Last week I was in NYC. While I was there, I attended the Elements Showcase. This is a biannual highly-curated event that showcases niche perfumes as well as a few skincare and cosmetics brands organized by Frederick Bouchardy (Joya), Ulrich Lang and Jeffrey Lawson.
When one goes to one of these events, they expect to sniff stuff. They expect to take pictures of new launches and feel special for seeing it first. Honestly, I can get all of this info from the not-so-comfortable 1930’s banker’s chair that I call my desk chair. I’m a people person. I enjoy interacting with people. And trust me, the perfume community is filled with supportive, nice people. And in typical stream-of-thought fashion, I’m going to tell you about who was there.
Carlos Huber of Arquiste was there and as well Rodrigo Flores-Roux. Both guys are absolutely adorable and so sweet.
Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co. was not presenting at the show but she was there during the rose workshop on Tuesday morning. Charna is the nicest person on the planet. I love her. She exudes this positive energy that I love to soak up.
Mandy Aftel of Aftelier was there. Like Charna, she did not have a “booth” but she was there for the workshops and panels. Mandy is awesome and you’ll here more about her during my other post. (This edition of the showcase featured workshops and panels which I will cover in a separate post.) I’m so mad that I didn’t get my pic with her.
Yosh Han was there. Yosh is a very caring person and talented perfumer.
I finally got to meet Brent of Smell Bent. He collects vintage Swatches. He’s so flipping cute. He’s in NYC and he goes to eat dinner with his parents who were visiting. It’s like so cute it hurts.
And of course I met up with bloggers. Gaia of The Non-Blonde was more beautiful than ever. Barney of Fragrant Moments is awesome. Mark of Ça Fleure Bon is such a cool, brilliant, honest guy. Kim of Scent of ReminiScent is a goddess. Ida of Fragrantica is one of the most caring people on the planet.
Enough about the people, let’s hit up the trends.
The biggest trend that I noticed was that more and more brands are taking advantage of hokey packaging and using this hokey packaging as the story of their brand or fragrance.
We have The Blood Concept launching something in a dialysis bag. You already know how I feel about this line. But, you know what? I noticed that this line was getting a lot of attention from glossy mag editors at the show. Please, don’t cover this crap.
As you know if you are a smug arse like me, books are the new typewriters. There are too many lines packing their perfumes in books. We had Eight + Bob and Memoire Liquide. And we have the following that were not at the show: INeKe and the new Paperback . FYI – Pencils are the new books. And then mechanical pencils will be the new pencils. Get with it people.
Alice & Peter (like in Peter Pan) is all about the packaging. This is a collection of sweet scents put into cupcake packaging: Wicked Berry, Fancy Choco, Cheery Cherry, Showy Toffee, and Bloody Orange. And for something with cupcake packaging, it wasn’t so bad. It’s cute. It’s youthful. But, we all know that cupcakes are sooo 5 years ago. Cream puffs. That is where it’s at.
Smoking, drinking, and gambling: I am not talking about my trip to Las Vegas.
Tobacco was popular. We have a new natural fragrance from La Bella Figura called Buenos Aires that features orange blossom, rose, tobacco absolute, and maté. Luxury candle line, Fornasetti, has a tobacco home fragrance that smells like a gentleman’s study – Otto. And many of their designs focus on smoking – those incense burners are so cute!) The newest addition, Frapin Speakeasy is a leather and tobacco fragrance.
Booze is always in. Histoires de Parfums Moulin Rouge has notes of absinthe which seems to be “back” again. And of course the line, Frapin, is all about booze.
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn, so get those stakes up higher… PopUp Candles is a line of French candles. 1 in 50 candles contains a diamond. Will you be the lucky one?
Lowering the Price:
After years of seeing the niche prices get higher and higher, we’re finally seeing a trend of them getting lower and lower. Sure, there will always be $900 bottles of perfumes hand-poured by monks on a remote mountain top, but I’m starting to see a price backlash.
Gerald Ghislain has started this trend in my opinion. In January, he launched The Scent of Departure Collection which retails for $45 and comes in really cool packaging. During this show he launched Alice & Peter. The cupcake inspired line obviously marketed towards young girls that retails for $45.
The Agonist line used to come in these amazing art bottles. They still do; however, we can now get a no frills bottle for cheaper containing the same juice.
Joya offers very affordable rollerballs of their fragrances. I think they’re some of the best perfumes you can buy in that price range.
Juniper Ridge offers natural hand-crafted products and scents with affordable prices proving that wild-crafted, hand-crafted and natural does not have to cost a fortune.
Lili Bermuda is a “new to me” line that contains many perfumes for men and women inspired by Bermuda. The packaging would lead to me believe that these would be expensive. But, they’re not. I can’t remember the exact price and they’re not distributed in the U.S. yet, but they retail for under $80 for EDPs.
West Coast Pride: Not really a trend but I want to talk about it.
So proud to see so many West Coasters representing at Elements. Brent from Smell Bent brought some West Hollywood realness to the floor. Bay area favorites Mandy Aftel, Yosh Han, and DelRae Roth of Parfums DelRae were there. My personal favorites, Juniper Ridge, were there to represent. I laugh because their booth was set up in the back corner on the 6th floor. Ron of Notable Scents saw those manning the booth and says, “Hey, those look like your people. Do you know them?” Apparently when I’m in NYC and see a guy with tattoos and a beard wearing plaid and boots, I’m supposed to know them. These are the traits of “my people”, you know, Pacific Northwesterners. I got asked if I knew the Juniper Ridge folks numerous times. Listen, they aren’t “my people”. They’re based in Oakland. Those not presenting but representing the Seattle mutha land AKA “my people” included Meredith of Sweet Anthem and Nikki Sherrit of Rebel + Mercury. And the buyers of Essenza. And none of these people had a beard and were wearing boots…
So, yeah, that’s my first part of this wrap-up. Stay tuned for more!