Does a sustainable packaging exist for the fine fragrance industry? (part 2)

In the realm of fine fragrances and perfumes ‘greenness’ has to come from the choice of material delicately balancing between extreme luxury and sustainability, to communicate the green and ethical credentials. Let’s be honest, it is, in my opinion, impossible to put forward the same sustainability requirements for perfumes as consumers are requesting from the mass-produced food and beverages. Luxury products have a longer leash, but nevertheless it can and has to be done without frustrating the ‘luxurious appeal’.

I took four examples to illustrate my point as they are, in my opinion, almost perfect balances between luxurious magic and a responsible material choice, as far as the perfume industry is concerned. First Van Cleef & Arpels with an extravagant perfume bottle and then three beautiful but simple designs.

Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens
Although already available in some exclusive boutiques, the packaging of Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens perfume will be introduced at the Lux Pack in Monaco, next October. But the lyrical reviews are already there. And all reviews underline my point, made at the end of the first part of the article, that fragrances and perfumes are sold in lyrical terms. I am not a poet, so I ‘borrowed’ the, quite critical, lyrical text for the Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens fragrance from Jessica (if you want to read her full review, click here ). Reading this review enhances the image that it is practically impossible to keep a fragrance packaging simple. First the lyrical review, afterwards the analysis of the packaging.

First things first: the name is misleading. Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens is not an oriental fragrance. This Eau de Parfum is reportedly intended to evoke “the ever-changing mystery and magic of the exotic silk route to Asia,” and it’s being billed as a “fruity floral chypre.” Created by perfumer Bernard Ellena, it features top notes of raspberry, black currant, and praline; middle notes of jasmine and fresh-cut white flowers; and a base of patchouli.

The bottle’s designer, Joël Desgrippes, modelled Oriens’ flacon after a ring design from Van Cleef & Arpels’ fine jewellery collection: an enormous tourmaline set in white gold, like a flower surrounded by diamond-studded leaves. (The perfume bottle mimics the gem’s pink-orange-green spectrum, but wisely dispenses with the diamond detailing on the prongs). The press materials for Oriens note that there is “an oriental theme seen in many of the house’s rings,” but again, this information is somewhat confusing; this particular ring, rather than having an “oriental theme,” was created for the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” collection of 2003, which also offered the inspiration for the Féerie perfume bottle (2008).

Van Cleef’s original tourmaline ring is titled “Arbre aux Songes” (“Tree of Dreams”) which, come to think of it, would make a pretty nice name for this fragrance. Behind its flashy exterior, Oriens is surprisingly sweet and well-mannered. In its opening phase, a candied orange note is most noticeable. The white florals of the fragrance’s heart, despite ……… (click here to continue reading Jessica’s review ).

And now the packaging. The colourful effects and luxurious appearance achievable with caps made from DuPont Surlyn is perhaps best illustrated by the cap, moulded by Lisi Cosmetics, of the new ‘Oriens’ fragrance from Van Cleef & Arpels, a brand of Inter Parfum, Inc.

As already said the designer Joël Desgrippes, modelled the cap’s appearance after the design of a ring, with the faceted, Surlyn cap mimicking the pink-orange-green spectrum of the tourmaline gem set within the ring. Key to achieving this effect is the clarity and magnifying effect of DuPont Surlyn. The three different colours lacquered on the surface of Surlyn are reflected by the metallic insert set deep within the thick-moulded cap, producing a shimmering sense of depth and luxury.

Further criteria for the selection of Surlyn included the material’s compatibility with the ingredients contained within the fragrance and the possibility to integrate a very small injection gate which could be easily hidden behind one of the leaves in the cap’s design.

Surlyn is a commercial thermoplastic ionomer resin that was introduced by DuPont in the early 1960’s. Surlyn can be used in conventional extrusion/co-extrusion, blown film, cast film, and extrusion coating equipment designed for polyethylene resins.
Moulded goods made with Surlyn are virtually unbreakable, and offer unusual design freedom, combining toughness, clarity and chemical resistance. Thanks to a direct removal of this fully massive, isomorphic, and smooth piece from the mould, no mould parting line is visible, leaving the transparency of the cap perfect. The glass-clear appearance of Surlyn makes it the perfect complicated partner of fine glass and crystal.
It is one of the materials most favoured by designers, for complicated and bold designs.

In the next and last part of this article three perfume bottles manufactured by Gerresheimer for Mexx Black, Mibelle’s SwissLady and SwissGirl, and Sole Mio for Yves de Sistelle.

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