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August 27 2014

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Lessons In Cologne Absolue

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When we met Sylvie Ganter for a bite on a recent afternoon, she was beaming. After years of working in the fragrance industry, her own line of scents was about to debut, marking the realization of a dream she seems to have had for, well, ever. “Twenty years,” she surmised when we asked her how long she’d been planning Atelier Cologne, her five-piece collection that bowed at Bergdorf Goodman this week. As a perfume executive, she cut her teeth at Hermès (where she served as vice president of the U.S. fragrance division) and held posts at Fresh and Selective Beauty, where she met Christophe Cervasel, the man who helped bring her unique idea to life. That idea was to take the concept of cologne—a lighter, less concentrated version of parfum, also known as “body splash” by the uncouth—and update it with rich concentrations of essential oils (12 to 18 percent, to be exact) that still managed to retain a level of carefree freshness. Ganter and Cervasel’s collective vision resulted in a new olfactory category they’ve termed Cologne Absolue. The initial offering comprises five unique scents, each of which has been devised in conjunction with a specific moment in time: Grand Néroli, for example, blends warm musks and vanilla with the sweet smell of orange flowers, which are frequently woven into hair wreaths and worn by brides on their wedding day in the South of France, where Ganter grew up. Other options include Orange Sanguine, a blood orange geranium eau; Bois Blonds, which combines soft woods, incense, and vetiver; Trèfle Pur, a violet scent sprinkled with green notes; and Oolang Infini, which features blue tea and bergamot offset by hints of smoke and leather. Spring freshness—until we can get it from the elusive season, we’ll happily take Ganter’s version.

Photo: Courtesy of Atelier Cologne

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