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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Guerlain: The liquidation of heritage

A picture is worth a thousand words.


Succumbing to celebrity culture has never been the Guerlain way.
Guerlain does not follow the Guerlain way anymore. Time to let that sink in.

39 comments:

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    1. A modern reality we have to live with. *sigh*

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  3. If only the 'jus' was worth it... I had the chance to try some preview samples for two weeks and it seemed ok, a lighter Mon Exclusif that could fit Guerlain. But alas, spraying from a full bottle was so different. This is basically a 'Sauvage' or 'Bleu de Chanel' aimed at women. Basically crap. Sorry but I didn't expect Guerlain to sink that low.

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    1. I agree with you. This is sad indeed.

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    2. I think the need to appeal to mass market is pressing. In a bad way of course.

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  4. Armand13:25

    If I may, I think you are being a little unfair, probably because of idealis,, which I totally understand, since I also am an idealist. But in these capitalistic days brands need to sell in order to continue alive. Guerlain was never big in the USA, and it sure helps it to be. This was a way to achieve that.

    Also, Angelina Jolie is not that bad. You don't have to look at her as a "celebrity" (I certainly don't, but I know nothing of the celebrity world, thank god). She has an interesting face. She is not Catherine Deneuve or Audrey Hepburn, sure, but they don't make Deneuves and Hepburns anymore.

    Guerlain is getting a lot of hate with this move. But is that the right way to deal with it? Is it not acceptable that Guerlain did this? I semelled the perfume, and I find it really good (it's not groundbreaking, but for that we have niche nowadays). L'Homme Ideal EDP was for me the best male fragrance of 2016. So, no, I don't believe that Guerlain is sinking. Look at Mon Guerlain's bottle. It's beautiful, much greater than La petit robe noir's "faux chic" designs.

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    1. I get your point Armand and I do understand how the market works alas. The huge US market makes or breaks any "product" out there; from music bands to perfume.

      What bothers me most is that they're conflating the heritage and "exlusivity" factor with mass-market-aimed juice. These used to be rather separate. (even if this was a diss on the more "regular" middle class customers in itself...)

      Angelina can be a great role-model in what has to do with charity and tackling things in a pro-active way. Nevertheless there is too much contrasting celebrity culture clustered around her to make her the best choice right now.

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  5. Armand13:30

    The end of Chanel?: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/41/56/c5/4156c546222839ccca1ae2752f9825d5.jpg

    The end of Dior?: http://img.over-blog-kiwi.com/0/55/94/95/201310/ob_94aa40_dior-eau-sauvage-pub-2013-alain-delon.JPG

    Not really! So it is perfectly possible to argue that this is not the end of Guerlain.

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    1. I firmly believe that both Chanel and Dior are totally different from Guerlain in their "genetic" make-up so to speak. Guerlain is not a designer house first and foremost. It's a perfumes and cosmetics house. There's a difference.

      Besides the faces of Deneuve and Delon have a timeless quality about them because publicity and celebrity were very different back then. Now the celebrity world has "cheapened" and lost its mystique and this fact devalues the advertised product.

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  6. I hope to smell this today Helg - you know , in Oz we get everything late or not at all! LOL

    I was upset when I first heard that Angelina was the "face" .... I thought Guerlain was stepping in the wrong direction but I had a bit of a think.. I hear so many times on Youtube and in the department stores etc. the younger girls talking about this company Is .. here we go ... "Old Lady" ... Old Lady in the perfume as well as the cosmetic lines of the grande dames of cosmetics - Guerlain , Dior, Arden and Lauder etc. so ... if old Angelina can get Guerlain $$$ selling again and make them sort of "hip" like MAC etc ... well , I will still be able to buy my beloved Mitsouko and Jicky for Guerlain is still a "going concern". All about the bottom line.
    I nearly bought the Mon Exclusif for Christmas but went for Malle's Un Rose ( felt rosey for Christmas) but I hope its as nice as Mon Exclusif ... they are not my beloved Jicky or Mitsouko but ...... I must say that I love the bottle as its the old Jicky bottle without the silk cords and that little gold seal and fluffy ends . Oh , they were the old days Helg :) LOL Will report back if I get a sniff today!!

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    1. It does merit a thought what you say. I do side with this side of the argument.

      It does make one wonder though. Is Angelina really "hip" with the young crowd? She's 40 isn't she and her look is rather classical as well. I don't see her as "hip". If we mean "someone in the eye of the celebrity storm" then I agree.

      Always interested in your scented opinions! :)

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    2. Yes you are right ... I guess at 40 .. that is not "hip" but ... who would one pick ? Plus ... I have never seen a young girl at a Guerlain counter buying anything now I think of it.What I do see at our Australian counters are Middle age and , like me - old ladies! LOL

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    3. There should be people they could hire. For instance Prada had a very wise choice in Lea Seydoux. But of course she's not well known stateside which is the whole point. I'm out of the loop with the very youth-aimed celebrity culture so I can't give ideas at the moment. But there must be someone.

      The point is there's nothing wrong with AJ. There's plenty of wrong with hiring a celebrity for an "exclusive" perfume. What's more MON exclusive. Is it just me?

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  7. I'll follow LadyJicky's lead ... when I first heard that Angelina Jolie was the face of the new Guerlain perfume, I was disapponted.
    I'm a big fan of Guerlain. I am also completely addicted to their lipsticks and whenever I'm at a Guerlain counter, I hear young girls saying "what is this brand?", "is this new", "I've never heard of this brand" etc.
    And all I can think is, if having Angelina Jolie as the face of a perfume makes people notice Guerlain and be interested in Guerlain and it means Guerlain will live on, then I'm all for it.

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    1. You both bring a valid point to the discussion. Thanks Liv!

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  8. Hi again,,,,back from the shops and I had my daughter with me (who is in her 40's) and we where disappointed with it . I am a great Jicky and Mitsouko fan and Ana is a Huge fan of Shalimar . We both thought it sickly sweet - its for the young set . We both can see my granddaughter who is 6 loving it! Oh ... her favourite perfume is Coco followed by No.5 I was told today!!! No - she does not have bottles of it but I give her those scent samples if I am lucky to get them. Now we both said "Frida will LOVE this - so sweet!!! ) Sadly this scent hung around me like a fly and turned into a sickly sweet musky pong. My daughter's spray just disappeared - how lucky! LOL I wanted to love it so much and it was not nice like the Mon Exclusif... that had depth to it and I could smell the lavender .... Angie's Mon - I did not sadly smell any lavender. Love to know what you thought Helg and a big Aussie Wave to Liv above me !!!

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    1. Very interesting comparison on different skins and idiosyncracies. Thanks for the reporting!
      I'm waiting to try it out and will let you know if it catches my fancy.

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  9. This is only upstaged by that disastrous Brad Pitt ad for Chanel. What in the world were they thinking? Do they even understand what this woman really represents? Guerlain will always be my preferred perfume house, but between the reformulations of the classics with all the restrictions, and the many disappointing releases of late, time will tell.

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    1. Oh the Pitt one was the pits! (couldn't resist heehee!)

      We will have to see how long Guerlain can withhold with customers who buy because of its heritage when the heritage is no longer possible.

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  10. Has Guerlain become so desperate to sell their wares? First Angelina Jolie and then this 'Mon'. Didn't smell any different any other fruity sweet cocktail that's being churned out by the dozens every season.

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  11. Unbelievable. Thank the Fates that I was able to get my hands on enough vintage Guerlain scents to last me till the day I die and that is not that far off as I am already standing in my grave. I still do no understand what happened with Guerlain, whether it was all the IFRA restrictions or the fact that Guerlain was acquired by LVHM and their antics towards greater profits but the entire classic Guerlain line has been ruined. Having Angelina Jolie as the face of Guerlain demonstrates just how far they have fallen. Stick a fork in it because it's DONE.

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    1. I believe it's a bit of both. The old jus had no chance with IFRA and the newer has to a priori comply so what's pooor Wasser to do? They did the workshops and the historical demos and that's admirable. We can't really hope for more.

      It's true that LVMH has been quite mercenary in the margin profits from what I can see through the years. Oh well.

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  12. OK ... I am going to say it .... ever since that Thierry Wasser was appointed........

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    1. Bah...he's not to blame. Don't give LT so much credence.

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  13. Anonymous03:31

    I understand the dismay, but I don't mind the advertising result. The other campaign image with Jolie in profile with her tattooed back showing is quite striking. Mostly I'm tickled by the Terrence Malick-directed ad, because his filmmaking of late has become rather like a perfume commercial or those longform commercials for premium fashion brands that you see on FashionTV; glossy, dreamlike, low on narrative, and very indulgent. Funny headline online: Terrence Malick takes a break from making movies that look like perfume ads to make a perfume ad - Ioanna

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    1. I haven't actually watched the Terrence Malick commercial. I should seek it out. Any link?

      He's notorious for working very sporadically and very idiosyncratically (=indulgent).

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  14. Anonymous09:08

    I don't see a problem with Guerlain hiring AJ. She is widely respected beyond her celebrity status, and her style seems poised between youthfulness and maturity in a way that should interest new customers without too much risk of alienating the faithful. The ads are beautiful. The perfume (to me) is nothing special but not awful. Admittedly the 'Mon' stuff suggest they have run out of ideas in the naming department.
    Anne-Marie

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    1. I agree with all your points.

      The problem is not with hiring Angelina. The problem lies with hiring a celebrity at all. They never used to and it worked perfectly for emphasizing that any woman could graft the tradition and mythos upon herself. Now...not so much.

      The names are another can of worms!

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  15. I haven't sniffed it yet to know how I feel about this, but it's certainly mass market of them. I can't see how Jolie is relevant in either Europe or America -- she's already on the cusp of "the past." (As am I, I'm right around her age. I'm sure it's been thoroughly market researched regarding our purchasing power, desires and fantasies, and nostalgia-approaching-dread.) If they continue to sell their classics, I'd be inclined to forgive these sorts of things. However, I've been cynical regarding perfumery since the first IFRA regulations came into effect a decade or so ago, even though the shift towards patented aromachemicals and away from natural ingredients was inevitable due to the sheer growth of the market. There hasn't been enough rose and jasmine oil for ages. The palette has changed, but it has always changed: a younger person today would likely not know the scent of Mysore sandalwood, just as I would not know that of true deer musk. I liken it to growing up with Cool Whip then experiencing real whipped cream. "How can you miss what you never possessed?" Perhaps it's better not to know? It hasn't been the same since they took the bitumen out of kyphi...and Nefertiti started looking her age.

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    1. I adore your comment. It says in such a beautiful way what I feel as well. Thank you for bringing it here. :)

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  16. Well. In some or the other way we seeme to have all forgotten about Guerlain Insolence and Hilary Swank, about 10 years ago. How come, the juice-crowd excuses wonderful Chanel for everything (remember Brad Pitt for CC No 5, a great marketing idea for the moment, it worked) – but why do we get so highly emotional about Guerlain fighting to survive? Isn't AJ somehow a nonheroine-heroine? She might be one of the next US-Presidents... Allthough, if it comes up to Guerlain, it's still all about "the juice" (l'alcool, comme les Françaises/Français l'appellent). As beauty b:b-journalist for about 25 years, I do of course understand, how important the 7-8-16th version of Mugler Angel or L^LVEB cood be. Somehow, those whatever-foodie-fragrances are very welcome. Even Michael E. and Chandler B. seem to agree that also in fragrance "all's well, that ends well" performes. Guerlain faces the challenge of beeing "pioneer niche" and LVMH-brand the same time (merci, Renato & Sylvaine), with all the shareholder's wellfairs necessities. Let's give Mon Guerlain a chance of being judged by the public. May it work, so that Thierry and all the wonderful artists at Guerlain there continue to get the chance of creating polarizing fragrances.

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    1. Ha!! Indeed Insolence and Swank. Funny you saying this because I like both and didn't like that ad. But it got soon substituted with other ads. Right?
      I appreciate your insight as beauty journalist. You do bring some valid points.

      Just to clarify. Personally? I don't "forgive" Chanel. I think it's the more over-rated perfume house there is. Their production in the last decade is mostly without merit with few "exclusive" exceptions. Then again so is Guerlain's. The whole market has changed dramatically. I suppose that's the reason so many people have either stopped buying or they're buying niche etc.

      And I do sympathize with the position Guerlain has put itself into. ;)

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  17. What about the Shalimar/Shalimar Light with Patty Hansen and her daughters? This isn't totally new.

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    1. I think those were a one-off thing (never seen them in an actual glossie and I did read many mags at the time) and Shalimar Light was so short-lived as to not make a bleep on the radar. Good catch on your part though!

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    2. I also wanted to say that AJ is perhaps the amalgamation of a trend in the making and therefore what I considered the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back so to speak.

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  18. I didn't understand what was the point - I didn't recognise Ms. Jolie anyway. The name, though, and the pink juice, these are highly suspicious, I expect it to be another unrecognizable sweet floral stuff but I'll check it when I encounter it.
    Omg, Mon Guerlain. Next time, they could make blank packages and add a marker - Name Your Own Guerlain.

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    1. I'm sorry to report they have actually done that last bit already.
      :/

      Hope I find you well Liisa!!

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