Stereotypical "Feminine" Bottles, Packaging: Irritating? Offensive? Humiliating?

professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
I'm not a woman, but I imagine if I were, I would get pretty sick of girly, frilly, flowery, pink and otherwise stereotypical feminine packaging for perfume. Yes, I understand some people love this stuff (see Betsey Johnson's popularity) but I'm curious if others find it borderline offensive? Isn't it condescending to assume this stuff will appeal to women? What happened to women having a better aesthetic sensibility than men? Compare the classic elegance of Chanel's iconic bottle to some of the garbage out there today, and tell me I'm not imagining this.

A case in point: I haven't tried the Pour Elle version of Encre Noire, but am very relieved to hear that the fugly new bottle I keep seeing in stores is a new fragrance and not simply a new packaging design (if you can call it that) for the original. I find the original Encre Noire bottle design to be one of the most elegant, modern, perfectly understated and witty things out there in a market dominated by odious design choices. Does anyone else think the Pour Elle bottle is as irritating as I do? What, women like frilly scripts now? Crap calligraphy? I was ready to run out and stock up on what I was beginning to think was "vintage" Encre Noire. Sans serif all caps take me away! Lalique, if you're reading this, don't ever mess with the original Encre Noire bottle design, no matter what any focus group tells you.

Apologies if this has already been hashed out elsewhere on the forum. I'm curious about what others think?
 

cacio

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 5, 2010
Agree. and viceversa too. what's wrong with guys wearing flower perfumes? And why do bottles have to be square and bulky? (as in the new ugly Guerlains).

cacio
 
G

Guest 3

Guest
I don't really mind frilly, girly packaging. I mostly ignore it, as I've been buying things in that kind of packaging my entire life. But my favorite bottles are not frilly. My favorites are simple apothecary style bottles, and I love the Bois 1920 bottles. At Avery in NOLA I got an up close and personal look at the Boadicea the Victoria bottles, which are absolutely gorgeous. They are ornate without being frilly. I can appreciate that.
 

cacio

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 5, 2010
Luckily, my Derby is in the pre-Lupinesque splash bee bottle, which was evidently deemed too girlie for the boys.

cacio
 

alfarom

Power Where You Need It
Basenotes Plus
Mar 4, 2011
and what about marketing campaigns??? Have you happened to read the "inspirational words" (that's how they call them) of the new Heeley's Bubblegum Chic?

Words are: extract of glamour, pink, passion, lips, mouth, soft, warmth, sparkle, appetite, forbidden, fun, fatale, fruit, desire, smile, sweet, skin, shining, intoxicate, girls, omnivorous, insatiable .

Bubblegum Chic is clearly marketed as feminine and my point is this: how is it possible in 2011 to use such trite commonplaces to describe a feminine fragrance?

Obnoxious.
 
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professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
Luckily, my Derby is in the pre-Lupinesque splash bee bottle, which was evidently deemed too girlie for the boys.

cacio
Now that's a great bottle. Who doesn't love bees? I've got Eau de Cologne Imperial in a bee spray bottle. Clear glass embossed with bees, so chic.
 
G

Guest 3

Guest
and what about marketing campaigns??? Have you happen to read the "inspirational words" (that's how they call them) of the new Heeley's Bibblegum Chic?

Words are: extract of glamour, pink, passion, lips, mouth, soft, warmth, sparkle, appetite, forbidden, fun, fatale, fruit, desire, smile, sweet, skin, shining, intoxicate, girls, omnivorous, insatiable .

Bubblegum Chic is clearly marketed as feminine and my point is this: how is it possible in 2011 to use such trite commonplaces to describe a feminine fragrance?

Obnoxious.

Good point. And it is this very childish girlishness, as opposed to feminity and womanliness, that gets obnoxious. Does every woman want to smell like a little girl? Or be perceived as a little girl? Is it the sexualizing of infants we are after? Now...full disclosure...I do like fun fruity sweet scents, but I do not feel attracted by this type of advertising. But it is in our culture now: shorty babydoll dresses, tiny handbags, cupcake scents, pink frills -- and all for grown women. I think it is on its way out now. I think there is more grown up attitude coming into fashion, or has been for a while, but it takes time to make its way into the mainstream.
 

teardrop

Basenotes Institution
Sep 1, 2010
and what about marketing campaigns??? Have you happen to read the "inspirational words" (that's how they call them) of the new Heeley's Bibblegum Chic?

Words are: extract of glamour, pink, passion, lips, mouth, soft, warmth, sparkle, appetite, forbidden, fun, fatale, fruit, desire, smile, sweet, skin, shining, intoxicate, girls, omnivorous, insatiable .

Bubblegum Chic is clearly marketed as feminine and my point is this: how is it possible in 2011 to use such trite commonplaces to describe a feminine fragrance?

Obnoxious.

Wow, that is excruciating, nauseating & almost disturbing. For that alone, l would avoid going anywhere near it.
 

professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
Good point. And it is this very childish girlishness, as opposed to feminity and womanliness, that gets obnoxious. Does every woman want to smell like a little girl? Or be perceived as a little girl? Is it the sexualizing of infants we are after? Now...full disclosure...I do like fun fruity sweet scents, but I do not feel attracted by this type of advertising. But it is in our culture now: shorty babydoll dresses, tiny handbags, cupcake scents, pink frills -- and all for grown women. I think it is on its way out now. I think there is more grown up attitude coming into fashion, or has been for a while, but it takes time to make its way into the mainstream.
Here's hoping. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your comment, I couldn't agree more. There's something creepy about the whole lacy baby thing.
 

FrouFrou

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 17, 2010
It's the girlishness which irritates me. I have never been a sugar-sweet-pinkie-girl! And it's the scents more than the bottles which irritate me. And yes, the advertisements! And the fact that all fragrances now have to be pink. Even when they are not a pink fragrance, like Kelly Calèche.

I like the Boudicea the victorious bottles, I think they are very modern with nice Celtic designs. I don't mind the Encre Noir Pour Elle bottles so much, although they are less good than the male version, What I object to is the sickly sweet fragrance inside! how dare they call that ''encre Noir'' pour elle? It has nothing to do with the male versions. Why not call it, ''Rose plus sucré pour Elle''????

I don't mind kitchy frilly bottles, but then I always honestly confess I have no taste.
 

alfarom

Power Where You Need It
Basenotes Plus
Mar 4, 2011
Good point. And it is this very childish girlishness, as opposed to feminity and womanliness, that gets obnoxious.

Definitely! In the review I posted on Aromi's blog I say that Heeley seems to have committed those "inspirational words" to the stuff of "Sweet Sixsteen". I'm clearly not a woman but I still find this kind of advertising really silly, if not offensive....

Omnivorous? Insatiable?
 

FrouFrou

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 17, 2010
What about this last ad for Marc jacobs? Só wrong in every detail and message and everything.
And só not appealing. I don't see myself as an überthin, under age, substance abusing, sexualized waif with bad skin? I aspire to be a healthy elegant grown up woman!


dakota-fanning-marc-jacobs-perfume-ad.jpg
 
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FrouFrou

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 17, 2010
And of course it's pink again.
The girl is pink, the dress is pink, the background is pink and the juice is pink.
I am getting sick of pink!
 

professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
"Is that a vagina in your lap or are you just happy to see me?" So unsubtle it hurts. Thanks for finding this.

What about this last ad for Marc jacobs? Só wrong in every detail and message and everything.
And so not appealing. I don't see myself as an überthin, under age, sexualized waif? I aspire to be a healthy elegant grown up woman!
dakota-fanning-marc-jacobs-perfume-ad.jpg
 

FrouFrou

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 17, 2010
It was actually banned in the uk because of it's impression of sexualising children.
I ahven't smelled it yet, but something tells me it's going to be a sweet, sugary, fruity, flowery girly scent....
 

firehorse

Basenotes Junkie
Oct 21, 2010
What about this last ad for Marc jacobs?

Thanks for posting the pic, when I read the title of the thread that is the exact bottle that came to mind. I saw it a Macy's and my instinct was to move about 5 feet away from it as if it was some kind of weapon of mass destruction, I didn't even smell it.

And to the poster who brought up the Bois 1920 bottles, I love those too.
 

Surfacing

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 6, 2002
That Marc Jacobs add is brutal. I was waiting at the hair stylist when I popped open a Canadian fashion magazine and saw it. Very poor taste.

Sometimes I am jealous at the packaging the feminine designer fragrances receive, other times I am happy I don't have to get a bottle like it. Yeah, some are pretty cheesy/lame/irritating...etc. Marketers hard at work, I suppose.
 

kumquat

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2006
Hilarious! Keep those wacky pictures coming. I especially hate those japanese anime dolls. But then I'm not in the market demographic as I am waaaaay past 19. Also, I have never been a fan of pink and purple as a color combination. It might work on 6 year olds but that's about the limit.
 

L'enfer

Super Member
Aug 9, 2011
I was going to post the Marc Jacobs ad pictured above but FrouFrou has already done so. I must say I didn't think the ad is inappropriate or at least I would not have thought so right away. I was more struck by how aesthetically repugnant I found the ad. I have nothing against the model in the picture but the whole thing even the way it is lit made me think "eww no thanks". It was after this I thought oh the flower between her legs I see how very juvenile.

I don't know if this counts as the bottle is not what I would say stereotypically feminine or offensive but Shalimar Parfum Initial really irritates me. Don't get me wrong I like it it's a nice perfume, however I think the juice was made pink with that same kind of patronizing sexist few that women or girls or both these days are so stupid and will only buy pink perfume.

I think the same can be said for Coco Mademoiselle and possibly Miss Dior Cherie but I thought rightly or wrongly that Guerlain were above that sort of cynical marketing obviously I was wrong but then again Guerlain isn't run by Guerlains anymore sadly.
 
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professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
Case in point:
"It aims at women between the early teens and early thirties." Early thirties? Notes include pink sugar and "blonde woods." I'm not making this up. I'm dating myself, but I'm still waiting for Barbara Cartland to release a fragrance.

o.12033.jpg


and some role models:

o.12032.jpg
 
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firehorse

Basenotes Junkie
Oct 21, 2010
Sorry I don't know how to post pics.... but I love my Paloma Picasso bottle ... the all glass round bottle. I wish I could get a hold of the old round Frapin bottles, also I like the old Amouage bottles.

Back to that Marc Jacobs add, ... the add has no impact on me, I'm just offended by the top heavy, visual gluttony of the bottle itself. It's more garish than a Will Ferrel ice-scating outfit.
 

firehorse

Basenotes Junkie
Oct 21, 2010
Professor,

There is a thread on this board... ugly bottle thread.... that I think you'd get a kick out of of. I think its on the men's board buried somewhere, but its quite entertaining and worth a bump if you want to have your mind blown by some outstanding bad design.

:vrolijk_26:
 

professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
Thanks, firehorse, I'll check it out. It's raining cats and dogs outside, I could use a laugh.

Professor,

There is a thread on this board... ugly bottle thread.... that I think you'd get a kick out of of. I think its on the men's board buried somewhere, but its quite entertaining and worth a bump if you want to have your mind blown by some outstanding bad design.

:vrolijk_26:
 

hedonist222

Basenotes Institution
Sep 13, 2010
Has anyone noticed that the more prestigious the brand the less ,for lack of better word, disgusting the presentation is and vice versa. Escada vs Armani Prive as a random comparison.
 

fragranceman88

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 26, 2011
What about this last ad for Marc jacobs? Só wrong in every detail and message and everything.
And só not appealing. I don't see myself as an überthin, under age, substance abusing, sexualized waif with bad skin? I aspire to be a healthy elegant grown up woman!


dakota-fanning-marc-jacobs-perfume-ad.jpg

Britain has apparently banned this add. Which i thin is hilarious
 

donna255

Basenotes Institution
Jul 16, 2004
I am not a bottle person, a friend has a large collection. But the frilly bottles put me off even lifting to sniff a perfume. I love the new Bottega Veneta bottle solid simple does what its meant to do, like the Serge Lutens, Chanel etc.

Now not pink or flowery but the one I really hated was the Donna Karan Signature in the Klingon Phaser bottle. It was a nightmare to use!
 

kumquat

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2006
ncglfc.jpg

I thought this was rather odd.

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And this is typical over-the-top juvenile fare.
 
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Robin-in-FL

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 18, 2011
I tend to not pick up anything frilly/frothy/fluffy, and sure don't dress fluffy but never did, really, except as costume. I'm not a floaty clothes kinda person. The daughters aren't, either, come to think of it.

But I do admit a fondness for Hello Kitty, where is the blushing/embarrased smiley? Corporate marketing of nothing-at-all, but that is such an iconic image.
 

Surfacing

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 6, 2002
At the same time you have to realize that if the scent is from Biebs, Americas Next Top Model ( :p) or Barbie, the tacky packaging should be expected. Am I off base here ?

What annoys me is that certain supposed good designers like Marc Jacobs come out with the most rubbish bottles. They are either very plain ( and not a "good" or nice plain either). Or they are very ugly like pretty much all his womens scents and the recent Bang/Bang Bang junk that has come out.

As a side note, Jacobs is nothing special himself. Hilarious to see him get all that credit for the grunge look on his models in the early 90s. Did he invent that look ? As if. But what can I expect from the fashion runway world.
 

kumquat

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 31, 2006
Here are some I thought were good examples;

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nx2y4k.jpg


t7y0r4.jpg


b7jips.jpg

This is the bizarre Princess Leia Perfume.

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I love the enticing name they came up with for this fume.
 
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professor goggles

Super Member
Aug 8, 2009
@kumquat Those are great! It's always nice to have a slave bracelet on your perfume, to remind you of who's really in charge. As for Kathy Hilton's Secret, I wasn't aware the Hiltons kept any secrets. And "Smell" I'm guessing was a pretty slow day for the creative department. "I know, let's call it... SMELL!" "Sure, why not, we haven't been able to come up with anything else in the last four hours and the deadline on the brief is tomorrow."
 
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Guest 3

Guest
At the same time you have to realize that if the scent is from Biebs, Americas Next Top Model ( :p) or Barbie, the tacky packaging should be expected. Am I off base here ?

I agree with that. I'd also expect the Betsy Johnson bottle to be tacky and fun.
 

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