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April 21 2014

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Purple Plans to Party Like It’s 1992

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The written word can in fact be bottled, as Wallpaper magazine proved when it reportedly collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld on this year’s Paper Passion, a bookish fragrance if ever there was one; meant as a sensuous interpretation of sheets of looseleaf, the flacon sits neatly inside an actual hardback tome. It’s not the first of its kind, though, of course. Fantastic Man teamed up with Ben Gorham’s Byredo a few years back, and after an introduction via Colette’s Sarah Lerfel, Jefferson Hack partnered with Le Labo’s Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi to create Another 13, an aroma designed for Hack’s biannual glossy.

Now comes the news that Olivier Zahm’s Purple magazine will join the perfume party. At a dinner on Sunday to celebrate the iconic publication’s 20th anniversary, guests will receive a bottle of 1992, a commemorative joint venture with 12.29 perfumer Dawn Goldworm. An eight-year veteran of Coty with credentials that range from creating eaux for Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss, and Lady Gaga to scenting fashion shows for designers like Jason Wu and Rodarte as well as stores for Corto Moltedo, Goldworm has devised a special process with which to create a fragrance for someone else. “I’m a synesthete,” she explains, “someone who uses one sense to determine another.” Channeling this ability, she processes the exact identity of a subject and then produces a corresponding smell. “I look at color, texture, emotional demographics and try to understand the brand, then I translate that pretty directly into an olfactory vision.”

Following two years of work, Zahm’s scent is a “modern eau de cologne on a classic amber structure,” according to Goldworm—a reflection of Zahm the man and the magazine he founded. “He’s very interesting, fun, and intelligent,” Goldworm says, explaining that as an art critic, Zahm speaks about the fashion world with an entirely objective opinion. “He looks outside of himself, which is the same thing he does with Purple as a brand.” As for the magazine, it’s “complex—and hard to reproduce, like purple the color, which is very feminine but has a hard masculinity to it. It’s evasive, it’s rich, it’s tender, it’s very glamorous—all of that really lent itself to me understanding how to build the perfume. It’s almost religious—and very sexual, because it’s Olivier.” Cue the textural woods, animalic notes, musk tinged with tuberose and some fruity notes, “because [Olivier] thought they were funny.”

“It’s very niche,” Goldworm surmises of her handiwork, pointing out that it’s not meant to be popular. Rather, “it’s the kind of fragrance you buy, you live with, you fall in love with, and it becomes yours.” Sign us up.

1992 will be available in limited quantities at Purple Boutique in September 2012.

Photo: Courtesy of Purple Magazine

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