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Fifty sweet years: the American Society of Perfumers held its 50th annual symposium in New York in April.

IF FRAGRANCE PROFESSIONALS could procure a time machine and attend the first American Society of Perfumers (ASP) symposium, they'd be surprised to find themselves underground: the first ASP symposium took place in 1955 in the basement of the Advertising Club in New York.

Times certainly have changed. The 50th ASP symposium took place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City on April 29. It was chaired by Steve Orson, Oriental Aromatics, and included guest speakers from Martine Luxe, Polarome International, MAC, Elizabeth Arden and Givaudan.

Symposium attendees were treated to video clips of past television commercials, such as the famous Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds spot, as well as videos illustrating various fragrance creators' inspirations.

Speakers addressed what fragrance marketers must keep in mind in order to stay ahead, as well as the philosophies they have embraced in order to become, and stay, successful.

James Gaer, president/creative director of MAC, and Jennifer Balbier, senior vice president, global product development, MAC, explained the company's philosophy as "all ages, all races, all sexes." This idea, Ms. Balbier said, matches well with today's fragrance industry. The company recently added two new fragrances to its MV (MAC Vanilla) line.

Ronald Fenn, president, Polarome International, offered a listing of tried-and-true as well as on-trend fragrance ingredients, including patchouli and orange oils, Firmenich's Hedione and IFF's Galaxollide.

Mr. Fenn also addressed changes within the industry in the years to come. "The fragrance industry will cater more to seniors, accommodating aging populations worldwide," he said. "Also, demographics are rapidly changing. For example, the U.S. white majority will become a minority in 2014."

Suppliers, customers and dermatologists will closely collaborate to find solutions they can all live with, Mr. Fenn predicted.

Two Shining Stars

The symposium ended with two honors: Carlos Benaim, vice president/senior perfumer, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award, and Ann Gottlieb, president of Ann Gottlieb Associates, received the Living Legend award. "It's wonderful to be receiving a Lifetime Achievement award while I'm still here to enjoy it," quipped Mr. Benaim.

Ms. Gottlieb began her career in the cosmetic industry at Revlon. Soon thereafter, she joined the Estee Lauder Company. In 1983, she founded her own consulting firm. A few of her best-known creations include Calvin Klein Obsession; Calvin Klein Eternity; Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue; Elizabeth Taylor's new Forever Elizabeth and Christian Dior's J'Adore.

Mr. Benaim was born and raised in Tangiers, Morocco and was introduced to fragrance by his father, a pharmacist with a passion for botany. He was originally trained as a chemical engineer and recruited by IFF's European Management Training program in 1967. A few of his works include Arden's Red Door; Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds; Carolina Herrera (eponymous); Ralph Lauren's Polo Blue and Donna Karan's DKNY men.

"There's an old arab saying: whatever is not given, is lost," Mr. Benaim said. "That's how I've tried to live my life and my career."
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Author:Henson, Melanie
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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