I first read this top ten list on Bois de Jasmin and she referenced the original article where she sourced this data (Challenges France), so I thought I’d take a peek and see if there were any other interesting bits and pieces. I’ve had a read through the article to see what else I could find and to understand just why the French are so in love with La Vie Est Belle, the best selling feminine fragrance for 2014. Surely it’s an over sugared sillage monster? I’m not counted among the millions who adore this perfume although I do have a sample and that is sufficient for my needs. It doesn’t surprise me that this is Number One though as I smell it everywhere. I catch it on the walk to school each morning and it projects viciously in the early hours. I smell it out shopping. I sniff it when out and about. Apparently Paris reeks of it, according to a few French blogs that I read from time to time. It’s not really the perfume that I would have thought French women would take to their hearts.
I say if you’re going to go hard on the over ripe sweetness, just stick to Angel the godmother of them all. At least this has a strong character and is an interesting perfume. Now on the upside, one of the things I do like about La Vie Est Belle is that at least it has a bit of projection. I often find that perfumes are so light weight these days so as not to offend anyone that often I can hardly smell them at all.
According to Tanim El Mill, Director General at L’Oreal Luxe France there are three key reasons for La Vie Est Belle‘s success. The juice, the bottle and Julia Roberts. I have to say I thought the Julia Roberts campaign was average and the Pretty Woman looks overly airbrushed. However they’ve obviously picked a woman who has vast general appeal to the world at large, so she was definitely a good pick. I know that before I became slightly bonkers about perfume, the marketing campaign and in particular the actor or model that was used in the advertising really influenced me, and not on a subliminal level. The most obvious articulation of this for me was Charlotte Gainsbourg for Balenciaga Paris. Instant purchase. Now the majority of perfumes I wear don’t use a face to market their perfumes, so I find the mass market approach slightly odd or old fashioned or both. However it all obviously worked. It just pains me slightly whenever I smell it.
Apparently it took three noses to create this perfume – Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo, all big names in the perfume world. It took two years of work and unbelievably 5,500 trials. It’s sold close to 67 million Euros worth in France and has 5.3% market share. So let’s raise our glasses to La Vie Est Belle!
Here’s the full list of the Top 10 Best Selling Feminine Perfumes for 2014 in France.
1 : La Vie Est Belle : Lancome : Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion, Anne Flipo : This iris, jasmine and orange blossom perfume is quite frankly doused in sweetness, but has good projection.
2: J’Adore : Dior : Calice Becker : J’Adore‘s jasmine and pear concoction is now a bona fide classic. Created in 1999, it was in first place in France last year, and has been in the top 3 scents for a number of years. A new ad campaign featuring Charlize Theron was released last year to invigorate sales. You may recall this advertisement, it’s the one where she shimmies up a sash from what appears to be somewhere very spectacular such as Versailles to a modern, futuristic ‘new world’ where the brand obviously wants to focus. Capturing the consumers in the Middle East and Asia where a lucrative pot of consumer gold exists is crucially important for luxury brands. They’re also signalling that Dior is a modern brand, yet retains French heritage.
3: La Petite Robe Noire : Guerlain : Thierry Wasser : This cherry and almond sweetie macaron launched in 2012 has been a success story for Guerlain. It made 50 million Euros in 2014 and has a 4% market share.
4: Coco Madamoiselle : Chanel : Jacques Polge : The ever popular Coco Madamoiselle, launched in 2001 has stayed in the charts since then. Kiera Knightley is the face for the perfume.
5: No 5 : Chanel : Ernest Beaux : This ole dame has been kicking it since 1921 and the new Baz Luhrmann campaign with Gisele Bundchen plays it modern after many recent attempts to try something different for the brand, most notably using Brad Pitt. Chanel‘s flirtation with Brad was very short lived.
6: Opium : Yves Saint Laurent : Jean Amic, Jean-Louis Sieuzac : Opium, the oriental classic jumped 10 places from 2013, so a big year for this spicy number. The current 2009 version is really nothing like the original. I know that sounded a bit harsh. The current version definitely has a spiciness yet is what I would call a diet Opium, much thinned and lacking the growl of the original. However the original is unwearable for many people, so this does provide a more approachable option. The face for this perfume is the brilliant Emily Blunt, so effective in The Devil Wears Prada, Looper, The Young Victoria and Sunshine Cleaning.
7: Angel : Thierry Mugler : Olivier Cresp, Yves de Chirin : Launched in 1992, this is the gourmand that started off the ever present sugar trend (see La Vie Est Belle). It dropped two places in 2014 yet still had 37 million Euros in sales and 3% of the market. Georgia May Jagger became the face of the perfume, replacing Eva Mendes. I personally thought Eva was perfect for Angel, but Georgia is a younger model and is continuing the family involvement with Angel as as her mother Jerry Hall represented the brand in its earlier years.
8: Miss Dior : Dior : Francois Demachy : FYI – This scent from Dior bears no relation to the original Miss Dior from 1947, that is now called Miss Dior L’Originale. To my nose Miss Dior is a strawberry shortcake perfume that shares some common ground with Coco Madamoiselle. It dropped one place in 2014. Natalie Portman is the face of this perfume.
9: Shalimar : Guerlain: Jacques Guerlain : I’m so pleased to see one of my favourite perfumes on the list!! Hallelujah!! This gorgeous gem was created way back in 1925. It drops a place in 2014 but has 2.4% market share. See my review for more information on this perfume. Natalia Vodanova is the face of Shalimar.
10: Flower : Kenzo : Alberto Morillas : Flower dropped from 7th place in 2013, but still sold 28 million Euros worth and holds 2.3% market share. I have never actually tried this powdery floral! I need to give it a sniff.
So looking at this list we can make a few observations. The Gourmands are ruling the roost (La Vie Est Belle, La Petite Robe Noire and Angel) and show no sign of disappearing. Indeed the success of La Vie Est Belle has meant that the big brands will no doubt put more gourmands into product development.
A couple of old Classic Masterpieces are amazingly still kicking around – No 5 and Shalimar. Opium, though not as old as these two dames definitely fits into this category. It’s a truly amazing feat of marketing genius and huge budgets that keep these perfumes on French skin.
There are also the more Modern Classics in evidence – J’Adore and Coco Madamoiselle. I didn’t really imagine that Flower still packed a punch but there you go. If Miss Dior keeps selling like hot cakes I imagine this will become a classic in time.
Information sourced from Challenges France : Data from NPD Group
Note : Photos : Charlize Theron for Dior : Daily Mail UK : La Petite Robe Noire : Sephora : Coco Madamoiselle : Chanel : Giselle Bundchen : Daily Mail UK : Opium : Luxury Activist.com : Angel : Vogue Italy : Miss Dior : Fragrantica : Shalimar : My photo : La Vie Est Belle : Fragrantica