Your first olfactive memory?
Coming from a family of perfumers from Grasse, my first olfactory memories are mainly related to the raw materials of the region. There are many of them, as my sensitivity was sharpened very early. The main one remains the memory of my grandmother, a picker, whom I used to follow in the flowers fields during the harvests.
Were you familiar with L’Artisan Parfumeur before working with them?
When I was younger, L'Artisan Parfumeur had a strong image of creative perfume maker. It was the first of its kind. The concept of artisan added to the perfumer profession was very innovative at the time. For my family of perfume makers, it meant the beginning of something completely new. Mûre et Musc was the iconic perfume of my generation. Years later, came Bois Farine for which I immediately had a deep admiration.
What does the brand L’Artisan Parfumeur stand for you?
Beyond the brand, L'Artisan Parfumeur tells an authentic story of perfumers. Created in 1976 by Jean Laporte, it combines its precious heritage and its savoir-faire with the finest raw materials. L’Artisan Parfumeur was visionary at the time and was the first to highlight nature.
Which impressionist painter or painting do you like the most?
Claude Monet remains in my mind the most emblematic Impressionist painter. His paintings touch me - particularly through his works on light and on the extreme delicacy of nature. His use of textures and colours make them almost alive. I also particularly like Cézanne and his landscapes of Provence. He was considering nature as his first master and it resonated in me.
Impression painters and their arts were very radical at the time which violated the rules of academic painting, how did you get inspired around the theme of Impressionist and did you also break the rules in your creations?
From impressionism to perfumery, the artist expresses sensations and creates emotions. A perfumer often sees his palette of raw materials in colour. This is why painters inspire us so much.
Impressionism portrays overall visual effects instead of details. The style of painting captured a fresh and original vision and used short brush strokes of mixed and pure colour and not blended or shaded, as was customary. This achieved an effect of intense colour often affected by sunlight of the day; did you incorporate this in you working process?
Impressionist painting reveal the beauty of nature in small overlapping touches with an infinite sensitivity. I almost heard the leaves rustling and the water whispering! It was a challenge to transcribe olfactively and all of those feelings. It has allowed me to be more innovative and to write two Cologne formulas in a completely new way. I have abandoned the traditional construction with the top, heart and base notes, and instead to looked to the painter and created dominant and delicate olfactory tones that enhance the materials richness.
The Impressionist movement, in the wake of an emergent industrialization in France, stood out as a style that expressed innovative individuality, do you think your creations have each a strong personality?
I hope that the personality of two Colognes stand out from others thanks to their style. They were inspired by masterpieces! The main point of difference compared to classical colognes is the material intensity. The freshness is very dominant as it represents water and light. Then it reveals an unexpected vibration and density, which is uncommon for such context.
Au Bord de L’Eau – can you explain the fragrance? You didn’t go down the usual path of Top/Heart and Base notes, so how did you interpret this idea in the fragrance?
Au Bord de l'eau is inspired by the eponymous painting of Claude Monet in multiple ways, oscillating between apparent realism and suggested impression. Pigments are materialized by movements of natural textures. Zest of bergamot and lemon mix their fresh vapors with the petals of the Bitter Orange. The vegetal carpet is drawn with a touch of rosemary, a hint of violet and perhaps also iris. Downy musks blur the contours. The aqueous sensation remains imprecise and yet vibrates in a shiver of raw ingredients.
Sur L’Herbe – can you explain the fragrance? It is a modern vision of a lunch in the park, on the grass, how did you go about this?
Déjeuner sur l’Herbe is inspired by Edouard Manet and evokes a bucolic atmosphere. Freshness and nature arise in contrast in a spirit of raw modernity. The reinvented Neroli is injected with an overdose of light. The warmth of the sun caresses the amber and musky tones with great freedom. A puff of oxygen, transparent and brilliant, suddenly crosses the picture, blowing on this springtime landscape with soft green tones.
Why is perfume a good vehicle for storytelling?
Perfume, as story narration, invokes emotions. The perfume reveals its inspiration and its construction. It has been fed from stories, from the past or the future. Loaded with memory, we entrust our hopes of tomorrow.
What perfume would you most like to have created?
Féminité du Bois de Shiseido. It has never been among the great successes of perfumery but it has left a strong impression at the time for its audacity. It suggested to women a very woody signature, a break at a time where genders were not mixed. Its outstanding sensuality had borrowed from Femme de Rochas a few spicy aspects such as the Prunol, with an approach of an absolute modernity.
What is your "go to" raw material?
Ambrox and patchouli.
At what stage of your life did you know you wanted to become a nose?
I frequently said, as a well-known comic book hero, that I "fell into it" from a young age.... My future really became clear during my teenage years, when I was 17, when I had discovered all the transformation stages of natural products into precious essences.
If you hadn’t become a nose, what would you have liked to be?
Being a lover of speed and cars, I could imagine myself as a Formula 1 driver.
Are you affected at all by the design of a bottle, either before or after the creation of a juice?
It is rare for the bottle to be shown to the perfumer when starting a project. Its shape, contours and design have a strong influence on my creation and will certainly guide it if my work is not over when I discover the bottle. The perfumer never stops looking for the perfect match with the project. The bottle being the juice’s precious case, it is particularly important.
What is your favourite bottle design?
I like simplicity, which I think often favours the most elegant forms. The weight of glass makes it possible to translate the concept of luxury and I attach great importance to its practical aspect.
What is your life credo?
As a true Epicurean, I seem to have a certain talent for enjoying the delicacies offered by life and appreciating them. I also admit an inclination to often aim at the moon. At worst, when I do not reach it, I find myself already lucky to be familiar with the stars.