In the XIXth century the industrial revolution changed everything and in architecture there was a need to build quick, good and on a large scale. It was not a time to reflect on how new functions that did not exist in the classical period should look or how new ideals can be expressed in buildings. Architecture was built on an industrial scale and the best way to describe it is through the method used by many in that time. The elements of architecture and the study of composition. The first considered architecture as an engine build from individual parts - windows, doors, stairs, rooms, etc - that would put in harmony according to composition principles. Each historical period was analyzed for its own achievement in terms of harmony, space, construction achievements. A complex building was a complex mixture of everything previous - Greek entrance, roman arches, gothic ceilings, Moorish decoration, Italian ballroom, etc. Before computer era, architects had some sort of database of models ready to be mixed and to produce villas, operas, railway stations, museums, schools, etc. It was very easy to express the client personal taste and in a short time as the constructors were already in the possession of different type of stones, decoration, etc. It was the first expression of art produced on large scale. The way fragrances are produced today offer the same perfect model 150 years later. The industry arrived to a certain degree of perfection in productivity. In terms of creation we see the same approach - top from there, bottom from another, a note from X, the style of Ellena redone by other perfumes and so on. " Do me a fresher Euphoria with ginger top notes from Miracle but in a lighter version as if it was done by Ellena" - is not a fantasy. A similar eclectic XIXth century approach is found in the "debriefing" of a fragrance brief. When a sophisticated brief arrives in a perfume company made with images, words, etc a preliminary phase is to interpret it. Interpretation means a correlation between words/images and raw materials/fragrance notes hoping that the sum of possible idea found inside would represent at best the client desire and can be explained (I put the plum because.. I chose chocolate because, It's a light oriental because …). In many cases, as seen in the products on the market, there are many stereotypes here. Perfumery works now as architects used "elements of architecture" 150 years ago to produce new buildings. A similar approach found in XIXth century paintings is called mannerism or … more correct academism. The following decades showed that art is more than taking ideas from here and there and combining them in a certain style.
If fragrance industry discovered the importance of bottle design and the unity of concept late XIXth century with marvelous examples in the 20's… now we tend to go back to 19th century when standard bottles were used by many fragrance houses. Because of productivity reasons many contemporary brands started to use a standard bottle (with a different color and some drawings) used either by other brands or by its own flankers. We are far from the time when Viard or Lalique created extraordinary and unique bottles.
Photo: Opera Garnier in Paris, now considered a beauty by visitors, was the mixture of all possible styles during Napoleon III era.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art