Saks Fifth Avenue have inaugurated a novel perfume concept store called the Fragrance Library which is a cross between a bestseller list à la New York Times - except it's a bestviewed list also - and a Who's Who while offering the guise of a fragrance library...
The Library on the store fifth floor offers 50 perfumes which are considered to be the top of the nation-wide market selection in terms of visiblity determined by looking at their advertising efforts.
Some scents are classics like Chanel No.5 or oldies like Coco Mademoiselle, while others are recent launches like Calvin Klein Reveal or Givenchy Dahlia Divin. Like for a bestseller list of books, some perfumes will stay for weeks - and apparently decades - while others will exit fast if they don't reflect most-talked-about status anymore, or healthy sales since the latter is also taken into account.
It's a mix between market and advertising intuition.
The concept has evolved from the daunting number of new perfume launches to tailor it down to essentials. It is not a curatorial effort because unlike a museum curator or a critic who make educated decisions bringing back up to the surface neglected artifacts, the Saks Fragrance Library wishes to be the window to the hottest perfumes of the moment.
Kate Oldham, senior vice president of cosmetics, fragrance, swim and lingerie at Saks said "We looked at nationally ranked brands that are highly advertised," noting the criteria necessary to be sold in the library. "If there's [a new fragrance then] we'll bring that in. If something isn't working [then] we'll take that out."
The selection looks at the designer fragrance market - the niche segment of the market is to be found elsewhere in the same building, at Saks Haute Parfumerie.
To reinforce the atmosphere that this is a library of perfumes, sales assistants are dressed to make them look like playful versions of the typical librarian look, bespectacled appearance included.
The opening of this new aisle emphasizes the importance of advertising for fragrances to make them stand out.