The Senses of Scents

I had to pick my jaw up from the floor after watching the new J’Adore commercial. Wow! It’s so glamorous and glitzy, oozing with opulence, luminous and golden. The radiant Charlize Theron blew me away, and with Galerie des Glaces, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, and Marilyn Monroe caught in beautiful moments — it all engulfs the film with timeless magic, the past converging with the present. It all just got me thinking…

Fragrances are just about smells, right? Well, it may seem to be so at first, but eventually experience will reveal it to be otherwise. We buy perfumes and colognes to feel good, and more often than not, what makes us feel good is not confined to the scent. Smell ends up as a mere factor in combination with a whole bunch of other emotional values other than olfactory ones.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s just how we people are wired. We are reservoirs of emotions, memories and subconscious yearnings.

So just what are these fragrance ingredients that have nothing to do with fragrance?

Designer origins

A fashionable lineage gives a scent instant personality long before it is released to the world, long before it had a name, when it was just a glimmer in the eye of its designer parent.

Case in point — Chanel No. 5, Carolina, Diorissimo, Versace Men, all derivative names of designer houses. The creator of a dress you’d love to put on would probably make a scent you’d want to wear.

Potent Names

What’s in a name? Letters, sounds, meanings. It is the nature of words to come packed with some kind of psychological wallop. Some are subtle, some are not. Emblazoning a word on a bottle bestows all that power to the liquid within.

Consider the names: Eternity, Pleasures, Happy, Romance, Cool Waters, J’Adore
Imagine the feelings elicited by dabbing each of these names on your wrist.

So greatly do these bright and light names stand out against each other, while even more deeply contrasting with names with darker themes like Poison, Opium, Envy, Guilty, Obsession, Insensé. Think of how you’ll feel when you touch these scents to your throat.

Sculptural Bottles

Perfume bottles are gallery-worthy works of art that you can put on a dresser. They come angular or curvy, sparkly and faceted, or smooth and sleek, entrancing you with their gorgeousness even before you smell them.

Celebrity Factor

Whether we know it or not, we want to be the people we admire — whether it’s J.Lo, SJP, Beyonce, Michael Jordan, or the Old Spice Guy. So when these fabulous individuals give their name to a fragrance, or appear in print ads and commercials, we subconsciously get that if we could spritz on whatever it is they spritz on, we can acquire some of their magic.

Striking Images

Perfume ads are some of the most striking images you’ll find in a magazine, loaded with  subtext, representing feelings and concepts that we like to flash in our heads whenever we dab some on.

Kirsten poses with a lion in this Bulgari Jasmin Noir ad

This has all the bases covered -- designer brand, sexy name, and Evan Rachel Wood in a raunchy photograph.

Posted in Culture, Design, Fashion | Tagged , ,

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