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July 25 2014

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Victorinox Lets It Snow

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Vera Strubi never really took well to retirement. A fragrance vet responsible for one of the most game-changing perfumes in olfactory history (Thierry Mugler’s Angel), Strubi left her post at Clarins Group in 2007. Two years later, though, she was back in the biz after Victorinox approached her to revamp its fragrance portfolio. “Knives and fragrances are a little far apart,” Strubi says, “but I saw a connection.” That connection, for the most part, is fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, which has kept the family-run Swiss Army company alive and thriving since it opened in 1884. Strubi’s first release for the brand was its Swiss Unlimited fragrance; the absinthe, silver fir, and woodsy flacon won a FIFI award for packaging design this year (with a handy carabiner and a refillable bottle, it’s both fashionable and functional). This month, Strubi debuts her latest offering, two limited-edition holiday scents for which she teamed up with Pierre Aulas—he of Thierry Mugler Alien and Womanity fame. Snow Flower (for her) and Snow Power (for him) are meant to evoke the feeling of a couple waking up, walking out of a Swiss chalet into the fresh snow, and promptly having a snowball fight. As such, both possess a special “snow” accord made exclusively by IFF. A cool, clean, crisp essence that actually smells of powdery precipitation, it’s paired with warm notes, like rose, orris, vanilla, and patchouli in Snow Flower and hints of grapefruit, cedarwood, sage, and vetiver in Snow Power. They are both unique and offer wonderful aromatic expressions of the season, with its snow-capped roofs, cold winds, and warm fires. “Fragrances cannot please everyone, so you need to be a little daring,” Strubi told us recently over lunch, pointing out that mass approval isn’t what she’s necessarily going for. “There are too many people who do the same thing,” she said of the celebrity-obsessed fragrance industry. “Sometimes, you have to be different.” If that means making carabiners chic, so be it.

Photo: Courtesy of Victorinox

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