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Alissa Marrapodi

Alissa Marrapodi is the managing editor for inside cosmeceuticals and production editor for Natural Products INSIDER. She has a passion for all things natural, including food, cosmetics and supplements. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University with a bachelor’s in journalism. She loves hiking, photography, red wine and traveling.

Fragrance Trends with Symrise


On Wednesday of last week, I had the opportunity to visit Symrise’s Park Ave. creative theater that’s responsible for predicting consumer-based, global fragrance trends. Unlike fads that come and go (think vampires), these trends set the stage for the next several years and attempt to answer the question: “What do consumers want?"

For me, the fun part was when I realized fragrances are a lot like wine: it’s a sensory-driven passion/like that evokes an emotional connection (creating a feeling, stimulating a memory, etc.); is full of layers and complexity, and “tasting" (or rather smelling) notes; and creates associations with colors, moods and more. 

Symrise’s presentation, Next (+) Vision in Motion, included three trend platforms: Vitality, Gorgeous Life and Self Sorial. Each creative theater was set up to explain and detail global avant garde trends, i.e., early adoptions of trends that will become mainstream. Each platform was explored through a series of mediums, including video, music and fragrance sampling; and translated into five market sectors: lifestyle (how this trend platform translates into everyday life), food, beauty and home care, the consumer benefit and fragrances. For the sake of time, I’ve just included how each trend affects fragrances.

Vitality: Vitality is all about Me and My Health via two trends: Vitalife and Be-Olife.

Vitalife is a trend toward optimizing life. It combines two seemingly opposing concepts—nature and technology; and connotes general themes of joyful health, time for yourself, taking care of yourself and escaping the go-go-go way of life.

  • Fragrances: An evolution of long-lasting freshness throughout, with a focus on ingredients and technology. Scents include a combination of olive and rose that smell like the color pink with a hint of spice; and cardamom that creates a complex fragrance, offering a cooling, relaxed smell that brings to mind the color yellow. 

Be-Olife focuses on the green movement. Think green-tech osmosis, technology that serves the Earth and progress that makes life easier, better.

  • Fragrances: A focus on innocence and technology. Scents included a water- versus alcohol-based fragrance; and a combination scent of peppermint/spearmint, thyme and Moroccan tea with earthy notes. 

Gorgeous Life: Gorgeous Life is all about Me and How I Relate to Others. It's in line with the minimalist motto, “less is more" via two trends: Essentualist and Worldist.

Essentualist is a quest for serenity and the fundamentals in life with a focus on pure shapes, precious basics and invisible technology.

  • Fragrances: Using only the best ingredients for prestigious products. And instead of the designer (e.g., Ralph Lauren) taking center stage, the perfumer gets the spotlight. Scents include a hippie, vintage fragrance with patchouli notes; and a combination of cocoa and saffron with a sexy edge.

Worldist is a movement away from fusion and a focus on hybridization through culture recall, i.e., why lose your original cultural roots through fusion when you can add to them through a hybrid of traditions and creative patchworks, and an injection of color and light and world artists. Think lime and sweet chili shower spices, Chanel’s patch worked fragrance bottle. Scents are unexpected and simple—Latin influenced lavender, and an American floral combined with Middle Eastern masala.

Self Sorial: Self Sorial is all about Me. It expresses sensuality, sexuality and gender-specific agendas via two trends: E-rotic and Primal Pulse.

E-rotic is for women. It presents a set of trends that say, “let go, feel good, work and play hard, no compromise." Very sexy, tactile aromatic designs that create a feeling of self awareness.

  • Fragrances: Paradoxical, politically incorrect and exaggerated volume. Scents include a very soapy and feminine aroma; and a chocolate-based fragrance, minus the overkill chocolate can create.

Primal Pulse is for men with the tagline: Rough, Refined & Ready. It focuses on re-centering yourself, instinctive and strong, rugged and elegant, and mimics natural elements.

  • Fragrances: A combination of masculine and feminine notes. Scents include ginger and pepper with floral notes, and Oriental origins with a woody bottom.

As I’m sure many of you in fragrance industry have noticed, there is a trend toward natural. Symrise predicted in the next 15 years consumers will expect a level of greenness in everything; but going green isn’t all that easy. First, natural isn’t always better—think what’s happening to sandalwood. But what’s more is price and education. It costs a lot of money for big companies to go green—a lot—which requires more consumer education because they’re going to want to know why they’re paying more for a product they used to get for less. Mostly likely, in order for companies to go green, consumers will need to step up their buying before they see a drop in price.

Another hurdle in the movement toward green is skin feel and look. Water bases for fragrances, which are greener than alcohol, create a different skin feel; and they are more likely to cloud and bubble. Again, consumer education plays a role here, too, as they will want to know why their fragrance feels different or looks different. Hair care suffers from the same hurdle (think suds in shampoo).

Thoughts or comments? I’d love to hear them. I will be posting a follow-up image gallery/slide show, too, so stayed tuned.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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