“Creative lifestyle brands”

Picture from VF article

I admit that I’m a sucker for stories in marketing. I love storytelling and I love creative angles and interesting packaging and pretty, pretty words. I’m optimistic and gullible like that.

When it comes to fragrances, there’s a lot of that. If you’re not already a household name, it’s not like the computer has smell-o-vision, and all you have is that story and the best graphics you can invest in and reviewers writing that they’re being taken to the moon by a whiff. It’s probably why this is my current expensive hobby over something more useful like tech or politics.

So when even I think certain campaigns are taking the design and story aspects and using them to cover up what’s actual important about a fragrance, the smell and the performance, well, perhaps some prioritizing is in order.

Take the recent Vanity Fair article for the new juice Roads that they’re housing in Barneys for example. That entire article consists of what are essentially press releases about the individual fragrances, sandwiched by “philosophy” and “about the director” sections. The author notes the design and the packaging; and never mentions if she or anyone in that office actually tried the fragrances, doesn’t mention if she even knows how they actually smell. Notice that the actual scent is described last in each little blurb, in short bursts of nondescriptive and boring “notes.” They name three “notes” for each fragrance and it makes them sound less complex than a bechamel sauce.

What I’m getting from the article is that if you buy any of these fragrances, you’re supporting some rich artist with tons of connections by buying her probably mediocre fragrances.

I mean, I’m not against rich people furthering their wealth if it means I get a great product. I love Kilian Hennessey’s expensive-af stuff as much as anyone, and he is definitely not hurting for money or attention. But I wore Love and Tears, Surrender for an entire winter, the Addictive State of Mind line is one of my favorites, and while I think his new Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi is just sooo cheesy, the idea is still fun and cute and although a bit powdery for my taste, quite a pleasant scent. But frankly, the fragrances are still about the fragrances with By Kilian. Using the scent to provoke the moods and atmosphere that they’re going for; not creating a mediocre fragrance and then covering it up with backstory.

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