Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Something I was surprised to discover when I really 'dug deep' in to fragrances about 2 years ago was how popular, common, and even 'normal' male floral fragrances had become.

The trend of using iris (in particular) as well as violet, orris, and other 'purple floral' variations on this theme for mainstream, male, designer fragrances seems to be most obviously traced back to Hedi Slimane's Dior Homme from 2005 m.230.jpg - whose impact on Dior's masculine fragrances you can read more about here, and no doubt elsewhere online: https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/on-a-high-note

Of course, there are other 'masculine' scents that pre-date Dior Homme, such as Fahrenheit and Grey Flannel, and the trend of violet leaf in the 90s (Green Irish Tweed/Cool Water) made a certain kind of 'purple' lavender and violet/iris scent feel both 'in vogue' and masculine while still moving in a new 'aquatic' direction.

But it is Slimane's Dior Homme line and all its subsequent flankers that seem to be the scents that spawned a new genre: the "purple floral male work scent."

Whether this was the intention of the perfume world or not - my assumption would be it is, at least to some extent - iris and violet-based fragrances seem to dominate youtube lists and forum posts that discuss or ask for 'work appropriate fragrances'.

To me, iris and violet smell feminine, so I was surprised by this development. This is evidently something other people pick up on, too, as the aroma is often described as smelling like 'lipstick' or make-up - not something anyone would associate with men, or what most men who actively wish to smell like, even if some men these days choose to wear make-up. Something like Prada L'Homme Intense, for instance, with its combination of purple florals and leather, manages to conjure the aroma of a woman's handbag: a mix of leather and powdery make-up.

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So why the change? Why have men gone from spicy, woody, mossy fragrances in the 70s and 80s; to aquatic, sporty, chemical, fresh fragrances in the 90s and early 00s; to floral, powdery scents in the 2010s?

In my opinion, the answer is simple: women and work. Women have a huge bearing on what men wear. This is true in all manner of ways, whether directly as a wife or partner of a man, or in terms of influencing male behaviour less directly, such as in dating culture and how men will change what they do in order to get female attention. In this case, the purple floral trend has nothing to do with any kind of sexual or romantic notions. Instead, it seems glaringly obvious to me that it is a response to the modern world and the way in which nearly every workplace is now largely or even primarily comprised of women. Some traditional male-dominated industries remain as such, but they are often tough, physical, dangerous, and poorly paid - military, heavy industry, firefighters etc. From the media, to law, to academia, what were traditionally male industries are swiftly changing their demographic composition, and as such, taste and the surrounding culture reflects this.

The reason why men are wearing Dior Homme or Prada L'Homme as "work" fragrances is because they are much more feminine-friendly than Armani's Acqua di Gio Giorgio or Light Blue Eau Intense Pour Homme by Dolce&Gabbana, let alone something like Ralph Lauren's Polo or Drakkar Noir. That's not to say aquatics or powerhouse fragrances don't appeal to women...but, clearly, the change has occurred as, purple floral scents are much 'safer' to wear in a work environment. The phrase 'there is a time and a place' is applicable here: what may be appealing on a man at a bar, or passing by him on a warm summer's day, is not when you work in the office cubicle next to him every single day. I'm sure everyone has encountered a man wearing a strong aquatic bomb like https://fimgs.net/mdimg/perfume/mm.18471.jpg Invictus Paco Rabanne at the wrong place and time, or an older man who still wears something deep, dank, and mossy which smells hugely outdated and designed to be worn when the whole world still smoked in public places and offices.

As far as I can tell, men are being "offered" this type of fragrance, deliberately branded as "work" fragrances, because they are more effeminate than the previous male trends. They appeal to women and, given that practically all work environments are now mixed sex, this is an all-but essential need.

On the flipside, of course, if men have to feminise themselves (in more ways than simply what fragrance they wear) to get along with an increasingly feminine world, then women have to become more masculine than they would otherwise have been in order to compete with and work alongside men. That's true whether they work in a commercial kitchen or at Standard Chartered. By and large this seems to be one of the major drivers behind the trend towards removing the male/female branding for newer fragrances.

That's not to dismiss the fact that that each generation wishes to stake its own ground and be distinct from the previous one, of course. It's a natural development that people will grow bored of something given enough time and enough negative associations with what used to be fresh, new, and exciting. It's also very true that some of these purple floral scents are indeed somewhat appealing and even amorous - they still have to be liked by women, and men, otherwise no one would buy them. It's not a conspiracy in this sense, designed to 'femininse' men - it's a balancing act between reflecting how important appealing to women has become (and how less important what men think and want now is in the commercial realm), while at the same time still making something a lot of men will enjoy. This becomes obvious when you see some of the best iterations of these scents are based on fairly traditional masculine bases - like the woods and amber of Eau for Men by Dior, or the leather and synthetic sandalwood of Dior Homme Parfum.

It seems to me to be a development that has found a happy compromise; something designed to get rid of the 'cologne guy' trend of someone who wears something inappropriate in a professional environment while still making people buy perfume. It seems to have checked off all of the key issues:

1. It's not an oakmoss-dominated fougere or animalic, designed for a world where smoking was common and the ambient environment was much more pungent, and where women were a minority in the working population.

2. It's not a loud, chemical-smelling aquatic with huge projection that smells like a swimming pool or locker room.

3. It's also not old. This is a big one: novelty. It would be easy to repackage traditionally safe aromas - soap, fleeting citruses, clean musks, or even a light, lavender-based fougere. Of course, this has also happened; see the 'nougere' trend, such as Fougere Royale, or the silver-metallic lavender trend like Tom Ford's Lavender Extreme . Melding all these together, you get Invasion Barbare MDCI Parfums, which is a 'nougere' that also relies on the purple floral trend with violet leaf, as well as a lot of sweetness which is taken from another woman-friendly masculine category: the modern male gourmand. It would be easy to simply make men wear Prada Amber Pour Homme but this smells like a bar of soap, is utterly sexless, isn't particularly new, and isn't going to get anyone excited or, crucially, make money for the brands in the way iris and violet clearly have.

And it seems to have worked. The 'new male' office scent needed to appeal to women in a way that was neutered from its predecessors - aquatics were a 'cleansing' response to the moss, spice, leather etc that dominated before the 1990s, and in turn we've now had a softening of the aquatic genre, too. This 'new' work fragrance needed to be 'nice' but not too nice: not sexy, not a clubbing scent, not too sweet, and of course not too bold, brash, masculine, or vintage. Most women don't want to smell these fragrant elements on the men they work with. This is why the purple florals of iris and violet were chosen - feminine, yes, but not as overtly feminine as rose or jasmine, and you can pair them with woody ambers or other base notes that take the feminine edge off.

That's not to say this is a monolithic trend, of course. The beauty of the modern world is there is so much CHOICE out there. It's inevitable that a response to the way mainstream male scents have become much more feminine since 1990 has been 'retro' fragrances - some brands position themselves as not simply bringing back banned ingredients, but also persisting (or resurrecting) what are increasingly outdated styles of gendered fragrances, too, whre men smelled like oakmoss or castoreum. It's also glaringly obvious that the most mainstream fragrances are still heavily gendered, perhaps moreso than ever; ironically, Slimane's old gig Dior provides the best example of this with Joy and Sauvage (just look at the bottles!).

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What does everyone else think?

Do you like 'purple floral' fragrances? Do you also see the way in which they've been positioned to work with the way the world has changed in the 21st Century, economically and socially? Do you agree or disagree with the points raised here? And where do you see the 'work' fragrance going given how virtual working seems to be the future, as well as the present?
 

GoldWineMemories

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 22, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

A few comments:

I think it's a bit of a specious argument. You present your thesis of why these "purple florals" may have been in vogue in the recent past, but for one thing they're not anymore, and for another why the change in the 2000's? Just as many women worked in offices when aquatics were popular the very fragrances you suggest are inappropriate for the workplace? Could "inappropriateness" not just be what is in style alone regardless of what women may think? It seems to me if your thesis had validity, then there de facto never have been an aquatic decade, and that women may enjoy "purple florals" for the same reason men do, that it's "in style" whatever constitutes that. Are women leaving the workplace? If not, then why haven't fragrances gotten even quieter? They seem to have gotten much more brash.

I think there's too much bias here of wanting your conclusion to be correct. You're able to evaluate the past, and then assign reasons as to why people did what they did, but it's leaving out that humans are not rational creatures. I've don't think you've presented enough data to show it's anything but a coincidence. Plus, you have to then explain Sauvage, Acqua di Gio Profumo, Versaces Eros, 1 Million. If there's two different iris/violet perfumes that are popular with men, but 8 that aren't that at all, then how can your argument hold up? Just because those are thought of as "club scents"? People are wearing them at work personally think, and I don't think most people who wear cologne give much thought to an "office scent" vs a "club scent" they either don't wear anything except special occasions, or they wear a couple of colognes all the time settings be damned. I think women general think of fragrances as coordinating with a setting and outfit, not really men for the most part.
 

woodnotes55

Basenotes Dependent
Oct 27, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Will leave it to others to discuss much of the gender comments....

But from first hand experience - pick some time in the past, say 20 years ago. I would sometimes wear gray flannel to the office, typically matched with two suits for some reason and not so much with others. The office had more women in it then than it does now, slightly over half. Some guys did wear 12 sprays of Polo or whatever and could be identified in advance of their arrival.

Jump to now. I do like Zegna Uomo as an office scent and it is violet. I have never tried Dior Homme or any flanker and don't care to. I bought the Zegna as I liked it, not because of anyone in the office or feedback from anyone. I never wore aquatics to work because I thought they sucked, till I got on here and found there are a few but not a lot I like. When a current frag guy shows up he reeks but I have no idea what he is wearing. The huge majority of people of either sex you can't tell that they are wearing any fragrance. There are way more males in the office then there were but many of them are not citizens.

So the point, as a case of one I wore violet before all these office changes (statistically speaking) happened and still do and it has nothing to do with gender or changes there or any sociological theories. If you extrapolate based on my case you would reach a conclusion, but it might well be wrong if applied to everyone..... just like you might be extrapolating based on market popularity of scents and behavior based on age... and be reaching a different conclusion that is again perhaps wrong.
 

hednic

Basenotes Institution
Oct 25, 2007
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Why have men gone from spicy, woody, mossy fragrances in the 70s and 80s; to aquatic, sporty, chemical, fresh fragrances in the 90s and early 00s; to floral, powdery scents in the 2010s?
Perhaps they just prefer more variety in their choice of what to wear and smell like now.
 

Sheik Yerbouti

oakmoss fiend
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2017
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

If you are worried that men won’t survive don’t be. It’s nature’s way, to send and propagate survival in every direction. Some paths produce a dead end and some persist and endure. We have endured and thrived and we always will. Will Man survive? That’s an existential question and far beyond the scope of this topic or forum for sure.

Has there been a move toward the feminisation of men? Look around. You tell me. Do men seem less masculine than 30 or 50 years ago? Some people are always going to have agendas and will want to push certain ideas onto others but that’s always been happening. Whether it’s smoking or getting men to change their views and start wearing more florals. Choose what you want.

We all waste some time here on the forums talking about the millions of facets of fragrances but at the end of the day I’m still going to be wearing fougeres and it really makes no difference if someone tries to tell me not to because it’s not the right this or that.
‘But VCAAPH has rose.’ So what. I know what I like, how I like to smell and that’s that. I wear Aventus despite the hate it gets. Why? Because I like it. Same with Heritage, Azzaro PH, and plenty of other stuff.

Look around you in real life to see what’s what, not through the distorted view of a computer screen with a bunch of ads and algorithms constantly manipulating your views. Don’t let social media and flavour of the day news dictate your life. Use your loaf.

I don’t much like violet as a note so I don’t wear it. Simple.

You can still buy a proper fougere if you want one.
 

Buzzlepuff

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 27, 2005
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

This is an interesting story about the evolution of masculine florals and their prevalence as a answer to the need for more feminine work day scents for men to wear. But rather than the fragrances following the creative directors visions (Hedi Slimane, Tom Ford, Serge Lutens, etc) I think it is more likely that the fragrances developed by following the innovations of fragrant chemists. Olivier Polge created Dior Homme 2005 as a fascination for the use of orris butter and orris root. Olivier Polge followed a similar fascination held by his father Jacques Pole in his work on 28 La Pausa Chanel 2007, and Jean Claude Ellena for Bois d' Iris for TDC 2000 and Maurice Roucel's Iris Silver Mist for Serge Lutens in 1994. Orris root is an expensive material and development of all the Dior Hommes and Prada L'Homme versions are probably more a result of the availability of new and much cheaper raw materials plus their combinations that recreate this orris smell. I think it's a reasonable thesis to assume that fragrance styles evolved more from the availability of newer, better, and cheaper chemicals to create what was a very epensive orris based iris pallida type of result. The same evolution happened with violet type combinations which continued to evolve. As new materials are introduced the creative perfumers get busy to create lots of new possibilities with them.
 

PrinceRF

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 3, 2020
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I don't know. I consider my Green Irish Tweed to smell very masculine.

Interesting theory about women and work being the catalyst behind this change in taste.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

This is an interesting story about the evolution of masculine florals and their prevalence as a answer to the need for more feminine work day scents for men to wear. But rather than the fragrances following the creative directors visions (Hedi Slimane, Tom Ford, Serge Lutens, etc) I think it is more likely that the fragrances developed by following the innovations of fragrant chemists. Olivier Polge created Dior Homme 2005 as a fascination for the use of orris butter and orris root. Olivier Polge followed a similar fascination held by his father Jacques Pole in his work on 28 La Pausa Chanel 2007, and Jean Claude Ellena for Bois d' Iris for TDC 2000 and Maurice Roucel's Iris Silver Mist for Serge Lutens in 1994. Orris root is an expensive material and development of all the Dior Hommes and Prada L'Homme versions are probably more a result of the availability of new and much cheaper raw materials plus their combinations that recreate this orris smell. I think it's a reasonable thesis to assume that fragrance styles evolved more from the availability of newer, better, and cheaper chemicals to create what was a very epensive orris based iris pallida type of result. The same evolution happened with violet type combinations which continued to evolve. As new materials are introduced the creative perfumers get busy to create lots of new possibilities with them.

A great point and one I hadn't thought about but is very true. It's easy to overlook the creative element in the lab for the creativity in the boardroom but if there IS to be any cultural change in something like fragrance, there needs to be the actual chemistry to back it up and release something that marries to this cultural change or desire for something new/different.

If you are worried that men won’t survive don’t be...You can still buy a proper fougere if you want one.

If you didn't properly read the post then I don't blame you, it's probably a little too long. As I said in the post, though, it's not about some conspiracy towards men.


Perhaps they just prefer more variety in their choice of what to wear and smell like now.

Yes, I think you're almost certainly spot on there, hednic. It's easy to take this post as being a bit black and white but it's not like men have stopped wearing other types of fragrances in work settings.

I don't know. I consider my Green Irish Tweed to smell very masculine.

Interesting theory about women and work being the catalyst behind this change in taste.

I definitely think that the 'violet leaf' type of note differs slightly, both in aroma and application, to the more 'lipstick' aroma of Dior and Prada's iris. It is a good point to raise though. It's not as if this is a whole new world - even lavender is somewhat related, both in visual as well as aromatic structure, to this type of floral. It's floral, but with a caveat.
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I don't know. At least in my country (but I'm suspecting in most of Europe too), iris, carnation, dianthus and gladiolus has always been considered "manly flowers", more suitable for men than women - at least that's what my grandparents taught me and my searches on internet on the matter confirmed it, too. Gladiolus even gets its name from gladiators.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I think it's a bit of a specious argument. You present your thesis of why these "purple florals" may have been in vogue in the recent past, but for one thing they're not anymore...

I have no idea what you're basing your assertion on but iris/violet fragrances are still very much in fashion. I'll break this down as it might prove to be a sticking point given that Dior Homme came out in 2005.

As far as I see it, there is a fairly large dividing line between the 80s and 90s. A new 'era' began in 1990, give or take a year. You can apply all manner of Cold War analysis to that but, simply put, fragrances started becoming more vibrant, youthful, playful, 'sexy', and sporty in the very late 80s in to the 90s, and a very distinct dividing line between the 70s/80s style of fougeres and chypres, and the then-modern scents of the 90s, was drawn. The dual forces of aquatics - Cool Water, Escape, eventually Acqua di Gio - and sweet or fruity fragrances - Joop, Curve, Le Male - define the 90s: at least, they define a major part of the 'new' 90s. That lasted until roughly the mid to late 2000s as far as I can tell. Dior Homme marks a departure, definitely, but the biggest change was 2008's 1 Million. Cue a complete overhaul of the fragrance landscape as well, with the real rise of niche perfumery, internet shopping, and in turn the blossoming of the 'sweet spicy' male 'clubbing' fragrance (as well as the oud and middle eastern trend). The problem with the internet 'age' is that everything happens so fast, everything is accelerated, and so what took 6 years now seems to change in 6 months when it comes to taste - which makes it hard to define 'eras' as everything is so ephemeral it tends to blur in to one.

However, while you could claim that there was another 'era' generated by Sauvage and the ambroxan trend, I think we're still living in the period that started in the mid to late 00s and nothing has really come along and separated us from Bleu de Chanel, or Sauvage, or even 1 Million, which has morphed in to the Eros and Armani Code style vanillic-tonka bombs with minimal spice, or even something like Layton.

And the same can be said for Dior Homme. It can be bracketed within this 'era'. Dior took a long time to release their flankers and despite the original Dior coming out in 2005, they were still releasing iris-based 'for men' fragrances well in to the 2010s. So I think we're still very much living in the 'purple floral' trend. In hindsight, we might see the early 2020s and the pandemic as the start of something 'new', but it's too soon to say. The new Hermes release doesn't seem to be too different to what's come before but, perhaps, based on what Chanel release, we may be seeing the new Dior Homme, H24 and a few other fragrances as something that drew a line under the last 12-15 years or so. Who knows?

But to wrap this point up, Prada L'Homme - an obvious 'key player' in this purple floral office fragrance trend - was released in 2016. Its several flankers have been released in subsequent years. It is still very much in fashion and seen as a big moneymaker by major designer labels. Even Dior, in trying to introduce a new fragrance, couldn't kill off their old purple floral fragrances - not in their entirety - and they copped a backlash for the ones they did discontinue.

I don't know why you think it's no longer in vogue but unless you're talking about very short time periods, I wholeheartedly disagree with your assertion and at the same time cannot understand how/why you're making it. 'Trends' clearly exist alongside one another, which is why we have the 'dark blue' ambroxan trend alongside the 'amber' sweet-spicy gourmand trend, and the more enthusiast-appealing nougere and metallic lavender 'trends' as well, albeit that latter one is smaller and overlaps with this iris/violet purple floral genre. I don't think the fact that dark blue fragrances became hugely popular in the mid 2010s means that the purple floral trend went out of fashion. Quite the opposite, in fact; I believe their popularity is in large part due to their difference from dark blues, as offering an antidote to the highly synthetic and 'abstract'-smelling blue fragrances that were clearly a replacement for the watery light blue aquatics of the previous decade.

So, no, not having that point at all. Prada's L'Homme range has picked up where Dior left off and they're riding the wave.

...and for another why the change in the 2000's? Just as many women worked in offices when aquatics were popular the very fragrances you suggest are inappropriate for the workplace? Could "inappropriateness" not just be what is in style alone regardless of what women may think?

I'm not sure what you're referring to about the 'change' but I feel I've answered this above anyway. Change happens, fashion changes etc. If you mean women and demographic change then the answer is simple: millennials and now Gen Z entering the workplace and becoming hugely influential as customers. The mid to late millennials, my generation, was a generation whose parents and, I suppose, role models (Girl Power)/institutions deliberately raised girls - successfully so - to be at least the boys' equals and in many cases their superiors, which started in primary education (ritalin and the medicating craze for pathologising normal male behaviour, as well as social conditioning, a move towards collaborative and group learning etc) and is now reflected in better grades, higher proportions at university, and higher earnings in professional work up to about the age of 38-40 for women (when a tiny percentage of hyper successful men start to sway the statistics i.e. Zuckerberg and his ilk).

I didn't suggest aquatics were de facto inappropriate as a whole category of fragrances. As far as I can see they were created precisely to be an antidote to the bombastic 'powerhouse' fragrances that no longer made much sense to wear, for a variety of reasons, in the 90s and 00s. But not all aquatics are equal, let's be honest. Some are obnoxious and offputting to smell on other people. It's about 'improvement', in a sense - both in terms of materials/design, but also concept. We can debate and discuss whether the improvement is 'true', or at least what it improves and what it erodes or destroys, but aquatics were clearly a lighter, novel, synthetic approach to fragrance that appealed to women and younger men at the time they were introduced. The problem was that aquatics became lighter and lighter, and more and more watery and bland, or more and more synthetic and abstract, as the 90s turned in to the 2000s (compare Cool Water, for instance, to Acqua di Gio - very different concepts). Ask women which fragrances they dislike and I can guarantee some will mention the 'sporty' kinds - why? Men oversprayed them because they smelled 'light' when in fact they're strong, chemical-smelling aromas. To make matters worse, some brands took the opposite approach to aquatics by making them louder - which still occurs: think Invictus, Light Blue flankers.

So, the combination of components meet at this point: men overspraying what can be a harsh/chemical aroma that loses its novelty over the space of 10-15 years or so and which is more designed for being active and outdoors than it is designed for an office; the fact that, eventually, people want something new and different given how bland light blue aquatics became after Polo Blue and the likes of Nautica Voyage; and finally it's a case of development, of 'best solution at the time'. Aquatics made for a decent reprieve to the old school, outdated citrus aromatics or bombastic powerhouse fragrances, but eventually you see problems with that 'solution' and so go looking for something to replace it in turn. That's where the purple floral trend comes in, as well as the dark blue trend.

Of course novelty, fashion change, and the manner of wear all applies. But that almost goes without saying. I don't think that needs spelling out as it doesn't detract from the point I'm making. It is relevant, of course, you're not wrong though.

In terms of women working in offices 'then' v 'now', compare advertising in 2005 to now. It is the quickest way to demonstrate the huge shift in target market, for just about anything and everything. Women are an independently much wealthier and more established demographic now than they were even a decade ago, let alone 20+. They have a huge influence on both single and married male commerce in sectors like fashion and beauty.

One final point on 'inappropriate' wear - I do think overspraying is likely to be the source of most frustration, from men and women alike. In that sense, creating something so outside the traditional oversprayer's comfort zone may make them wear a fragrance more conservatively? It's at the very least a plausible explanation, although is probably ascribing logic after the fact, rather than being any motivating factor. Which is fine: I don't 'need' all these ideas to have been envisioned by Slimane in 2003-2005 for the analysis to still be solid.

It seems to me if your thesis had validity, then there de facto never have been an aquatic decade, and that women may enjoy "purple florals" for the same reason men do, that it's "in style" whatever constitutes that.

I think I've answered this above. As far as I can see you've fallen in to a logical fallacy/I can't really see the point you're making, it seems too definitive and black and white: this, therefore that, without leaving much room for nuance, nor perhaps 'getting' the point(s) I'm making (though I'm not holding on to them too dearly, it's just an idea I've had brewing for a while).

Are women leaving the workplace? If not, then why haven't fragrances gotten even quieter? They seem to have gotten much more brash.

Which fragrances? When? Where? As I said, the purple floral trend seems to not only be an alternative to its predecessors but also its contemporaries: the dark blue ambroxan/woody amber trend, as well as the obviously much louder but equally female-influenced gourmand trend. I also made the point that fragrances need to actually be decent and smell good in order to sell - the light blue aquatic trend took 'minimalism' to the point of no return. They made a rod for their own back: if you can't smell it, what's the point in buying it? Perfumery is a business after all and I wouldn't dismiss the manner in which marketing and astroturfing is pushing the 'genre', either, through GQ or even people like Jeremy and 'best fragrances for the office' videos - trying to 'disrupt' the market with something new to fit alongside the other work-appropriate fragrances, like soft fougeres, certain soft aquatics that lasted the course, some citrus colognes etc.

I think there's too much bias here of wanting your conclusion to be correct.

It's just an opinion. Of course it's going to be biased. I'm not going to conduct thorough research of this subject to try to test whether 'purple floral fragrances are being pushed in to the male designer fragrance realm to reflect the ways in which masculinity and the workplace are changing due to the greater impact women have within them'. It's just an observation based in part due to a wider understanding of cultural, commercial, and social demographic shifts. I'm fairly certain I'm right; it's the extent to which I'm right, I suppose, that is up for discussion, as arrogant as that may sound. The chicken and egg scenario is of no great importance; if these scents became popular because they were available and then women made it explicit to men they work with that they want them to wear florals instead of X, then great. If it was an intention behind Dior or (more likely) Prada to position them as work fragrances for the reasons given, then also great. The chronology is never going to be a simple one way thing, I'm not overly concerned about it to be honest, though it would be interesting to know if Dior had this notion when they created the Homme line.

You're able to evaluate the past, and then assign reasons as to why people did what they did, but it's leaving out that humans are not rational creatures. I've don't think you've presented enough data to show it's anything but a coincidence.

Perhaps so, but I doubt I can convince you. I've tried to provide at least some 'data', I suppose, in referencing fragrances, years, and all the rest of it, but as for an analysis of the demographics and cultures of businesses and sectors over the last 40 years...yeah, that's going to be beyond me for this purpose, I'm afraid, other than knowing that each genertion is much more welcoming of gender neutrality than the last. I also have no idea how I would factor in chaos or irrationality, either, I'm afraid! :tongue:

Plus, you have to then explain Sauvage, Acqua di Gio Profumo, Versaces Eros, 1 Million.

I think I've done precisely this above. 'Genres' exist alongside each other easily enough. People are buying more fragrances than ever. I think there's a fairly simple answer to this - why sell a man 1 fragrance he will buy once a year, if you can sell him 5 each year or two for different 'situations' or 'needs' like 'date', 'office', 'casual', 'gym' etc? Money, money, money.

I think women general think of fragrances as coordinating with a setting and outfit, not really men for the most part.

This might hold true 15 years or so ago but not anymore. The internet, and social media in particular, has made men vastly more aware of things they would otherwise not pick up on in everyday life - because it's there, stratified, made explicit. It becomes impossible to miss, or at least not understand it exists, as people are now privy to other social groups' discussions where they would otherwise be excluded. Computer nerds have gone from dressing like...well, nerds...to becoming concerned about at least some facet of grooming and presentation because it can be learnt or discovered via the internet i.e. in a nerdy, obsessive, categorical manner, rather than socially in the real world which is obviously daunting or hurtful for at least a portion of the nerds, or at least it used to be, based on characteristics and their own social (in)abilities. The exclusion, at least in terms of information, no longer exists in the same way as it did pre-internet. That impacts the average man, too, and right up to men who do obsess about apperance and/or style by just creating even more discussion around these matters. The internet has practially opened the lid on Pandora's Box when it comes to information and I think most people under 50 are going to have been exposed to far greater style and grooming tips or protocols than they did 15 years ago. Not least through neuroticism and a sense of insecurity produced by a visual-obsessed online culture. Not everyone will follow or act upon that information but the world has definitely changed. Fragrance might not be huge among the general population but I don't think that really matters, these ideas filter down in some form or another, even if it's just Dior Homme and Prada L'Homme (notice the use of gendered naming by the way, as opposed to Sauvage - a deliberate ploy to convince men who may smell them and question whether they're masculine...) appearing on clickbait lists in the big fashion magazines.



I hope that helped clear a few things up but I didn't really expect this post to be 'debunked'. I'm happy to defend it and your points about coincidence and generational change are of course true. But the main premise - that these florals have been successfully calibrated as masculine, or at least as safe for men, in designer perfumery through the notion of being 'work appropriate' - is conspicuous in its absence from your post. That is, I suppose, the main topic: how/why did that occur because it was never a widely used note in male perfumery before then, and needed to be drowned out by other accords to get away with it, like in Fahrenheit. There are more reasons than simply the one I'm offering, i.e. women and their preferences, but I absolutely believe it is a significant contributing factor to the genre's continued success, which continues in the niche world in a slightly different manner...but that's a topic for another time!
 

StylinLA

Basenotes Dependent
Aug 9, 2009
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I'm not so sure I can really relate to the whole "women in the workplace" as a major element of change in frags.

In the early 80s, I started working in the television business and worked with women as equals for forty years. I had four different women bosses over the years. In my career, women have always been heavily present, respected and going toe to toe with men. I enjoyed that.

Prior to television, I worked in an auto plant. There weren't as many women in top management jobs, but they were heavily represented in the workforce.

Maybe there are some businesses/industries where women are relative newcomers, but that has never been my work experience and has never had any part in fragrances I choose or wear. In hind site, I'm really grateful to have worked so closely with women throughout my career. A lot of the men I know who have worked in very male dominated businesses are mostly choads and misogynists that have unrealistic ideas and attitudes about women.

I'm more inclined to agree with Buzzlepuff that innovations in synthetics introduced new iris and purple flower notes that DIOR slipped into HOMME. I think perfumers are always looking for the next new and different "thing" and they kind of caught a break with DIOR HOMME. I like DIOR HOMME ok, but I really laughed the first time I tried it.

I'm also not sure outside of these forums how popular overall these purple florals really are.
 

PrinceRF

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 3, 2020
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I definitely think that the 'violet leaf' type of note differs slightly, both in aroma and application, to the more 'lipstick' aroma of Dior and Prada's iris. It is a good point to raise though. It's not as if this is a whole new world - even lavender is somewhat related, both in visual as well as aromatic structure, to this type of floral. It's floral, but with a caveat.

That's a good point. Those three notes, although similar in style, smell very different from each other and can be used to create different moods.
 

Buzzlepuff

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 27, 2005
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I remember an announcement about a new iris synthetic announced around 2007 or so. After that cheaper more accessible iris was developed and very many fragrances were created using an iris type base note. Dior Homme, Valentino Uomo, Prada l'homie and Armani Code all got into the dry floral business blending violet, pear musk, and chocolate with this to compliment. I think this burst of fragrances was fueled by chemistry possibly more than creative response to workplace needs. But, it is likely that influences came from both directions.
 

hellbentforleather

Basenotes Dependent
May 18, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

A few comments:

I think it's a bit of a specious argument. You present your thesis of why these "purple florals" may have been in vogue in the recent past, but for one thing they're not anymore, and for another why the change in the 2000's? Just as many women worked in offices when aquatics were popular the very fragrances you suggest are inappropriate for the workplace? Could "inappropriateness" not just be what is in style alone regardless of what women may think? It seems to me if your thesis had validity, then there de facto never have been an aquatic decade, and that women may enjoy "purple florals" for the same reason men do, that it's "in style" whatever constitutes that. Are women leaving the workplace? If not, then why haven't fragrances gotten even quieter? They seem to have gotten much more brash.

I think there's too much bias here of wanting your conclusion to be correct. You're able to evaluate the past, and then assign reasons as to why people did what they did, but it's leaving out that humans are not rational creatures. I've don't think you've presented enough data to show it's anything but a coincidence. Plus, you have to then explain Sauvage, Acqua di Gio Profumo, Versaces Eros, 1 Million. If there's two different iris/violet perfumes that are popular with men, but 8 that aren't that at all, then how can your argument hold up? Just because those are thought of as "club scents"? People are wearing them at work personally think, and I don't think most people who wear cologne give much thought to an "office scent" vs a "club scent" they either don't wear anything except special occasions, or they wear a couple of colognes all the time settings be damned. I think women general think of fragrances as coordinating with a setting and outfit, not really men for the most part.

Agreed. OP is making an inductive fallacy of sorts.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Will leave it to others to discuss much of the gender comments....

But from first hand experience - pick some time in the past, say 20 years ago. I would sometimes wear gray flannel to the office, typically matched with two suits for some reason and not so much with others. The office had more women in it then than it does now, slightly over half. Some guys did wear 12 sprays of Polo or whatever and could be identified in advance of their arrival.

Jump to now. I do like Zegna Uomo as an office scent and it is violet. I have never tried Dior Homme or any flanker and don't care to. I bought the Zegna as I liked it, not because of anyone in the office or feedback from anyone. I never wore aquatics to work because I thought they sucked, till I got on here and found there are a few but not a lot I like. When a current frag guy shows up he reeks but I have no idea what he is wearing. The huge majority of people of either sex you can't tell that they are wearing any fragrance. There are way more males in the office then there were but many of them are not citizens.

So the point, as a case of one I wore violet before all these office changes (statistically speaking) happened and still do and it has nothing to do with gender or changes there or any sociological theories. If you extrapolate based on my case you would reach a conclusion, but it might well be wrong if applied to everyone..... just like you might be extrapolating based on market popularity of scents and behavior based on age... and be reaching a different conclusion that is again perhaps wrong.

Of course, I don't think it's a case of this 'purple floral office scent' being "invented" in the 2000s, as such. More a case of finding a new iteration of perfume, as mentioned in this thread with regard to Polge et al's work, and honing out another distinct 'genre' within the existing market. Grey Flannel can certainly be seen as a precursor, as can the violet leaf fragrances in the 90s. But this particular trend certainly seemed to carve something new: the fact that these fragrances tend to smell like lipstick/make up, as opposed to the earthier or greener violets that preceded them, is an important point for me.

The key question is: "how were men convinced to start buying and wearing fragrances that smell like make up?"

I think I've found the answer, to be honest.
 

The Cologne Cabinet

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 22, 2014
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

The key question is: "how were men convinced to start buying and wearing fragrances that smell like make up?"

I think I've found the answer, to be honest.

Perfume is like art. Two people can be looking at the same piece and have wildly different opinions and personal feelings towards it. Other factors that influence behavior are 1) Reward and 2) Social status. Are you personally enjoying the fragrance and receiving compliments? If yes, then those rewards will influence future behaviors. Does purchasing and being associated with certain brands / trends influence your social status? If yes, then you will continue to do it. Simple.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I’ll save you the trouble: “Feminism makes men smell like lipstick.”

That would be a warped misreading seemingly designed to derail the thread. Feminism wasn't even mentioned and its socio-political ideologies are irrelevant, unless you're prone to conflating female with feminist and don't know the difference?
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Perfume is like art. Two people can be looking at the same piece and have wildly different opinions and personal feelings towards it. Other factors that influence behavior are 1) Reward and 2) Social status. Are you personally enjoying the fragrance and receiving compliments? If yes, then those rewards will influence future behaviors. Does purchasing and being associated with certain brands / trends influence your social status? If yes, then you will continue to do it. Simple.

I would contest the idea that perfume is like art. If it's like art then it is also like underwear. In fact, I would argue it is closer to underwear than it is to art - particularly fine art. Maybe there's something passing as contemporary art - but is actually just a tongue in cheek tax write off - that is closer but, in my opinion, I don't see the comparison and balk at it whenever it is raised on this forum.

That said, I don't disagree with your reward/social status scenario. In fact, I feel it plays in to what I am suggesting: that it is primarily through greater positive feedback and affirmation that men have taken to scents which are so obviously outside the realm of 'safe' or 'traditional' masculine fragrance.

I don't believe that it is solely a 'chicken' situation, though, if the proverbial 'chicken or egg' applies to 'women liking iris-based fragrances' and 'iris-based fragrances designed to be liked by women' respectively. I believe it is a combination of the two and I'm not too concerned with the weighting of each category, particularly when it comes to how these scents became reimagined as 'work' fragrances. It's feasible that Dior's Eau for Men, for instance, was designed as a work-friendly fragrance where the original Dior Homme was not: it's certainly much easier to argue that Prada's L'Homme line was working to a brief of 'office' floral fragrances given that it came out well in to the 'trend' of irises (and violets) becoming fashionable and seen as 'work safe' for men. Despite protestations from others, I certainly cannot prove or provide 'data' for women's enthusiasm for these purple floral fragrances in anything that would resemble 'evidence' to convince those who evidently will only contribute to this topic to demand such information. I can, however, put forward the ideas in a fairly reasonable way and hopefully good discussion arises from it - which it has aleady, such as the references to Polge et al.

I don't doubt that it helps that it was a brand like Dior that made this trend 'mainstream'. There's no small amount of status to the brand. By and large, however, I don't believe we all have fundamentally different reactions and responses to stimuli, perfume or otherwise. Yeah, all sorts of neurological issues can come in to play, and of course we also know that there are minority 'identities' within men as a whole. But by and large, a sizeable portion of the majority of men have been at least swayed in to wearing these aromas and at the same time seem to lap up the idea that they are 'work' fragrances. At least to some extent: read any GQ article and it's likely mention either the Prada or the Dior, or both, when it comes to 'best office scents' or something similar.

This doesn't seem like an incidental change. For all the clamour for unisex, and protestations that 'perfume has no gender', this is still a (loudly professed) minority opinion, even among fragrance enthusiasts. I find it hard to believe anyone arguing in good faith - and no doubt this thread will attract some who contribute to it without abiding by this simple courtesy - could claim that the recent use of iris and violet isn't a feminine aroma, even by the basis of 2020, western hemisphere norms of masculinity.

And what can convince men to seemingly opt for something against their instinct or nature? There are a few answers to that but none is as apparent or effective as 'women'. Men will do the most ridiculous and even self destructive things for women, even if the prize is just attention. And in this context? How/why is this occurring? Because it's certainly different to the diabetic use of vanillic sugar that also dominates 'male' fragrances. The answer lies in the way these fragrances are increasingly marketed: work. It seems to follow that there is a reciprocal situation between brands researching what women dislike about male fragrance, perhaps specifically within a work environment, and trying to find an alternative (in order for men to keep buying/wearing it, so brands make more money), while at the same time said brands DID create something that solved the problem well enough for a portion of the female population and women have told men accordingly, hence the success of 'purple floral' fragrances. Again, I don't really care about the chicken or the egg - it's more like ping pong by this point, or maybe something that has reached the stage of a feedback loop that has created a fairly steady commercial 'genre'. I'm just intrigued as to how/why people wear what they wear and the manner in which men are effectively disregarded when it comes to modern marketing, even for male-targeted products, this seems like the most reasonable explanation for the 'purple floral' success.
 

tspencer

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 12, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Something I was surprised to discover when I really 'dug deep' in to fragrances about 2 years ago was how popular, common, and even 'normal' male floral fragrances had become.

The trend of using iris (in particular) as well as violet, orris, and other 'purple floral' variations on this theme for mainstream, male, designer fragrances seems to be most obviously traced back to Hedi Slimane's Dior Homme from 2005

A couple of years ago I encountered Roja Dove Lilly. That fragrance sparked a search that brought me to buy Tom Ford Shanghai Lily. I have no problem wearing it and I think that Lilly should be a note adopted by more men. The trick is trying to find a scent that either doesn't have jasmine or the jasmine is virtually non-existent. I really consider Lilly, as a note, to be unisex and it's very nice. Although I picked Shanghai Lilly, Roja Dove's Lilly is very, very nice and with buying. A fellow Basenoter, ISOESuperman, made a thread about finding a realistic Lilly fragrance. I ended up trying Serge Lutens Un Lys.....and it too smells amazing and is bottle worthy.
 

hellbentforleather

Basenotes Dependent
May 18, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Perfume is like art. Two people can be looking at the same piece and have wildly different opinions and personal feelings towards it. Other factors that influence behavior are 1) Reward and 2) Social status. Are you personally enjoying the fragrance and receiving compliments? If yes, then those rewards will influence future behaviors. Does purchasing and being associated with certain brands / trends influence your social status? If yes, then you will continue to do it. Simple.

Well said. Fragrances have far more to do with style, taste, and trends than notions of, say, principle or world views.
 

Sheik Yerbouti

oakmoss fiend
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2017
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I’ll save you the trouble: “Feminism makes men smell like lipstick.”

In the 1980s single men would leave the house happy to smell like lipstick by the end of the night.

Now in 2021 the internet has many single men happy and believing that they should smell like lipstick before they leave the house.

I prefer the former on this point though. It used to mean more than fragrance, perhaps a kiss, perhaps more. Remember hugging? Those were the days. Good ol’ 2019. It was F_cking Fabulous.

We should all keep talking about iris vs orris fragrances, natural vs synthetic, stay in lockdown until at least mid July 2021 as has been planned and be good little bots and girls.

Anyone seen V for Vendetta recently? I would recommend doing so. You may see a slight resemblance to what is happening today. Great film by the way. Does V wear fragrance? If the film doesn’t keep your attention for long enough then perhaps while trying to stay focussed wear Mitsouko on one arm, Safari on the other and arm wrestle yourself to see which fragrance wins.


Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me? Is there anyone at home? (Of course there is everyone’s at home)

Comfortably numb?
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I don't know. At least in my country (but I'm suspecting in most of Europe too), iris, carnation, dianthus and gladiolus has always been considered "manly flowers", more suitable for men than women - at least that's what my grandparents taught me and my searches on internet on the matter confirmed it, too. Gladiolus even gets its name from gladiators.

Do you mean the scent of the flowers, or the flowers themselves? They are certainly less feminine than, say, roses and lilies - both of which lend themselves to girls' names, at least in English - and in terms of perfume, jasmine can be added as something very overtly feminine. That said, as mentioned above, I feel there is a clear 'feminine' edge to the manner in which this relatively new purple floral trend has entered both masculine designer fragrances and unisex niche fragrances: see scents like Tauer's Incense Extreme, Piguet's Casbah, and Goodsir's Iris Cendre for examples of a less 'lipstick-like', yet still to my nose evidently feminine, use of 'purple florals'.

Do you, or indeed anyone else, not find the iris accord in Dior's Homme fragrances feminine? Ignoring the rest of the composition, if you can - do you find the main iris accord smells masculine?
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

A couple of years ago I encountered Roja Dove Lilly. That fragrance sparked a search that brought me to buy Tom Ford Shanghai Lily. I have no problem wearing it and I think that Lilly should be a note adopted by more men. The trick is trying to find a scent that either doesn't have jasmine or the jasmine is virtually non-existent. I really consider Lilly, as a note, to be unisex and it's very nice. Although I picked Shanghai Lilly, Roja Dove's Lilly is very, very nice and with buying. A fellow Basenoter, ISOESuperman, made a thread about finding a realistic Lilly fragrance. I ended up trying Serge Lutens Un Lys.....and it too smells amazing and is bottle worthy.

Alas, I haven't tried either so cannot comment.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I’ll save you the trouble: “Feminism makes men smell like lipstick.”

That would be a warped misreading seemingly designed to derail the thread. Feminism wasn't even mentioned and its socio-political ideologies are irrelevant, unless you're prone to conflating female with feminist and don't know the difference?
You didn’t attribute the change simply to women existing (which would have been even more daft), but to “women and work.” The influx of women into the workplace, especially the upper echelons of the workplace, is not due to their sex, but to feminism.

I stand by my assessment. There is a warped misreading at work here, but it isn’t mine.
 

hellbentforleather

Basenotes Dependent
May 18, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I don't know. At least in my country (but I'm suspecting in most of Europe too), iris, carnation, dianthus and gladiolus has always been considered "manly flowers", more suitable for men than women - at least that's what my grandparents taught me and my searches on internet on the matter confirmed it, too. Gladiolus even gets its name from gladiators.

Not to mention that rose is a decidedly masculine accord in many parts of the world, adding to the inherent subjectivity of notions of style and scent...
 

cheapimitation

Basenotes Dependent
May 15, 2015
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Well, in a roundabout way PStoller isn't wrong here. If feminism led to women in the workplace and women in the workplace led to men wearing lipstick-y iris according to your theory, then PSToller pretty succinctly summed up your argument there. Though it comes off more sensationalist when boiled down to that.

I do appreciate the time and thought put into your posts slpfrsly though I rarely agree with the conclusion. At least it's not another thread listing or ranking fragrances.

There's a lot to unpack here but two main points that I think undermine your theory are:
1. You assume that women actually want men to smell more feminine. Anecdotal evidence and "women rate..." youtube videos show this to rarely be the case. As unfortunate as it is, women are often just as guilty of enforcing masculinity on men and often seem to prefer men smelling more traditionally "like men".

You are correct to site Hedi Slimane as being an influential catalyst for offering an alternate ideal of male beauty. His look is waifish and androgynous, a reaction against the cliche buff Italian models who had dominated the runway before. Likewise, his flagship fragrance for Dior offers a fresh take on how a man can smell. It was never designed to be an office scent (Slimane's men would never work in an office) nor to cater to the tastes of women.

Now, offering an alternative way for men to be is not the same as trying to feminize men or make them go "against their nature" (another concept I entirely disagree with but has been beaten to death so I will leave it). Traditional masculinity seems such a tiny constraining box that I'm happy to see it go the way of the dinosaur, but having alternatives or a multiplicity of ways to "be a man" isn't an attack on the tradition masculine man either. You can still wear your mossy fougere next to the guy in Dior Homme next the guy in Chanel no. 5 and nobody is gonna get hurt! Just how equality for women (or any other disenfranchised group) doesn't take away anything from men, "a rising tide lifts all ships" as they say.

2. The more simple and less loaded explanation is that fragrance, like fashion and other fields, has trends. The popularity of Dior Homme likely set off a barrage of imitators. I agree with buzzlepuff that availability of new materials is likely tied into this. Trends tend to be reactionary rather than linear, so I don't believe that men are on a one way path toward increasing feminization. The buff Italian stud of Dolce and Gabanna or even Gaultier had become tired and cliche, so the new Dior man under Slimane was the polar opposite and caused a major shift in the silhouette of men's clothing. This was reversed in recent years to a return to baggy 90s inspired silhouettes. Just like the cleaned up "metrosexual" man then gave way to a trend of retro "new masculinity" where woke guys grew out beards, wore flannels and sipped craft cocktails. In terms of fragrance, indie houses seem to focus mostly on extremely complex rich and natural concotions, a reaction against the mainstream clean simple synthetic formulas on offer. I can tell you, these baroque formulations are going to get old soon and we might see a return to more simple and direct formulas (just in time while the mainstream houses are adding complexity ie. synth oud to everything).

Finally, I've never worked in an office so I can't say for sure. But I would think the most important feature of an office friendly fragrance would be projection. I would think it doesn't matter a whole lot what you smell like as long as it isn't too strong. Someone doused in Dior Homme would probably offend more people in the office than someone who wore a musty oakmoss concoction lightly.

I’ll save you the trouble: “Feminism makes men smell like lipstick.”

That would be a warped misreading seemingly designed to derail the thread. Feminism wasn't even mentioned and its socio-political ideologies are irrelevant, unless you're prone to conflating female with feminist and don't know the difference?
 

hellbentforleather

Basenotes Dependent
May 18, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

I’ll save you the trouble: “Feminism makes men smell like lipstick.”

Which is an odd assertion because Habit Rouge came out in 1965, is a classic staple in men's fragrances, has a prominent rose and "lipsticky, makeup" accord, and is often considered "too feminine" and "old lady-esque" by some, rendering the entire assertion of this thread null and void.
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

…Habit Rouge came out in 1965, is a classic staple in men's fragrances, has a prominent rose and "lipsticky, makeup" accord, and is often considered "too feminine" and "old lady-esque" by some, rendering the entire assertion of this thread null and void.
Yep.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

You didn’t attribute the change simply to women existing (which would have been even more daf/t), but to “women and work.” The influx of women into the workplace, especially the upper echelons of the workplace, is not due to their sex, but to feminism.

I stand by my assessment. There is a warped misreading at work here, but it isn’t mine.

You may stand by your 'assessment' but you're simply stating "no, what you actually meant was...".

Feminism really, truly has nothing to do with this. Your purpose for discussing the 'upper echelons' of the workforce is entirely a misreading for whatever desire you have to drag yet another thread in to the mire of identity politics. Now, feminism may be a broad and by now inherently contradictory set of pseudo-religious socio-political beliefs, without the metaphysics, that manages to spread its hands over far more than it ought to but it certainly cannot claim sole ownership of women entering the workforce en masse in the late 20th Century. That's market forces and good old capitalism, baby, when several institutions and sectors realised you could tear the fabric of western society apart and practically double your work force. It's a trite, sophomoric understanding of recent history to make 'feminism' responsible for that: akin to thinking that suffrage occurred because a woman threw herself under a horse, rather than a world war devastating the economic and social norms. You seem to have fallen for the marketing. And that's all that needs to be said about feminism. Honestly, this topic has literally fuck all to do with feminism. It's a male fragrance forum, discussing male-branded fragrances, and why they are much more feminine than they used to be and how/why this has occurred. If all you get from this is 'feminism' then, quite literally, you have misunderstood the topic.
 
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slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Well, in a roundabout way PStoller isn't wrong here. If feminism led to women in the workplace and women in the workplace led to men wearing lipstick-y iris according to your theory, then PSToller pretty succinctly summed up your argument there. Though it comes off more sensationalist when boiled down to that.

No, he/she is wrong. All the 'isms' make claims for positive social change irrespective of the fact that they had the most minimal real influence on the way society changed. Many of the second wave feminists explicitly wanted to tear down capitalism and to create a feminist commune-style society in its place...so it made women CEOs? Unless of course you think feminism is literally just whatever a woman says or thinks, and conflate 'female' with 'feminist'. No, this is historically ignorant and, given the rules of the forum, an explicitly political stance that has nothing to do with this thread anymore than the Cultural Revolution does.
 
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hellbentforleather

Basenotes Dependent
May 18, 2016
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

It's literally just here to troll me, something two of the members have been doing for months now.

No one's "trolling" you. You start threads, often with inherently contentious assertions that focus quite a bit on gender and masculinity (on a perfume board, of all places), then get upset when cogent counterpoints and rebuttals are offered that expose your sometimes specious claims. Sometimes, a bit of wit and sarcasm is employed to keep things light. That's pretty much it.
 

Larry Hoover

Basenotes Junkie
Jan 18, 2015
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

For me it's very simple: I like the smell of iris and even though yes iris and violet can smell very feminine, so can any floral smell feminine. But to me it's the way the iris is incorporated into the formula by the perfumer. Divine's L'Homme Au Coeur is an iris based scent which smells very masculine to my nose. And I also don't enjoy these fragrances because of women or them making their way in work places., I just enjoy them for myself, Dior Homme and all its flankers included. Iris for me has a certain class to it when used correctly (as in not like a straight up make up pouch), but I also enjoy green butch scents so it's just a matter of taste I guess. Whether men got less masculine because of feminism, I believe so yes, but that doesn't mean men still can't enjoy dark, challenging and typically masculine scents, in my opinion.

Do you know how many times I have smelled something like 1 Million in the office or Sauvage in a nightclub? Often. Maybe us Basenoters have specific scents for specific occasions, but I believe most people just have a few bottles which they wear whenever they feel like without taking into consideration the setting.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

There's a lot to unpack here but two main points that I think undermine your theory are:
1. You assume that women actually want men to smell more feminine. Anecdotal evidence and "women rate..." youtube videos show this to rarely be the case. As unfortunate as it is, women are often just as guilty of enforcing masculinity on men and often seem to prefer men smelling more traditionally "like men".

You are correct to site Hedi Slimane as being an influential catalyst for offering an alternate ideal of male beauty. His look is waifish and androgynous, a reaction against the cliche buff Italian models who had dominated the runway before. Likewise, his flagship fragrance for Dior offers a fresh take on how a man can smell. It was never designed to be an office scent (Slimane's men would never work in an office) nor to cater to the tastes of women.

Now, offering an alternative way for men to be is not the same as trying to feminize men or make them go "against their nature" (another concept I entirely disagree with but has been beaten to death so I will leave it). Traditional masculinity seems such a tiny constraining box that I'm happy to see it go the way of the dinosaur, but having alternatives or a multiplicity of ways to "be a man" isn't an attack on the tradition masculine man either. You can still wear your mossy fougere next to the guy in Dior Homme next the guy in Chanel no. 5 and nobody is gonna get hurt! Just how equality for women (or any other disenfranchised group) doesn't take away anything from men, "a rising tide lifts all ships" as they say.

2. The more simple and less loaded explanation is that fragrance, like fashion and other fields, has trends. The popularity of Dior Homme likely set off a barrage of imitators. I agree with buzzlepuff that availability of new materials is likely tied into this. Trends tend to be reactionary rather than linear, so I don't believe that men are on a one way path toward increasing feminization. The buff Italian stud of Dolce and Gabanna or even Gaultier had become tired and cliche, so the new Dior man under Slimane was the polar opposite and caused a major shift in the silhouette of men's clothing. This was reversed in recent years to a return to baggy 90s inspired silhouettes. Just like the cleaned up "metrosexual" man then gave way to a trend of retro "new masculinity" where woke guys grew out beards, wore flannels and sipped craft cocktails. In terms of fragrance, indie houses seem to focus mostly on extremely complex rich and natural concotions, a reaction against the mainstream clean simple synthetic formulas on offer. I can tell you, these baroque formulations are going to get old soon and we might see a return to more simple and direct formulas (just in time while the mainstream houses are adding complexity ie. synth oud to everything).

Finally, I've never worked in an office so I can't say for sure. But I would think the most important feature of an office friendly fragrance would be projection. I would think it doesn't matter a whole lot what you smell like as long as it isn't too strong. Someone doused in Dior Homme would probably offend more people in the office than someone who wore a musty oakmoss concoction lightly.

1. I wholeheartedly believe that, yes, many women want to not 'feminise' men, per se, but I suppose 'de-masculinise', instead. That may go to the extent of making them overtly feminine but, in essence, it's the proverbial 'friendzoning'. A woman doesn't want 100% of the men they associate with to be seen as sexual/romantic/physically or socially intimidating. They want a small portion of men to be that, but the rest - let's say anywhere from 70-95% of the men they associate with - to be fathers, brothers, friends. In a work space, colleagues are far, far more likely to fit in to that latter category: not least as it is now the law in some parts of the USA, or at least some sectors, that workplace relationships are forbidden and liable to be prosecuted, under the notion that they are 'predatory' and a result of 'toxic masculinity', despite the fact that work is obviously a place where many people very happily and successfully meet the love of their life. So, I wholeheartedly disagree with your assertion, and youtube is misleading here: they have lied to the portion of men who almost certainly gravitate towards being 'friends' of women rather than romantic interests in to believing that a fragrance can change the way women see them. At least, it can change them positively. I believe a traditionally 'sexy' fragrance can change the way a woman sees a man they are not attracted to - but almost always in a negative way. No one wants to smell Layton or Sauvage on an overweight, creepy minger who works in IT and can't make eye contact with you. They want to smell it at the hot guy they see at the gym, or in a bar. There's a time and a place and, increasingly, given the way workplaces and corporate cultures are changing to be more overtly feminine, the tolerance for 'cologne guys' is diminishing - to the point where many companies explicitly have 'no fragrance' rules.

I see no problem with traditional masculinity, nor the need to 'enforce' it or celebrate its demise. I don't quite understand that point and I suppose we may be talking about different things; the caricature of masculinity as some kind of loutish or aggressive chode isn't what I think of as traditional masculinity. Equally, I see no problem with non-traditional forms...within reason. Feminine man can be toxic just as I suppose more traditional, masculine men can be. The issue isn't necessarily in the 'type', it's in dysfunction. As you say, choice is a good thing, and no doubt this whole thread is about discussing the addition of another 'choice' in to the market.

In any case, all of this is a way of saying that, yes, women DO want some man - indeed many men, specifically the ones they do not see as romantic potential - to 'feminise', I suppose. At the very least, they don't want them wearing 'sexy' fragrances, something like a club scent, or even an aquatic. Just as they don't want to be aggressively flirted with, or dominated, in work yet may actively seek this out in their personal/romantic/sexual lives. Something clean, soapy, classy is fine, but then how could brands make money on something that already existed? Here is where the commercial decision comes in - amp up and re-calibrate the new developments (as mentioned) in orris to create the 'purple floral' trend as something new, modern, corporate, and more female-friendly in a...well...friendly way.

Do you have anything explicit to back up your claim that Dior Homme was never meant to be a work-safe fragrance? I don't need it to be for this assessment to hold, by the way - as I said, it could have been a happy, subsequent discovery that this type of iris translated well in to offices etc. But are you just guessing when it comes to that claim? Or is there something backing it up? I certainly see Eau for Men, for instance, as an explicitly 'work safe' use of Dior's iris accord, and Prada has followed this up with a very explicit marketing campaign that has pushed its scents in to this category via GQ, and astroturfing on youtube via Jeremy (who they paid) and others, where their scents sit alongside Dior's in the typical 'best office fragrances' lists. You may be right that it was never, ever meant to be worksafe or built to be worn in similar settings but I don't think it debunks my premise, basically.

2. Everything in your second point has already been touched upon. Of course it applies. Of course this is all fair, and has happened.

But it doesn't answer the question of why something so evidently feminine - despite the protestations of political zealots - has become such a big seller among men. Yes, the Dior label is clearly responsible for a lot of it, as is the Prada. Yes, the fact that gay men are now much safer to openly behave and express their gayness. But they're less than 10% of the male population. When it comes to the rest, nothing 'hits' quite like the affirmation of a woman, and surely this is ALWAYS a major reason why men (particularly outside the enthusiast realm such as basenotes) choose the fragrances thy choose.

I fail to understand how this point is contentious. We understnad it as self evident when it comes to 'sexy' fragrances - you admitted as such earlier. We understand (hopefully) that the sweet-gourmand trend in masculine fragrances is in large part due to 'what women want'. Yet apparently there's a sticking point on this - why? I don't get it? Why is it so hard to understand that the overtly feminine aroma that has become one of the key 'secondary' genres of male fragrance, beneath the 'dark blue' trend, in male perfumery has become successful and sells well in large part due to the fact that women like them? And why is it so hard to accept that they like them because they are feminised fragrances with a lipstick-floral heart on top of more traditional masculine notes? And why is THAT so hard to accept as coming from a place of wanting to see men softened, feminised, and the desire/need for this comes in large part due to women spending a lot more time around non-familial men in the workplace? Is it really so hard to accept that women aren't a unitary 'thing'? That they will see different men differently, and assign them 'roles', in a sense, in relation to them and their needs/wants?

I don't see why people are tripping up on the logic here unless they have an axe to grind to be honest. Or, if you like purple florals and don't like the idea that people/women read them as feminine. Which...I get why that's not nice to hear...but still...

I thought it was a mildly interesting point that I hadn't really read anything about before. It seems so obvious when it clicked because, for a while, I couldn't fathom how/why these fragrances were popular until I tried one I really liked, but still didn't feel comfortable wearing. I don't expect to have to argue against 'debunking' but, as of yet, I don't think there's been any real coherent protestation against the idea, only ideological application of rhetoric. The point about chemistry is of course excellent and provides a nice counterpoint on how/why fragrances are created, and how it is often easy to overemphasise one facet for another, but, again, I still don't think this detracts from the point I'm making. I haven't made any claims about the extent to which this is true - only that it is true...it has an impact.
 

GoldWineMemories

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 22, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

slpfrsly, you keep asking for proof, but when one asks you for such evidence you offhandedly dismiss it. Look slpfrsly you clearly believe you have stumbled upon an extraordinary discovery -- and we're not talking science here there is nothing to be quantified or analyzed in a methodical way. Your statement can neither be proven nor disproved, and these are the most inciting of ideas. You want to be right, and I've read your posts in the past -- I personally quite like them, and I think more often than not you're on to something, but it's clear you've built up an ideology you're not allowing yourself to be moved from at all. I'm not here to tell you what to believe, merely ask the question what do you hope to achieve? People here think you're incorrect in your conjecture, you respond saying no I'm right, you're wrong, let me explain to you my thesis again as if we're just too muddleminded to have understood it the first time correctly, and now you're retreating behind the idea if we don't agree with it it must be we have a personal problem with you. It's playing the victim, and you don't come off to me as someone who relishes such a role.


So what are we doing here? Is it not possible you could be wrong -- if not about your purple florals themselves, then somewhere along the way in the framework of the ideas you've developed? It is not a bad thing to defend yourself as correct, and others are doing the same in defending themselves are correct -- you incorrect. Neither side would be doing so if they thought for a moment they did not posses an inkling of the truth. It is also certainly true that ideas aren't correct simply because more people believe it to be so. However, are you really entertaining the idea that it could all be a coincidence? You don't have to trust coincidences, but it's not irrational that they may occur. If you're here to force your ideas upon others, those who clearly don't accept such ideas, to not apply the same rigorous expectations to your ideas as you require in debunking them, then no good will come of such things.
 

slpfrsly

Physician, heal thyself
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

slpfrsly, you keep asking for proof

Keep asking? Where? I'll ask you to back that up - I've just asked if he knows that Dior Homme was not intended as a work fragrance but I've provided enough 'evidence' of the alternative. If you really want/need me to link in fashion mag listicles and Jeremy Fragrance videos discussing the Prada and Dior scents as 'work/office fragraces' then I can? But other than that point, I haven't asked anyone for any 'proof'.

As for the rest, I suppose I was slightly surprised at the hostile response, and then when the trolling arrived, then it becomes annoying. I genuinely don't think I've stumbled on something 'amazing'...I'm just surprised no one seems to agree. I thought the reaction would be 'oh yeah, that sounds about right'. Genuinely. I expected some kind of 'hmmm I'm not so sure', and that's fine. But I didn't expect the reactions I've received. I think the 'fair' pushback I'm receiving is mostly saying things I'm not disagreeing with, nor have tried to deny - which makes it difficult, because I have deliberately left space for their points, yet probably because the posts are too long people haven't read them. By contrast, I haven't been given the same - there hasn't been 'yes, you're probably right, but it's not the ONLY reason' etc. It's just been a negative response that denies the premise, not a nuanced and critical one. Given the nature of this, as you say, as something that isn't really up for being 'proved' or 'disproved', that sort of shuts the convo down.
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
Re: Purple Florals; or, "how to change the way men smell" with Iris & Violet 'work' scents.

Do you mean the scent of the flowers, or the flowers themselves? They are certainly less feminine than, say, roses and lilies - both of which lend themselves to girls' names, at least in English - and in terms of perfume, jasmine can be added as something very overtly feminine. That said, as mentioned above, I feel there is a clear 'feminine' edge to the manner in which this relatively new purple floral trend has entered both masculine designer fragrances and unisex niche fragrances: see scents like Tauer's Incense Extreme, Piguet's Casbah, and Goodsir's Iris Cendre for examples of a less 'lipstick-like', yet still to my nose evidently feminine, use of 'purple florals'.

Do you, or indeed anyone else, not find the iris accord in Dior's Homme fragrances feminine? Ignoring the rest of the composition, if you can - do you find the main iris accord smells masculine?

I meant both. Especially the carnation scent is perceived as masculine around here.

As for Dior Homme - when I sniffed it, I didn't think "oh, that's feminine". I did have that impression with Ultra Male though, and that one isn't even floral.
 

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