Before the so blamed China, there were the countries from East Europe. Fashion and luxury goods started to be produced here since the mid 80's and very soon brands from France, Italy, Germany had their textile production in former CAER countries. The fashion shows and visits of YSL and Pierre Cardin in USSR where not for the sake of art or publicity. Neither the presence of Raissa Gorbatchev at YSL shows in Paris was not that innocent. In fact Pierre Cardin signed an important contract in 1986 with a big factory. The same happened for the cosmetic industry, but earlier. By that time the production of goods in former communist countries was of 2 kinds - accepted quality that went to export and refused quality that was to be sold in the country. The popular belief, still very strong today, is that from the same factory (fashion) goods go in different quality to whom has the money to pay. Otherwise, if you are rather a poor country you will not receive the premium quality. And this was not just folklore. Prada, Armani, Versace, Gucci, D&G, just to name the very known italian fashion brands had some of their production in Romania. Many "made in Italy" were "made in Romania" before EU legislation became more "restrictive" on what is written on a label. One could find on the parallel market all kind of clothes and accessories from the factories who got, let's say the leather to make 15 bags but they managed to make 17 in the end. In other words the idea that big brands have different qualities and the brand is just a label stitched on a product that could be bought on the gray market was not just folklore but an economic reality in my country since 20 years.
For this reason and because we know little about the real production of fragrances, people consider fake perfumes rather different that others in Europe. What happened in fashion and was known because people worked in those factories or were part of this gray market, was transferred to perfumes.
Since the early 90's deo sprays, more affordable than real perfumes, with a similar design and smell to perfumes were everywhere in Romania. Many believed that this "trickle down effect" existed not because somebody wanted to fake Lancôme but because Lancôme had a good formula and wanted to have the money of those less fortunate. There is also in the 90's the question of "different qualities" of the same perfume according to the continents that has not been solved yet.
Lancôme and l'Oréal but also others, had a very curious history, unknown in the West. They started production and had products sold in the east. In fact the problem is that there are bottles that I'm not sure what exactly they are. Lancôme made in the east, Lancôme made for the east, Lancôme fakes….This is also true for several other brands (but not many) that looks to good to be fake and not so good to be Parisian luxury. Because no information is available no precise answer can be said.
Having in mind the example for fashion and the increasing appearance of fake perfumes, no surprise that the consumer is confused (I am too, but at least I have the nose).
Another situation happens when a perfume is "owned" by too many people, when the license is bought and rebought. It happened a lot late 80's and 90's. Because of that I have on my desk too many bottles and not so many certitudes. Italian and american perfumes. I have Worth that is the perfect candidate for "supreme fake", Worth Paris but made in UK and a Worth that is "so fake" bought in Romania (where people do not know this brand).
Charlie (Revlon) can be bought in Romania but it looks like a fake Charlie. I have no clue what it is exactly. Dior changed recently their packaging for their classics. Now, both can be found on the market because it was too expensive to take out from the shelves the older ones. No surprise if fake Diorissimo would be taken for real Diorissimo and no one would be able to find non reformulated Diorissimo.
Recently changed packaging for Mugler with a more intense blue, looks like the fake old Mugler (that did not manage to dose the blue during printing). Even the juice color of a masculine flanker looks like an effort of the original to copy the fake.
Another big business is .... the fake flankers. Why would I copy the original when I can create a flanker that do not exist? Nobody knows the real flankers in this land of confusion so.... it's a great potential. In fact what brands did with the number of launches was to weaken the strength of the perfume and the potential to recognize it. The new danger is called "the new fake" - instead of faking the classics, you invent a fake and sell it as a novelty in countries with less control on information.
Buying the right fragrance is not easy today and looking for modern vintages (since 70's) or non reformulated version is the nightmare of any fragrance lover. Add to that that we shop on a global scale via internet.
I look at my Magie Noire and Sikkim bottles and God knows what Lancôme secrets they hide.
You can watch here the video from 1986 - when Pierre Cardin went to "conquer" russian textile market.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art