Modernization appeared in an era when computers and compounding robots were not used as today and the manufacture process was quite different. The first step was to eliminate from a complex formula the so called "redundant" ingredients and simplify the shape. Then several "old fashion" ingredients were taken out - elemi, angelica, cascarilla, different pepper notes or spices. The third step meant to include modern ingredients in combination with classic ones - sandela/sandalore near sandalwood, vertofix near cedar, rose ketones near rose bases, lyral & co near hydroxicitronellal. The forth step meant to adapt the manufacture process to the modern one based on concentrate (and not on dilution) - tinctures and infusions were eliminated. Of course during these steps the prices were studied.
One classic example of "modernization" with bad effects and a story to hide the truth was Arpège. Michael Edwards presents the story and the arguments of l'Oréal (the owner that time) for their "mutilation". Because people got used to smell roses with damascones and lily of the valley with more than hydroxicitronellal, those who reformulated Arpege invented an entire set of arguments to justify the butchery and hide other facts - they had no money for such an expensive formula with tones of roses and french jasmine. By that time l'Oreal was more into cheap perfumes and modernization was the perfect excuse. For somebody who only reads the set of arguments they are very convincing but once you smell the original formula of Arpege you realize that there is nothing true about. I was very seduced by the idea of our perception that changed because of the damascones until the day when I had access to the original formula and smelled the perfume freshly weighted. Arpege had no wrinkle.
I do not believe that any perfume can be modernized - it is a mutilation and after, you can find all possible justifications.
But I believe that "modernization" can be (re)imagined as an aesthetic approach to explore the possibilities of a classic shape with modern ingredients - for a new perfume. I can only think of Iris Poudre from Pierre Bourdon or Shalimar Light from Mathilde Laurent or Yann Vasnier's interpretation of Chanel No22.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art