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August 29 2014

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5 posts tagged "Annick Goutal"

A Mother’s Legacy: We Follow the Sentimental Scent Trail of Camille Goutal

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annick-and-camille

Growing up with a model for a mother would already be awe-inspiring, but add to that one who later became a world-class perfumer, and your childhood is guaranteed to be different from other kids on the block (or in this case, the quaint streets of Paris). Such is the story of Camille Goutal (the towheaded tot above) and her mother, Annick (the striking brunette), who founded her eponymous brand in 1981.

Despite her mom being one of the most renowned “noses” in France and a jaw-dropping beauty, Camille says that growing up, she never understood the power and fame that Annick possessed. “I had to be polite, generous, honest; I had to behave, I was raised like that,” she explains. “My life was totally normal and natural, but with an incredible mother.” So normal, in fact, that Camille never realized Annick had been a model (plucked from her job as an au pair in London by photographer David Bailey) until she asked about her life before perfumes. “She had no pictures of herself around the house, but I saw some of the pictures when I asked, and I thought they were so funny because they looked very sixties,” says Camille.

“Funny” was a common theme in the Goutal household. “Everyone always thinks my mom was so classique, but she was always making jokes all the time,” Camille remembers. “Still, even though she was funny with me, she was still very strict [about my upbringing].”

Regardless, from an early age, Annick wasn’t strict enough to forgo adding aromatic whimsy to her child’s life. To be sure, Camille grew up going to her mother’s shop in Paris after school and testing each and every scent both on the market and off. Then, when Camille was 8 years old, Annick gifted her with her own signature scent: “My mother had first created Eau de Charlotte for my older sister, and I told her I wanted one,” she reveals. “She asked what I wanted, and I just turned my head toward our small terrace that had a lot of flowers and ivy and honeysuckle, and I told her I wanted something that smelled like our garden.” A short while later, the fresh green and white floral Eau de Camille was born. (It wouldn’t be the only fragrance Annick crafted for Camille. When she was 18, she received the pear and rose cocktail dubbed Petite Chérie, which Camille says was inspired by her mother’s perception of her as a young woman.)

petite-cherie

But Camille’s scent memories from childhood aren’t only tied to the perfumes. She says her fondest fragrant recollection is of breakfast. “We used to have breakfast in my mother’s bed on Sunday morning, and I used to wake up to the smell of coffee and toasted bread,” she says. Another memory strongly tied to food was her mom’s beloved poule au pot. Although Annick didn’t cook often, she was superb when she did and indulged Camille in her favorite meal twice a year at her daughter’s urging. “She had this recipe from her own mother that was a spin on the classic French dish, but unfortunately she never gave it to me!” she laments. “I can’t do it anymore.”

As she grew, Camille temporarily abandoned the aromatic arts and discovered an inclination for photography, due to her father’s influence. “I traveled a lot with my father and he always had a camera with him, and I was constantly stealing his camera at a very young age,” she says, laughing. “I didn’t dare take any pictures, but I was always imagining paintings in my head when I looked through the camera lens.”

That early exposure to taking pictures led Camille down a career path as an interior-decor photographer, and her work was published in Elle Decor and Vogue. But she returned to her redolent roots when her mother died from cancer in 1999, at age 53. Camille then took the reins of the perfumery alongside her mother’s longtime collaborator, Isabelle Doyen, which she says she did out of a natural impulse—not necessity: “All those fragrances were like my little brothers and sisters, so I just stayed in the family, but I didn’t think about it as needing to continue her legacy. It just felt normal to me.”

Today Camille and Isabel conjure up new fragrances just as Annick had done. They always start with a memory or a feeling they want to evoke. “We think about it till it’s very precise in our minds. We can smell it before creating it,” Camille explains. One nose starts building the main body of the fragrance from an organ of an impressive two thousand notes, and then they both continuously enhance it with other scents until the memory has been brought to life. “It’s a bit like cooking,” she says. “We have to memorize all the notes, so we organize them in the organ alphabetically. We work regularly with three hundred to five hundred, but some notes have never even been used.”

As for the biggest fragrance tip Camille learned from her mother, she discloses it’s still about maintaining an organic aura: “She loved to wear very feminine fragrances, but she never wore too much of them. Her perfume was always subtle and natural. You should never spritz on more than four sprays, and even that’s for really light and fresh scents. Stronger ones require less.”

But will the heritage continue beyond Camille? She says only time will tell, but she’s not concerned with pressuring her two daughters, ages 11 and 14, into the family business: “Of course, they were very young—they were each 5—when they started to wear fragrance. They chose scents with lots of violet and vanilla, but they haven’t said what they want to become yet. It’s more important to me that they are happy than being forced to continue the legacy.” Somehow, we think following the perfume trail initiated by their grandmother will come naturally—an acute olfactory instinct seems to be in the genes.

For more motherly advice, read our latest beauty feature, Mother Knows Best, with words from Blake Lively, Lupita Nyong’o, and more.

Annick Goutal Opens an American Outpost

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French perfume house Annick Goutal has already established itself as a valuable player in the luxury fragrance market throughout U.S. department stores. And now it’s hiking up its presence across the pond with the opening of its first-ever stand-alone American boutique. With twelve brick-and-mortar shops in Europe, this original New York space marks a milestone in the brand’s storied 33-year-old history.

“It was one of my mother’s dreams to have a shop in New York, so after all this time I’m very happy to have it,” said Camille Goutal, daughter of Annick, who grabbed the reins of the perfumery after her mother’s passing in 1999. Opening next door to Magnolia Bakery in the West Village makes this location a literal feast for the senses. “This area was my first choice,” revealed Goutal. “I wanted a scene that was trendy, and this neighborhood looks a bit like France in a way, with the small buildings and nice shopping.”

Inside, one-of-a-kind furnishings reflect the contemporary spirit of the Big Apple, while still preserving the brand’s romantic Parisian roots. “It’s a unique design, but everything comes from France,” she affirmed. Decor highlights include a floating, sculptural steel table and a gold butterfly-emblazoned moucharabieh screened wall. “The butterfly is the symbol of the brand, so it was important to have [that screen] specially made for us,” explained Goutal. The pretty papillon motif can also be found in carved decorations that form the backdrop of the fragrance displays.

As for future plans, Goutal says she anticipates Annick Goutal’s continued expansion throughout NYC but isn’t interested in world domination anytime soon. “Maybe we’ll open a second [spot] on the Upper East Side one day to appeal to our more classical clients, since this store caters to the very trendy ones,” she suggested. “But there’s no timeline on that. We prefer to take our time and go step by step.” Similar to the life cycle of a butterfly, the brand’s mascot, all beautiful things take time.

397 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; annickgoutal.com

A Call For Cologne

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Annick-Goutal-Les-ColognesThere will be a common theme on Beauty Counter today, pertaining to the mini heat wave that is currently making us think twice about going outside. It caused us to consider everything we put on this morning, too: the material of the dress; the weight of the hair product; the sheerness of the tinted moisturizer in lieu of foundation; and, of course, the perfume. When the air is hot and thick, there is nothing we hate more than wearing cloying fragrances. It’s on par with suiting up in head-to-toe polyester; both leave you feeling slightly suffocated. Instead, we reach for lighter iterations of our favorite flacons or preternaturally summery eaux de cologne. Colognes, as opposed to eaux de parfums, contain smaller concentrations of fine-fragrance ingredients and are, as a result, considerably brighter and easier to wear—think of that treasure trove of Bath & Body Works “body splashes” you hoarded as a tween, if you were anything like us in our formative years. In our newfound state of arrested development that some might call adulthood, however, we’re more likely to grab for Annick Goutal’s grand entrée into the category. The formidable French brand has transitioned three of its best-selling parfums into colognes. Eau d’Hadrien lovers will recognize the scent’s key notes of Italian citrus, cypress, Egyptian basil, and musk in its new iteration; the Vétiver fans among you will still find comfort in the update on this scent’s fresh and woody finish; and Néroli’s soft and powdery blend of orange blossom, heliotrope, and soft white musk is now that much sweeter. Spritz liberally.

Photo: Courtesy of Annick Goutal

Spritzing Paris In The Springtime

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Annick Goutal has been churning out remarkable little olfactory wonders since opening the doors of her first boutique on Paris’ Rue de Bellechasse in 1980. With seven free-standing stores in the City of Light alone (we prefer the Rue de Castiglione outpost, which boasts over-the-top elegant interiors and happens to be a stone’s throw away from Vanessa Bruno), the company has a legacy that lives on through the late perfume maven’s daughters, Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen, who have been carrying on their mother’s passion for fine fragrance for the past 12 years. The latest addition to their Soliflore (single flower) series is no exception. Le Mimosa is meant to hearken back to the opulent decade of the brand’s birth, spotlighting the mimosa absolute, a delicate floral essence that is supported by a complementary cast of Florentine iris, anise, peach, and sandalwood for a slightly powdery, creamy, musk-laced aroma. At first whiff, it’s nostalgic-conjuring images of a well-appointed vanity circa 1984 and the sweet, soft breezes of Paris in the springtime. The flacon, with its punchy yellow and black polka-dot pattern, is similarly wistful. But dated, it is not. While Le Mimosa may be reminiscent of decades past, on the skin, its appeal is entirely modern—and capable of turning heads in every arrondissement.

Photo: Courtesy of Annick Goutal

Annick Goutal Sings Noël Four Ways

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For nearly two decades before her death in 1999, the famed French perfumer Annick Goutal was known for the intricately layered scents she sold out of her small boutique on Rue de Bellechasse in Paris. Her knack for creating perfumes tied to very personal memories and using only the finest ingredients lives on through her daughter Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen—the house’s current noses. The brand’s forthcoming Le Mimosa, a sweet floral eau punctuated with green Florentine iris and anise, won’t be released until spring; for the time being, fans can get their fix with the limited-edition Noël collection. A celebration of its four most popular scents, the gold-labeled series features a pair of fragrances for the ladies: Eau d’Hadrien, a sun-filled citrus laced with sweet ylang-ylang that was inducted into the FiFi Hall of Fame in 2008, and Musc Nomade, which was created to capture the essence of Qatar princesses who bathe in a blend of musk powder and rose oil. The two men’s colognes are Sable, a memento of a trip Goutal mère took with her husband to the Île of Ré, and Duel, a smoky hit composed of iris root, absinthe, Gaiac wood, leather, and musk. Each bottle is numbered and comes in a black leather case. As for the best way to wear them, the late perfumer recommended that one apply only a few dabs to a handkerchief slipped inside a breast pocket. “Perfume is a secret between you and yourself,” she was known to say.

Photo: Courtesy of Annick Goutal