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…
The Frédéric Malle Perfume Summit is a gathering of some of the world’s most legendary perfumers in conversation with the man who revolutionised the fragrance industry…
It’s not too much to claim that the reason you know the name of the person who who created your favourite fragrance, is because of Frédéric Malle.
In 2000, at the turn of the millennium, Frédéric Malle launched his fragrance collection, Les Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle. He’s not a nose – although Frédéric grew up immersed in the world of perfumery: he is the grandson of Serge Heftler-Louiche, who created the Parfums Christian Dior line.
Malle‘s idea was to give perfumers free rein to create the fragrance of their dreams. But what was truly innovative was his decision to put their names on the bottle. Until then, most perfumers had been well-kept secrets, working behind the scenes in their labs and – except on a few occasions – remaining anonymous, while the perfume house (or the fashion designer) enjoyed all the credit.
As part of their on-going 20th anniversary celebrations, Frédéric Malle organised a round-table Perfume Summit – a fascinating conversation with some of the perfumers Malle worked with – Jean-Claude Ellena, Pierre Bourdon, Maurice Roucel, Anne Flipo and Dominique Ropion – that takes a deep dive in to the history of their creation and the inspiration behind them.
We suggest settling down and watching this so-interesting discussion – perhaos smelling along with the film if you own several of the fragrances, or focussing on your favourite. And if you’ve yet to explore the range of fragrances – which truly are modern masterpieces and something everyone should try at least once in their lives! – then oh boy, are you in for a treat.
Even if you’ve tried several of the scents, it’s so interesting to seek out those you’d perhaps previously overlooked or don’t know so well; especially after hearing the perfumers talk about them so eloquently.
It seems incredible that not that long ago, a mere handful of us knew the names of perfumers. Now? Some of them have virtual rock-star status in the scent world. What an incredible twenty years it has been – and what will the next twenty bring for Frédéric Malle…? We cant wait to find out!
Isabella Rossellini spoke revealingly about Lancôme Trésor – her all-time signature scent – to makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, and we were utterly gripped!
Read on to learn more and watch the wonderful interview, and find out why Isabella was much, much more than just the ‘face’ of this fragrance…
In an idyllic farmhouse ‘in the wine region’ of France, the iconic actress, model and spokesperson for Lancôme, Isabella Rossellini, spoke so movingly about her fragrant memories of another icon being launched: the magical Trésor. While showing us around the stunning building and outdoors, she holds up just-hatched chickens (yes really) while waxing lyrical about her incredible career and personal memories.
Originally launched in 1952, Trésor (meaning ‘Treasure’ in French) was completely re-worked by brilliant perfumer Sophia Grosjman (known as ‘the Picasso of perfume’ for her brilliant techniques.)
Unusually for 1990, Lancôme were keen to let their ‘face’ of the fragrance have a hands-on role. ‘No more were we “silent beauties”,’ Isabella recalls, ‘I had a voice, an opinion. And if I was going to talk about this perfume, I wanted to know everything, from the composition to how the bottle was made.’
Talking about how she was involved with the process of choosing the final version of the fragrance, Isabella reveals that she had a definite front-runner when blind-smelling the lab samples.
‘I smelled this one that was my absolute favourite, so original, so magical. It got down to the final submissions. But of course in market research you have to please a lot of people…’ Isabella explains. ‘I thought please GOD… and well, it WON!’ she exclaims. And Isabella was so thrilled she asked to meet this ‘nose.’
‘She looked like a sorceress, sitting there with this black hair…’ Isabella laughs, ‘and she said in this thick Russian accent, “you know, Bella, a few years ago I saw this film, Casablanca, and I was inspired by the romance, the adventure, the mystery, and that night I worked on a fragrance, which became Trésor.”’ And the star of that film? Isabella’s mother, actress Ingrid Bergman! Even more extraordinary when you find out this was two years before Isabella even became involved with Lancôme.
Was Fate calling Isabella to this fragrance, perhaps…? Well certainly it has become her scented calling card. ‘I spray it everywhere, in my home, in hotel rooms… my children always say they know where I am as they can follow my scent trail…’
The fragrance has been a huge success ever since it launched, truly becoming a modern classic in the hallowed halls of perfume legend. So much so, that when Chandler Burr curated his exhibition on perfumes at the Museum of Art & Design, in New York, the central installation allowed visitors to smell Trésor at different stages during its olfactory development.
To find out more, watch the interview for yourself, in full, below, and then read our review to see why you need to try Trésor at least once in your life (or once a day, if you’re still smitten as Isabella clearly is!)
For those of you haven’t yet tried Trésor (or any of its other iterations), now is a great time to discover – or to re-discover its beauty if you’d worn and loved it, then, and we also have an entire page dedicated to the history of Lancôme and their fragrances for you to explore.
Top Notes: Rose Petals, Apricot Blossoms, Peach Tree Flowers Middle Notes: Lilly of the Valley, Vanilla, Heliotrope, Iris Base Notes: Sandalwood, Musk
One of those scents that just seem to sing on the skin, Trésor is a love letter to seemingly effortless sophistication. The rose shimmers with light, dancing across the fuzzy velvet of soft apricot skins and succulent peach to a luminous heart of white flowers dusted with powder and a smooth, long-lasting trail of creamy musk. For those seeking even more luminescence, the Trésor eau de toilette radiates freshness atop a wonderfully milky leather base; and the La Nuit Trésorsmoulders with black rose, ripe raspberry and smoky frankincense.
Each one has a delightful story to tell on the skin, but we have so loved hearing Isabella’s own story of the fragrance, first-hand…
Lancome Trésor £54.50 for 30ml eau de parfum
Try it at lancome.co.uk
We caught up with Olivier Gillotin, the perfumer behind Ralph Lauren’s Polo Red Rush fragrance, for an exclusive Q&A and a sneak peek behind the scenes of his inspiration for creating the scent…
Q1. What was your inspiration behind POLO RED RUSH?
In designing the Polo Red Rush fragrance, I was inspired by the acceleration, elation and intensity during the very beginning of a race. I wanted to translate the rush of those never-ending first seconds into the fragrance. To achieve this vision, it needed to bring an immediate, intense freshness. Two ingredients inspired me at first: red mandarin for an impulsive, crispy start, then fresh mint for its energizing power.
Q2. How would you describe the way POLO RED RUSH smells?
I like to describe Polo Red Rush as an energetic red water – a fresh water tinted with crisp, energizing red notes. The citrus top notes (red mandarin, red grapefruit, lemon and pineapple) complement the spearmint mid note for an immediate fresh effect. The scent evolves on the skin with facets of red saffron while orange flower adds a masculine watery fluidity. Finally, a vibrant burst of roasted red coffee is streamlined with Cedarwood, bringing a new sleekness and elevating the background with an enamoring trail of woody musk.
Q3. How does POLO RED RUSH fit into the POLO RED franchise?
Polo Red Rush takes the franchise to the next level, capturing the sensations of speed, seduction and freedom. With its fresh, invigorating and surprising association of citrusy mint and cedarwood, Polo Red Rush perfectly rounds out the Polo Red portfolio.
Q4. What are the main differences between POLO RED, POLO RED EXTREME AND POLO RED RUSH?
Polo Red Rush is a crisp, energetic new interpretation of the original Polo Red. It elevates a spiced, cool watery freshness and bold red citrus profile. Spearmint from Morocco joins as a new bracing and dynamic element. Coffee notes play a supporting role to enhance a sleekly sensual dry-down with cedarwood and musk.
Q5. How did you choose the key notes for POLO RED RUSH? What makes the olfactive structure so intriguing?
Polo Red Rush masters a high proportion of saffron that is paired up with citrusy mint. I chose to elevate saffron for its unique and vibrant character able to unveil a fascinating fresh-spicy facet. Mint – saffron is an unusual and surprising association that creates a fresh yet intense and refined energy. Both ingredients fit perfectly well and complement each other.
Q6. Were there any special techniques or stand-out ingredients used to achieve your vision for POLO RED RUSH?
The creation process has been a construction – deconstruction “game”. My original intention was to design the ultimate experience of fresh energy for the Polo Red thrill-seeker. After translating this idea into fragrance, I deconstructed the formula to clearly identify and highlight its best facets – crisp and citrusy mint, cedarwood, saffron. I then removed all unnecessary ingredients to maintain the most relevant ones and to develop the fragrance in a fresh, unique and refined way.
Q7. What makes POLO RED RUSH so crisp and energizing?
Polo Red Rush has everything of a fresh water putting the emphasis on citrus and mint. In addition to that, I highly elevated saffron, as a powerful red spice imbued with fresh intensity and a key ingredient for the franchise. The combination of citrusy mint and saffron create this unique crisp and energizing freshness.
Q8. You’ve often described how the color red inspires you. How did you channel that inspiration into an entirely different olfactive experience for POLO RED RUSH?
For each Polo Red fragrance, I ensured that the smell brought to mind the color red. Polo Red and Polo Red Extreme respectively focused on the symbolic of seduction and power. With Polo Red Rush, I wanted to explore another strong and explicit meaning: energy. It inspired me to design a red water acting like a booster. This red water needed to be olfactively infused with the positive and stimulating energy of the color to be able to master a never ending rush.
Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush £55 for 75ml eau de toilette
Try it at debenhams.com
As I walk towards the location to interview Mona Maine de Biran – founder of new niche fragrance house Kierin NYC – brightly coloured electronic adverts radiate from various London bus stops en-route, showing their perfume bottles with labels individually designed by fragrance fans.
‘Something about Kierin NYC is really resonating with people it seems,’ says Mona, absolutely beaming at the pop-up launch where people could design their own bottle labels, print them out and create their own bespoke flacon to keep forever. This innovative and inclusive approach defines the ethos that Mona made sure Kierin remains true to, along with their decision to be completely cruelty free, vegan friendly and to support social groups who mean a lot to them.
‘Diversity and inclusion are core to the brand and not just presented as an afterthought. Kierin NYC is a brand for young people of all ages, colors and nationalities,’ they state proudly on the website. Inclusive of everyone then, but aimed particularly at a younger market who are searching for something extra, other than just a nice smell in a bottle that means nothing about who they are. For Mona, this means inviting people ‘…to be inspired, not defined or confined, by fragrance.’
Following a successful international modelling career – which allowed Mona to traverse the globe and visit remote, exotic locations – returning to New York, Mona turned her experience into an insightful lifestyle blog, ‘Manhattan Minds’, also becoming the champion of the successful TV talent show ‘Star Search’. Her husband and co-founder, Didier, worked for over twenty years with with the prestige houses of Chanel, Prada, Bvlgari and Carolina Herrera among the many names on his extensive CV. With Mona’s passion for fragrance and story-telling, ‘he helped me see that this was an opportunity to create our own fragrances to tell those real stories of the city, rather than those stylised celebrity-driven tales you might see in Sex and the City.‘
We wanted to delve deeper in to what makes Mona tick – why it was so imporant to her to keep Kierin NYC real, and close to her heart…
What makes Kierin NYC different, do you think?
Mona: ‘There are so many brands that are ostensibly for young people, and yet the images they project are so stereotypical, still – they haven’t moved on with the audience who are, they hope, wearing them. You have the perfect woman on a beach, someone up a mountain or in the fields in France. And while I love the fields of France, this doesn’t really tell my story of living in New York. I wanted to actualise my “now” as an urbanite – and I think so many people want to do that, to be more present, to have their own reality reflected in the brands they choose.’
What is it about fragrance that’s so important to you, and what power do you think it gives the wearer?
‘Perfumes are something that universally, viscerally connect with people, You know, they can move your mood. I’ve always wanted to have a voice and wanted to empower people, and with Kierin NYC we can share a voice, to power people olfactorily. And fragrance tells other people your story anyway, unconsciously, we’re radiating these messages all the time!’
You’ve worked with brilliant young perfumer Mathieu Nardin for the initial four fragrances – why did you choose him?
‘We wanted to work with someone who was an up-and-coming talent – we had the opportunity to work with any of the Robertet perfumers, and we loved the way they worked, with such quality and sustainable ingredients – but because Mathieu is so understanding of what we do, and the way we do it, it just works.
We didn’t want to present him with a list of notes to include, we wanted to give him a space to use his creativity to the full. So we started with pictures, mood boards, and he immediately knew what he wanted to use to shape that in to reality. He begins with about twenty different versions, and we then work with him to edit those, so we see ourselves as co-creators in that sense.’
Will Mathieu be the perfumer for future fragrances?
‘Well we didn’t want to be a brand that just had one identity, and one signature – it’s all about diversity, right? So with these four I think his signature is a woody accord you can notice throughout. For the next two we’ll be working with a different perfumer, to give another voice, another view, and that’s the way we want to grow…’
The bottles and imagery are very distinctive, can you tell us how they reflect Kierin NYC’s personality?
‘These four are very Pop-Art inspired, but we’re also working with another artist for the next three fragrances – two new fragrances and a limited edition – and they’ll be more graffiti in style. We’ll be sticking with the rainbow palette though, because again that rainbow’s all about “we are one” and that’s imporant to us. The graffiti artist is an imigrant and so for the limited edition we’ll be working with him to include notes from his own culture, working as a team with the perfumer to include his voice within the fragrance.
What does “niche” mean to you, now?
‘I just don’t think you can call yourself “niche” if you have twenty fragrances coming out every year which are no sooner on the shelves than they’re discounted, discontnued and in a bargain bin somewhere, or completely unavailable. How can people connect with them? They don’t have time!
I don’t want to be one of those brands that comes out with a new fragrance every fortnight, I think that’s exhausting for consumers too. So we want to make sure the stories we’re telling focus on authenticity and integrity for everyone involved. We also wanted to make sure we’re accessibly priced, so everyone can get an opportunity to try fine, niche fragrance. I understand the imporantance of those ultra luxury brands, but that’s not who we are.’
Finally, we always like asking – because it’s so revealing! – what are your five favourite smells in the whole world…?
‘Cambodian incense – I’ve travelled a lot, so the things I love are often smells I strongly associate with places. The smell of this, which the monks burn in the temples, just opens my mind and takes me straight back there.’
‘A Californian cliff edge – I lived in California as a little girl, and there’s nothing better than sitting on the edge of a cliff and looking out to sea. In Santa Cruz there’s a very specific sea salt scent, the waves crashing on the shore and the spray mixing with the breeze.’
‘Frédéric Malle fragrances – In Barney’s there’s refrigerated rooms you can go in to smell the scents, and that was my awakening, in the year 2000, of what niche fragrance could be, and I felt more fragrantically “woke” I suppose! I hadn’t yet met my husband, but going there and smelling these incredible fragrances really showed me what niche can do. And they were like nothing else, so unique.’
‘My children as babies – I know a lot of people say that, but oh that smell, it’s definitely one of the most important for me. It’s about our connections with people we love, isnt it?’
‘New York – When I think of where I live now, I genuinely connect it with my own fragrances, I feel like I’m there when I wear them, it’s a connection with home, so that has to be a success, right?!’
So which KIERIN NYC story will you choose to wear and tell? Feeling sluggish and in need of uplifting? 10 a.m. Flirtis a juicy, green take on fig that feels clean, a go-anywhere scent filled with waxy gardenia and cashmere-soft wood to perk up the soul on grey days and revel in happiness year-round. Another cheering pick-me-up is found in Sunday Brunch – luminous bergamot and sparkling lemon atop a soothing brew of Earl Grey tea and soft, sunshine-y jasmine.
Santal Sky, meanwhile, swathes you in a comfort blanket of cardamom-flecked, creamy sandalwood, a wearable serenity for stressed commuters and desk-bound office workers with decadent saffron-speckled vetiver to delight you ‘til dawn, and far beyond. (All of these fragrances are impressively long-lasting.) Perhaps the most impactful, though, is Nitro Noir– a powerhouse contemporary Chypre/floral that positively swings its hips, with ripe pink berries swirled through rich patchouli and dusted with powdery orris for a hypnotic, individualistic hurrah.
Whichever story through scent you choose, we’re sure you’ll want to explore the whole Kierin NYC range for different moods, and to suit whoever you are that day…
Had he not become a perfumer, Jérome Epinette says he’d likely have been a sommelier. Growing up in the famous wine region of Burgundy, he loves to attend wine tastings, comparing notes just as he does in perfume. And if it wasn’t wine, it could just as likely have been a food career that beckoned – in his spare time Jérome is an accomplished cook, particularly enjoying blending unique combinations of herbs and cooking traditional French dishes.
Luckily for us fragrance lovers, Jérome’s passion for perfume had also been realised at an early age – his mother worked in a fine perfumery, and he would join her there during school holidays to help out. Having earned a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry in Dijon, France and attended the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in Grasse, Jérome’s career really began when he joined Robertet’s Paris office in 2003 and was part of the U.S. team to launch the New York Creative Center in 2006, where he now lives.
Known for his love of exceptional quality naturals and how elegantly he blends them with the finest synthetics, you’ll very likely have worn and loved many of his creations already – houses from Atelier Cologne, Byredo, Frapin, Olfactive Studio to Vilhelm have fought for Epinette to be their nose. Now, Jérome has turned his talents to the self-proclaimed ‘upstart’ fragrance house of Floral Street, who won the Fragrance Foundation Retail Award 2019 and are wowing fragrance fans the world over with their contemporary spin on floral ingredients.
We had the pleasure of meeting Jérome at our Perfume Society event in their Covent Garden flagship store, just as Electric Rhubarb was launching – a fragrance collaboration with Chelsea Flower Show, and a fruity/floral like no other. Of course we couldn’t wait to ask this brilliant perfumer exactly what makes him tick, and how he goes about creating a fragrance.
Describe your office and how you like to work…
‘It’s a very neat, white office, a white wooden floor, everything very minimal. My desk is bright white, very clean, I try to keep very tidy as I can only work like that. I couldn’t have a pile of blotters tumbling everywhere and a mass of stuff around me, that would drive me crazy.
Usually my nose is more efficient in the morning, I start working at 8:30am and smell all of the drydowns from the night before, it’s only then you can judge their longevity or see which aspects need adjusting. You need that time for it to develop overnight, but you also need time to let go of thinking about it, to come to it fresh. A fresh mind and a fresh nose.’
How do you like to think about a fragrance – do you use mood boards, go for a walk, read, listen to music…?
‘For Floral Street we use mood boards, because Michelle [Feeney – Floral Street’s vibrant founder] is very visual, as is the brand. I get an immediate idea from the pictures and colours, and I work from there. I think I’m very lucky to go to work by walking. I have a 25 minute walk and that gives me time to set my head up for the day. It’s a treasured time to reflect. I couldn’t take the subway, that’s too fast.
When I go home I walk through Central Park, and I think about what I’ve done that day, but when I get home I switch everything off and just relax with my family. Although I do spray my wife with fragrances I’m working on… she’ll sometimes say “have you put that ingredient I don’t like?” There are some things she likes so much she wishes I wasn’t selling it! I can’t listen to if my family and friends like a perfume, as such, because I’m not making it for them, but I see how it works on different skins.’
What did you want people to experience when smelling Electric Rhubarb?
‘For me this is buzzy, it has an energy, there’s a luscious juiciness and then a surprising smoothness. It’s so important to try on the skin, only then do I know to push the wood or whatever tweaks I need to do. You need to follow the perfume, how it behaves. When you smell the ingredients, like the sandalwood I’ve used in this one for example, you only then get the creamy aspect, a silkiness that only happens when it radiates on your skin, the full evolution of the fragrance.’
What are your favourite ingredients, and why?
‘I have tonnes of flowers I love, but gardenia is one of my all time favourites – I have one on my terrace and I can smell it whenever I walk past, and I’m always transported – that’s why I chose it for Electric Rhubarb. In the woody character, I think part of my signature is using patchouli and sandalwood, I’d say I use these practically all the time, in differing ways of course, but every perfumer has their signature, and that’s definitely mine.’
What do you say to people who ask why you use synthetic as well as naturals in your perfumes?
‘I’d say we need both, it’s as simple as that. If you ask me tomorrow to make 100% natural perfume, that’s incredibly challenging to make it smell good – you have a much smaller palette for a start, and synthetics add a complexity, they allow you to link everything together, the beautiful naturals and the clever synthetics make something whole.’
In our continuing series of A Working Nose interviews, we take the time to get nose-to-nose with some of the most talented perfumers on the planet. In these exclusive one-to-ones we dig a little deeper into what happens behind the scenes in the scent world, and discover how they structure their working day, how long a fragrance can take to work on and what, exactly, inspires them.
Today we focus on the brilliant young perfumer Ane Ayo – one of several women we’ve met recently who are, we are very glad to say, forging ahead way in the fragrance industry. We first met Ane at the launch of several new Lalique fragrances, one of which – Pink Paradise – she had been especially comissioned to create for the house.
Part of Les Compositions Parfumées collection, inspired by the modern lines of René Lalique’s jewellery and crystal designs, and fusing the best natural and molecular materials; Pink Paradise is a cloud-like swirl of heliotrope, pepper-sprinkled jasmin and sun-warmed creamy skin atop a lightly salted sea breeze. And for this fragrance, Ayo was the perfect choice, bringing her contemporary style to this ever-chic house…
Lalique Les Compositions Parfumées Pink Paradise £190 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try it at harrods.com
How did you start learning, and who were you inspired by?
‘I was trained in France and have been working in Paris the last six years. I really think that fragrance is like emotion, so I wanted to keep this one [Pink Paradise] very simple, to allow people space to interpret it themselves. When you’re using a short formula, as I prefer to, it’s actually more difficult to create. Everything has to be perfectly balanced, nothing out of place or there without a specific reason
In this way I am very inspired by the work of perfumers like Jean-Claude Ellena who worked with this aesthetic all the time. He was the master of the short formula. For Pink Paradise I worked around two main molecular materials and built the entire fragrance around them, to make them light and airy, that was the most important thing for me.’
Do you use a mood-board, notebook, music or other creative stimuli to help you?
‘I’m a very visual person and always have been, I love working with photos and so sometimes I do use a mood board to collect these and focus on them. It depends on the brief the client gives of course, as sometimes they will supply the imagery, but I like to collect my own. I always try and work very closely with the brand, but not slavishly, because I think it’s important to have fun during the process and not to be afraid to try different things!’
When do you prefer to smell things – is it true your sense of smell works best in the morning?
‘There are times you don’t have the luxury of only smelling things in the morning, and after a time you get used to it, but it’s true that most perfumers I know prefer working early. If you’re working on an important project, the very first thing you would do is try the versions you created the day before, to see how they have settled and smell them afresh. Sometimes, that day before, you think something’s okay, and then you smell it again in the morning and you can spot all the mistakes and say, oh wow. No.’
Do you ever take fragrances home to test and wear them there?
‘Yes for me it’s very important to take it home. I think in the work environment you smell things very differently, clinically, and we do this for a reason, but at the end of the day, this is not how it’s going to be worn by the person buying the perfume! I always want to wear the perfume myself and just see how it performs.
I always ask family members, but you know what? Sometimes they will say ‘well actually I don’t like this one very much’ or ‘you should make it sweeter!’ and while I love them, I have to not get muddled by their personal preference. It’s something a perfumer has to learn to do – to step away from being too personally tied to a fragrance…’
Accessories have the power to completely alter how we feel, the image we project to the world – the right shoes, a statement piece of jewellery and, of course, the scent we select. When we think of a name that crystallises unapologetic and provocative glamour, it’s Jimmy Choo – famous for iconic shoe designs, and now for beautiful fragrances, too – the latest hot number being Jimmy Choo Fever.
The story began over 20 years ago in the East End of London in the atelier of a shoemaker called Jimmy Choo. You can read all about the history of Jimmy Choo on our page dedicated to the house, but suffice to say, the red carpet became his runway. Soon the public began clamouring for fragrances that captured this megawatt lifestyle, and with a catalogue of best-selling scents to add to the portfolio, Jimmy Choo Fever is definitely setting temperatures rising.
Inviting you to release your inner extrovert, the fragrance was composed to epitomise the Jimmy Choo woman, whom they describe as having… ‘a taste for hedonism; she is independent with a magnetic allure.’ Furthermore, whomever chooses Jimmy Choo Fever as their fragrant accessory should have a character to match that of the juice, so… someone who ’embraces femininity and empowerment with a rich, seductive scent.’ Sounds like our kinda gal!
Top notes: black plum nectar, lychee and grapefruit heliotrope
Heart notes: vanilla orchid and jasmine
Base notes: roasted tonka bean, benzoin and sandalwood
What really strikes you is the luscious juiciness combined with the depth of that delicious toastiness in the base. It’s all the excitement of getting ready for a night out, or simply for your next adventure. Of course, the advertising campaign is as devastatingly glamorous as you’d hope, and we’re thrilled to share with you some sneek peeks behind-the-scenes of Jimmy Choo Fever, while catching up with superstar model Hannah Ferguson, who was chosen as the face. So what, exactly, makes her a Jimmy Choo woman…?
What do you like about fragrances?
Hannah: ‘I feel that wearing a fragrance is very personal, and it’s definitely part of my beauty routine; I put it on every day. Even if I go to the gym I put my perfume on! My first scent memory comes from when I lived on a farm – just thinking of our side patio during summer time always cheers me up. I remember it always being full of yellow and wild flowers. They were my favourite.’
How would you describe Fever, and the woman who wears it?
‘Fever is warm, vanilla-y and has a delicious almond smell to it. For me it’s not too strong, you can still wear in the day and then take it to a night out. The Fever woman? Well she’s confident, strong, but still approachable. She’s in her own space and she owns herself. She’s having fun, dances the night away. She’s unstoppable!’
Are you a Fever woman?
‘You know, I used to be very shy. Now, I’m more comfortable and outgoing than I used to be. Confidence also comes with age. When you get older you figure yourself out, realise what you want and what you don’t want. It’s important to go with your own pace, not listening to the others expecting things from you. It’s all about being comfortable with yourself and open minded, and vulnerable. Don’t be too afraid to open up; be yourself is key.’
Tell us about the ad campaign…
‘The location was the VIP in Paris. It was such fun! We shot all day long, with an early call sheet until night. I was on top of a table in heels, turning around looking at the camera… I was trying to get not dizzy. And then I fell off the table! That one was tricky. Dancers were giving me tips on how not to repeat that.
But really a day at work just seemed like the week end! I must say the dress was very nice, which always helps. I’d wear it in real life, 100%. An oh, those shoes. I love boots and heels. But you have to remember, I‘m also a farm girl so I like to have sneakers. Stilettos in the farm wouldn’t work so well!’
Jimmy Choo Fever £79 for 100ml eau de toilette
Try it at: debenhams.com
Givaudan perfumer Shyamala Maisondieu grew up wanting to be an astronomer, ‘…but in Malaysia, there are no astronomers!’ and so decided she wanted to travel, broaden her horizons and eventually became a perfumer. And there’s a link with the stars in more ways than one, for did you know that there are more people who have walked on the moon than there are master perfumers?
We loved watching this insightful interview with Shyamala, which we’ve shared with you, below, and especially hearing her views on niche versus mainstream (or what she calls ‘selective perfumes’), especially because she has worked extensively across both categories of fragrance, enjoying them in differing ways but finding ‘a symbiosis between them.’
‘I think perhaps travelling gives you different insight into differing people, different cultures, different backgrounds. And as perfumers, it’s imporant for us to understand the diversity of human beings!’
‘People are more in tune with themselves, and they need things that reflect them, and you cant make one type of perfume for so many different types of people.
It’s always such a pleasure to hear directly from perfumers themselves, on what drives and motivates them, what inspirations they bring to a fragrance brief – something we enjoy talking about in our series of Working Nose interviews (just search that phrase at the top of the page), and when asking noses about their Five Favourite Smells (which never fails to be an eye-opener!)
Watching this video and Shymala’s humble but obviously passion for her craft, it’s also encouraging to see diversity of gender and culture finally breaking through in the fragrance world. For, as Shymala puts it so well: we humans are a diverse bunch, so why shouldn’t our fragrances reflect this?
As part of our ongoing Working Nose series, we were thrilled to meet up with one the busiest and most talented of perfumers – the incredible Bertrand Duchaufour.
We met with Bertrand at the launch of a new trio of fragrances for Miller Harris, for whom he created Hidden (On the Rooftops) as part of the Forage collection. Inspired by urban foraging and the joy of happenstance, these scents focus on seldom used ingredents which we may overlook or even tread on as we traverse our cities.
Miller Harris chose Bertrand along with fellow perfumer Mathieu Nardin (who made Lost (In the City) and Wander (Through the Parks), and you can read Part One of our perfumer interviews with Mathieu, here.
I began by asking Bertrand how he went about translating an original brief into a final perfume. How does that alchemical process actually begin…?
Bertrand Duchaufour: ‘Well this is my interpretation of foraging, and I think the original concept was to take the idea of humans foraging – you know, wandering through parks and gardens in cities and coming across this incredible array of plants, herbs and flowers we don’t normally stop to look at. In fact we came to London with the Miller Harris team and went foraging with a professional forager. It was really very eye-opening to take this practical trip as a creative exercise.’
So, did you end up using ingredients in Hidden that you’d never used before?
‘No not really, but here’s the interesting thing – although I’ve used all these ingredients previously, it depends on the way you work with them, how you make your accords, what else you put them with, and then you can make new smells that replicate the ones you were inspired by. As a perfumer it’s not always a matter of just writing a list of ingredients you come across and then using them to re-create a scene, because often that doesn’t work.
I try to translate certain plants and herbs I found, the smell that came from scrunching up their leaves, and it was really quite amazing to try and accomplish this. Foraging for me was something completely different, and for this fragrance I tried to look at it from the perspective of a bee. I imagine the route the bee takes, all the flowers they visit in that area. It’s a bee’s eye view of a city!’
‘I only recognised one plant I could eat while foraging, the Wild Garlic, which we also have in France – and I used that to make a homemade pesto!’
Why do you think we so often overlook the plants growing around us and think of exotic ingredients for fragrances?
‘Well I guess we are just not that curious! We tread on them almost every day, but we worship the expensive materials we don’t have access to.’
Do you have a set routine for working on a fragrance, or does this change depending on the project?
‘Too much focusing on just one project is never good as a perfumer, you get lost in it and can’t see clearly anymore. Spending all day long on one fragrance is not healthy. I’m always working on many things at the same time. Sometimes you just happen on an idea, it comes to you just like that [snaps his fingers] and those ideas are usually the best!’
Are there visual stimuli used to help with the creation of each perfume?
‘Sometimes yes, sometimes no. For Miller Harris they gave me a moodboard made up of photographs, and this is a starting point, I found it very inspiring because ideas start to form in your head right away. It gave me the idea of having the bee’s eye view, foraging from the bees, just from the photographs. I thought that because honey can taste very different depending on where the bee forages, the same should be true of this fragrance.’
Do you prefer to get up early in the morning to begin?
[Bertrand looks utterly aghast at the word “prefer” in regards to getting up early, so I modify the question as ‘Is there a time of day you work best?’]
‘Again, it depends with each project. I have so little time to just sit and think, so there is no going for a long walk to find my muse or anything like that! I work on perhaps twenty or thirty different fragrances at once, so sometimes you just have to get your head down and get on with it.’
People have the idea that any creative person must use the luxury of time to be inspired…
‘Maybe Jean-Claude Ellena can use the luxury of time – you know, wandering around his garden – especially now he is retired, but the majority of perfumers cannot!’
Miller Harris seem very good at allowing perfumers to interpret the brief in their own way. How do you find working like that?
‘It’s a different way of beginning, certainly, and really interesting, but in the end you still have to go through the same process, and so I always work the same way. You have a concept, and there are many ways to interpret even one word of a brief, or the way you are inspired by a picture. I like to talk about synaesthesia, the way these things cross over in our senses, the millions of ways we can each translate something. Synaesthesia is the art of making correspondence between one expression of a sense to another one, and it’s not that easy. For me a patchouli, for example, might be likened to violet or something purple. I might be convinced of that, but Mathieu might have a completely different idea. It always has to be personal.’
Miller Harris say: ‘High above the city, London is home to countless hives of diligent honeybees. A whoosh of fresh honeyed floralcy leads you to the crisp green privet of a HIDDEN rooftop garden. The hazy yellow sun warms new flowers, motes of pollen and seed buds dance lazily.’
Top notes: Bergamot, lime, angelica seeds, violet leaf absolute, clary sage, red berries, black pepper Heart notes: syringa, privet flower, pollen, honey, honeysuckle, Turkish rose oil, tea Base notes: vetiver, ambergris, sandalwood, driftwood, musk
Miller Harris Hidden (On the Rooftops) £95 for 50ml eau de parfum millerharris.com
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