Forward-thinking perfumers with opinions as bold as their most recent fragrances.
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.