Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vintage Perfume Trends, More Thoughts on Ebay...


Sorry about the disappearing &reappearing post- the dear husband accidentally published it for me before it was edited or ready to go, when I got up from the computer to run to the grocery store!

If you read here regularly, strap in 'cause we're going for a bumpy ride over some growingly familiar topics. You see, I'm on a mini vintage perfume tirade. You might already know that I've begun selling off many of my old perfumes and I won't lie, I still face the daily temptation to add a new bottle to replace each one I let go. Yet for this aspiring minimalist, too much of a good thing become just plain old too much. As I've been combing through second-hand perfumes and studying the Internet side of buying and selling them, I've noticed that many other people are also letting go of their perfume collections these days.

You probably don't need to read a copy of Time magazine to know that our economy is still seriously lagging. So I can understand why someone might need to get rid of their 'things'... but where are those old bottles floating off to? And what does it mean for the average vintage perfumista-collector, now that all of this second hand perfume is coming onto the market?

I first began to realize last year that if you are ever going to, now is actually the time to buy, buy, buy vintage perfumes. Luckily there seem to be loads of vintage perfumes pouring out of the nooks and crannies of old houses and storage lockers everywhere, popping up for sale, available to nearly anyone with an Internet connection. At least in the US, this is still true.

Take for example the case of a rare vintage perfume like F. Millot's Bois Precieux. Bois Precieux isn't as iconic as Chanel's Bois des Iles- which also continues to set records as one of the most in-demand and highest selling vintage commercial perfumes out there- but then it ain't exactly chopped liver, either. However, the price for such a fine perfume as Millot's BP has fallen precipitously in the past year or so. In early 2009, a 1/4 ounce sealed bottle fetched nearly $225 dollars. Today, you can find a 1/2 ounce bottle of the same perfume being offered for $150- and it may not even sell at that price!

But vintage perfumes are actually quite rare things. And whatever is left, is rapidly being pulled out of circulation. If Octavian's experience in France-- where now French consumers apparently aren't going to be able to purchase their classic, old Dior and Chanel perfumes via Ebay-- is any indication of trends to come here, then we have to ask ourselves how long we'll be able to buy second-hand/vintage perfume over the Internet and especially from Ebay?

What would you do if overnight, you could no longer purchase (or list for sale, you sellers) vintage perfumes on Ebay? Ebay and the Internet in general has been a great equalizer in the world of vintage perfume. Vintage perfume is not just for the experts who have access to Osmothèque anymore. As it stands right now, everyday folks who have the passion can get right into the collecting game. But maybe not for long.


You see, if IFRA, L'Oreal and others have their way, then you won't be able to buy or sell vintage or indie perfumes through any of the high-volume channels - After all, why would you buy the Big Boys scores and scores of new perfume releases when you can still get marvelous old classics like Chanel's authentic version of Cuir de Russie for the same $$$ as their tepid inferior new leather scent?

 image: Fumee d' amber gris
John Singer Sargent, 1880

The older scents not only have the outlaw luxury appeal of forbidden, rare and exotic essences that are not even harvested much less used anymore. But more importantly, they smell better than the new stuff.  Look at the prices of anything containing genuine vintage Ambergris versus the new and supposedly improved Ambroxan and you'll see where true quality and luxury lie. Would they ever use such a heavy hand to restrict sales in the US as they've done in France? I think likely sooner or later, someone may try. So get out your plastic, start up your engines and go shopping while you still can!

 The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.


Angela Cox said...

That is so scary , what is more it is an outrage . I wonder how well known this is in the media?

Amelia said...

I don't know if many people are talking about it yet. But if it goes beyond France, we will hear a lot more. And you know the multinational companies that are behind it, want to control all $$, not just the French $$!