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A Brief History Of 20th Century Perfume

Aug 3, 2008
The Armani fashion house was founded in 1975 by Giorgio Armani. Born in Piacenza, 40 miles south of Milan, in 1934, Giorgio entered the fashion industry as a window dresser but soon established himself as a fashion designer. Over the years, Armani has grown to become a global brand synonymous with elegant simplicity and sophistication.

Although Giorgio's first foray into perfumes was in 1981 with the release of Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills, the first Armani branded perfume was released in 1982. Simply called Armani, this chypre perfume for women (now discontinued) was to be the first of many successful perfumes to be released under the signature Giorgio Armani label. This was followed in 1984 by the release of the first Armani fragrance for men called Armani Eau Pour Homme.

The industry was changing with controversially erotic marketting techniques lead by a campaign for Obsession by Calvin Klein in 1985 which commanded tremendous media attention, propelling Obsession into the limelight. This opened the door for the image leading the perfume, as Jean Paul Gaultier released his torso shaped bottle presented in a tin can. The scents themselves were power perfumes for power dresses and Armani was no exception.

Following from Yves St Laurents legendary rose with violets in Paris, the 1990's saw the release of the first Armani floral fragrances in the form of Gio and Acqua Di Gio, both of which shared the same soft-edged square bottle designed to emulate the unstructured look of Giorgio's jackets. He then followed this up with Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme, a marine fragrance that was supposedly inspired by the isle of Pantelleria where Giorgio spent many of his vacations.

In 1998 the first duo fragrance was launched in the form of She and He. These were the first Armani perfumes to be released under the more youthfully inspired Emporio Armani label and was the beginning of a new duo fragrance trend for Armani. In 1999, the original Armani Mania for women was released. Although popular, this woody oriental fragrance was short lived and with its black packaging and black lid, it was often confused for a men's fragrance and later discontinued.

The nineties saw a shift from the power scents of the 1980s to the crisper more generic scents of the 1990s. Armani was no exception and many believe the softer approach came from Estee Lauder's White Linen produced in the 80s. Other renowned products were Safari by Ralph Lauren which has a particularly decadent bottle and Sun Moon Stars by Lagerfeld which boasted a unique oriental quality. These softer scents lead the way into the new millennium.

These more neutral scent were extended to unisex fragrances by the release of CK One which Armani followed with Emporio duo, White She and White He in 2001. White was originally intended to be a limited edition Summer fragrance but is still available today. Following on from Armani White's success, several duo Giorgio Armani perfumes were released between 2003 and 2006 including Night for Him and Her (now discontinued), City Glam and Remix.

2004 saw Armani branching out with his first Armani Prive fragrance, Ambre Soie. This unisex fragrance was not designed to have mass appeal and like the rest of the Prive range had limited distribution and was very expensive. The range includes Prive Bois d'Encens, Prive Eau de Jade, Prive Pierre de Lune, Prive Cuir Amethyste, Prive eclat de Jasmine, Prive Rose Alexandrie and Prive Vetiver Babylone.

This elitist approach to image was shared by many other fashion houses, propelling the perfume myth that scents are more desirable if they are exclusive, unobtainable and expensive. The ever saturated fragrance market sees increasing number of limited release fragrances in exclusively designed bottles, to maintain the image of exclusivity and mystique.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on Armani perfume and fragrances.
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