s the root of luxury,” Verdier said. “Everybody wants to be unique. Everybody wants a limited edition or something new.
“It was always the history of fragrance to be unique, like haute couture. When you went for haute couture, you were asking for a dress that they made especially for you.”
Experimenting with ingredients
An interesting trend is that ingredients previously reserved for women’s fragrances are now being used in those targeting men. At recent fragrance launches, for instance, vanilla and lavender were included in men’s fragrances for a touch of seduction and a layer of complexity.
The ocean-fresh and musky-leather scents traditionally associated with men have now taken a backseat, with layered woody scents and calming oriental florals with a slight sweetness at the base coming to the fore.
According to Verdier, fragrances that contain synthetic scents are also creating a frisson at the moment, especially now that there’s been some attention to the safety aspect.
Synthetics have had a bad rap, but if they’re safe, they could have a number benefits, such as not causing allergies, and lasting longer.
“I think that in terms of innovation, ingredients will be the next big thing,” Verdier predicted.
“Super-organic, original, curated, trusted materials on the one hand and on the other, super-technological, 100% synthetic fragrances.”
The millennial effect
The luxury market generally has been grappling with the role of millennials, with questions raised about how established brands should adapt to this growing — and sometimes very influential — market.
The focus for most beauty and fashion brands in recent years has been the incorporation of social media, as well as bringing fresh air and relatability to exclusive brands.
“This is very characteristic of Dubai and the Middle East,” Verdier commented. “The buyers are very young, they have all the information because of social media — and they have the power of purchase. So when we try to buy some loyalty from them, they all do the personalisation thing, and in the end, they have a special number with their name, so we know exactly what they like. For us, the next step is to create close relationships with a database. But it all depends on the market.”