Creating ‘stories to be read on your skin’, Histoires de Parfums are an intriguing, playful and delightfully subversive French house delivering a whole olfactive library of scents you’ll want to explore…
Famous characters, mythical years, poems and music all serve to inspire the intrepid (and, we think, slightly naughty) imagination of Histoires de Parfums founder and perfumer, Gérald Ghislain. Perpetuating the French fragrance traditions of luxury, nobility and creativity in a delightfully contemporary and often playful way, we find notorious people, places and perspectives brought to life to wear as artfully composed novels, or perfumed poems if you will, evolving on the skin as scented chapters with unexpected ingredients.
Describing his own life story as a ‘frantic rhythm’ in which he is a ‘passionate jack of all trades,’ Ghislain founded the house of Histoires de Parfum in 2000, with an eye to translating some of his favourite writers, pieces of music, infamous years and historical characters into fragrant form. An epicurean, we’re told this intelligent, witty and bon vivant founder has ‘…a taste for all of life’s savours, sprinkling his daily life with refined luxury.’
There are no trite backstories to the scents, for ‘he listens, reads and discovers, drawing inspiration from his trips and encounters – impulsive and fully committed to his projects,’ and what’s more, the fragrances themselves echo their creator, for they are ‘rich in temperament and are so, so romantic!’ If this sounds like the kind of creativity you, too enjoy, you’re going to love rifling through the pages of this scented library, we’re sure…
Alongside George Sand, and rubbing shoulders (or should it be noses?) with Casanova and Jules Verne in the collection of Characters, the sublime figures of Mata Hari and Eugénie de Montijo get up close and personal with ‘a gallery of characters in full colour: romantic, epic, neo-classic, erotic, the moods and faces are endless,’ as Histoires de Parfums put it.
Endlessly inspired by such a rich tapestry to draw upon, we find five operatic figures in the Music Box series, plucked from obscurity and given room to shine in their respective scents, for ‘Opera and perfume exalt women,’ and therefore, ‘some scents like some melodies still lead in the air, intangible and yet unforgettable. Music and perfume operate with the same dazzling dynamic, they travel their notes in an ephemeral and intangible space. The title roles of five great operas inspired Histoires de Parfum’s five sumptuous fragrances, portraits of five divas.’
Poems are exalted, too, of course – Veni symbolising yellow gold, an eternal emblem of ‘what we make of our life and leave as our legacy’. Rosam, meanwhile, takes inspiration from white gold, for wisdom, ‘which is the soul’s greatest gift,’ and Fidelis is a marriage of copper and gold, where, ‘True love flourishes, blushes and binds together the souls in love.’
More abstract artforms are explored in the series Ceci n’est pas un Flacon Bleu (it translates as ‘This is not a blue bottle’), a trio that references the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, made famous for his 1920s painting of a pipe, given the title ‘This is not a pipe.’ Here we are invited to explore ‘an olfactory hallucination and a blue page representing freedom of expression for all.’ (And wittily, the bottles in this particular line-up are indeed all blue…)
Elsewhere in the library, we have the Soliflores collection: a more traditional theme showcasing a single ingredient and surrounding it with suitable notes to ramp up their distinct personalities, with Noir Patchouli, Blanc Violette, Vert Pivoine all granted a new understanding and appreciation.
Borrowing from French traditions and the pages of history, getting intimately involved with nefarious characters and lyrical musings: we love the concepts and carefree attitude of this always-interesting house, so stimulating to the mind, as well as to our senses.