By Liz Bekesz

Recently, I had the chance to visit Symrise, a global supplier of fragrances, cosmetic active ingredients, and raw materials, at their NYC headquarters. Symrise was curating NEXT (+) VISION IN MOTION, a multi-sensorial peek into upcoming industry and consumer trends, including their impact on the world of fragrance. Three trend platforms i.e., (long life span trends, not fads) were identified, determined through the use of qualitative and quantitative resarch; they are Vitality, Gorgeous Life, and Self-sorial. Mainstream and avant garde trend expressions were also explored.

VITALITY is about optimizing life, health, and longevity, and encompasses two trends called VITALIFE and BE-OLIFE. Vitalife is about sustained, joy-full living, and places high importance on taking care of yourself. As such, protection and conservation of personal, private resources is vital; there’s a motivation to feel safe in an ever-changing, turbulent world. Vitalife’s energy is about a sustained, fulfilling flow and a “soft invigoration,” not a jarring, instant or rushed “on.”

Be-olife recognizes technology must do more than simply serve humans by making our lives easier or better; it must also serve our health, and the health of our planet. Look for an emphasis on sustainability, symbiosis, and simplicity; see dichotomous bedfellows nature and technology coexist peacefully, and even (gasp!) thrive.

How this all translates into fragrance: Look for scents with a long-lasting sense of freshness throughout, as well as an emphasis on ingredients and technology. Look for water-based scents to make a bigger appearance, though challenges still exist with regard to educating customers as to why their fragrance may appear cloudier or bubblier (or cost more).

GORGEOUS LIFE encompasses the ESSENTUALIST and the WORLDIST. This category is about the quest for serenity and a new understated luxury – in other words, the good life, but without the bragging rights. Essentualist takes as its focus the fundamentals: pure shapes, precious basics, and invisible technology. It’s simple, refined design for aesthetes, with attention to the tiniest details. An Essentualist scent could go many ways, though it would inlude only the best ingredients. The WORLDIST moves towards hybridization and diversity, celebrating the blending of cultures (think Chanel no. 5 patchwork bottle). Storytelling comes into play here as a way to personalize products and make them uniquely yours. Scent Translation? Cross-cultural elements like an American floral mixed with Middle Easter masala.

SELF-Sorial, the third trend category, has two gender-specific trends. E-rotic is an embracing of femininity and sensuality, though not gratuitous femininity. It’s pleasure-seeking without compromise. There’s a strength to these scents, and they are sexy and aromatic. The male version, Primal Pulse, is the rough, refined, and ready man: he’s a man’s MAN, rugged and natural…much like his big manly beard. How does this category bode for fragrance? Scents will likely have both masculine and feminine notes represented; think florals spiked with fresh spices, or chili & lime shower gels.

Which trend do you foresee for yourself in this coming year…and beyond? Here’s to exploration and discovery. Cheers!

Originally published January 2012
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