Anyone who pays enough attention can certainly keep track of world trends, but the real fortunes of the future are not to be made by following trends, so much as by creating them. Quoting the French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and Lyon native, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “As for the future, your task is not to forsee, but to enable it.” But alas, forecasters are not necessarily creative people, for they don’t actually create anything. They’re not really designers either, as they simply, so to speak, articulate l'air du temps – the French expression that roughly translates to "the current trend.” L'Air du Temps also happens to be one of the women’s classic floral fragrances found in my perfume wab kit. The timeless Nina Ricci fragrance was launched shortly after World War II, and the glass dove on top of the Lalique bottle, was there as the symbol of peace. For the record, “the current trend,” in 1948 anyway, had a floral-spicy note of carnation in the center of its composition, while bergamot and rosewood supported the development of the carnation theme, and was further refined with notes of rose and jasmine. Violet and iris gave the perfume a powdery nuance, and created a harmony with the woodsy notes of cedar and sandalwood, while sensual musk and amber added that final touch of feminine accord to the composition.

It is said that, for comparative purposes, the human olfactive receptor area is roughly the size of a postage stamp, while that of a dog’s is more like the size of a handkerchief. It’s the micro-fibers in your nose that act as receptors picking up signals from molecules of a scent that provide your brain the inspiration required to decipher specific notes. It’s all still intuition and interpretation, and the greater your receptor capability, the greater your signal detection. The same formula applies to observing changes in society as a whole that lead to accurate foresight or futuring, and over time, possibly trend identification.

Steven once attempted to explain, “You are adapting to experiences and perceptions, and your body is one big sensorial experience. You have to integrate the five senses.” He continued, “We are travelers. Movers. We’re looking at everything – from nature to graffiti to fashion - and we became the receptors. We have the best antennae and most people, they don’t even put their antennae up.” So, the question is, do we actually have the best antennae, or are we in fact the antennae? Perhaps not the receptors but maybe, maybe just receptacles.

1 comment

  • Michael Katz

    Really interesting questions at the end and helpful description on the sensor process.

Leave a comment