Fragrance Trends

Spring Trends to think on


Tony Glenville


As we enter a new year, predictions for trends proliferate. What we will be reading, wearing, eating, watching this year and where we will be holidaying? How should we invest our money and what is the hottest social media? What are the apps that we should be downloading?

Health and diet have assumed an extraordinary importance in trend building and the clothing to match this now features as a key component in the fashion business. Sex also remains a key concern; how to obtain it via a million contact sites, how to not be accused of inappropriate or sexist behaviour, and how to define it correctly beyond biblical male and female.

It’s an avalanche of information and it pulls and tugs at us, making us feel inadequate, old, out of touch and simply tired. If Love Island was so hot in 2017 what will replace them in 2018?

The truth is simpler. If you’re a follower, the trend pushers are after you. But if you’re a leader you set the trends and discard the ones you don’t require. I never liked Kindle for reading, so the return of the book has little effect on my reading or book buying. I thought Kira Kira was fun for a few days, but like all filters it becomes senseless if overused.

Trends come in so many forms: the major seismic shifts of life and attitude, the big swings which last some months and the micro trends which exist like exotic insects for a few brief seconds before they are outmoded. Many trends are even created by teams to simply fill space in print and on line, so have no lifespan at all.

So, with this in mind, which trends do I think you should be looking at?


What activities are accessed not through simply being passive but through engagement? A new interest in reading, concerts, visiting galleries, museums and exhibitions is about thought, pragmatism and taking time to consider. History, heritage, and the past and how they effect the present and future requires time to research and digest. Developing our awareness also offers guidance on how to deal with gender, race, culture and politics – without simply shouting and resorting to anger. It’s time for anger – online but also in the street and in daily life – to stop.

Small and local

I repeat this mantra again: the bigger, the brand the harder it is to cover the globe with a single product. Understand your customer, understand your culture, understand your direction. Support small businesses that form the support system to your life. Made-to-order skincare, ethical and local provenance products for example have the exclusive factor built in. The question we want asked is “where is it from”. Making discoveries in a world stuffed full of information is wonderful. Remember that vastly differing cultures and climates mean that a suitable fragrance in a cold British city is overpowering in a tropical resort.


It’s big, it’s bold, it’s – difficult. Colour is wonderful but it’s divisive. Find ways to do bold colour so it can be revealed or concealed, unwrapped and discarded, reversed and reused. In the same way, there will be another return to full-bodied fragrances – and again use with thought. Fragrances can be layered to compliment and contrast. Also think about colour and culture. Colour can mean different things in different countries, but it also works differently in different lights and with different skin tones. That beautiful bronze linen looks brilliant at dusk in Portofino, not so great in Preston on a wet February morning.

Grow Up

The mother and daughter shopping together in Topshop worked for approximately 1% of the U.K. female population. Fortunately, we seem to have moved on. Growing up and discarding fashion eccentricities, not wanting to be at the cutting edge of fashion, and knowing and deciding what works for you is the most sophisticated you can get. Use fragrance from the past as your signature, or a new experimental scent in a limited edition. Anxiety is hopefully less all-pervading as the years pass. Sophistication is acquired with time, so relish it. Watch older models still working it like Erin O’Connor and Jan de Villeneuve. There’s a realisation that we’ve moved way beyond “50 is the new 40” and into accepting the style and wisdom of age. The ‘seven ages of man’ is now about thirty! We shift, we change, we look upwards, we look forwards, we look backwards, but every few years we move into another group. The best age is the one you are in, and the age to look forward to is “grown up”.

Invest, edit, curate

A sofa or a fragrance, a jacket or a plant pot. It’s all about quality, buying less and buying strategically. Experience the joys of decluttering, of discarding and of returning from the shops empty-handed because you needed nothing and saw nothing you needed.


Cakes, furniture, knitwear, Cards. The beauty of irregularity, the uneven layers of a sponge and the smell of glue on a card. It’s called charm, it might be called “made with love”. It’s about the unique and one-off, be it a misshapen green pepper or an over-full and bursting sandwich. Fragrance too is a gesture of the moment. Celebrate this.

Time and silence

No phone, no screen, no appointments, no texts, no music –  nothing except birds, water and breeze; nothing to do but breathe and let everything go. At home or on holiday, it’s the idea of time out alone, sleeping, resting and sipping hot water with slices of fresh lemon, or a long soak in the bath. It is also time to read and learn.

Style notes

nautical handbag 500I’ve not mentioned red, silver, feathers, sequins or any of the other trends so popular before Christmas. The one trend that usually appears and works in any one of its thousands of variations and applications is Spring nautical. Navy pants, a simple navy jacket or blazer, a crisp white shirt, a Breton striped top, a white T-shirt, long or short-sleeved, simple lace-up shoes, a scarf of any shape, a good hold-all tote bag, a spring trench coat, a cardigan, a nice fine gauge sweater. Repeat as necessary. It works.

Book List

The Price of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck

Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992  by Tina Brown

Yves Saint Laurent Accessories by Patrick Mauriès

Margiela, The Hermes Years by Kat Debo & Sarah Mower

With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial Kathryn Mannix


Happy trends,

Tony Glenville

Tony Glenville shares his thoughts on fashion and trends in regular articles for our website. Tony is Consultant Creative Director to London College of Fashion (LCF), University of the Arts London.  He is Couture Editor for Luxure magazine, and his prolific career in fashion journalism has seen him covering the major fashion scene, haute couture, and London and Paris Fashion Weeks, as well as working with NOWFASHIONSchön!AntidoteLashNarcisse and Renaissance magazines. He is author of the books Top to Toe, a guide to men's grooming and New Icons of Fashion Illustration. He also works closely with Fashion Scout and is a judge at Graduate Fashion Week.