April 17 2014

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1029 posts tagged "Fragrance"

Viktor & Rolf Take You to the Candy Shop


bonbon-cropAt their couture comeback in January, Viktor & Rolf wrapped up the show with a surprise reveal of their spring fragrance launch. Above the catwalk appeared a supersized image of model Edita Vilkeviciute, shot by Inez & Vinoodh, wearing nothing but body paint, holding a bow-shaped bottle of Bonbon. “We liked that her skin was becoming clothing in a way,” said Viktor Horsting. “She’s nude but she’s not. She’s dressed in paint. Her skin becomes like a garment. It was a [conceptual] way of saying that perfume could be worn like a garment.” The body art alone took about twelve hours to apply. The couture collection likewise had blurred the lines between skin and clothes, with tattoo-like embellishments such as ruffles and bows hand-painted over flesh-tone latex dresses.

For their latest fragrance, V&R began with an icon from their own lexicon: the bow. “The thing is, a bow doesn’t smell,” noted Rolf Snoeren. “So we started thinking of candy wrappers and bonbons, because they are like bows. And they smell [good].”

To hit the right note, they began by literally raiding candy stores. Working alongside perfumers Serge Majoullier and Cécile Matton, the design duo brought every kind of candy they could get their hands on into the L’Oréal Paris headquarters. “That was a fun exercise. We tested chocolates, caramels—all kinds of sweets. But we immediately became addicted to a specific caramel note. The buttery note of caramel was very sexy,” said Snoeren. “Sweet but also sexy. Grown-up.”

Once Viktor & Rolf zeroed in on their “couture” accord, Matton and Majoullier spun the original idea of candy into an olfactory ode to pleasure. “There are so many directions you could go,” observed Horsting. “We wanted something luxurious. The name might suggest girliness, but it had to be grown-up. It’s not a game of seduction. The attitude is more about being at ease, about self-indulgence and empowerment.”

Although the fragrance at first seems nearly edible, it is anything but facile. “It was important to not just create caramel-à-porter,” explained Matton. “We took the gourmandise aspect to the extreme.” Adds Majoullier, “The tricky thing about caramel is that you have to dress it up without concealing it.”

The perfumers went about addressing the challenge by declining to use patchouli, for one thing. Said Matton, “We were inspired by variations in texture. The caramel changes as the perfume evolves: It’s crackly on top, creamier at the heart, and more concentrated at the base. There’s a clothes-like structure—it’s a representation.”

Ultimately, the Bonbon caramel ventured into a more woody, sensual terrain, rounded out by a sprinkling of fruity notes to break up its richness. The fragrance opens with sparkling notes of mandarin and “Paradise peach,” warming into a sunny jasmine and orange blossom heart before settling into a gently overcooked woody amber base with notes of gaic and cedar.

“Bonbon is not for any one woman,” offered Horsting. “[It’s the same with] Flowerbomb, which had such fantastic reach. We don’t want to create limits.”



To meet Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (and spritz Bonbon) in person, head to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on April 17 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Critic’s Choice: Luca Turin’s Perfume Pick



To spritz or not to spritz, that is the question. critic and perfume industry legend Luca Turin reviews the latest fragrance launches and answers this age-old question.

Name: Guerlain L’Eau du Parfum 68
Notes: Mandarin, rose, benzoin
Nomenclature: Nostalgic oriental

“If, as I firmly believe, smell is a sort of timbre, then it can be said that Guerlain is—thank goodness—bucking a mighty trend by insisting on making perfumes played on real instruments as opposed to ringtones, door chimes, and electronic jingles. Indeed, there is an element of desperate, nostalgic conservatism about 68, as befits the twilight of an era. The first five minutes of 68 are a strange medley, recapitulating a century of great tunes. L’Heure Bleue is there and Shalimar, of course, but also some of the competition: the green glow of Worth’s Je Reviens and, oddly enough, a surprising quotation of Lush’s Dirty. Halfway into the drydown suddenly comes a strange twist: 68 abruptly turns into a luxuriously plush version of one of those dreadful, bare-bones masculines that come with cheap leather bomber jackets and a clapped-out BMW. It is as if Guerlain’s Russian prince now made a living as many real ones did—as a Paris taxi driver. The drydown carries on essentially until your next shower, in a soft, balsamic-salicylate accord which does not even need to be original: The mere fact that it is there and smells good is more than enough. Guerlain’s revenge on shallow, front-loaded, chemical perfumery is complete and, for once, served warm.”

$250; available at Bergdorf Goodman and select Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales locations

For another review from Turin’s bi-monthly column, click here.

Following the Olfactory Spice Trail With Pauline Rochas


mure-et-muscThe pro: Pauline Rochas, cocreator of Le Premier Parfum by Coolife

The product: “I was a young teenager in Paris when I first discovered Mûre et Musc by L’Artisan Parfumeur. I got a whiff of it from a girl I had a crush on from class. I remember rushing out to the boutique in the seventh arrondissement right after school that day to buy myself a bottle. I especially loved how it started out fruity, sweet, juicy, gourmand, then opened into musky and woody notes—ending with warm and sensual oriental notes. That is exactly how I remember it evolving on my skin. The fruity and woody ingredients in particular transport me back to my younger childhood memories of vacationing in Bordeaux at Château Lagarosse, my family’s castle, plucking fresh wild blackberries, and our travels to Morocco where I was first stirred by the aroma of spices and incense burning. It was then that I started playing alchemist in my bathroom—crushing raw pieces of musk and resins and mixing them with essential oils. Needless to say, this influenced my inconscient collectif [collective unconscious] and the decision to go with a short list of carefully handpicked raw materials with oriental notes for Le Premier Parfum. But when I walk into a perfumery today that carries Mûre et Musc, I still get all excited at the chance of spraying it on and letting the magic of its scent take me back in time.”

Now This Is How You Carry Your Beauty Products


moynatCurrent exhibitions at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Milan furniture fair are celebrating the legendary Orient Express, which is poised to hit the rails anew after a five-year hiatus. For Moynat artistic director Ramesh Nair, it’s a comeback on a silver platter. “I’m really passionate about a return to the experience of travel, the journey rather than the destination as an end in itself,” he said the other day in the house’s Rue Saint-Honoré headquarters. A longtime rail traveler, Nair believes that the only way to truly see India, for example, is by train. “I’m always looking to revisit the past, but in a modern way,” he remarked.

In that spirit, the French heritage leather house, which is owned by Bernard Arnault separately from LVMH, will be offering up some deep-luxury designs created with the Orient Express in mind. For starters, Nair has signed a custom vanity case similar to those favored by well-heeled travelers back in the luxury railroad line’s heyday. It took seven hundred hours to craft this one-of-a-kind piece. Even so, Nair declined to take all the credit. “It really came together over lunch with [Guerlain perfumer] Thierry Wasser,” he explained. “He’s a constant traveler, he picks up inspiration everywhere, and he immediately sensed that Shalimar would be a perfect match for the Orient Express.” Inside the buttery blue trunk: swing-out trays in apple tree wood—a material favored by sculptors for its polish and resilience—that reveal a cascade of Guerlain makeup and four Baccarat bottles of Shalimar nestled at the bottom. Minus the beauty stash, the valise would work just as well as a jewelry box or watchcase. Its price? Let’s just say if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Meanwhile, New York is about to get its own chance to check out Moynat’s wares: On April 24, “Le Trunk Show” will touch down on the ground floor of the Dover Street Market. Look for a breakfast trunk custom-designed for Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, another designed to display Pierre Hermé’s macarons, and a retro bicycle mounted with a picnic trunk in lieu of a basic basket.

Patou Returns to Its Roots



The house of Jean Patou was founded exactly one century ago, and despite the vagaries of history, fashion, and ownership, this month the brand is celebrating a return to the place it all started: rue Saint Florentin, just off the Place de la Concorde. At its height, the Patou family owned three adjacent buildings, at numbers 7, 9, and 11, and counted one thousand employees in its fashion and fragrance businesses.

The couture salons—which were previously directed by Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, and, lastly, Christian Lacroix—shuttered in 2001. But the fragrance business lived on, most notably with Joy, that heady Grasse rose- and jasmine-based juice renowned as the costliest perfume in the world. “When I looked at the original formula, I was stunned,” observes perfumer Thomas Fontaine. “It’s maybe sixty times more expensive than most perfumes.” One ounce of Joy takes 10,600 jasmine flowers and twenty-eight dozen roses, so it’s no wonder a 15-millilter bottle of Joy goes for a steep 300 euros.

Meanwhile, Fontaine has been quietly delving back into the house’s fragrance catalog of forty-odd scents. Three heritage juices—Eau de Patou, Chaldée, and Patou Pour Homme—were rereleased last September. This fall, Patou’s very first fragrances, a trio from 1925, will be back on-counter: the fruity chypre Que Sais-Je?, the green floral Deux Amours (formerly known as Amour Amour), and the gardenia-based Adieu Sagesse. (These, Fontaine notes, were formulated for brunettes, blonds, and redheads, respectively). And Fontaine has rejuvenated the 84-year-old Joy for a new generation, thanks to powdery iris notes, amber, and an amber-woody base (cedar, sandalwood, and rosewood). In other words, Joy Forever hangs onto the original idea but takes its headiness down a few notches.

There are still finishing touches to come on this bright new boutique. Some Patou family furniture will be brought in this week, for example. But already, the angular Art Deco aesthetic of the house’s heyday is well in evidence, along with the occasional heritage items. And it’s a fair bet that this is only the beginning.

9 rue Saint Florentin, 75001 Paris;


Photo: Espace