Genderless products and communication are making their way into the market and society. Paradigms are shifting, as we have already seen in the skincare sector and now in the make-up industry as well. Embracing inclusion and breaking down stereotypes is the right path to take, but there is still a long way to go in this journey.
The future of perfume: experts of the industry debated the tomorrow of the perfume and beauty at Istituto Marangoni Paris
This was one of the topics discussed at the event hosted by Istituto Marangoni in Paris this summer, where an extraordinary panel of experts debated the future of this industry. Moderated by journalist and beauty expert Silvia Manzoni, the theme of the conversation was ‘Professionals of tomorrow in the perfume and beauty world’, with the participation of Thomas Lalague, VP Fine Fragrance Creation EMEA at Symrise; Audrey Duthilleul, International Senior Brand Manager for ELIE SAAB & Chopard Parfums at Give Back Beauty; Nicolas Cayrac, International Marketing Director of Gucci Beauty at Coty; Evgenia Evstifeeva, Global Category Leader US of Garnier at L’Oréal; and Abdilah Merzoug, Talent Acquisition Manager, Luxury Division at L’Oréal.
As traditional gender lines are blurring, the make-up industry is pivoting towards inclusivity. But even fragrances should go genderless
One of today’s big challenges is how to develop a gender-neutral industry, even when it comes to the perfume sector.
While make-up and skincare brands are moving towards more gender-neutral products, perfume brands and retailers face a bigger challenge. Some heavyweights like Calvin Klein, Le Labo and Diptyque have been making this statement for a while now, but is it enough?
Why are perfumes still gendered? Cultural conventions make us think a scent represents masculinity or femininity
What’s the difference between male and female perfumes? What makes a scent feminine versus masculine? Why are fragrances (still) attributed to a specific gender? Why are floral and vanilla essences considered feminine, while woody and tobacco fragrances are considered masculine?
The binary gender distinction has long dictated perfumes, which were created to reflect femininity or masculinity
The answer may lie in the history of society and its preconceived cultural associations. Society has created multi-brand perfumeries with separate women’s and men’s divisions, where the boundaries are rigid and choosing one side is mandatory.
The binary distinction of genders has long dictated that sweet, delicate scents should define femininity, while masculinity should smell rough and strong. But what if this is not the case?
We are not saying that women cannot have a sweet, flowery scent; we are just pointing out that if women want a strong, harsh fragrance, they can have that, too. If a non-binary person wants a strong, wild scent or a sweet, floral one, they should be given the option of having them both. If men ask for something sweet and gentle, they must be allowed to have that, too. And if they feel comfortable with things that don’t meet outdated standards, they should find what works for them on the market and in stores simply because they want it.
People should be allowed to wear whatever scent they want
Hey, big players in perfumery, follow the niche brand route and let gender fluidity become part of your DNA
The mantra ‘gender sells’ has long worked in the perfume market, and industry heavyweights have created fragrance portfolios that not only establish our gender but make us attractive to the opposite sex. But things have changed, and even these top players must embrace the complexity of identities.
An extraordinary panel of experts debated the future of the perfume industry during the event hosted by Istituto Marangoni in Paris
Therefore, while big companies are managing their way to change, “a first solution to this is found in niche brands”, as stated by Thomas Lalague, VP of Fine Fragrance Creation EMEA at Symrise and guest speaker at the Istituto Marangoni Paris event. He referred to those labels striving to change the narrative and ditch the gender binary by creating fragrances for people, fragrances that smell good and not gender-coded.
Change is possible: here’s why companies are removing old social norms from their strategies
The shift in marketing away from a gender-oriented approach is taking place and is quite evident. However, changing a 60-year-old mentality is a complex and time-consuming challenge.
But change is not only possible; it’s necessary to meet the demands of new generations who reject discrimination, exclusion, and stereotypes about gender roles, such as “make-up is for women and fighting is for men.” For example, make-up is no longer only for women and everyone should be free to wear it if they choose to.
Perfume brands today have to meet the needs of new generations that go beyond gender roles
A paradigm shift in the fragrance industry also involves sustainability and new technologies
Other topics concerning the future of the beauty industry, such as sustainability and new technologies, were a key part of the discussion.
Evgenia Evstifeeva, Global Category Leader at Garnier (L’Oréal), explained that innovative industrial processes and responsible sourcing have led the big brands to have a closer and more genuine dialogue with the expectations of their current and potential customers. Furthermore, they have learned to adapt these innovative and sustainable products in different global markets.
The theme of the event hosted by Istituto Marangoni Paris was ‘Professionals of tomorrow in the perfume and beauty world’
New ideas and production processes are in the pipeline: Nicolas Cayrac, International Marketing Director of Gucci Beauty at Coty, referred to a new technology to capture carbon from industrial emissions and turn it into alcohol for perfume production.
The future of beauty is gender-neutral, responsible and tech-driven, but what is its current state?
No doubt, the beauty industry is improving, not only in production but also in communication and digital fields. We are all witnessing how AI is becoming more and more mainstream, and beauty brands will not be left behind.
With these new generations, and with AI becoming more and more mainstream, beauty brands need to innovate to not be left behind
However, what is next for the beauty world from a social point of view? All speakers agreed that people are asking to be heard more than ever, and companies need to listen to adapt their strategies to a new generation of consumers.