Goutal celebrates four decades of fragrance – Camille Goutal & Isabelle Doyen in conversation

The house of Goutal Paris have been celebrating an incredible forty years of fragrancing the world – their scents from the get-go regularly among most-often mentioned in glossy magazines as being worn by celebrities, and their gender-inclusive, forward-thinking fragrances helping to revolutionise the perfume industry before ‘niche’ was a description on anyone’s lips.

Annick Goutal dedicated her early life to playing the piano, with the dream of being a pianist, but turned, instead, to a differing dream that had been denied to her early on – creating fragrances and opening her own perfumery. That dream, as we now know, became a reality, and her legacy lives on through her daughter, Camille Goutal, and Isabelle Doyen – the perfumer who helped shape and bottle those dreams for both mother and daughter.

And it’s quite some legacy. Indeed, I remember the moment my nose woke up in the late ‘80s. I was on a perfume shopping trip in London with my mum, sniffing everything. I came across a bottle of Goutal Eau d’Hadrien and my eyes lit up, it was so vibrant! Unlike anything else I’d smelled. Many years later, now a fragrance writer, I took a trip to Paris with two other journalist friends. We made a beeline for the Goutal boutique on the Rue de Castiglione – it was like walking into a contemporary cathedral of scent! And smelling Eau d’Hadrien again, it was as fresh and new as that first time. It made me smile. I felt like a child in a sweet shop again.

Funnily enough, sweet shops feature in the inspiration behind the iconic Goutal bottles and luxury packaging, just one of the insider secrets I learned while listening to Camille in discussion with the brilliant nose, Isabelle, who’s had that longstanding and deeply rooted working relationship with Goutal since 1985. I could quite honestly listen to these two woemn talk all day, but that would fill a book, and you can learn much more about their history in our page dedicated to Goutal Paris; so, for now, here are a smattering of some of the choicest treats from their fascinating and so-insightful conversation that revealed scented secrets behind the perfumes, where the inspiration for the ribbons came from, and even a battle with Elizabeth Taylor…!



Annick Goutal


Camille Goutal: ‘My mother wasn’t meant to be a perfumer, but there were very few female perfumers in the 1980s. My grandfather was very strict and decided he wanted my mother to be a chemist. Mum rebelled as a teenager and went to London to become a model but got bored of that and came back to Paris. She sold prints in a little shop and wanted to fragrance them – and this is how she first met the world of perfumery. The brand is like her, she was beautiful and full of emotion, sensitivity, but with no compromises. She wanted to make people dream, to make them happy with fragrance. For Eau d’Hadrien, she was inspired by the Emperor Hadrien and his travels through the Mediterranean.’

Isabelle Doyen: “She was always telling me about the cypress brances she loved to crush and smell the leaves of. If you think of ‘dHadrien you can really smell the cypress, a fizziness of citrus with mandarin, but also the woodiness. When it was launched, you really didn’t have any niche brands!’



Camille: ‘The second shop my mother opened, was on the Rue de Castiglione. My mother would take me to Angelina (a tea and chocolate shop) at teatime when I visited, along with Isabelle. I have such happy memories of these trips. Emotions and memories are at the heart of the brand. My mother created fragrances inspired by love – the main source of her inspiration – and happiness. She found happiness in her life, I could hear her laughing with Isabelle all the time!’

Isabelle: ‘We had such fun together, to me these are ‘smiling perfumes’.’

Camille: ‘Absolutely! There was always fun, and adventures… One time my mother travelled to New York to defend her ‘Passion’ fragrance against the one Elizabeth Taylor had later launched, with the same name. In fact this trial made my mother famous in America because she won the case and it was reported in the newspapers!’

‘The bows on the first and the anniversary bottles were another wink to the past – my father was a chocolatier and at Christmas and Easter he’d get in coloured velvet to tie around the boxes, so I’m sure my mother was inspired by that. Petit Cherie was the name my mother gave me, and I recently found that it was also the name my grandfather called her – I discovered letters to my mother from my grandfather, which all began ‘To my petit Cherie…’ The Petit Cherie fragrance she made for me is actually a younger version of Ce Soir Ou Jamais. They are so important to me, these connections, these threads.’


Annick / Camille


Isabelle: ‘That thread carries through. It was really easy to work with Camille, right away, it was natural as she is so like her mother to work with. She’s been surrounded by perfume all her life. And after all, I watched her grow up!’


By Suzy Nightingale

For Mother’s Day, we’re keeping it in the (fragrance) family…

As it’s nearly Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating the duos of the perfumery world where they’ve kept it in the fragrance family, because while we often say ‘like mother, like daughter’ – these women clearly have scented streak in their DNA…


Jeanne Lanvin & Marie-Blanche Lanvin
Jeanne Lanvin was a contemporary of Chanel’s, and – like her – began as a milliner and seamstress, founding her own millinery fashion house at Rue du Marché Saint-Honoré. Lanvin’s daughter was her inspiration for the fragrance Arpège. It was created for the 30th birthday of her daughter Marie-Blanche, and took its musical reference name from a comment Marie-Blanche made on being shown the first sample, created by perfumers André Fraysse and Paul Vacher: ‘It smells like an arpeggio would’.

The spherical black-and-gold bottle was a nod to their love, too, with its silhouette of a mother dressing her daughter (designed by Paul Iribe) is still so recognisable, today, and the melody of florals – rose, iris, lily, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang , camellia and geranium – feels like being wrapped in warm, white, fluffy towels, a veritable hug in a bottle.


Angela Flanders & Kate Evans
A former television costume designer, Angela Flanders started her eponymous Colombia Road perfumery in 1985, ‘In the early days, we worked together in her studio. As a fledgling business it was very hands-on,’ daughter Kate Evans recalls. As Kate opened her own fashion boutique, Precious, (just up the road from her mother’s perfumery) the close collaboration of mother and daughter became even stronger. ‘Whenever Anglea created a new fragrance, she’d call me in,’ and Kate explains she felt the more she learned about perfume, through watching (and smelling) her mother first-hand, she suddenly found she had ‘…become her second nose.’ And a fragrant bond we can share, as Angela named a scent ‘Precious‘, too, inspired by her daughter, and so beautiful it became an award-winner.

When Angela sadly passed away in 2016, Kate took on the role as perfumer and creative director, saying ‘I’ve inherited this incredible legacy and I want it to live on.’ It wasn’t easy, and Kate admitted ‘I had a lot of re-learning to do, so for eighteen months I immersed myself in Angela’s formulas, getting back in touch with her methods and retraining my nose.’ What a wonderful tribute to her mother, and how Precious, indeed, to be carrying on her name with such care…


Chantal & Alexandra, Roos & Roos
Under her creative direction, Chantal Roos has seen some truly landmark fragrances from concept to launch; among them, L’Eau d’Issey and Jean-Paul Gaultier Classique and Le Male (she talent-spotted Francis Kurkdjian and invited him to create this), via YSL’s Opium, Kouros and Paris, to name just a few. It was inevitable, perhaps, that Chantal would pass on her love of perfume to daughter, Alexandra; then one morning came the inspiration: ‘And what if we worked together…?’ So in 2014, Chantal and her Alexandra translated their shared passion for perfume into their own enterprise: an initial quintet of fragrances composed by Grasse-based ‘nose’ Fabrice Pellegrin.

Already an accomplished musician, with a successful songwriting and singing career (she has several albums to her name), Alexandra Roos helped her mother on various fragrant projects, and helped shape the musical themes to some of the Roos & Roos fragrances. Because after all, as Alexandra told us when they launched: ‘there are real similarities between perfume and music. They’re both invisible, yet they can change an atmosphere and bring. And they’re both composed of notes and harmonies,’ so this lyrical, emotional storytelling runs through the perfumes. It was a decidedly bold step, Chantal told us, to create her own collection of fragrances – after a career ablaze with triumphant launches for other brands, other famous names. ‘But working with Alexandra on Roos & Roos is the adventure of a lifetime.’


Annick & Camille Goutal
Annick Goutal was born in Aix-en-Provence, the third daughter of a family of eight children, with a father who was a confectioner; as a child, she liked nothing better than tying up chocolates and small packets of sweets with beautiful ribbons – when she wasn’t practising piano. Later, she moved to London and found work as an au pair, where her classic beauty was ‘spotted’ by legendary photographer David Bailey. But modelling didn’t capture her heart, so she moved back to Paris and opened an antique shop (Folavril, after a character in a Boris Vian novel). When Annick had her first daughter, Camille, she began helping a friend launch a beauty store selling plant-based creams. Inspired by scent, in 1981, Annick created her first perfume, Folavril, soon followed by L’Eau d’Hadrien – still worn and loved all over the world. Her name became synonymous with fragrance as further scent successes followed, but unbelievably sadly, Annick died in 1999, at the age of just 53, after a long battle with cancer.

Fragrances, of course, are a kind of immortality – but more than that, Annick Goutal passed on her love of rich, complex fragrances to her talented daughter and ‘muse’ Camille. (Camille was the inspiration for both Eau de Camille, and Petite Chérie, a fragrance composed for young women.) Now carrying on the family fragrance name, but in her own style, Camille says ‘I tend not to make my fragrances too ‘personal’, or based on people and places that are sentimental to me. Un Matin d’Orage, for instance, was inspired by a stormy morning on a business trip to Tokyo…’


Carolina Herrera & Carolina Herrera de Báez
Carolina Herrera’s debut collection in 1981 caught the eye of none other than legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland. By 1986, Herrera was designing the wedding gown of Caroline Kennedy, and she never looked back, awarded countless honours since from the fashion industry – including the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year and an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2012. Her debut signature scent launched in 1988, with a men’s scent in 1991. And in 1996, it was the turn of the designer’s daughter to step into the perfumed picture, as Carolina Herrera de Báez joined as Creative Director at the fragrance house. Originally, Carolina Jr. wanted to become a doctor, studying sciences at Vassar. When she realised lab work wasn’t her thing, Carolina spent several years in the film and audiovisual industries. She also opened a boutique showcasing clothing from new designers, and launched her own line of jewellery which she made by hand herself.

But in 1997, chatting to her mother, Carolina Jr. had the idea of helping her to launch a new perfume. ‘It required evoking the spirit of New York, a spirit I missed so much that I thought it would be a great idea to translate that world I adored, and that I often longed for, into a language of aromas… to capture it in an evocative fragrance that would let you bring a whole world of sensations around with you in your bag, and bring you closer to the Big Apple, no matter how far away you were.’ Carolina Jr. has now been the force behind almost a dozen 212 and Carolina Herrera launches. She clearly loves creating alongside her mother: ‘It’s really easy to work with her. We don’t have exactly the same taste in everything, but we’re not opposites, either. We complement each other very well.’

However you are celebrating Mother’s Day – if you’re finding it difficult to be apart, and perhaps otherwise find it a challenging day; we hope you will join with us in celebrating the ongoing success of these Mother/Daughter duos. And if you are missing your mum, or any special person in your ife – if they have a fragrance they wear a lot, buy yourself a sample or bottle of it and try spraying it on a scarf to sniff or wear whenever you most need a hug…

By Suzy Nightingale

Goutal Paris – watch Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen in conversation

We were absolutely thrilled to recently host the creative duo behind Goutal fragrances – Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen – in what was the most recent in our series of Instagram Lives. One of the only up-sides to all this *gestures broadly* has been the way people have reached out over the internet – disparate communities creating moments of togetherness online – and if you weren’t able to join us for the event live, we’re now so happy to share the video with you!

This truly was a wonderful conversation with two such talented women – we heard the pair talk about post-pandemic perfume, working as a team, and keeping alive the flame of creativity that first inspired Annick Goutal, Camille’s mother, when she founded the fragrance house. And of course, we invited YOUR questions, just some of the topics we explored being…

• What is the creative process for the pair, working together – and how did that work during lockdown?

• What is the spirit behind Goutal, and is it still easy to tap into that in the perfume house’s fourth decade?

• What exciting plans does Goutal have for 2021 – a new year, with (we’re hoping) lots of scented excitement?

This was latest in a series of Instagram Live interviews we’ve had over the last year, with some of the world’s leading fragrance names – check out previous interviews on our YouTube channel, here


Camille Goutal & Isabelle Doyen in conversation

Powdery, silky and sexy in that seemingly effortless, so Parisian way, Goutal‘s just-launched Étoile d’une Nuit joins Tenue de Soirée and Nuit et Confidences in Goutal’s ‘Night Birds’ collection. For us, it embodies a sense of neglieés and déshabillé dressing room glamour via rose, iris, a kiss of raspberry and swooningly soft leather.

Continuing our shameless revelling in the be-ribboned boudoir theme of our recently published magazine, The Scented Letter, ‘We’ll Always Have Paris,’ it was an honour to sit and speak with Camille Goutal and perfumer Isabelle Doyen, to discuss the inspiration and creation of this scent, and to ask if they shared any memories – as we certainly do – of that childhood longing to be grown up and glamorous; lusting after dressing tables and their mysterious contents.

Our discussion revealed the most poignant perfumed memories, for Camille, of her mother Annick; and the sweetest memory for Isabelle, when she believed grown up, glamorous women could naturally create a cloud of scent at will…

Isabelle Doyen has watched Camille Goutal grow from the young girl who delighted in daring to wear heady perfumes she created, and dressing up in her glamorous mother’s leopard print shoes; to successfully stepping into those shoes many years later, when Annick Goutal sadly passed away and bequeathed the now world-renowned perfume house to her beloved daughter. It’s so much more than a working relationship, and when they talk it feels like family. The fragrances, too, are extended family members, it seems, and inspired by precious memories…

Camille: ‘Most of our fragrances are constructed by the inspiration of memory, that’s true, and so vital for Goutal – they all have roots in experiences we draw on for the creation. This one differs slightly because for its creation we imagined the woman first who would wear it. For Étoile d’une Nuit we wanted to go back to a certain type of woman who’s sexy in her own way…’

Isabelle: ‘Maybe more romantic…’

Camille: ‘Yes, perhaps it’s Petite Cherie who’s now grown up into a bit of a starlet.’

Did they think there was a comeback for more feminine fragrances, in a market that’s seen so many ‘shared’ or ‘genderless’ fragrances of late?

Isabelle: ‘We do have a lot of mixed fragrances in the house but yes, I think this is more overtly feminine.’

Camille: ‘My mother launched Eau d’Hadrien and it was one of the first gender free fragrances I think, but yes here we wanted to celebrate the power and confidence of femininity. I see in my own daughters how different they are, the oldest is very confident and knows her own mind, she’s just like ‘here I am!’, the younger is lacking in confidence because she’s still finding out who she is.’

Isabelle: ‘It’s interesting now in this Instagram age, because I see my own daughter following these beautiful models, and she wants everything they have. So she’ll say, ‘Mum you need to go to Victoria’s Secret and get me this perfume because it’s what she’s wearing!’ So you know, I go and get them, but every time she comes back to wearing Petite Cherie I’m very glad to say!’

At The Pefume Society, we were already obsessed by fragrances as children (you will be unsurprised to learn), so was it the same for Camille, growing up surrounded by them?

Camille: ‘Fragances were so part of my everyday life that they weren’t as mysterious as lipstick, for example. I dared wearing very heavy fragrances when I was young, but my mother told me I wasn’t allowed to wear lipstick. And of course what’s forbidden is always more exciting…

I remember stealing my mum’s lipstick and trying to put it on, but ended up smearing it halfway across my face, and then putting my tiny feet in her leopard print shoes – slipping around in them, trying to be her. When my mother and Isabelle where creating Grand Amour she would wear so much of it around the house, you could smell the trail of her – and I have this particular image of my mother wearing that perfume whenever she went out for a glamorous occasion or special meal, so the excitement of the occasion was bound up in the smell of that scent.

Usually she wore fragrances that she and Isabelle were creating but one day she tried wearing Estée Lauder Youth Dew – and it was a nice scent but it wasn’t HER. She did also sometimes wear Guerlain fragrances, and I liked those on her, she loved those. She was just this very glamorous woman, the kind who walked into a room and all eyes were on her. I remember seeing men’s jaws drop, and realising the power of the overall impression you give – the clothes and attitude, yes, but also what you leave behind… that trail of perfume.’

Isabelle: ‘It was a very different experience for me, because my parents weren’t at all in the perfume world, so I had no knowledge of fragrance or what it was, growing up. When I was six years old we lived in Tahiti, and there, nobody wore perfumes during the day because it was so hot, it just wasn’t the culture.

One day, my mother went into the dressing room before an evening out, and came out with these red Helena Rubenstein lips. But what I remember most is her emerging from that place with… something around her. I asked my father, ‘what IS that?!’ My mother laughed and said ‘Oh, that is my perfume’. But I didn’t know what that was. I thought it was because she was a grown woman and somehow had naturally exuded this incredible smell – perhaps this was something all grown were able to do?

And then one day her equally glamorous friend came for tea. She was wearing red lipstick and huge earrings too, and had this… something around her. And so I asked again, what is that? And she also laughed and said it was her perfume. For some time I imagined that when I was a grown woman I’d be able to make this gorgeous smell just magically appear. Many years later I found out the ‘somethings’ were either Guerlain Mitsouko or Rochas Femme for my mother, and Miss Dior for her friend. And that they didn’t just magically appear from a woman’s body – they had been created by someone.

Now, that someone is me…!’

Fascinatingly, for my boudoir-themed feature in the latest edition of The Scented Letter Magazine, named We’ll Always Have Paris, and before this interview took place, I’d chosen not only Goutal’s Etoile d’Une Nuit, but also looked back to Guerlain’s Mitsouko and Rochas’ Femme for inspiration. Clearly, there’s something in the DNA of these fragrances that echoes through the ages as a kind of unrestrained, confident femininity; found in the pots and powders, frills and furbelows of a woman’s most private, perfumed lair.

Goutal Étoile d’une Nuit £89 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at johnlewis.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale