The whiff of the Arab spring is reaching the shores of Europe. This time it's not the smell of tear gas, pepper spray or burning rubber but a substance rather more fragrant.
As western minds grapple with the political conundrums of the region, so western designers such as Christian Dior, Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani are showing greater interest in Arab-influenced fragrances.
— Read more at Perfume brands get whiff of profit from Arabian scents at the Guardian. The article totally misses the point, though, that the "whiff of profit" these brands are after is not from consumers in the West.
But I don’t think any of the countries of the Middle East (unless they’re courting Iranian shoppers) are big enough to really make that much of a dent? The gulf states all have smallish populations, no?
Joe, there is so much money there…every luxury brand wants to be in Dubai. Look at a brand like Ormonde Jayne, who basically doesn’t even bother to distribute in the US but already has a standalone boutique in Dubai. Francis Kurkdjian was frank about developing Oud for the ME market. In fact, I’d say it’s the main driver behind the glut of oud fragrances at the moment.
Also true that many of these brands/fragrances do a huge business with ME shoppers in the UK — Harrods, for instance, is widely known to take in a huge amount of business from Arab visitors.
They may have smallish populations but they have immense wealth. Qatar is currently buying up large chunks of London and Paris (and probably of other large Western cities too), for instance.
When I said, in a recent interview for Perfume Shrine, that we would probably be seeing more perfumes bearing Arabic names because large companies were courting Arab countries, I was assured by someone who was an admirer of
an extreme right-wing party that it would never happen. It is already happening.
Definitely already happening, and has been for some years.
I think the article missed an opportunity to touch on the things you’re all discussing. Though they may have been originally included – the journalist told me half of what he’d filed had been edited, including a big chunk with Ormonde Jayne’s Linda Pilkington. Robin, I’d steered the writer in her direction for commentary on just the point you made here: the influence of the Arab market on western perfumes.