Norbert Mayer Credits: Norbert Mayer
Frédéric Malle: The Tradition Twister
Labelling himself an “éditeur de parfums,” Frédéric Malle has built his independent fragrance empire by collaborating with the world’s best noses.
ON FINDING A (SEXY) SIGNATURE
“Your perfume depends on your character. If you are edgy—all spikes and leather—go for something spicy or with patchouli. The sexiest fragrances use amber and smell like they could come out of you—like they are coming straight out of your pores. They say to the world ‘This is what I smell like without anything on!’”
WHAT PURE FLORALS SAY ABOUT YOU
“Pure-floral perfumes can be a little romantic (and a bit regressive), but, generally, they’re for people who wantto be by themselves. I say that because all other types of perfume are about your ‘skin.’ Fragrances are a communication, and when you wear flowers, it’s not your skin that’s talking; it’s the flowers. But you’re not a flower—or if you are, you’re five years old.”
Ben Gorham: The Rebel Newbie
With his rugged rocker vibe, Ben Gorham looks more like a member of SAMCRO than the founder and creative force behind the luxury multi-million-dollar fragrance brand Byredo.
ON REJECTING THE BUSINESS IDEAL
“When I was writing my business plan, it struck me that there are so many perfumes on the market, yet everything smells the same. Focus groups say things like ‘We like vanilla,’ and that’s what companies create. Ideas are buried. I’m not out to create perfumes that appeal to 80 percent of the population. I want to simplify and do something with a lot of clarity, even if it causes a love/hate relationship.”
ON MAKING A PERFUME FOR HIS GIRLFRIEND
“That fragrance, Blanche, was about a certain period in our lives and how I ‘saw’ her smelling—as opposed to how she wanted to smell. She didn’t wear perfume, so I had this ego thing going on. I wanted to make her something to wear. But she only wore it for a few weeks.”
Get expert tips from Pierre Aulas, olfactive artistic director for Clarins Fragrance Group, on the next page.
Pierre Aulas: The Original Thinker
As olfactive artistic director for Clarins Fragrance Group, Paris-based Pierre Aulas has created iconic perfumes for Thierry Mugler, David Yurman and Swarovski.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T PLAY GAMES
“When you meet ‘your’ perfume, you will know it: You’ll want to wear it again in the morning, and you’ll still want to wear it years later. My advice is to try, try, try. Don’t buy a perfume that isn’t who you are. For instance, if you’re shy, timid and have a soft personality, don’t use a very explosive fragrance in order to make people believe that you’re another girl. Don’t use your perfume like a trick.”
ON BEING ORIGINAL
“At Thierry Mugler, we refuse to do consumer tests. We are perhaps one of the last companies who don’t decide what to do after testing the fragrance with consumers. People tend to like something they are already familiar with—but then it’s not possible to do a breakthrough.We just listen to our gut and try constantly to be courageous.”
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