Trending: fragrances from the archive

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Perfume

Trending: fragrances from the archive
Successful vintage fragrances can dependably yield revenue and require less in the way of innovative marketing and branding than launching a new scent.

Loyalty and a personal sense of identity go along way when it comes to repeat fragrance sales. Presuming the supply chain remains ready to deliver the requisite ingredients and corresponding nostalgic packaging, vintage perfume is a smart bet.


L’Artisan Parfumeur is making three previously discontinued scents available this month in both brick-and-mortar boutiques and online: Tea for Two created in 2000 by perfumer Olivia Giacobett; OEillet Sauvage formulated by Anne Flipo that same year; and L’Eau du Caporal created by Jaques Fraysee in 1985.

Helmut Lang is again selling its Eau de Cologne and Cuiron as well as Eau de Parfum. The latter has been recreated by French perfumer Maurice Roucel who was responsible for the original in 1995. All three fragrances were dropped in 2005 when Helmut Lang himself left the fashion house.

Digital space

There’s more room for merchandise online and more frequent chances to engage with consumers thanks to digital technology.

Rituals offers consumers products that would conventionally be discontinued through its online Vintage Shop. “Customers get angry when you take away a product,”​ explained Rituals CEO Raymond Cloosterman, speaking at CEW’s Beauty Insider event last month in New York City. 

The luxury lifestyle brand, launched in 2000 in Amsterdam, sells fragranced skin care, body, and home products. Rituals’ retail locations average 600 square feet, so placing vintage products on digital shelf space is a resourceful e-commerce strategy.

Colorful trend

E-commerce, mobile commerce and social platforms present round-the-clock opportunities to connect with consumers and get both qualitative and quantitative feedback.  In color cosmetics, M.A.C.takes advantage of this and launches nostalgic favourites through its recurring By Request campaign. The brand uses social media to ascertain what colours of lipstick it should bring back to market.

This is an extension of the Gone but Not Forgotten service offered by M.A.C.’s parent company, Estée Lauder, which upon request helps US consumers find scents and products from select brands that have been discontinued in the previous two years.

Chanel is in the business of reminiscing too, having recently reissued three shades of red nail polish from the 1980s.

It was fashion editor Diana Vreeland, well known for her own red lacquered nails, who said, “You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” ​ And the same applies to trends in cosmetics. There are lessons to be taken then in the personal care industry as consumers clamour for the colors and fragrances of decades past.

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