The 7 most cult perfumes of all time
Like a fashion basic or an unforgettable movie, some scents cross the ages to become legends and keep their aura in a constantly changing society. 

How does a fragrance become an olfactory icon over time? 

From its creation, a great classic always embodies a balance between a basic trend and a bold choice. "Beyond the quality of the raw materials and the accuracy of the composition, a mythical perfume has its own character, stands out without being dissonant," explains historian Elisabeth de Feydeau. Shalimar comes to mind. Completely in the heady-powdery trend of the 1920s: its difference is played on a few drops of ethylvanillin that elevate it to the rank of the first feminine oriental, still today at the top of sales.
What forges an olfactory icon is above all its capacity to last over time, despite the evolution of consumer tastes. To achieve this, the major houses compete in techniques. 
1) Modify the formula of the initial juice to modernize it (L'Interdit by Givenchy, Miss Dior). 
2) Rely on flankers to keep the myth alive. Sylvain Eyraud, Takasago Marketing, and Communication Director explains: "On the one hand, the desire for regressive pleasures leads brands to imagine sweeter variations, with notes of veltol/maltol or vanilla (La Vie est Belle Intensément, Lancôme). On the other hand, a desire for freshness and light is expressed through more floral versions (Angel Nova, Mugler)". 
3) Constantly renewing the image of the classics, via muses who carry them with new strength and visibility. The expert cites Marion Cotillard, the embodiment of French chic for Chanel N°5, or Julia Roberts and her legendary smile, the allegory of La Vie est Belle.
Today, the profusion of launches inevitably hinders the emergence of leaders. However, we can imagine that, with the trend towards more naturalness, the future classics will be transparent and clean floral bouquets, composed of ingredients of renewable origin. Elisabeth de Feydeau concludes: "We are in an era of zapping, but brands will know how to adapt to stand out. A great classic is nothing without the time it takes to create and appreciate it".

The 7 most iconic perfumes of all time 

N°5 by Chanel. 
Originally: the "artificial perfume" commissioned to Ernest Beaux by Gabrielle Chanel, tired of the soliflores of the time, is composed of 80 scents including an extreme concentration of aldehydes, and inaugurated in 1921 the era of modern perfumery.
Today: the formula of all the superlatives remains unchanged, and the house is committed to ensuring the sustainability of its raw materials in its fields in Grasse. 

Shalimar by Guerlain. 
Originally: unveiled in 1925, Shalimar seduces from the start with its exotic and extremely carnal vanilla trail, and crystallizes in one scent the effervescence of the Roaring Twenties.
Today: Although certain raw materials have been removed from the initial formula, the house strives to preserve the essence of Shalimar with alternative notes that are almost imperceptible to the nose. 

Miss Dior. 
Originally: an extension of the couturier's flower-woman silhouette, and imagined as the final touch to a couture dress, Miss Dior, a sophisticated green scent, has been the olfactory incarnation of the New Look since its creation in 1947.
Today: purified of its earthy, dark notes and enriched with a "millefiori" bouquet of rose, iris, peony, and lily of the valley, the new Miss Dior formula is like an armful of fresh flowers with a lively, velvety trail.

L'Interdit by Givenchy. 
Originally a declaration of love from Hubert de Givenchy to his muse in 1957, L'Interdit, a heady powdery bouquet, remained Audrey Hepburn's prerogative until its release two years later.
Today: since the new version of L'Interdit, relaunched in 2018, the metallic effect of aldehydes and the powdery side of tonka bean have disappeared, replaced by luminous white flowers and a smoky vetiver/patchouli duo. 

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. 
Originally: upon its launch in 1977, Opium's oriental blend was a resounding success. Censored in several countries because of its evocative name, the scandal fragrance ushered in the marketing era, multiplying sales predictions by 15.
Today: the same jasmine heart and oriental base for Black Opium, which has made a name for itself since 2014 thanks to a more modern caffeinated trail.

Angel by Mugler. 
Originally: in 1992, Mugler signed his first perfume, a gourmand oriental (patchouli, chocolate, vanilla, caramel) that stands out from the crowd thanks to ethyl maltol, a food compound new to perfumery.
Today: the original formula has not changed a bit. The house, committed from the start with La Source, continues on this path via upcycling, by reusing the rose petals already distilled in the declination Angel Nova.

La Vie est Belle by Lancôme. 
Originally: 5.521 versions and three years of work were needed to imagine this blockbuster unveiled in 2012. Its secret? An ultra gourmand iris/patchouli/vanilla accord right on trend.
Today: since its launch, La Vie est Belle has broken all sales records in France. The original essence has remained intact, inspiring a series of flankers, from fresh to floral.

July 04, 2023