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Brands launching perfume duos give you choice and a reason to pick up twice as many fragrances on your next shopping trip.
September is often called the beginning of the fashion year. It boasts the biggest magazine issues, trend reports galore, and stores stocked with newness. It makes sense then that it’s also a big month for beauty and perfumes.
The fall season is a key moment when it comes to fragrance launches. And this year is no exception. But what’s particularly interesting this September is the number of perfume duos that are slated to debut.
Perfumes launching in twos happens regularly, especially with larger brands. A male and female-marketed version are often released simultaneously, though with very obvious and specific audiences in mind. But it’s a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular. Divided along gender lines, sure, but also by other concepts too. Dark and light or day and night is a popular one. Two takes on the same ingredient is another. Although the men’s version of a scent has always been linked to the female version, we’re seeing that link being made much more evident in today’s press and marketing materials. Whether brands are pushing two sides of the same coin (as in Aerin’s double take on tuberose) or two partners in a brand narrative (like Armani’s new duo), the link between the two is being sold instead of the gendered difference between them.
So are brands just trying to sell you two perfumes instead of one? Maybe. But I’m not entirely convinced. Though often seen as a pair, I think that brands are trying to capitalize on the idea of choice that we all want when shopping. Knowing that even if you don’t like one Prada perfume, you might like the other, lets you maintain brand loyalty (if you want) while also giving you the benefit of a choice. Another thought is that just as perfume wearers become more and more interested in the idea of a perfume wardrobe—a scent to suit every mood, outfit and occasion—brands do as well, and take their marketing cues accordingly.
This September, we count four separate duos launching, including options from Aerin, Prada, Paco Rabanne and Emporio Armani. That’s not including the few that launched this summer too, including Calvin Klein Obsessed (for him and her) and Nirvana Amethyst and Nirvana French Grey from Elizabeth and James. Here are a few notable duo options.
Aerin Tuberose Collection
Is it still a collection if it only consists of two perfumes? Perhaps the brand may add more in the future, but for now the tuberose collection includes Aerin Tuberose Le Jour and Aerin Tuberose Le Soir. One day, one night.
Including tuberose makes sense for two different perfumes embodying different parts of the day. Tuberose is a night-blooming flower and gives off its most potent fragrance after nightfall. These two fragrances attempt to capture the flower at sunrise, as the fragrance is waning and dew descends and at nightfall, when the scent is intoxicating. The notes? For jour, find neroli, orange flower, tuberose, cashmeran and cedarwood for a light, bright and feminine floral spritz. For soir, there’s tuberose, sandalwood and vanilla for a darker, more sensual take on the flower.
Aerin Tuberose Le Jour and Aerin Tuberose Le Soir, $275 (100 ml), www.esteelauder.ca
Presented as a “dialogue of fragrances for him and her,” Emporio Armani is releasing Because It’s You For Women and Stronger With You For Men. This marketing campaign is all about connection and relationship. The play between the two phrases, and the extensive campaign featuring Matilda Lutz and James Jagger (yes, son of Mick) in a series of short films detailing their (fictional) romance. The key here is togetherness, and the brand wants you and your honey to pick up this duo.
But now the scents. Despite its masculine prompt, I prefer Stronger With You, a mix of cardamom, pink peppercorn, violet leaves, vanilla and a chestnut accord. It’s sharp and interesting with its aromatic but rich scent. Because it’s you, the feminine of the duo, features neroli, raspberry, vanilla and musk make for a pretty and light option.
Emporio Armani Because It’s You and Stronger With You, $115 (100 ml) each, www.thebay.com
Prada released L’Homme and La Femme last year and the gendered names were in keeping with what we’ve come to expect (dark for him, light for her). But to be totally honest these fragrances read as very unisex. And the campaign itself seemed to reinforce that unisex feeling by casting actors (two men, two women) who all sort of looked like each other and all wore similar clothing. The push and pull between the name, the campaign and the eaus themselves made for an interesting dynamic. Prada is now releasing intense versions of those scents.
The intensified composition of La Femme includes not of patchouli and ylang ylang as well as the star, tuberose. The L’Homme intense version includes the original notes of iris and amber but ups the dosage of patchouli and leather.
La Femme Prada Intesne, $180 (100 ml) and, L’Homme Prada Intense, $130 (100 ml), www.thebay.com
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