The confined perfume
This article was written just after the deconfinement in France
Perfume is a gift. Mainly for yourself, but let's not be afraid to write it for others too, sometimes. Either way, it exists to be felt. Nature itself has understood this well. Before flattering our noses, the smell of flowers is above all a means of attracting pollinating insects. So what happens if you cut this invisible language at the root? Is confinement synonymous with abandonment for perfumes? Hot retrospective on a frozen period.
Diseases, epidemics and pandemics do not mix well with fragrances, it is a fact. Relegated to the rank of secondary or even tertiary need, smells like many other things can seem very futile when everyone's life is at stake. However, in the crisis we are going through, the sense of smell plays a significant role in spite of itself and the loss of the latter can be a valuable revealer. Indeed, the WHO has recognized anosmia as an indicator symptom of COVID-19.
Mores evolve without necessarily changing reactions in times of crisis. In the history of plagues, containment has often been a response to contagion. Thus we see our daily life turned upside down. Teleworking for some, drastic health rules in the workplace for others and above all rules of distancing for everyone, no one is spared. From these exceptional situations are born, and you will forgive me the oxymoron, exceptional routines. More than one out of three French people admits that they no longer carry out a complete and daily toilet. So if the French no longer wash at the same frequency, you can easily imagine the impact of confinement on perfume. The sector is in trouble.
© Photo credit: AFP
Faced with this crisis, the major industrial groups have diversified. LVMH, GIVAUDAN and even FIRMENICH opened hydroalcoholic gel production lines in their factories to fill the shortages. Economically, brands were forced to be ingenious and offer DIY* content on their social networks in order to maintain a voice during these dark times. The industry is reinventing itself little by little.
Elsewhere , perfume took on another dimension. While some considered it useless or a symbol of "the life before", others accepted it as a salvation. Thus, in Egypt and Turkey, to cope with the shortage of hydroalcoholic gel, people turned to eau de cologne, then composed of more than 70% alcohol, to clean their hands. This alternative solution was even encouraged by the governments of these countries; a happy coincidence when you know that in Turkey eau de cologne rhymes with hospitality and hygiene.
Finally, in this situation, the fact that perfume finds a central place in different cultures, it is sometimes possible that it is given more therapeutic values than it really has. Bestows "the perfume of the prophet" in Iran.
In conclusion, perfume may not be a symbol of life before or a cure for the coronavirus. But there is a means that connects us to each other in a period when we are asked, on the contrary, to distance ourselves. And if we had to remember just one sentence it would be: perfume does not always cure ailments, but it heals the rest.