Elements Showcase and W magazine hosted their first-ever fragrance forum to discuss the theme of “Fragrance as Design” in New York City on August 16. The Elements Showcase—a unique exhibition that presents elite fragrances to industry insiders and connects niche companies with leading buyers and key media—brought together a panel of fragrance and design experts to touch upon a variety of topics from sources of inspiration to bloggers.

Moderator Jane Larkworthy, beauty director at W, welcomed guests to the forum and showcase, or “olfactory factory,” as she described it.
“The fragrance category needs to be encouraged, supported and celebrated, and events like these are a step in the right direction,” said Larkworthy.

Panelists included Patricia Choux of Takasago; Melissa Green of Anthropologie; fashion designer Douglas Hannant; Ruth Sutcliffe of Coty; and Bea von Thurn und Taxis of Susanne Kaufmann.

“Inspiration comes from having an open mind and curiosity,” said Choux. “I’m also inspired by food and traveling, open markets and exhibitions. The last exhibit from Alexander McQueen—that was a wow moment for me.”

In terms of mass vs. prestige, Ms. Sutcliffe and Mr. Hannant gave varied opinions.

“I know my customer very well, and I know her taste level,” said Hannant, who introduced his first fragrance in the spring. “She wants something special, she wants to stand out. Mass has hit its peak, and I strongly believe in quality over quantity.”

Ms. Sutcliffe added, “I understand the needs of people in the U.S. and around the world who want to smell great, but can only afford a $19.99 fragrance in the mass market. I love and appreciate the niche market, and I know there is a yearning to smell unique and feel
special, but there needs to be an option for the shopper that can only spend so much.”

To touch on the topic of blogging, a majority of the panelists contributed positive remarks.

“Bloggers have been very positive for the Anthropologie brand,” said Green. “They are more of a marketing vehicle for us right now, rather than a source of feedback on design, but nonetheless they are honest and a key to our growth moving forward.”

1 Elements 2 Elements 3 Elements

Anthropologie’s Melissa Green, Susanne Kaufmann’s Bea von Thurn und Taxis,
Coty’s Ruth Sutcliffe, Takasago’s Patricia Choux, Douglas Hannant and Jane Larkworthy of W.

Elements Showcase’s Frederick Bouchardy and Ulrich Lang (r.) with Liz Morina and
Jane Larkworthy of W.

FIT’s Virginia Bonofiglio with Nicolas Mirzayantz and Veronique Ferval.

4 Elements 5 Elements 6 Elements
Parlux Fragrances’ Vivian Schlogel and
Patrick Etchaubard of Gerresheimer.
The Fragrance Foundation’s Lyn Leigh
and Amy Rubin.
Bond No. 9’s Laurice Rahme.
  7 Elements  
  Fashion Fragrances and Cosmetics’ Joe Garces and Anatole Flahault.  

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