Live Zoom Webinar Q+A on Wednesday 29th July 2020 at 6.30p.m.
PLEASE NOTE THE LATER TIME THAN USUAL, AS CHRISTOPHE IS BASED IN NEW YORK…
‘Let’s do something really explosive!’ said Christophe Laudamiel when we invited him to join us last week for an InstaLive on our @theperfumesociety account. Unfortunately technology was not on our side, with Christophe being based in New York and us in the UK, it was the connection which ‘exploded;. So we have decided to reschedule, but this time around, host our very first Zoom Webinar.
There are ALWAYS fireworks when Christophe is around, though. This ground-breaking New York-based perfumer is the co-creator – alongside Helena Christensen and Elizabeth Gaynes – of the rising star perfume house strangelove, as well as his own house, The Zoo. Over the years, Christophe has created for Michael Kors, Elton John, Burberry, Thierry Mugler, Ralph Lauren, Clinique and more. He’s also contributed to the perfumer’s palette with the creation of novel molecules. The word ‘disruptor’ could almost have been invented to describe Christophe.
Early on in #lockdown, Francis Kurkdjian invited us to interview him on an Instagram Live Q+A. We were honoured – and it became the first in what is now a series of fascinating interviews with brand founders and perfumers.
We had so very many questions for Francis that he couldn’t answer them all at the time – so he very kindly offered to give written answers to the questions. Merçi, Francis! It was a wonderful live interview and we really appreciate you taking the time to answer everyone.
Q. Your Aqua Celestia is like ‘Valses Nobles et Sentimentales’ by Ravel.. I feel a beautiful timbre, comfortably complex in harmonies , and exciting rhythms in all your creations. Does music inspire you a lot? A little? Or not at all? (From Miyako)
A. ‘My mother had a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. My father was a self-taught guitar player. His uncle was a conductor, a composer, a piano and organ player, and his wife was a violinist. So music is very important to me and plays an important part in my work as a perfumer. I have played the piano since I was. One of my composers of choice is Maurice Ravel. I was blessed when sound designer Beatrice Ardisson, along with world renowned pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque, remastered my favourite score for my website: ‘Pavane for a Dead Princess.’ On another level, one of my creations, Aqua Universalis Forte, was inspired by music. I reworked the original eau de toilette into an eau de parfum, making a parallel between playing the same score on a chamber orchestra or with a symphonic orchestra. Same spirit and feeling, same story but in a louder volume.’ (Francis Kurkdjian)
Q. What are your 5 favorite smells? (From Wayne)
‘I don’t have any favorite scents. As a perfumer, when it comes to my personal taste, the smells I have in mind for the future are always for me the most intriguing and appealing. In fact, the most exciting in life is always what lies ahead. So I guess they are my favourite, even if they are not yet created.’ (FK)
Q. Is there something like a place, a person or an event that you would like interpret as a perfume some day? What would you bottle?(From @littleseta)
A. ‘My sources of inspiration are very opened and wide. They go from culture, art, fashion, couture and of course the time we live in, plus my very personal experiences, so I will probably be inspired in the future by a particular place I love or a person… To give you examples, for my previous creation Aqua Vitae, the inspiration came when I was motorcycling on a Mediterranean island. The speed combined with the heat of the air made an intriguing feeling I wanted to capture. I had then the idea of capturing the energy of the sun, its sensuality and glamour. Gentle Fluidity is about redefining the emotional balance between genders. Baccarat Rouge 540 is about the craftsmanship and the alchemy behind the crystal house. Behind each fragrance there is a unique story and inspiration. Without a strong and true story, there is no fragrance creation.’ (FK)
Q. Is gentle fluidity silver for men or for women? I read that it is for both, but once a brand specialist at a retail shop told me that it is for men. (From @Samah_alquraan)
A. ‘The Gentle Fluidity duo goes beyond the concept of perfumery for women, men or mixed. These two eaux de parfums (gentle Fluidity gold edition and Gentle fluidity silver edition) have two utterly different olfactory worlds – one features a woody, aromatic scent, the other musky, oriental notes – yet draw from the same list of ingredients. Let your mood chooses the Gentle Fluidity that suits you and see how it helps you to express a part of yourself.’ (FK)
Q. ‘If you were to create a powdery male perfume, what ingredients would you put in? (From @nikolaoskanew)
A. ‘The creation of a fragrance always starts with a story, and a name. It’s only after that I choose the right ingredients. Therefore it will depend on the story I want to tell; we cannot predict the ingredients I would choose. What type of powdery notes for men, who is that man, what is his story…? Without a story, there is no scent. And that story has to be strong enough, powerful enough to be translated into a scent.’ (FK)
Q. As you are my favourite perfumer and I have almost all the MFK perfumes, I want to know if you would make a bespoke perfume for my wife and I for our wedding? I also want to know when will you open a boutique in Saudi Arabia? Thank you for giving us a chance to ask such a great perfume. (From @Ameenbeladi)
A. ‘Thank you for your kind words! Do send us an e-mail hereand we will revert to you with details about custom-made fragrances. We already have points of sale in Saudi Arabia; you’ll find the list here.’ (FK)
Q. If you still create perfumes for clients / businesses and what are the three most important questions you ask / things you do to determine what the person/people want? (From @greekgoddessldn)
A. ‘My mission when I create bespoke fragrances is to fulfil the clients’ needs and dreams. Creating a bespoke perfume is a question of trust and confidentiality as you share intimate moments and memories. I develop these exclusive fragrances in the course of brainstorming sessions that allow me to get a feel for the client’s personality, environment, tastes and memories. It the scent is for a brand, I ask myself if I have the envy to create. Does this brand and projects resonates with me, my values, my aesthetic vision.’ (FK)
Q. Are there any plans to release Fendi Frenesia as an MFK product? (From @sarahandherscents)
A. ‘No. Fendi Frenesia was created in collaboration with the Roman house of Fendi, to scent the leather of the iconic Baguette bag and nano- Baguette bag ,designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi. The Fendi Frenesia Baguette is crafted from the finest Cuoio Romano leather tinged with Fendi’s iconic yellow hue (above) and scented with the Fendi Frenesia fragrance, using a signature and patented technique developed by Maison Francis Kurkdjian technique.’ (FK)
Q. I’d like you to recommend me the most amazing parfum in the world! I love anjelica, cinnamon, orange flowers, caramel, bergamot and vanilla. Compliments on your amazing creations! (From Ralitsa Arabadzhian)
‘Thank you for your kind words. To get the best advice, we invite you to go to one of our boutiques or you can contact our customer service team here. Our team will revert to you as soon as possible and will be very pleased to guide you. You can also find on our eshop an assortment of samples, which is a way to discover up to four fragrances of our fragrance wardrobe.’
During lockdown, perfume has become more important than ever, for so many people.
It has buoyed us up, given us courage and backbone…
…It has grounded us…
…It has cheered us up…
…It has reminded us, perhaps, of people we can’t be with…
…It has reconnected us with our senses…
…And so, so much more.
Echoing our own feedback from followers who’ve told us time and again how important their fragrance has been to them these past few challenging months, The Fragrance Foundation actually produced some research in tandem with ad agency M&C Saatchi which established that people have been turning to fragrance to improve mood and create a sense of normality, to boost productivity or simply make the feel normal.
So we want to celebrate perfume’s amazing powers, asking you to post on your Instagram feed to share with us what perfume means to you.
Simply share a photo of a fragrance that has become more important to you than ever during lockdown. Or perhaps of your whole fragrance collection. Or maybe a ‘smellfie’, with a favourite scent.
Add a few lines of explanation about what perfume means to you, then post on your Instagram using the hashtag #perfumeismy – and also tagging us @theperfumesociety
Over the next 12 days, from now until 20th July 2020, we’ll be watching – and sharing many of your Instagrams on our Instagram Stories. After that, we’ll be choosing five Instagram posts that have really, for us, captured what perfume means to us all – and those five will win a sublime Miller Harris candle, worth £45. (Because now we’re working from home, we want those homes to smell amazing, don’t we?)
Those of us on The Perfume Society team will be posting on Instagram ourselves to express what fragrance means to us – and we want to create a groundswell of love for perfume, over the next few weeks.
Live Instagram Q+A on Wednesday 8th July 2020 at 12.30p.m.
We’re delighted to welcome Pierre Guguen to our next InstaLive, to share the fascinating story behind his creations. Music and fragrance have long been in harmony, and for French niche house of L’Orchestre Parfum, the instruments, artisans and musicians inspire note-perfect perfumes ‘to smell and listen to…’
Pierre is a man ruled by twin passions – music and fragrance – describing himself as both a ‘perfumer and musician.’ With the founding of L’Orchestre Parfum in 2017, these two seemingly separate talents created the perfect duet.
We’ll put readers’ questions to Pierre during the Instagram Live online chat with Suzy Nightingale (which will later appear on our YouTubechannel). But to get you thinking…
• Why does he feel that music and fragrance are so closely linked?
• Do perfumes other than his own conjure up particular pieces of music, in his mind?
• How has #lockdown impacted on the creativity needed to dream up and launch new scents?
• What are his plans for future L’Orchestre creations?
• Is there one piece of music in existence that he’d love to translate into scent – and how does he think it would smell?
Whatever you like, actually… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.
We were delighted to welcome Amy – founder of Sana Jardin – as our guest on Instagram Live. This dynamic fragrance figure is looking to change the world, one bottle of perfume at a time.
Amy’s background is certainly unusual, in our glamorous world: a former social worker, her c.v. includes time with the Bill Clinton Foundation and the Cherie Blair Foundation. But she set out to create the world’s first eco-luxe fragrance house, recruiting the legendary Carlos Benaïm as her perfumer. Together, they have created a portfolio of fragrances which has been widely acclaimed, winning the CEW Eco Award, sponsored by Givaudan, in 2018.
A social enterprise which has trademarked the phrase ‘Beyond Sustainability’, Sana Jardin sets out to empower the people who pick the ingredients for its creations – notably, orange blossom, with a co-operative that enables them to create products which repurpose the waste created during flower harvest and distillation.
We put readers’ questions to Amy during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley – and the film appears on our YouTubechannel).
Our next guest on Instagram Live is a the dynamic Sophie Vann-Guillon, co-owners of Valmont skincare, whose exquisite Storie Veneziane fragrances have just burst onto the scent scene, transporting us and buoying up our spirits at a time when we can’t physically travel.
They’re inspired by the Italian city of Venice, once the cradle of perfumer, where Sophie and her husband Didier Guillon have an exquisite palazzo. Venice, of course, is a city whose history is woven through that of perfume itself, via its trade routes, its sensuality, its famous love of luxury. It is a project born of the shared passion of Sophie and Didier for art and materials, and we’ll put readers’ questions to Sophie during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley (which will later appear on our YouTubechannel). But to get you thinking…
• What made Sophie want to launch her own perfume house?
• How can fragrance capture a sense of place?
• What have been the biggest challenges of running a fragrance and skincare company, through lockdown?
• How does Storie Veneziane work with its perfumers?
• How does Sophie envision the luxury perfume landscape after ‘all this’ is over?
Whatever you like, actually… Simply fill in the form below, to submit your question.
Beauty world dynamo Michelle Feeney‘s Floral Street perfume house has been a hit with Perfume Society followers from Day One – so we were delighted to welcome her as our Instagram Live in our ‘Meet the Founder’ series.
A disruptive force in our fragrant universe, Floral Street has enlisted the talents of Jérôme Épinette to create a portfolio of modern floral fragrances which they describe as ‘bunches, not bouquets’. They’ve put sustainability on the agenda with recycled/refillable packaging that is beautiful, at the same time – setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the perfume industry to follow, as we consider the future of fragrance. Before launching her own perfume venture – today, Floral Street fragrances are sold around the world – Michelle was a driving force involved with brands including St.Tropez, Crème de la Mer and MAC (she was deeply involved in the MAC AIDS fund).
We put readers’ questions to Michelle during the Instagram Live online chat with Jo Fairley – and you can watch it on our YouTube channel below. Check it out or subscribe here for interviews with Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant, Maïa Lernout, Nancy Meiland and more…
Vinyl is having something of a moment, with new record stores selling both vintage and new vinyl LPs opening in all the hippest of locations. Imagine our thrill, therefore, when we discovered that vinyl is often sold scented! From Madonna to Stevie Wonder, musicians have perfumed their vinyl grooves to enhance the listening experience.
Fragrances are often inspired by a good tune. The gorgeous Acqua di ParmaNote Di Colonia collection springs to mind, with its appreciation of soaring operatic crescendos, artful preludes and glorious musical scores. On a more modern note, JUSBOX’s collection of fragrances honours musical genres: there’s Cheeky Smile, which celebrates Acid House, alongside Green Bubble, a scented ode to reggae (and yes, there are notes of marijuana in the accord). JUSBOX‘s vinyl-capped bottles can even be found for sale in an actual record shop, the delightful Olympic Studio Records in Barnes. (Disclosure: it’s owned by my husband – which is how I stumbled onto this story in the first place…)
Actually scenting the grooves is an inspired move. It’s no surprise the Queen of Pop, Madonna, dabbled with perfuming her tunes. First pressings of 1989’s ‘Like A Prayer’, were impregnated with the smell of frankincense and patchouli, reinforcing religious connections, along with song tracks such as ‘Oh Father’, and pictures of Madonna’s considerable crucifix jewellery collection. Our much-played copy of the album still carries a shadowy sillage of a rather good patchouli scent, although those earthy, incense vibes remind us more of dressing up and dancing till dawn at parties held in darkened basements rather than the cold stone and incense-heavy interiors of churches.
Stevie Wonder’s ‘Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants’, a title crying out for its own scent, was perfumed with a floral note on its release in 1979, although apparently stopped after reports that the scent – which fans of the record remember as a faint hint of rose – turned out not to be helping the quality of the sound. But technology has since improved considerably and scented vinyl continues to be pressed by modern artists. The Third Man record company, founded by uber-cool musician Jack White, bought its own vinyl factory in Detroit, where its produces top quality vinyl that is often scented. Karen Elson, ex-wife of Mr. White, released ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, in 2010, as a delicate peach coloured vinyl record which is also scented with the dewy aroma of softly sweet peach.
Less artful but still enthusiastically received by fans, the 30th anniversary ‘Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition’, a 12-inch double A-side single, released by Sony Music in 2014, was scented with marshmallow in tribute to the film’s giant Stay Puft marshmallow baddy. Singing along to Ray Parker Jr.’s catchy theme tune on one side and Run-DMC’s updated reboot on the other, could surely only be improved with wafts of sugary-sweet vanilla notes coming off the stylus. We can’t help thinking that other film soundtrack albums could use fragrance creatively to add to the sense of fun, for example wouldn’t ‘Mamma Mia’ be even more joyous to sing along to if it pumped out an olfactive scentscape of a sun drenched Greek island alongside the songs…?
With a different angle on the concept, Japanese fragrance house Shiseido once hired musician Hiroshi Noshimura to create a vinyl album entirely inspired by one of its fragrances as an innovative gift-with-purchase idea. The fragrance was called A.I.R (Air In Resort) so the album, which was steeped in the scent, was given the same name. The music complemented the green, forest notes of pine, earth and wood with a sound track of birdsong, the sea and field-based recordings of nature. Customers were were encouraged to listen to the record while appreciating the scent. It’s certainly a step up from the paper tester blotters we’re used to.
And artists, it seems, simply can not resist a scratch-n-sniff album cover. A quick chat on the super-informed Discogs forum, where music fans hang out to talk all things vinyl (there are many similarities between music and perfume fans) turned up a long list of album covers with scent-infused patches used to enhance the listening. The gold standard scented cover is unanimously agreed to be a 1972 release by The Raspberries, with a scratch-and-sniff sticker that smelled very convincingly of…yep, raspberries.
From Duran Duran’s limited edition ‘Perfect Day’ 7-inch single with its strawberry scented ice cream cone cover, to Spinal Tap’s The Majesty Of Rock album, with its scratch-and-sniff sleeve scented with Ye Olde Roast Beef Flavour, via Melanie’s ‘Garden In The City’ – where listeners were encouraged to rub the sticker to ‘release the magic of Melanie’s Garden’ – musicians clearly love to scent their songs.
We say: that makes for a great-smelling record collection. And we’d like to see more of this, please…!
• In Hitting All The Right Notes (above), Viola Levy looks at ways that modern perfumers use music to inspire their creations
• Ofactory consultant Pierre Aulas – who chose perfumery over a career as an opera singer – shares the secrets of his creative days in A Working Nose
• Scent gets social with Smellfie Day 2020, our celebration of International Fragrance Day – which had quite a different message in this strange year
• Suzy Nightingale invites us to enjoy A Scented Symphony, discovering a perfume house with works with instruments, artisans and musicians
• And why note create your own scented playlist? In Listening to Scent, Persolaise invites us to sit back, relax, hit ‘play’
And of course, as usual, we bring you all the Latest Launches, news, events – and so much more!
We are now able to take orders for a limited run of printed copies of the magazine, priced £12.50 to our VIP Subscribers (£15 to non-VIPs). And remember: you can now also buy an annual print subscription to The Scented Letter (six issues), here
(NB Print copies are sent out approximately 10 days after each new issue of The Scented Letter appears on the website, so please bear with us. We work right up to the wire to make sure everything is truly newsworthy!)
We know you’re loving our series of Perfumer Q+As on Instagram Live. Here, our Co-founder Jo Fairley chats with British perfumer Nancy Meiland, who at the time was locked down a few miles away from Jo in East Sussex, organising fragrance walks for her children while working on future, nature-inspired compositions. She talks about how she got into perfumery, her mentors – and her favourite materials.
It’s a great interview – one of a growing library that you can watch on our YouTube channel here, including interviews with Geza Schoen, Sonia Constant, Experimental Perfume Club‘s Emmanuelle Moeglin, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays, and more…
To read much more about Nancy Meiland and her beautiful perfume creations, click here.
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