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The Great Conflation

One upon a time I joined some perfume discussion forums and I learned a lot. The first were a couple of natural perfume forums being driven by a gorgon from the upper Nile. Sheesh and bye…

Then I joined some forums for perfumistas and fragrance fans. There were some wonderfully witty and provocative humans on there, and rush-hour was fascinating. The drivers of the forum were larger-than-life personalities who kept things simmering along nicely with oodles of social charm and fragrance know-how. Yet… visiting the forums often left me feeling really uncomfortable. The discomfort morphed into feelings of anger and disgust and I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly. My engagement with others was often really enjoyable and I found some soul sisters in the process. So why did I react so badly to reading some of the forum posts? I couldn’t figure it and, and so I left and soldiered on, forumlessly.

Six months later I have finally come to understand what went wrong for me. The rise of the ‘influencer’.

There are those that just love perfume with a passion. They love nothing better than to wear it, buy it, think about it, talk to others about myriad nuances and impressions emanating from the fragrance/s and to swap some of this for some of that. Some of those perfume lovers write great reviews and create blogs and videos of their reviews because… they really know a lot about perfume and they’re really good at it.

Some people (effortlessly found on youtube, instagram and perfume forums) are playing a grubby little game of wealth porn. You can recognise it by the influencer mantras:-

‘Look at how much stuff I’ve got’

‘Look at how much money I spent’

‘How sexy am I?’

‘Look at me in my brand new designer stuff, rakishly posed in luxury locations, buying more niche perfume.’

‘And wait.. there’s more, have you seen me in front of my red car?’

and more and more and more… ad nauseum.

It’s not a love affair with perfume going on. It’s something ugly and despicable. Why Teone? Why shouldn’t people have lots of money and go shopping in chez Bijan ou Bourdon? Nice people have lots of moolah too.

My answer is simple. Those that truly have the means to buy whatever they bloody well want DON’T obsessively skite about it. They don’t need to. In fact, they generally don’t want others knowing when or where they shop, or what label they are wearing. Exclusivity is not about ‘Hey y’all, come on down and we’ll all snag a matching set of Imperial Majestyz… oh, you can only afford Amouage? Shame…LOL’

The ugly factor (only in my twisted opinion) is all about influencer acts that deliberately seek to arouse feelings of envy and jealousy and sadness in order to drive sales. It’s typically sponsored by brands that supply money and/or products that they want the influencers to peddle…. push push push -> ‘Join all the forums, get on youtube/twitter/facebook/instagram et al and mingle. Then there are those that jump ship from just really loving perfume, because now they see a way to make a buck… I’ll become the next hot-stuff influencer and rule the world.

The influence fad is a destructive and toxic feature of the great postmodern trash-celebrity experiment that has so sadly culminated in Kardashianism. People feeling less-than because Nevilleen has so much more. This tacky trend has taken hold in those that have some degree of wealth, but not really. Not in the serious money department. Not in any proper, world-changing, problem-solving, philanthropic foundation sorta way. Just in a ‘Look what I got’ (pokes tongue out at the other kids) kinda way. Would-bees… bzz bzz bzzz

How to win friends and influence people? Be real.

That feels better.


A family in Nizamuddin Basti (Delhi). The gorgeous young woman in front is studying for her upcoming exam to gain entry to university. There is no furniture or electricity in this shelter so she can only study if she sits in the light-filled doorway of a tiny room she shares with her mother, sister and baby brother. The person sleeping behind her is lying on bare concrete. It’s Winter. The incredible wealth here is palpable. Love, human spirit and the bright light of women learning in order to change the world. No Chanel apparent. – Photo TR 2012 ©


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