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September 1 2014

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4 posts tagged "Dominique Ropion"

Frédéric Malle Partners Up for the Holidays

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Of all the sensory experiences that define the holidays (seeing the falling snow, feeling the heat emit from a crackling fire, and hearing those tireless Christmas jingles), it’s the smells of December that are perhaps the most lasting. Just in time for the season of giving (and getting), fragrance icon Frédéric Malle launched his Joyeux Noël candle last night with a dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Sidebar in Beverly Hills. Puck’s wife, Gelila Puck, assumed hosting duties alongside Barneys New York (with whom he’s partnered with for thirteen years)—drawing the likes of China Chow, artist Tierney Gearon, Co’s Stephanie Danan and Justin Kern, and Parabellum’s Jason Jones and Gabriela Artigas.

Working together with nose Dominique Ropion, whom Malle calls “the greatest living perfumer today,” the candle’s fragrance originated from a scent he created many years ago for a charity at the Centre Pompidou. Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander, a film that also resonated with Ropion, the festive blend features notes of pine, cinnamon, and cotton candy for an unexpected boost. The limited-edition bougie is presented in a box designed by artist Konstantin Kakanias, a longtime collaborator with Malle. “All of the illustrations are really down to earth—exact renditions of the way we see the atmosphere,” he explained of Kakanias’ contemporary caricatures.

And for those of us who barely have time to shop, let alone wrap, consider eighteen of Malle’s classic scents—all boxed up in Liberty of London prints (marking the five-year relationship between the brand and the British retailer). If these limited-edition launches are any indication, this perfumer is quite the team player.

Joyeux Noël candle, $95, barneys.com; Frédéric Malle x Liberty fragrances, see fredericmalle.com.

A Girl In Costume National’s Boys’ Club

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We haven’t made a secret of the fact that we typically prefer men’s fragrances to women’s; give us a woodsy, vetiver-infused musk over a fruity-floral any day. Unisex scents also tend to top our list of favorites, which is why we’ve always been devoted fans of Costume National. The Italian fashion house has mastered the art of gender-bending through perfume, and its wildly popular Scent is one of the most universally appealing eaux we’ve ever had the pleasure of sniffing. When we recently learned that the company had enlisted Dominique Ropion—a frequent Frédéric Malle collaborator—to create something exclusively for the boys, we had to get a hold of a bottle. It’s been branded as “an original, sensual fragrance, for an essential and timeless man”; we set out to see if its bergamot, cinnamon, clove, and patchouli notes worked as well for an essential and timeless woman. The answer is, kind of. Turns out, Costume National Homme is in fact slightly too mannish for our female pheromones, although it possesses a warm, spicy, almost buttery quality that lingers as it dries down and keeps you coming back for more, if only to get another whiff of its distinctive masculine charm. It’s sort of like a boyfriend’s sweater or scarf that you put on for sentimental purposes, that way. We wish that our significant other wasn’t so diametrically opposed to wearing fragrance. If yours is more amenable, it’d make a great holiday gift that you can both enjoy.

Photo: Courtesy of Costume National

Aromatherapy, The Exhibit

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Fragrance has come to symbolize an instrument of attraction, something you can simply spritz on to stimulate your own senses—or those of the attractive guy you see on the subway every morning (you know who you are). However, the curative nature of certain essences has long been the subject of much study and intrigue. Predating the crystal-toting hippie healers that you may associate with the concept of aromatherapy, European monasteries and royal courts have had gardens devoted to raising plants for use in medicinal perfumes for centuries. It’s all detailed in author Annick Le Guérer’s new book Quand le Parfum Portait Remède: Jardins des Cloîtres, Jardins des Princes (When Perfume Cured: Gardens of the Cloisters and Princes), which is the impetus for an exhibit currently taking place at Musée Saint-Antoine de l’Abbaye in Paris. Givaudan perfumer Daniela Andrier and International Flavors & Fragrance’s (IFF) Dominique Ropion re-created 14 plant-based fragrances with reported health benefits from recipes dating from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century—six of which are also mentioned in Le Guerer’s tome. The exhibit runs through November and is definitely worth, er, sniffing out, if you’re in Paris for the shows and beyond.

Photo: Courtesy of Garde-Temps

Frédéric Malle Resurrects Geranium

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When we ran into Barneys’ Simon Doonan at the Fifi Awards last month, topic one, of course, was fragrance, followed by a somewhat disjointed segue into President Obama’s stand on gay marriage—but we digress. As to the former, Doonan was extolling the virtues of the latest scent from perfumer Frédéric Malle, who frequently debuts his niche offerings exclusively at the Madison Avenue department store. We’re fans of Malle’s work (we happily accepted an invitation to toast his last olfactory achievement, Dans Tes Bras, when it premiered last fall), but at first we weren’t tempted by the laudatory tales of his latest endeavor, Geranium Pour Monsieur, as there seemed to be a slight retail bias at foot. Doonan’s enthusiasm did seem genuine, though, so we eventually got a hold of the new perfume, had a sniff, and have this to say: Sorry we ever doubted your intentions, Simon. With the help of perfumer Dominique Ropion, Malle has created a new, modern take on the forgotten scent of geranium, intended, he explains, as a clean alternative to what he describes as “the all-too mundane fern-type smells that dominate men’s perfumery.” Anise, refined white musks, mint absolute, clove, and cinnamon round out the fragrance, which, although it’s branded as a men’s scent, happens to smell pretty darn good with our female pheromones—so good, in fact, that we are considering switching up our signature eau, which has been with us for the last four years. Change, after all, can be a good thing.

Photo: Courtesy of Frédéric Malle