Today fragrance flankers are more numerous on the perfume counter than ever before. Elisa explores how this trend originated and describes some of her favorite examples. After all, some flankers (like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle) have become famous perfumes in their own right.
What is a flanker?
A flanker is the perfume world’s version of a sequel or spin-off: Like The Empire Strikes Back or Charles in Charge, a flanker builds off the success of an existing hit rather than starting over fresh with an entirely new concept. Flankers are a way for perfume brands to capitalize on the popularity of a successful launch, at a lower cost than starting from the ground up. The hope is that fans of the original perfume (or “pillar” fragrance) will also be interested in the flankers, and that people who found the original appealing but not quite right for them (too heavy, for example) will be persuaded to purchase a re-imagined version.
The first flankers appeared in the 1970’s. Nina Ricci Signoricci 2, created in 1975, was a flanker to Signoricci from 1966. Other flankers from this decade include Royal Copenhagen Musk (1976) and Norell II (1979). Today, nearly 1 in 5 new launches is a flanker – according to Michael Edwards’s Fragrances of the World, in 2012, out of 1,392 total perfumes launches, 252 were flankers (18%).