'Tis the season to be careful how you enter a department store, lest you get sprayed with yet another new fragrance wielded by determined soldiers of the scent industry.
"And you can get a free sample at the counter!" comes the firm announcement, as you step back, dazed by clouds of Poison, or Poisson, or Obsession, or Neurosis, or whatever the fragrance of the moment happens to be called.
Now this sort of thing works very well, as anyone knows whose nostrils have encountered an elevator full of women all redolent with the same new scent. So when a major company tells stores not to spritz customers with its new fragrance, not to set up elaborate window displays--well, that's really something completely different.
"We're trying to develop a cult following," says Anne Slowey of Prescriptives (a division of Estee Lauder), which introduced a new fragrance called Calyx last week. "We don't think the Prescriptives woman wants her signature fragrance advertised--we want her to feel as if it's exclusively hers."