Viktor & Rolf, Eau Mega Men
When Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren took the perfume world by storm in 2005 with Flowerbomb, their first-ever fragrance endeavor, which became a huge global hit, the Dutch design duo sealed their reputation as a beauty crossover success story. Since then, fashion and fragrance aficionados alike have been waiting to see what they would come up with next. They’ve wondered, with good reason, how the pair plans on topping the explosive floral-oriental that came bottled in a custom-designed glass grenade. Well, the wait will soon be over. On October 12, Eau Mega launches at Nordstrom. A notable follow-up to their sensational debut, Eau Mega is intended to be a paradox—a scent that is at once fresh and decadent. And judging by looks alone, it seems to hold the promise of extravagance. Inspired by atomizers of old, the flacon features a glass cylinder with a gold seal that you merely squeeze for a burst of crisp pear, violet leaf, peony, Italian lemon, and white musk. “You don’t need to be a star to be mega,” Rolf Snoeren insisted when we recently caught up with him, boasting of the every-woman appeal of the new scent. He also cued us in to the haphazard nature of fragrance naming and what lies ahead for his brand in beauty terms (the words makeup line were indeed mentioned). Read on below.
How do you even begin the design process, whether it’s a collection or a fragrance?
Whether you’re planning a show or a fragrance, it’s necessary to start with a concept. We can’t do anything if we don’t have a concept or a name first. For fragrance, it usually starts from a name.
And what a name it is! How did you stumble upon the gem that is Eau Mega—it’s so simple, yet so original.
How do you come up with ideas? After Flowerbomb—which is a name we invented ourselves—we wanted a name that had a twist but would refer to a different olfactory experience. Flowerbomb was such an opulent oriental so, since this time we wanted to do something fresh, an actual eau, we were thinking about names with eau and we came to Eau Mega.
Why were you so intent on achieving freshness this time?
We wanted freshness but also a gourmand fragrance as well. But more than anything, we were in the mood for innovation. So we told the perfume designers at IFF that we wanted freshness that was sexy or glamorous since typically, freshness comes across as very sporty or natural.
Is that why you wanted Raquel Zimmermann for the ad campaign? Does she embody this concept for you in some way?
We have done so much with Raquel; she is the most beautiful model. We love celebrities and a celebrity culture but we feel that we needed to tell a story that was not about the celebrity holding the bottle. We wanted it to be aspirational and to offer an escape that’s more fashion-related. We don’t want to say that it’s meant for this and that star. You don’t need to be a star to be mega. It can be limiting to focus on celebrities.
In reference to this notion of fashion escapism, how are your fragrances intricately related to your clothes?
They’re equally important to our brand, and as far as the creative process goes, it’s the same. We start with a very clear idea and try to create something new. But it takes a much longer time than with clothes! With fashion you can go to different territories each season. With fragrance, you have less room to make mistakes and you need to be much more precise as far as want you want to say.
Were you very involved in the composition of the scent itself—from ingredient sourcing to the final product?
We’re not into the ingredient process. We start with the name and we rely on the perfumers [Olivier Polge and Carlos Benaim], whose language we like. We essentially say, “It’s your job to create the glamorous fragrance.” We choose the direction. It has less to do with ingredients and more with the overall effect. We like that Olivier makes such complex fragrances that don’t exactly appear as they smell. We don’t like things in which you immediately know the one main ingredient when you smell them.
Are there other olfactory directions you’d like to explore in the near future?
We want to make a whole body of different perfumes for different emotions. So after something fresh we’ll move in a different direction to create different stories. Maybe even venture into a makeup line one day. You never know.