As we move towards 2014 and as we pause and look back on 2012 while the 2013 figures are yet to be determined and solidified during the holidays season - a critical period for appraising yearly perfume sales - consider which perfumes made it to the top 10 spots in France in 2012. They are all feminine. Only 3 out of the 10 are newcomers and relative newcomers. In case you are looking for perfume gifts, these are honorable choices. In reverse order, here come the champions based on their sales figures.
#10 is La Vie est Belle by Lancôme (2012) / 23 million Euros
This is a new entry. It relies on the familiarity however of the accord found in Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf, with some extremely well done technical improvements. It's a gourmand perfume too, which shows that comfort and food continue to speak French...
#9 is Lady Million by Paco Rabanne (2010)/ 24 million Euros (-6,6%)
A recent entry as well. It benefited from a dynamic ad campaign. The fragrance is easy to wear and sexy, if not spectacular. In the designer category, it's more about living in harmony with a perfume and how it makes you feel, rather than making an artistic impact by wearing it, or being shocked by it.
#8 is Flower by Kenzo (2000) /26, 2 Million Euros (-6,4%)
A powdery fragrance about an abstract flower. It ironically makes a scentless red poppy smell white.
#7 is Miss Dior by Christian Dior (the new one) (2005/2011) /28 million Euros (-4,4%)
Once a whimsical, witty, lighthearted Parisian perfume with its pop corn and strawberry notes, it's become more classic yet alluring still in the register of jammy white florals.
#6 is Shalimar by Guerlain (1925) / 28 million Euros (-13,3%)
Shalimar is not essentially an elegant perfume. It is a very sensual one - some might even say, erotic. Modulate with your outfit because it could be wrongly interpreted. It's like being selective about wearing a smoky eye or a red lip, not both. Choose Shalimar or a sexy outfit, not both. It's too much, at least in public. Yes, perfumes are more or less consciously, visually apprehended - at least, this is my theory.
#5 is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel (2001) / 37 million Euros ( -4,3%)
You can't go really wrong with this one.
#4 is Angel by Thierry Mugler (1992) / 38 million Euros (-5,4%)
A trend-setter, the mother of all gourmand perfumes as we know them today. The annual boozy, culinary twists are worth seeking out for gifts.
#3 is La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain (2009) /40 million Euros.
I think this one takes over the spot emptied by the original Miss Dior Chérie. It's gourmand, whimsical and Parisian playing with dark cherries and sweet tea instead of pop corn and strawberries.
#2 is No.5 by Chanel (1921) / 43 million Euros (-2,8%)
No.5 can be too classic if you're looking for newness although not that many people wear it. I suspect people gaze at it on their vanity or wear it for sophisticated events. So, it's relatively neglected in my view and you can still rediscover its fur-and-diamonds perfume character.
#1 is J'Adore by Dior (1999) / 52 millions d’euros (+3,4%)
I've always thought that J'Adore is very French in its sense of balance, diplomacy and its conservative bent. It's a social perfume - it represents a certain French behavior in social settings. Apart from that, the floral notes are at times simply exquisite.