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An advertisement for Dolce & Gabbana’s infant perfume (D&G)
An advertisement for Dolce & Gabbana’s infant perfume (D&G)

Globe editorial

Infant perfume: competing with nature Add to ...

The scent of a baby is intoxicating to most people. Presented with an infant, they will invariably remark upon how wonderful it smells. Just how babies have been able to accomplish this without the costly intervention of perfumers such as Dolce & Gabbana is one of the great mysteries of the universe. But all that is in the process of changing. There is a scramble by perfume manufacturers to impress notions of vanity upon even the very young.

D&G, the internationally renowned fashion house from Italy, has launched an ad campaign using baby models with their “parents” – who look more like top lingerie models – in an effort to peddle a new eau de toilette for the tiny-tot market. According to Stefano Gabbana (the company’s cofounder, the G in D&G), the scent was inspired by “the softness of baby skin, the freshness of baby breath, a mother’s sweet hug, [and] the first smile.” Along with the $45 per bottle they charge, presumably.

D&G is not alone. They are just the latest to join in the fight for market share for clients in diapers. Similar offerings for baby-friendly, alcohol-free formulas and “light” scents come from Burberry, Bulgari and other luxury brands. Johnson’s also offers a baby cologne at a much lower price. Understanding that their real competition is the baby’s natural, intrinsic scent, these makers claim only to be enhancing a baby’s beautiful natural smell.

Why bother? Instead of daubing babies with a strange brew of (in Burberry’s case) “citrus fruit rind, fresh wild mint and rhubarb jelly” – and who knows what else – these companies should be doing the converse of this. They should be trying to replicate, and bottle, the scent of a baby for the adult market. It could prove to be far more lucrative. This is one instance where our culture of infantilization could be a good thing.

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