Hopeful Rant: Reading Burr's Latest Column and Wishing for the Battle of Giants
In his latest column in New York Times, Chandler Burr tells the story of Guerlain in reverse, puzzling about the house's 2006 mass release, Insolence. I've been asking myself the same question- This is Guerlain?- for a while now. "Why did LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton buy this gem of a house if the gem is to be mounted in tin?", wonders Burr. I too would like to know the answer. "Equally baffling: Insolence was made by an extremely talented perfumer, Maurice Roucel". Indeed.
According to Burr, LVMH chairman, Bernard Arnault, "understands that of all the LVMH brands, only Guerlain can combat Chanel". It seems to me that the two go head to head in the area of "exclusives" (L'Art et la Matière vs Les Exclusifs de Chanel), and actually Chanel was lagging far behind till now, and, in fact, still can't quite compete with Guerlain where the sheer number of "exclusives" is concerned (only ten compared to Guerlain's aforementioned L'Art et la Matière, Les Parisiennes, and all the re-reissues and limited editions). In the area of mass releases, Chanel has been riding on the (to me, inexplicable) success of their Chance for quite a while, and is overdue to offer something new (completely new, sequels to Chance do not count). Guerlain should probably hurry too and release something fabulous or at least good to make up for Insolence. As far as I am concerned, Chanel and Guerlain are on the even ground and I am rooting for both.
While I am off on a rant, I'll say that I am rooting for Dior just as much, if not more. It is my hope that the impact of Chanel's Exclusifs will finally wake Dior from its long slumber (in the area of feminine scents, since Dior has been doing quite well in the masculine), put it into a competitive mode and make it a) to re-release the classics like Diorling, Diorama and Dior-Dior for perhaps an exclusive but wider distribution and b) to live up to its past glory and produce something new and fantastic, be it "a niche scent within a luxury brand" or a quality mass release...
To put the long story short, I hope that these three (former) Perfume Giants will be restored to their past glory and will start battling for our affection by trying to outshine each other by producing beautiful, original scents. Is this a completely utopian dream?...Please, don't answer that.