Jul

THE EDUCATOR: FRANCIS HEMBERT

THE EDUCATOR: FRANCIS HEMBERT

THE EDUCATOR: FRANCIS HEMBERT

THE EDUCATOR: FRANCIS HEMBERT

Fragrance education is critical for everyone—not only for the consumer, but for those inside the industry as well. That’s where Cinquieme Sens (French for “the fifth sense,” or sense of smell), comes in. The venerable school was founded in 1976 by Monique Schlienger, a former perfumer at Robertet and a teacher at ISIPCA in Versailles. Monique saw a need for a curriculum that would enrich the knowledge of all fragrance professionals, whether they are selling, marketing, or creating scent. More than 40 years later, guided by Francis Hembert, a former Firmenich senior executive who is now partner and president of the US affiliate in charge of international business development, Cinquieme Sens continues to lead the charge in teaching perfume pros how to contextualize and speak eloquently about the artistry and power of scent. In the US, Cinquieme Sens classes are offered in partnership with the Fragrance Foundation to its members and non-members, and its global reach is expansive, with programs in Mexico, South America, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai, Seoul, Melbourne, and soon, Shanghai. “We want to be the educational partner of the key perfumery players in every region,” says Hembert. “And the need is stronger than ever in our increasingly complex fragrance world.” After all, the more we know, the better we can engage with each other and with consumers.

What are the specific Cinquieme Sens courses offered through the Fragrance Foundation in New York?
Since 2017, Cinquieme Sens has joined The Fragrance Foundation as their official partner for in-person perfumery training in targeting a wide range of professionals: Brand Development, Brand Marketing, Sales and Technical teams for Brands, Fragrance Houses, and Retailers. We have partnered with industry experts Kathryn Balcerski and Tami Katz of Serendipitee NYC, who are both former senior executives from fragrance creation companies, to deliver these programs to TFF members and non-members. They know fragrance from the inside out: everything about fragrance development and sales, but also about the products, the ingredients, where raw materials are harvested, and what types of extractions are used. We offer: The Techniques and Language of Perfumery; the Fragrance Development Program, and the Fragrance Sales Program. We also develop tailor-made programs for customers, depending on their objectives and needs, taking into account their budget and time constraints.

What are the key elements of each Cinquieme Sens class?
In the Techniques and Language of Perfumery Program, we introduce perfumery culture starting with history, then focus on olfactive knowledge of the key ingredients (naturals, molecules) and facets as well as their emotional impact in the fragrance creation. We also explain the sense of smell and its connection to memory and emotion, and how to leverage that to speak about perfumes. In the Fragrance Development Program, the focus is on the challenges a development team has to face (in fragrance houses and in perfumery makers) from the conceptualization of a fragrance to its finalization, and the important steps to evaluate fragrances. In the Fragrance Sales program, the main objective is to give the keys to switch from an analytical language (olfactive description) to an emotional language, as emotions drive the connection with consumers and lead to more effective sales.

Those are hard things to teach! Do Kathryn and Tami have a unique approach?
All classes are interactive. There are visual and olfactory elements to the courses. The tools include a workbook and ‘Olfactoriums’, which are miniature versions of a perfumer’s palette. Each Olfactorium is comprised of 48 vials of different scents which include raw materials, accords and perfumes specific to each training session.

What do you think is most important for the students to take away at the end?
Language is key in perfumery… The challenge is to identify what you are smelling and communicate it using the language skills we teach. It can be difficult to find that confidence, because fragrance description is so subjective—but like I said, the way to make a scent come alive is through emotion.

In addition to Retail Sales Associates, professionals working as account managers, or in marketing or development teams, or even in technical departments have to understand how fragrance is made. But they also need to learn how to speak about fragrance, to convey what they smell, or want to smell, and make that understandable for perfumers, for colleagues, and for consumers.

What has been the most rewarding feedback you’ve received from students?
When they come back and say that their Cinquieme Sens training has helped build their expertise and effectiveness in their careers!

For more information or to book these courses, please contact Mary Pelzer at the Fragrance Foundation at mary@fragrance.org.

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

The Future of The Fragrance Foundation

Featuring The Notables

What does the future look like for the Fragrance Foundation? The momentum is building, and the bar is set high. Over the past year, the Foundation’s reach has already expanded exponentially: the success of Fragrance Day, established in 2018, reached an audience of 200 million via social media in 2019. And that’s just one of the many ways that the organization is delivering on its mission —to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance—says president Linda Levy. Her goals for the coming year are even more ambitious. “For Fragrance Day 2020, we will focus our campaign on ingredients with a new and exciting artistic collaboration, as well as expert content on ingredient transparency, because product safety and sustainability are important messages for us to share with consumers,” she says. The organization will also make a tremendous international push, reaching out “to form new alliances with other countries to re-establish official Fragrance Foundations with Fragrance Day 2020 as a key pillar.”

There will also be a continued campaign to elevate and celebrate perfumers, something that was integral to 2019’s agenda, reaching its greatest expression in the series of perfumer portraits photographed by Michael Avedon for Fragrance Day. “Fragrance Day is a fantastic initiative that has brought perfumers in the store with consumers and celebrated perfume as a precious but accessible, mysterious but tangible product. It rejuvenates perfume and what it stands for,” says Fragrance Foundation Notable Lorraine Miche de Malleray from IFF. Many also appreciated how it impacted their perspective on their own work. “Fragrance Day was an opportunity for my team at Robertet to take a moment and celebrate the hard work we all do and each department’s contribution to the industry,” says Katrina Guillermo of Robertet Fragrances. “I was really impressed on how The Fragrance Foundation was able to use technology and social media as a platform to express love for fragrance.”

2019 also saw the Fragrance Foundation redefine and revitalize its communication strategy, with the new monthly digital magazine Accords, and the new weekly newsletter Note Worthy. These platforms will continue to provide exclusive and exciting content, including personal perspectives from industry icons, perfumers, and fragrance creatives, and, says Levy, enable the TFF to “continue to build our messaging with modern formats and unique messaging.” As Notable Malinda Appel of NEST Fragrances says, “Most of the members of the Fragrance Foundation are in competition but we’re also friends. The events and new communications are a neutral place for brands and fragrance houses to unite about our shared interest in growing the awareness and future of the fragrance industry. The new approach the Fragrance Foundation has taken feels fresh, and supportive of all organizations, large and small.” Notable Amy Rueckl from IFF agrees: “I think the fragrance foundation is doing a wonderful job of elevating their vision and image to begin to appeal to a new, broader audience.” Going forward, the communications will seek to engage increasingly more fragrance-loving readers. The ultimate goal, Levy says, is “to grow the dialogue in the fragrance community and most importantly, directly with consumers.”

As Levy announced at June’s resoundingly successful TFF Awards, the Foundation will also be ramping up its philanthropic GIVE BACK efforts, first by partnering with 2019 Game Changer honoree Laura Slatkin to benefit her charity, Next For Autism, by offering a full year of programs and events that raise awareness and funds for this important cause. Because in making the world a better place, as in all things, “The Fragrance Foundation and our members have a much bigger voice together than we would have alone,” says Levy.

The Notables program is another bright light for the future of TFF, as it unites young, enthusiastic minds to come together and dream up new possibilities and programs. “That fact that we’re asked for input is meaningful,” says Tracy Taylor of Firmenich. “TFF encourages new voices, ideas and perspectives in an industry grounded in heritage, tradition and ritual. Even emerging professionals have the opportunity to help shape the future of fragrance and a responsibility to preserve what makes it so special.”

The Notables program began in 2015, and honorees from each class continue to passionately contribute ideas to Think Tank meetings. When recently asked what they feel they can achieve as ambassadors to their company, responses varied from focusing on the network they can build (“I would like broaden my knowledge of other parts of the industry that are different from my own contributions,” says Kaleigh Prokop from MANE) to bringing the Fragrance Foundation’s mission statement to life in the world at large. “I feel confident that I can get people more engaged, educated and excited about the fragrance industry,” says Hannah Silver of NEST Fragrances. “There are so many resources and “seeds” that The Fragrance Foundation provides to its members. It is up to me to see the future and enlighten others.” Katie Bell from Cosmo International Fragrances, too, believes that being a Notable offers an exciting opportunity to be an ambassador for scent. “If we can continue to inspire the world to share the same passion we all have for fragrance through our talents as creators, storytellers, artists…then we are on the right track!”

For 2020 and beyond, the Notables have shared many ideas and hopes. Julia Olivier from Firmenich wants to see even more paying-it-forward work to help others on behalf of the Foundation: “We could develop a team of olfactive expert volunteers to either entertains kids in hospital with olfactive workshops or help adults that have lost sense of memory stimulating them with olfactive scents,” she suggests. Karissa Ciliento of Givaudan, is excited to see the Fragrance foundation “reveal and share the stories of the unsung heroes within the industry, “We are finally pulling back the curtain on the creative process with perfumers, but there are still so many more people to showcase behind the scenes of our fragrance world,” she says, “such as Evaluation, Sales, Lab Technicians, Marketing, Consumer Insights, Graphics, S&T, and Raw Materials.” Brand Strategist Gayathri Balasundar says, “I also hope TFF can promote more diversity in fragrance the way we are seeing in other categories. I don’t just mean diversity in color, though I think that’s critical, but also diversity in backgrounds.”

Simone Bolotin of COTY says, “The fragrance industry is evolving every day with new technologies, digitally native brands, gender fluid concepts and more, and I look forward to seeing the Fragrance Foundation continue to embrace and celebrate these new innovations.” And Lindsay Powell Schwartz of COTY says, “I hope that the Fragrance Foundation brings industry leaders together to thoughtfully address consumer concerns around safety and the need for more transparency. This will require an honest dialogue with multiple parties with different perspectives in order to ensure that the response doesn’t simply feel like propaganda to the consumer. I also hope that the foundation leads the way in identifying innovative ways to modernize the fragrance industry, including new technologies, formats, accords, ingredients, and ways to sample.”

Brooke Selitto from Cosmo International Fragrances, is “looking forward to The Fragrance Foundation continuing to connect the fragrance community through meaningful conversation and initiatives”. Perhaps more than anything, the Fragrance Foundation is a connector—of people, ideas, passions, inspiration and information. As Notable Anais Nouvet of Cartier says, “To me, the Fragrance Foundation is the “highest instance” of our industry. The Foundation keeps us all connected to what’s happening in our profession at a more human level, which is very different from the competitive reports or data we usually work with. It animates our network of passionate professionals through its amazing events.” Its work to unite brands, individuals, and the perfume-loving public at large will continue apace in 2020 and beyond—especially with so many enthusiastic members driving it forward. “Not so long ago, the fragrance houses were thought of as the “ghost writers” behind the perfume industry, yet more and more there is great interest from consumers to know the back story of fragrance design,” says Notable Liza Ketcham of Givaudan. “It’s an industry that many people know very little about, and I love what The Fragrance Foundation is doing to reveal the beauty, passion, and creativity that make up our world. My hope is that TFF continues to be an active force in helping to bring our perfumers to the forefront, and helping to provide a better understanding of our creative process and the storytelling behind each fragrance.” Finally, Alexandra Cassar from IFF sums up the feelings of many who work closely with the Fragrance Foundation and believe in the difference it’s making and will continue to make within the fragrance industry and beyond: “I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this movement and finally show the world what we do and who we are. Fragrances are much more than just a beauty product. They inspire, build confidence, and make people dream.”

Perfumers’ Q&A

Perfumers’ Q&A

LOUISE TURNER, GIVAUDAN

What does it mean to you to win The Fragrance of the Year/Women’s Luxury award for Tom Ford Lost Cherry?
Winning Fragrance of the Year makes me feel very proud and honored to have participated in its creation with such an amazing team at Tom Ford Beauty; and so inspired by the incredible creative vision of Mr. Ford.

What do you love most about being a perfumer?
What I love most about being a perfumer is the constant surprise and discovery that every creation brings… a perfume is never exactly how you imagine it to be so there is a child-like excitement every time you start to develop something new.

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?
My style is simple (figurative) and very inspired by nature.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?
I just love the smell of honeysuckle… it has a meditative effect on me!

What’s your favorite saying or expression?
Favorite saying: Less is More! (I try and strive for this …but it’s not as easy as it sounds!)

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?
Something I have always wanted to do- learn to fly a plane… I will hopefully obtain my PPL (private pilot ‘s license) this year.

CLEMENT GAVARRY, FIRMENICH

What does it mean to you to win The Fragrance of the Year/Women’s Popular award for Ariana Grande Cloud?
It is an immense honor and pleasure to have received a Fragrance Foundation Award. To win the Women’s Popular Fragrance of the Year made it all the more meaningful because it tells me this scent is reaching a great number of people in the US.

What mood or effect did you want the fragrance to create?
Inspired by what a cloud could smell like in Ariana’s world, I created this fragrance to create an uplifting, positive and happy mood. Additionally, I wanted to transmit a feeling of openness and comfort, as if floating on a cloud.

Are there unique considerations when creating a scent for a celebrity?
When working with a celebrity, the creation process is far more personal. You must consider the individual’s unique identity and preferences throughout every stage of the process.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?
YOLO (you only live once)

If you could choose a super power, what would it be?
Flying at high speed.

Fantasy dinner guests?
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Richard Branson, Elon Musk

EMILIE COPPERMANN, SYMRISE

What does it mean to you to win the Perfume Extraordinaire award for A Lab On Fire Hallucinogenic Pearl?
It was wonderful working with A Lab on Fire who allowed me to express myself freely. I was so happy to be honored with this award, which is perhaps for me the most meaningful award given by the Fragrance Foundation, as it is bestowed by my peers. It’s the price that touches me the most! It’s a real recognition in the industry. I was also very touched by the reaction of other perfumers during the event, who were sincerely happy for me.

What is most special to you about this scent?
Against any feminine or masculine stereotype, and going beyond the trend of current perfumes. A kind of original alchemy from which emerges the unexpected, both new and familiar that brings back the emotion of a dream, an unconscious memory. A regressive invitation back in childhood with this soft leather note with strong iris facets and milky facets, very addictive without being sweet or sugary. A fragrance that creates a surprising addiction in people.

What elements or ideas inspired its creation?
My first idea was to start from the very well-known deep leather scent of De laire of the beginning of the century and to reinvent it in a modern, delicate and white signature.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?
Without any hesitation, that of babies at the time of birth. They are wrapped in a kind of musky halo, a suave smell hyper sensual without being animal. I am always incredibly surprised by the contrast between the softness and fragility of their skin and the power of this so exquisite smell that it develops. It only lasts a few days, even a few hours…

Favorite meal?
The pastry that makes the reputation of the famous Angelina shop in Paris, the Mont-Blanc, the signature of Angelina: Meringue, whipped cream, chestnut cream vermicelli. I love the contrasted textured of this dessert who is also full of history because it reminds me very much of my grandmother. We used to spend hours together in this salon de thé discussing and eating this pastry.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?
I would have loved to be a musician. It’s a bit what I try to do in perfumery, take people on an emotional journey. Nothing transport people as much as fragrances or music.

Do you have a secret talent?
A loving mother with 4 kids!

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

Today we are happy to share this edition of Accords with a focus on the very important subject of fragrance education & a look at The Fragrance Foundation’s accomplishments and future, with insight from The Notables. For our Perfumer Q&A, we asked 3 of the 2019 TFF Awards winners about their creations and inspirations.

Although we are all taking vacations to relax and recharge, TFF is busy these summer months to work on exciting Fall events and major activations that will be shared soon. Keep up to date for these announcements in our weekly Note Worthy newsletter.

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderfully fragrant summer!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

Jun

Hall of Fame – Tom Ford

Hall of Fame – Tom Ford Portrait Courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty

Hall of Fame – Tom Ford

Hall of Fame – Tom Ford Portrait Courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty

If ever a man needed no introduction, it would be Tom Ford. The Texas-born, New Mexico-raised fashion titan has transformed what the world wears and what it smells like. His recent appointment as chairman of the CFDA cements his status as national icon and tastemaker par excellence, while the impeccable pedigree of his Tom Ford Beauty and Private Blend scents—which have received several Fragrance Foundation awards worldwide—have made this year’s Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame an honor both well-deserved and timely. “Everyone in the fragrance community is looking forward to seeing Tom Ford accept this award” says Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy. “When a designer creates a brand and stays true to its DNA, it really shows.”


Ford’s love of fragrance began in childhood, and his first scent memory is of the heady rush of his grandmother’s signature perfume: Estée Lauder Youth Dew. He approaches fragrance cinematically, working with perfumers to create olfactive panoramas— masterfully using the endless nuances of scent to create mood, to amplify seduction, to invite the mind to travel and to dream. “You can live a moment in life with one scent, and you can live the same moment in life with a different scent, and you can have a completely different reaction,” he says. “Scent is one of the things that alters mood, and it’s incredibly important to alter your mood.”


The designer created Tom Ford Beauty in partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies Executive Group President, John Demsey and launched in 2006 with the now-iconic Black Orchid—a scent originally positioned for women but adopted by men. This was followed by the introduction of Ford’s premium Private Blend range in 2007 with a selection of 12 scents, many of which remain best-sellers today: Tuscan Leather, Oud Wood, Neroli Portofino and Tobacco Vanille. Similar to the way that Ford had revolutionized fashion when he became creative director of Gucci in 1994 by bringing back sensuality and modernizing notions of decadence, the unveiling of Private Blend was groundbreaking: It shifted the dialogue around what a designer fragrance could be, and raised the bar on could be accomplished within the realm of luxury niche perfume. Tom Ford Private Blend represents creativity without constraints—the palette of exquisite ingredients and the storytelling behind each scent makes them compelling not for connoisseurs, but also inspires the fragrance-curious to explore, to begin to learn the language.


“The 1990s were all about minimalism,” Ford says. “All the architecture was pared down, everything was empty, and clothing was that way, too. Fragrances became watery and bottles were transparent. Now there’s a rediscovery of things that are more complex. I’m much more baroque in my tastes.”


Tom Ford worked closely with now retired senior vice president Karyn Khoury for over a decade and has partnered with many masters of their craft, including Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Calice Becker, Shyamala and Antoine Maisondieu, Sonia Constant, Nathalie Cetto and David Apel. “I feel fortunate that the perfumers that I have worked with are among the best in the business,” Ford says. “They are the best at what they do, and I feel honored to work with them. I take every opportunity to learn what I can from them in terms of quality of ingredients or in terms of inspiration to make people dream.”


Ford has always remained adamant that his fragrances defy preconceived notions of gender, playfully flouting and rejecting the definition of his-or-hers—whether his scent collections are inspired by the rarest oud, musk, or roses, they are meant to subvert stereotypes. “I love how classically feminine ingredients, like florals, can be blended to have a masculine appeal,” he says. “For example, Neroli Portofino balances floral notes with citrus notes and amber undertones to give it more depth and texture. The Private Blend customer doesn’t necessarily care if it is labeled as masculine or feminine. They want something that is precious and unique.”


Ford rocked the industry yet again in 2017 with the launch of Fucking Fabulous, a trailblazing—and slightly shocking—lush hit of bitter almond, orris, leather, tonka bean and clary sage that sold out in a single day and is to this day the top Private Blend launch.


“I think fragrance might be more important than clothes,” Ford has said. “Because, like music or food, scent is a very direct sensory stimulant. It provokes the senses, it brings up emotion and memory and feeling.”

Game Changer – Laura Slatkin

Game Changer – Laura Slatkin Portrait by Michael Avedon

Game Changer – Laura Slatkin

Game Changer – Laura Slatkin Portrait by Michael Avedon

Beneath Laura Slatkin’s soft-spoken demeanor lies a true Woman of Action. Not only is she a fashion plate, an incomparable hostess, and a philanthropic powerhouse, she is the home fragrance pioneer we have to thank for the fact that the category has become so vital. Slatkin first introduced luxury scented candles to the US market, along with her husband Harry, with Slatkin & Co in 1992. She went on to create home fragrances for a roster of brands including Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Jonathan Adler, and launched her own blockbuster venture, NEST Fragrances, in 2008. Slatkin implicitly understands that a candle, when constructed with the complexity and nuance of an eau de parfum, can glorify our shared spaces and offer an invisible welcome when we walk into a room, while also acting as a silent but profound communicator of who we are and how we wish to move through the world. As NEST has branched out into fine fragrance and body care, the brand’s spectrum of unique and addictive scents has made it truly iconic. “When I first started the company,” Slatkin says, “I’d go to a dinner party and sit next to someone and they’d say, “What do you do?” “I have a home fragrance company called NEST Fragrances.” And they’d say, “Oh,” and go back to their dinner. But now, when I say that I founded NEST Fragrances, they say, “I love that brand!” To see someone’s face light up—that’s my measurement of success.”

How does it feel to be honored with the Game Changer award?
It’s as exciting as it is for an actress to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards. That’s how meaningful it is to me, because it’s before all of the professionals who I work with, compete with, and partner with. It’s just an extraordinary moment.

When did your love of fragrance begin?
In 1992, after I married Harry. Prior to that I worked on Wall Street, and I was buried in finance, so I didn’t really think about it. It wasn’t until my brother-in-law told me, as an interior designer, that the final touch on a beautifully decorated home is a beautiful home fragrance. He showed me that to really create an ambiance in a home and please all the senses is something extraordinary. When we got into the business, I’d never even burned a scented candle before. It just wasn’t on my radar. But the first time a perfumer brought in samples for me to smell based on the inspiration I gave him, I picked one of them up and smelled it and said, “Oh my God, this is beautiful.” It really impacted me and moved me so that I could feel my whole body transform when I inhaled this beautiful fragrance. And then we lit it, and it filled the room with the most extraordinary scent. There was no question that this was perfection. It became our Bamboo candle, which has been our number one scent for 25 years.

At the time, there was nothing else like it. Do you think that’s why it was such an immediate success?
Yes, Slatkin & Co. started with 12 fragrances and went to 24 fragrances. Saks Fifth Avenue launched us on their couture floor, which was very unique at that time. Home fragrance was usually on the eighth floor buried in the back of the bra department. After that, we grew to be the number one luxury brand and everybody started getting into the business and coming to us for help in creating their assortments. When I started NEST Fragrances in 2008, my whole premise was, why can’t every scent be a Bamboo? Let’s raise the bar. Nothing gets launched unless it moves you, and impacts you, and transports you, in the same way that Bamboo did for me when I first smelled it.

What else do you think makes NEST so special?
There are a few pillars that we stand on. Number one, the glass packaging. You can put it in any room. If you have a modern house, if your room is green, if it’s orange, if it’s purple, it still fits in. That was really important to me. We also have the highest fragrance load in the industry in terms of the amount of perfume in our candles, and we have a proprietary wax formulation that we developed over 25 years that makes the candles extremely efficacious in filling a room with scent. That’s why NEST is loved. NEST is loved because each fragrance has a really strong personality; each one creates a different mood, and that mood is very apparent when you walk into a room.

Is that what defines a good home scent for you?
It’s one that really transforms the space. So much so that when people walk in, they say, “Oh my God, it smells so good in here.” That’s my definition. Those three words, “Oh my God,” are our guiding principles.

What was your creative process when launching your fine fragrance collection?
I’m always working with master perfumers for home fragrance. And in the back of my mind, I always wanted to do fine fragrance but never had the inspiration for it. What would it look like? What would its positioning be? It never really gelled until I was sitting in the library one day looking at some art books. And I came across this book on Mrs. Delany, an 18th century botanical artist whose work really moved me. From there, I commissioned an artist to paint paintings of flowers that I really loved, and then we took the paintings to the perfumer, who used the inspiration to create the fragrances. The collection was launched exclusively at Sephora in 2013, and today we are consistently ranked between 7 and 9 against 125 or so nationally advertised brands. I think what moves the needle is the passion, the creativity, the originality, and the inspiration coming together in a way that creates an authentic story.

You recently opened your first New York flagship. Why was now the right time?
We have NEST home fragrance in Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Nordstrom. We have fine fragrance in Sephora. The body collection was launched at Ulta Beauty. So we wanted one place where we can bring all of the categories together as a story. Because that’s the future for NEST, to start to bring together the brand in home, fine fragrance, and personal care now that it’s gained such incredible traction. To be this enormously successful in fine fragrances is really groundbreaking. And there’s a different way of looking at fragrances today. It’s about having a whole wardrobe. When I wake up every morning, I have all eight fragrances in my closet and I say, “Who am I going to see today? What kind of mood do I want to create? What am I wearing?”, etc. It’s no longer about a singular scent.

What kind of sensibility were you able to bring to the table when creating fragrances for other brands?
We’ve created home fragrance for over 100 luxury brands, which has given me my PhD in fragrance. Working with perfumers, and understanding the various notes and how they blend together, was an extraordinary learning experience. But I also had to get into the psyche of every brand. What is their DNA? Aerin Lauder and Vera Wang are very different than Jonathan Adler, and very different from Ralph Lauren. Everything from the packaging, to the vessel, to the scent, it all has to be harmonious. I found it very exciting and interesting to delve into that.

While you’ve been building this empire, you’ve also found time to do so much amazing philanthropic work. What are you particularly proud of in that area?
When Harry and I started NEXT for AUTISM, we were thinking about how when our son David was first diagnosed, the best place to get an evaluation was Yale, and there was a four-year waiting list. I just kept thinking about that single woman living in Harlem, three kids, working three jobs to put food on the table, one with autism. So what I’m most proud of is the fact that we have partnered with the government to bring services to that population that doesn’t have the resources. Whether it’s our charter schools, which are located in Harlem and the Bronx, or whether it’s our brain center that we built with Columbia, Cornell, and near New York–Presbyterian Hospital, which accepts any insurance, nobody gets turned down, and provides state-of-the- art care – we’re bringing that excellence to a population that normally wouldn’t have access to that.

Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer- Dominique Ropion

Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer- Dominique Ropion Portrait by Michael Avedon

Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer- Dominique Ropion

Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer- Dominique Ropion Portrait by Michael Avedon

Dominique Ropion is known for his gentlemanly flair, his extreme diligence when concocting a juice, and a creative curiosity that knows no bounds. As a perfumer extraordinaire, his countless triumphs have included Ysatis and Amarige by Givenchy, La Vie est Belle by Lancôme, Alien by Thierry Mugler, Invictus by Paco Rabanne, and Portrait of a Lady and Carnal Flower for Frédéric Malle.


Ropion was exposed to the world of perfume at a young age. Both his mother and grandfather worked for the French fragrance house Roure, and, as a teenager, he worked there as a lab assistant. Still today he recalls, “I did not think I would ever be a perfumer,” so he went to study physics instead. As fragrance history would have it a last-minute spot opened up at the Roure school, and he decided to explore the opportunity. “I loved mathematics and science,” he explains, “but I loved much more the aesthetic side of the world. I always loved to smell, even when I was a child. I would smell everything. So in fact it was very natural for me to become a perfumer in the end.” Reading his eloquent book, smelling his exquisite creations, one cannot imagine Ropion being anything else. His passion and drive for understanding the nuances of aroma and emotion, and the many ways that thoughts and desires can be translated into a beautiful scent are what drives him. As he writes in Aphorisms of a Perfumer, “A perfume contains endless combinations with the power to rouse the most diverse sensibilities, since it is always clothed in its wearers dreams.”

How does it feel to receive this award from The Fragrance Foundation?
It is a great honor. It’s incredible. For me, my career is not finished at all, but it is a great culmination of all that I have done. It’s like a dream. An American dream!

From whom have you learned the most in your career?
The perfumery school at Roure was an excellent school, and it’s very important for, perfumers to have exceptional training. Just like it’s important for a doctor to go to a good university. After I finished school, I worked with master perfumer Jean-Louis Sieuzac for ten years. But for me, I learned the most from all the great perfumes. Shalimar for example was a master. The study of Shalimar and many other masterpieces for me was very important, it taught me a great deal.

You write about fragrance as a language. What does that mean to you?
Perfume is a kind of message. An aesthetic message. Perfume can touch you very deeply and very emotionally. And you can express yourself by wearing a perfume. It can be a part of your identity or a part of your own personality. When you decide to wear a perfume, it becomes a part of you. And when you wear it, you’re saying something to others.

How do you describe your style as a perfumer?
It is much easier for me to describe the style of other perfumers than it is for me to describe my own. But I’ve worked in every type of family in perfumery – it could be very oriental, it could be Middle Eastern, it could be very floral, anything. I like to work in all these ways. But how to define my style? I don’t know. I try to be very direct. If I’m working on a cologne, I want it to be very direct, very clear, and I would want the same thing if I were working on an oriental or anything else.

You’re known for being extremely diligent. What is the process of creation like for you?
A perfume is the result of two or three things. First of all, you have to work diligently to create a perfect composition, with a powerful message. That is basic. Just like a pianist has to know very well how to play before they can create music. So as a perfumer you must know the technique. You must know the accords, the families of the raw materials, all of the classic elements. These are your tools. If you have an idea but you don’t have the tools, you can’t make something good. Then of course creativity is very important. What is creativity? I don’t think it is easy to define, but I do know that you have to be very curious. And you have to listen to people, and be able to feel the atmosphere of the time and pulse of the world. It’s this type of mixture. It’s also a process that can take many, many trials. You can be very conceptual at the beginning. You can say, I want to make something in the spirit of Shalimar, for instance, but very modern and with a very important green effect. So that’s your direction of work and then you see what happens.

How do you know when you’ve finished? Is it instinctual?
Often there is a deadline, which is what tells you to finish. But you are never finished, in a way. Because so many directions are always possible. I’m finished when the customer tells me that they want to put that formula in the bottle. If it was up to me, I could continue forever.

Which fragrances that you’ve created are you particularly proud of?
When I created my first fragrance, I was very young. It was Givenchy Ysatis, and it was a big success. I was very surprised. I was initially surprised to have been chosen by Givenchy, and then I was very surprised that it was a big success. I am also very proud that it was liked by other perfumers, which was nice to hear and to have that respect. Of course, some perfumes are more important in the story of perfumery, but I love them all. They’re all a part of my personal history.

What gives a perfume that iconic timelessness?
There is no exact science to timelessness for me, but I do know what makes a good perfume. A good perfume is one that you can recognize immediately. You can distinguish it from all other perfumes. It’s as clear as that. You may like it or not like it, but you know it either way, like if you can say, ‘Oh, that’s Chanel No. 5..’ If you can recognize it immediately, it’s a great perfume. There are many perfumes like that, that make a statement. And those are the perfumes that will stay around forever.

You work with young perfumers – how do you recognize and nurture young talent?
It’s difficult to recognize. You can learn very well how to compose a perfume, and know the technique very well. That’s 90 percent of the creation. And we don’t know why one perfumer will do something very special while another perfumer with exactly the same training will do something else. The determination and the motivation and focus are all very important. But to know who will be the next perfumer who will create the next Chanel No. 5? This you can never predict. I’m very involved in the curriculum we developed to train our future perfumers, and have personally mentored several of them, and must say I’m particularly proud of seeing them develop and blossom, and already create market successes.

You have been called the Master of Flowers. How do floral notes continue to inspire and surprise you?
All flowers are very complex formulas that I am fascinated to analyze each time I smell one. When you analyze the smell of the flower, you begin to understand it’s a formula. One of the most incredible formulas in the world because it’s one where nature is the perfumer and the perfumer becomes the student. And you can use some elements that you’ve learned from nature and transpose that into your creation. For example, with Carnal Flower, tuberose absolute is of course very important, but around it is a lot of accords that I learned from analyzing other flowers. Compared to woods, a flower has an incredible complexity of molecules, which is of so much value to a composer.

What is your favorite smell in the world?
That is very interesting question. I love the smell of rose, and tuberose. I love the smell of florals because some of them to me, such as jasmine, are like primary colors. Then there are other things. I love the smell of skin – that’s the smell of life. I love the smell of the sea, when you take a walk along the beach and you smell the salt and the air together, that complexity. And I’m going to say something surprising, but I love the smell of the city, particularly Paris, including the multiple scents you can discover in the Paris underground. But for me, everything is inspirational and I don’t have one single favorite.

You’ve written that even terrible smells can be wonderful.
Exactly. Even smells in a farm can be wonderful and amazing. For example, where the cows are, there is a beautiful smell. It’s strong, it’s heavy, but it’s very interesting and you instinctively know it forever. Of course, it’s not the kind of smell that you would want to wear. I love the smell of the cow, and I love the smell of the rose—but I would prefer to wear the rose.

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

On the evening of June 5th, The 2019 Fragrance Foundation Awards took place at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theatre, with Jane Krakowski returning as our fabulous host. Over 900 people from the global fragrance community attended, as well as media and celebrities. We celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of the brands, perfumers and visionaries in the fragrance world.

The Fragrance Foundation celebrated 3 legends in our industry. Iconic designer, Tom Ford, received this year’s Hall of Fame award, Dominique Ropion, IFF Master Perfumer, received the Lifetime Perfumer Achievement award, and Laura Slatkin, Founder of NEST Fragrances received the Game Changer award. The Fragrance Foundation also announced its new Give Back campaign which will support NEXT for Autism, an organization founded by Laura & Harry Slatkin. The evening was a heart-felt night that was one to remember forever.

Also, as a historic first for The Fragrance Foundation Awards, the evening featured an exclusive ambient fragrance created by Dominique Ropion. The fragrance, called Fleurs d’un Soir, which translates to Flowers of the Evening, included orris root, rose, and jasmine notes.

Thank you to all of our sponsors who made the night possible — The Estée Lauder Companies, Firmenich, Givaudan, Hearst and IFF and all of our Silver and Bronze 2019 Sponsors.

A big thank you to everyone who attended to support The Fragrance Foundation’s mission – to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Accords which features insightful and exclusive interviews with Tom Ford, Dominique Ropion and Laura Slatkin!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

May

RELEVANT RETAIL: KATE OLDHAM

RELEVANT RETAIL: KATE OLDHAM
SPOTLIGHT

RELEVANT RETAIL: KATE OLDHAM

RELEVANT RETAIL: KATE OLDHAM

In the more than 20 years that she has spent at Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Oldham, the senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty, jewelry, and home, has proven to be a groundbreaker, a brand-builder, and a visionary. Since she began working with fragrances in 2002 she has revolutionized the category, and established Saks as a major player by being one of the first to recognize and celebrate the niche fragrance phenomenon. Throughout it all she’s kept her eye on the changing desires of the customer and has come up with endlessly creative ways to meet them—including the revelatory new beauty floor at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship, which opened to much acclaim last spring. Here, the Fragrance Foundation 2018 Circle of Champions honoree shares some of her peerless, and ever-enthusiastic, retail insight.

How does Saks keep retail relevant?
We challenge ourselves to look at what we’re doing every day and see how we can do things differently with the customer in mind. Our ultimate goal is not to change for change’s sake, but to change for the customer’s sake. I think to stay relevant in retail is to engage with the customer in the way they want to be engaged with, which could be moving from communicating by phone to communicating by email to communicating by text if that’s what they prefer. It’s about making a meaningful connection and never ignoring what the consumer is looking for. As consumers ourselves, we know that we’re looking for advice. We’re looking for people to think about what we need to make our lives complete. Even now, after years and years of working in the beauty industry, when I go into stores and get a makeover, I always ask what I need. Women want to know what they are missing because they’re not the experts. And I think that’s how Saks stays relevant: by being able to tell a customer what’s going to keep them up to date and also what’s going to make them feel good.

How do you do that in fragrance, specifically?
A lot of different ways. One is that we train our associates to be experts on their brand and in the beauty space and to be able to give educated information to the customer. So if a customer is looking for new fragrance and they say, “I don’t want to smell like everybody else,” they’ll show them smaller niche brands, or show them things that might be polarizing to some people. We also have fragrance founders come in and give talks on where their inspiration came from. That gives consumers a deep connection with the brand, which I think is really different than the way that customers used to shop. Now they want to know who designed something, and what their beliefs are. Are they somebody who thinks about the world in a bigger way? I think those are the stories that the customers relate to, and of course influencers matter. They talk about why something makes a connection for them. And all this connectivity is vitally important in retail today.

The beauty floor at Saks Fifth Avenue was revolutionary. How has it resonated with customers and within the industry?
Most people embrace it fully. Before, you were sitting in the middle of a very busy, highly trafficked floor getting your makeup done. And we said, “we can do better for our customer.”  Moving upstairs was a bold move. But we felt like we could truly give people a reason to come up. For fragrances in particular we had niche brands that weren’t everywhere, and we were one of the first to really give a dedicated space to fragrances, and then to customize the fragrance area so that they were grouped together by their personality rather than by the advertising persona they created. So when we moved upstairs, we wanted to make sure that we continued to be leaders in that. The customers can now sort of meander through all the fragrances, and then discover them in new ways with a specialist who can really take them on a journey. We also put the fragrances by the window where the light comes in. It makes everything sparkle.

How has the world of fragrance changed, from the standpoint of scents and brands? How has the presentation to the customer changed?
The industry used to be a top down approach, whereas we’re doing a bottom up approach: We get to know the customer, and we stay connected to them and let them know when they need something new. But we did this slowly. We brought in Bond No. 9 in 2002 and we clienteled to the customer, so  they would buy one fragrance and then we would send them three more fragrance suggestions, so we would build the customer’s fragrance wardrobe up. We also brought in one brand at a time, and getting them fully developed before we brought another brand into the store.

You’re perceived as a nurturer of brands. What does that entail?
You don’t open the door and turn on the light and have a booming business. It’s one store, one customer, one brand at a time. If I believe in the brand, I’m in it for the long haul. And as a team we really believe that if we get brands that we believe in and we know who the customers are and we look for ways to develop that customer and that fragrance, then it will continue to grow over the years into a really prosperous and vibrant business. We don’t just think it’s going to happen in five minutes. But the world has changed and so has the speed in which the expectations are set. Before, a brand would come it, whether it was a treatment brand, a color brand or a fragrance brand, and you would expect it to take maybe two or three years to grow a really solid foundation. Now, because of the influencer world and the social media world, the expectation is that you should come in and grow double digits every year. So we’ve started to roll out brands faster and in more doors, and that’s been successful. I still don’t believe in bringing in hundreds of brands a year, I prefer being patient. But I also always want to be on the forefront of the curve.

What do you think makes a fragrance brand successful?
The authenticity of the brand. It’s that they have thought about who they are, where they want to be in the fragrance world, what they want to represent and why. And really sticking to it. I can name hundreds of them. Ex Nihilo, Bond, Creed, Kilian, Jo Malone, all of those brands know who they are. And they want to bring something to the customer that hasn’t been seen before. I love that. I think this is why fragrance is so interesting right now because people are not creating a story around a fragrance, they’re creating a fragrance, and that becomes the story.

As someone who loves to travel, do you also love to check out other department stores when you’re off the clock?
When my son was little, he used to say to me, “Oh please mom, don’t make me go into another store when we’re on vacation,” but I can’t stop myself. It’s exciting to see what other stores do, and I’m always inspired by their thinking. London department stores are different from department stores in Paris or in Tokyo or in Italy. I’d be a fool not to look at every single thing when I travel. It’s really fun.

Do you collect fragrances yourself at home?
I have a lot of fragrances, as you can imagine, but I don’t collect them per say. I have a lot and I love them all. It’s an interesting thing, I love the bottles so I always have several on my dresser. I don’t always wear them—but I love the way they look.

What does your involvement with the Fragrance Foundation mean to you?
I am so proud to be part of the Board of Directors at the Fragrance Foundation. I get to see the passion Linda and the board really have and how they are always thinking of ways to improve the fragrance business, both for retailers and brands.  



AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS
SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS

AMBIENT SCENT: CAROLINE FABRIGAS

Caroline Fabrigas is the CEO of Scent Marketing Inc., a full-service Scent and Sensory Marketing company, which creates signature ambient fragrances for companies to feature in spaces such as hotel lobbies and shops in order to cultivate an atmosphere that draws customers in and resonates with brand values. Previously, Caroline held senior positions in the corporate beauty world.

How do you define ambient scent?

Ambient scent is one of the most influencing factors in brand communication. It is one of the fastest and most effective ways to express the values, emotions and ethos of a brand. Ambient scent acts as the background, the canvas against which all else plays. It works to enhance all other branding elements such as a brand’s logo, color palette, vocal identity and sound track. In fact, it is a brand’s logo in the air: A well crafted ambient scent is an invisible influencer that envelops you, whispers a brands message in a deep, meaningful, and indelible way.

Scent Marketing has allowed me to gain a total appreciation for the art of fragrance and the talented perfumers who translate our brand briefs into magical scented compositions that embody a brand. And, through my experience with scent marketing, I’ve come to see how scent impacts our lives at every level. It touches our emotions, provokes our memories and even enhances every experience making it richer and more multifaceted.

How do your partners feel about bringing scent into their environment?

More and more companies are recognizing the influencing factors of ambient scent today. Brands are actively embracing the creation of signature scents and  get really excited about the scent development process as it often allows them to revisit the core values, philosophies and true mission as we consider how to express these through aroma. Our partners welcome the opportunity to use their signature scent to inspire their consumer base and internal teams and often charge their communities to help in the naming process.

Scent marketing not only enhances a consumer or guest experience but can also provide a lasting revenue stream for brands as the signature scent expands into scent extensions and a multitude of scent extensions. A successful signature scent becomes a part of a memorable experience and guests/clients often want to take a souvenir home with the which leads to the development of host of scent extensions for retail sale.

It’s wonderful to see the power that a signature scent, artfully crafted and perfectly delivered, can impact on a client’s brands, and to be a part of that growth is very fulfilling.

How does ambient scent affect people when they walk into a room, retail store or experience?

It’s fascinating to watch people enter a space with ambient scent. Reactions range from verbal outbursts exclaiming immediate love of the aroma, while others seems to relax and breath more easily as the environment envelops them and all at once they are at one with their surroundings. Some people don’t notice it at all but later report feeling good in the space and spent more time there than planned.

In the digital world, how is scent especially important?

As the world becomes more digital, the role of the brick-and-mortar has changed. A trip to a brick and mortar location must now offer more than an array of great merchandise it must also provide a unique consumer experience through multi-sensorial touch points. To this end ambient scent is one of the most powerful ways to capture share of mind and wallet.

How would you diffuse scent at a major event?

Scent marketing is a true balance of art and science and this is never more evident than when using ambient scent at a major event. The art of creating the “right” scent to communicate the desired message and align with the decor is key. However, it is through the science of diffusion that perfumer’s magic comes alive. Diffusers need to be accurately selected for the size and scale of the space, they need to be located precisely where the presence of scent is desired and finally they are calibrated to match scent velocity (level of scent in the air).

Ambient scent is the invisible influencer. You cannot see it, feel it or hear it….only the scent of a memorable immersive experience remains.

Perfumers’ Q&A

WHAT THE NOSE KNOWS

Perfumers’ Q&A

RODRIGO FLORES-ROUX, GIVAUDAN

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Omnipotent.

Best advice you’ve been given?
In perfumery, never trust the first accord. In life in general, patience attains everything.

What’s the biggest change you’d like to see in the perfumery industry?
Overall, our industry underates the power and value of time. Time is a priceless commodity, and as they say, Rome wasn’t built in one day. It would be so wonderful to literally “stop and smell the roses” and take our time to reflect and create. The final product would be soooo much better!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I pride myself in being a good friend, so having many great friends makes me immensely happy. I deeply treasure my friendships. They are such great gifts, such great privileges.

What’s one thing that everyone should try in their lifetime?
I’m Mexican, so I must answer: eating INSECTS.


ANNE FLIPO, IFF

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
It would be Bach Saint Matthew Passion “O mensch bewein dein Sünde gross.” The bucolic and celestial evocation of this Bach masterpiece, a divine tribute to mankind: the open field, the insects buzzing, the scents of fresh grass and air rustling, the voices of happy people in it.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
Wild lily of the valley: so fresh, direct, complex, vibrant, rich, good. Every year it’s a rebirth.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to breathe… I’ve learned to take advantage of life, to truly master my destiny and everything I enjoy.

Favorite travel destination?
New York, where I feel at home.

What is your favorite meal, and where?
Veal kidneys at home.


NATHALIE LORSON, FIRMENICH

Favorite non-perfume smell?
Cut grass or Christmas pine trees.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children.

Favorite travel destination?
The Polynesian islands.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
A journey of addiction.

Best advice you’ve been given?
To enjoy life.  To truly profit from everything that life has to offer.

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop
The Latest From Linda

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

We hope you find this month’s Accords articles as exciting and insightful as we do!

Our TFF 2018 Circle of Champions Honoree, Kate Oldham shares the latest about the new Saks flagship and more. Being relevant in retail is forever challenging and Kate’s take on this subject is impactful. As an ex-retailer myself, I know the challenges continue every day to make retail exciting, so I look forward to this evolution with retailers everywhere where fragrances should be experiential.

The development of ambient fragrance in diverse spaces is an important new dimension for fragrances on a global basis. So Caroline Fabrigas’ ability to pivot in the industry and work closely with fragrance houses and brands to deliver new fragrant experiences is exciting. Together with Caroline, The Fragrance Foundation looks forward to delighting you in June!

Our Q&A with talented Perfumers continues this month. Rodrigo, Anne and  Nathalie each share some personal insights which allow us to learn more about their creativity.

The countdown is on with less than a month until the June 5th TFF Awards. We are extremely proud to honor this year’s  Hall of Fame Honoree, Tom Ford, Lifetime Achievement Perfumer, Dominique Ropion, and Game Changer, Laura Slatkin. At the Awards, these three fabulous Honorees will be there to celebrate the big night. Do not miss this opportunity to be there in person….or follow along on Instagram as the event unfolds live!

Looking forward to seeing you June 5th for the BIG night,

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

Apr

THE PIONEER: ANN GOTTLIEB

THE PIONEER: ANN GOTTLIEB
SPOTLIGHT

THE PIONEER: ANN GOTTLIEB

THE PIONEER: ANN GOTTLIEB

Industry icon Ann Gottlieb, the Fragrance Foundation’s 2018 Hall of Fame honoree, has forged a career as a true pioneer in the perfume industry—not only because she invented her own unique business as a fragrance developer, but because she was one of the first women to blaze such an impactful path. Now she’s committed to paying it forward and helping guide more women to leadership positions in the world of scent. Last month, Gottlieb moderated the Fragrance Foundation’s Women in Fragrance Panel, where she was joined by Emily Bond, head of the North America Fine Fragrance Division at Givaudan, Veronique Ferval, Global VP of Fine Fragrance Creation at Symrise, Ana Paula Mendonca, VP Regional General Manager for North America Consumer Fragrance at IFF, and Dara Quinlan, VP of Fine Fragrance Development at Firmenich, for lively discussion about the unique challenges they all faced on their ascent, and ways they can open the door for future generations. Here, the woman who started in an entry level job at Estée Lauder and went on to launch such mega-hits as Calvin Klein Obsession and Dior J’Adore shares some of her own stories as well as her vision for what lies ahead.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing women in fragrance?

Fragrance is a specific business model, in that there’s not a lot of departing and joining the business from outside industries. There’s also not a lot of movement at the top levels, so there aren’t many leadership roles coming up. That’s a frustration for everyone, but especially for women. We have to get more women into senior positions. Once it starts, it will grow.

You asked the women on the panel when they knew they had achieved a position of true leadership. What was that moment for you?

One of the reasons this all came about was because of the speech that I made at the Fragrance Foundation awards, when I talked about how long it took me to be able to own my success. When I went to work at Lauder, there was one other working woman there who had children. I was really a maverick—I didn’t know what I was doing, or what the rules were. And I just didn’t grow up in an environment where I believed that I was responsible for my successes, even with all of the wins that my fragrances had. Receiving the award really impacted my view of my relationship with the industry. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t feel that I was worthy, it’s that I always I measured myself against the men who handled business. And in acknowledging the award, I realized that the function I serve is just as important in terms of the success of our industry.

What came up in the panel conversation that surprised you?

Something I applaud and know is right is the importance of doing something that’s out of your comfort zone. You take something on that makes you miserable at first, but once you master it, it becomes a true success. When you see what you can do, it trains you to do more. Everybody agreed how important that was. And each one of the panelists had an experience of that happening in her career.

What was your big leap?

Starting my business and having to be on my own. I had done fine in corporate life, and was comfortable with not being the head of a company. Though I was on an upward trajectory, I never thought that I could do it on my own. But deciding to try it became the biggest moment in my career.

You also talked about how scary it felt to step away from your career and return to it after maternity leave. Do you think everyone has a similar experience?

Yes. Everybody’s scared about that because they don’t know if they’ll have their jobs when they get back. Because I was such a pioneer, I was scared to take time off. I was scared to tell my boss that I had a doctor appointment to take my child for a check-up. I wanted to be seen as somebody for whom having children did not impact my ability to do my job.

I’m hoping now that talking about it can help women who are going through this understand that they are not alone. I would love for them to know that this is something we are very aware of and that we, as women who are in leadership positions, are really going to focus on: what we can do to help the women rising through the ranks deal with work-life balance.

What are some of the things you think can be done?

There’s always safety in numbers, so I think that people knowing that there are so many people who have the same issues is helpful in itself. Also, there have to be a lot of tips that women can offer that might help somebody else. I have no idea what kinds of suggestions will come out, but I believe that every woman has her own set of recommendations. No matter what, it has to be positive because it goes from nothing to something. It’s all about keeping the conversation going.

—April Long

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019
SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019

FRAGRANCE DAY 2019

Following its momentous introduction by the Fragrance Foundation on March 21st last year, Fragrance Day 2019 was greeted with enthusiasm by members, consumers, and retailers, all of whom worked together to give this year’s celebrations tremendous visible impact. The Fragrance Foundation kicked it off with an Instagram campaign that ran from March 1st to the 21st, highlighting powerful portraits of 15 perfumers taken by esteemed photographer Michael Avedon, as well as brief video interviews. TFF also introduced highly popular fragrance giveaways to galvanize engagement with consumers—and these posts, featuring beautiful images of scents such as Dior Joy, Marc Jacobs Daisy, and Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime, generated lively conversation and interest, tallying up more than 10,000 comments on the Fragrance Foundation feed.  On March 7th, Avedon’s portraits were displayed at the Italian Trade Commission for a media launch event attended by the perfumers themselves and industry leaders which garnered 130,000 media impressions. And the media went on to toast Fragrance Day warmly: The March 21st celebration was covered in L’Officiel, Forbes, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue, among many others.

On Instagram, Fragrance Day was hard to miss: Over 60 TFF brands and retailers celebrated #nationalfragranceday on Instagram, reaching a combined total of 200 million followers. Influencers such as Mona Kattan called out Fragrance Day in Instagram Stories, and Sephora—with 17 million followers—spotlighted the event on Instagram Live. In stores, retailers such as Bond No. 9, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and Tom Ford hosted special events and displayed bold signage in windows and on counters to recognize and promote the significance of March 21st, giving Fragrance Day 2019 even wider reach.

“Fragrance Day March 21st continues to gain momentum as retailers and brands join the annual celebration,” says Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy. “Although many agree every day is Fragrance Day, The Fragrance Foundation leads the charge to spread the word to consumers. As always, we work to spread the message based on our mission: to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance. We have so much more to discover as perfumers share their insights and creativity through storytelling.”

— April Long

Perfumers’ Q&A

WHAT THE NOSE KNOWS

Perfumers’ Q&A

JEROME EPINETTE, ROBERTET

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
Passion, curiosity, humility.

What’s the biggest change you’d like to see in the perfume industry?
More creation and less consumer tests.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
I learned the most important thing: The perfume organ (hundreds of natural and synthetic ingredients).

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Magic! Perfume is an extraordinary tool to make you dream and to make you feel good. Fragrance is able to reach emotions you have deep inside.

What are you working on mastering?
I am working on creating with a limited numbers of ingredients, and also bringing an element of surprise to each of my fragrances.


STEPHEN NILSEN, GIVAUDAN

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
I just finished reading David Foster-Wallace’s quintessential meta-modern novel Infinite Jest and I would love to create a fragrance as prescient as this 20 year old novel. I imagine it to be an abstract, pheromone-like scent that is musky and nearly animalic with passively diffusive notes representing the humanity of every individual voice in the crowd.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of dry shower tiles in the morning with the first condensation from the hot steam. It is a subtle and evanescent scent that I probably love because it is tied up in that nearly euphoric half-dream state between sleep and coffee.

Best advice you’ve been given?
I was trained in perfumery by the AMAZING Calice Becker, and she told me that in order to become a perfumer I would need to learn to lose 99 times before I could learn to win once.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Knitting!

What are you working on mastering?
…please see guilty pleasure!


CHRISTELLE LAPRADE, SYMRISE

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Bird in Space by Constantin Brâncusi would be my choice. Everything about it expresses movement through minimalist lines. It’s a mix of purity, balance, simplicity. Powerful yet delicate. My rendition of it would be as minimalist as possible, built around one star ingredient: Symrise’s high impact captive Amberwood note.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of my children’s skin when they were babies.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness can take many different shapes and forms but it’s fleeting. That’s what makes it so precious. The key is to recognize it when you see it.

The three qualities that got you where you are today:
Passion, focus and resilience.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
CHOCOLATE. I have to have it every day!

The Inside Scoop With Padma and Mona

The Inside Scoop With Padma and Mona

At The Finalists’ Luncheon on April 5th, we got the inside scoop from our hostess, Padma Lakshmi, and 2019 Instagrammer of the Year, Mona Kattan, about all things scent.


Padma Lakshmi, 2019 Fragrance Foundation Finalists’ Luncheon Hostess

Padma Lakshmi

What’s your first scent memory?
My first scent memory is from when I was just a toddler, and it’s the aroma of mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves frying in a small iron ladle that my grandmother would hold over a flame. That to me is so evocative of southern India and southern Indian cooking. Curry leaves taste and smell differently when they’re fresh versus when they’re fried. So you can literally smell how they go from that green, herbaceous spiky smell to a very nutty, oily fatty smell. That is my first scent memory of fragrance.

What’s the relationship for you between fragrance and food?
There’s an inherent relationship. Both involve alchemy, both involve mixing and measuring, top and bottom notes. You have to have a sense of artistry, and you have to know the science, but underneath all of that you have to understand that, whether it’s with a dish or with a perfume, we’re trying to evoke a feeling or an emotion. All good fragrance and all good cooking is narrative – because you’re trying to transport that person who is wearing the fragrance or eating the food to a place of joy. You want them to feel loved and beautiful, and that beauty comes from within, it comes from an emotion.

Do you remember the first fragrance that you bought?
Calvin Klein Obsession. I loved the spiciness. In India, fragrance is a big part of the beauty ritual but not necessarily with bottled perfume. When I was a young girl, we would have our hair washed and have an oil bath, and then we would have a little wok with coals on it. We’d put dried bits of a resin from the styrax tree on it. You would lay down with your head on the lap of an older woman and she would take locks of your hair and dry it with the heat from the coals so that the smoke would go through your hair and perfume it. It’s a very strong, heavy scent. Obviously incense is a big part of our culture, and also the smell of hand sewn tuberose flower garlands at the temples. All of the sensual trappings that fragrance has always come with, were a big part of the rituals I had growing up.  I always associated fragrance with femininity. All of these smells of growing up and developing as a woman, they haunt me, like imaginary emotional strings.

Do you have a signature scent?
I make my own perfume. I just mix up a tincture with organic essential oils. Right now I’m wearing a lot of neroli, geranium, and grapefruit, with just a little jasmine, black pepper and rosemary.

The Fragrance Foundation’s mission is to inspire the world to experience the artistry and passion of fragrance. What does that mean to you?
I think it’s so important, because the world is a very fast-paced place. Especially with social media, everything is revving up. The beauty of fragrance is that in order to produce it and in order to experience it, you have to slow down. I love that. It’s an experience that you have to have in the moment, every time. That, to me, is a beautiful, ephemeral, sensual pleasure that cannot be transmitted any other way than viscerally.


Mona Kattan, Fragrance Foundation 2019 Instagrammer of the Year

Mona Kattan

What’s your earliest scent memory?
My earliest memory of scent is jasmine. My father used to pick jasmine flowers all the time, and my mom used to wear a jasmine perfume. So the smell of jasmine always brings back memories of my parents, and that feeling of warmth and comfort.

What was the first fragrance you bought?
I got my first job when I was 14, and I bought myself two fragrances. One was Curve for Women, and the other was Lancome’s Oui. I bought them at Walmart! They were super special to me, and I treasured them.

Do you have a signature scent?
I’m always wearing all of the fragrances we’re working on. It’s so much fun to test the scents that are in development. And of course I wear them when they’re finished. But I do love other brands, too. I love Baccarat, Bond No. 9, and Byredo. I’m such a perfumer junkie – I think there’s something from every brand that I love.

How does fragrance make you feel when you wear it?
It gives me energy. It gives me life. Especially when I’m exhausted, or I’m having a bad day. I spray a really nice fragrance, and I feel happy. It makes me feel sexy, empowered, confident, and strong.

The Fragrance Foundation’s mission is to inspire the world to discover the passion and artistry of fragrance. What does that mean to you?
I find the Fragrance Foundation’s mission so special, because as a fragrance junkie, I feel like there’s so much room within in the industry for people to care more. Even as a resource for research and education – I think that area is so under-served, and the Fragrance Foundation is doing such a good job of becoming the voice of fragrance, getting all of the partners together in the room. The Fragrance Foundation is so important and really hope they keep growing and doing more because fragrance really is an industry that needs and deserves a lot more attention.


Thank you to our Finalists’ Luncheon Hostess, Padma Lakshmi, and 2019 Instagrammer of the Year, Mona Kattan, for making this event unforgettable. Tune in next month for the next addition of Accords.

Don’t miss a sniff,

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

Mar

The 2018 Game Changer: Frédéric Malle

The 2018 Game Changer: Frédéric Malle
SPOTLIGHT

The 2018 Game Changer: Frédéric Malle

The 2018 Game Changer: Frédéric Malle

It’s no exaggeration to say that The 2018 Fragrance Foundation Game Changer award winner Frédéric Malle has changed the way the world smells. Not only has his house, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle, affected the character of perfumes in general—which, with the birth of the niche category, have become more luxurious and complex since he introduced the concept of high-quality perfumer-led scents 20 years ago—his unique, individualized retail strategy has also revolutionized the way that consumers approach and appreciate fragrance. Here, he ponders the power of dedication and reveals what he’s most looking forward to.

What do you find most challenging in your work?
“It can take about a year, sometimes more, to get a perfume together, and it’s a constant back and forth between judging in a very instinctive way and then going back to a perfumer and talking rationally. It’s an exhausting combination of having to stay almost innocent, and also being very technical. And that grueling one-year effort is ultimately to please people who will judge your work in less than 30 seconds. It takes so much methodical work to create a perfume aimed at touching people’s hearts and instincts instantly. But there is another contrast in scale in perfumery, which is the intimacy of two people working in a lab and the amount of people that a finished perfume can touch. People have stopped me and said, ‘My life is different since I started to wear Portrait of a Lady or Carnal Flower.’ That’s wonderful.”

Why do think it’s so important to take this time for creation?
“Technique is very important—working progressively and rationally and checking each ingredient. The first step is to create a general sketch like a clay model of a sculpture, and then you refine that model slowly but surely. That way, you know each ingredient is in the right proportion. And if you have to do it again, because everything is relative in the formula, you do it again until you have the perfect shape. It’s a mixture of technique and patience. You can’t cut corners. That’s the way I’ve worked since I started perfumery 30 years ago. Every material is reviewed one after the other, until we find the exact balance. The quest is always to turn it into something as perfect as possible without making it boring or too perfect. You can talk to any artist in any field and they will say the same. Not everybody does this long process, but I think what gives depth to a perfume is this quality, even though when you are doing it it’s very tedious. People have a very romantic vision where they think these things are made on a whim or in a simple moment of inspiration. Great perfumes seem obvious, but in fact to appear that obvious you have to suffer through formulas that are very imperfect for a while.”

What do you think gives a great perfume its power?
“When you have a great work of art around you, it feeds you. It elevates you and there an energy that comes out of that piece on your wall—and perfume gives you that, too. It empowers you and also people who cross your path. When you see a painting by Picasso, you might think, ‘oh what a simple brush stroke,’ but in fact there are thousands of hours of drawing behind it, so there is power in the brushstroke, and confidence which speaks very loudly, and makes the painting very powerful. Even though you don’t know about them, those thousands of hours are speaking to you. And I think it’s the same with perfume. Great perfumes, like Portrait of a Lady or Musc Ravageur took thousands of hours that aren’t obvious in a little drop of liquid. But that drop of liquid has encapsulated all that energy that we put in it, and is released into the public, and that’s why these perfumes are so touching. That’s what we try to do, and every perfume is designed to become hopefully classic tomorrow, a little monument of its kind.”

What impact do you think Editions de Parfums has had on the industry?
“When I started out 20 years ago, we had arrived at a point where image was everything and perfume was put to the side. The idea was to put perfume back in the center and put perfumers forward, which is what the Fragrance Foundation is doing now. It’s a funny thing because it was a novel idea then and it was seen as a bit of a revolution, that people were talking about the real authors of perfumes. But for me then it was such justice and such a good story, that I always questioned why no one had done it before. I have this constant quest to tell the truth. And I think the business will in general win if we manage to do that. It’s so important to portray the perfumers and express the fact that they have different styles—like Picasso has a different style than Matisse. It’s talking about ingredients, it’s talking about the way we work, and explaining to people how we smell, and the benefit that scent can give you. We’re trying to do that every day in a humble way.”

What are you excited about for the future?
“There are so many incredible young perfumers. It’s a little bit like in music, where you see young kids playing astonishingly well. A few years ago, I was concerned that the perfumers that I started my business with, who were really the icons of this business, were slowly reaching retirement age. And I didn’t know was next because the following generation had just been given bestsellers and told, ‘give me one like this but more fruity.’ They didn’t really come up with something that started on a white sheet of paper. They worked too fast, and didn’t learn technique. But now there is a very strong generation coming up behind them. You have kids in their twenties who are super, super good. They were ten or sometimes younger when we opened our house, so they grew up smelling things that we made or smelling classics and then they started to work with talented perfumers capable of passing the culture on to them. So the exciting thing I’m doing now is working with this new generation who are having their chance. I think the future is going to be very good.”

—APRIL LONG

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon
SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon

The Photographer’s Eye: Michael Avedon

I’ve always been drawn to scent because of its associations with memory, and the way it draws you back to a time or a place or a person. When I return to Southeast Asia and smell the exotic and strange scents there, for example, I immediately get a bolt of the same awe I felt when I first went at the age of 16. I find perfumers’ talents, and their ability to compartmentalize scent, absolutely astonishing.

For this project, I photographed 15 perfumers from the major houses, and they were all extremely delightful and kind. My overall impression was that they had a tremendous discipline and work ethic, and a strong sense of new beginnings. Like Bob Dylan said, “You should always be in a state of becoming,” and I could tell that they all had a creative charge to keep creating, and to always push the boundaries.

They were all photographed in the same environment of tranquility, in a kind of ethereal, angelic, glowing white light. That removed them from the lab, and gave everything a softness and delicacy.

The idea was to incorporate objects that were important to them, so I worked with capturing a sense of who they were through the visual interplay with their chosen object. It was interesting for me, because I’m usually just focusing on people, but this was about finding a psychological compromise between the object and the sitter.

Some were challenging because when you have an object that’s rather large it can take a lot of attention from the viewer, and I wanted to emphasize the perfumer’s identity and their spirit while also portraying an object near and dear to them. The objects ranged from a bust of Buddha to dancing shoes to a wonderful piece of art created by a dear colleague. It was fantastic, and galvanizing, to see this dialogue between the sitter and the thing that was so important to them.

— MICHAEL AVEDON

Perfumers’ Q&A

WHAT THE NOSE KNOWS

Perfumers’ Q&A

ALBERTO MORILLAS, FIRMENICH

What is your favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of the Mediterranean Sea.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Acqua di Gio. I was born in Seville, Spain, where we dreamed of the sea all summer long–its freshness and great, untamed force. I wanted to bring this to life in a scent. I’m proud that Acqua di Gio has remained popular around the world since its launch in 1996, and is now successful with a new generation.

What is your favorite travel destination?
London for creation and Seville for emotion.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Emotion!

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?
When we wear a scent, we succumb to its spell. A fragrance that stands the test of time is recognizable and appreciated everywhere, across both hot and cold climates. It must create a deep emotional connection to the person who wears it.


LINDA SONG, GIVAUDAN

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
In The Mood For Love, the film by Wong Kar-Wai. The beauty of the film comes from its subtlety and unspoken meaning. The fragrance should be the same in translating the images and music into heartbreakingly beautiful olfactive emotions.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
My mother’s cooking. The smells of both savory and sweet of Korean cuisine take me home.

The three qualities that got you where you are today?
Curiosity, determination, and enthusiasm.

Favorite travel destination?
Wherever I’m going next. Cape Town holds a special place in my heart, and I was humbled at a recent trip to the incredible city of Petra. Currently planning a trip to the American southwest and hiking in the Swiss Alps.

What’s one thing everyone should try in their lifetime?
Jumping off the proverbial cliff. People are more capable than they think they are and just need to face the fear and try it.


RALF SCHWIEGER, MANE

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
James Purdy, wrote a book called Narrow Rooms which has haunted me since I first read it in the 80’s. It is a sultry, passionate, somewhat violent story which takes place in the southern United States. The fragrance would smell like longing, and the sublimation of the human experience, from blood, grease and tears. Lots of indole!

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The human body…so many nooks and crannies to explore.

The three qualities that got you where you are today:
I’ll give you six: Chance, creativity, curiosity, happiness, humility, humor.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
To cope with boredom.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Transfiguration

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Accords!

We are very proud to bring you new featured articles this month from two outstanding creative forces, plus our monthly Q&A with three perfumers.

This month our two main features focus on the creative perspectives of TFF 2018 Game Changer award honoree Frédéric Malle, and world renowned photographer Michael Avedon.

Frédéric shares his creative process with perfumers, and it will be clear to all why he calls himself an “editor.” Michael Avedon shares what he learned from the fifteen perfumers he photographed for our Fragrance Day celebration, and how he captured the soul and spirit of each individual with their personal object. Be sure to see these portraits as well as videos of the perfumers featured in the countdown to Fragrance Day March 21st on Instagram @fragrancefoundation. We are shining a spotlight on the perfumers, as they are the artists of the industry.

Very exciting news from The Fragrance Foundation will be announced in the next few weeks. We will be revealing a fantastic hostess for our April 5th Finalists Luncheon in NYC, as well as the Instagrammer of the Year & Face of the Year who will receive awards on April 5th. Also, we will be announcing the big three 2019 honorees for the June 5th TFF Awards: Hall of Fame Honoree, Lifetime Achievement Perfumer, and Game Changer. If you cannot attend these events, you can follow along on Instagram as they happen live.

Just in case you missed the premiere issue of Accords last month, it is still available: John Demsey’s forecast for the future of fragrances, 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Olivier Cresp’s view of addiction, and the first round of Perfumer Q&As.

As the fragrance community participates in the countdown to Fragrance Day March 21st, please be sure to follow us @fragrancefoundation.

Don’t miss a sniff,

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

Feb

The Forecast: John Demsey

The Forecast: John Demsey
Spotlight

The Forecast: John Demsey

The Forecast: John Demsey

Anyone who knows John Demsey—and isn’t that everyone?—would call him a visionary. As Estée Lauder Companies Executive Group President, Demsey is the man who built MAC from a cult makeup artist brand to the global colossus it is today, and who ushered a staggeringly successful roster of brands into the Lauder fold, including Tom Ford Beauty, By Kilian, Jo Malone, and Le Labo. We sat down with the legendary business bellwether in his bright, book-bestrewn office to see what’s in the air for fragrance in 2019.

How would you describe the state of fragrance today?

We have a resurgent fragrance business in the United States, with changing dynamics, new brands, new distribution, new challenges, new opportunities. We’re seeing a resurgence in designer fragrances. We’re seeing what started as niche perfumery becoming increasingly more important to the overall mix of business and actually to the point of tipping the market dynamics. The stakes are different these days. You don’t see the frequency of the big media buy launches that you saw a few years ago. And a big launch today is a fraction of what a big launch was five or 10 years ago. There’s more focus on methodical brand building, test and learn, and scaling up businesses once they get traction.

What do you think will keep the upswing going?

We have a lot of success in the fragrance business today treating brands as not just fragrances, but worlds or destinations. We’re seeing a lot of brands that are based more on the craft or the luxury experiential components of the product, and less on the traditional promotion. Our fastest growing brand in North America is Le Labo, which has no visuals, no tester units, no advertising. We’re also going into our 11th year of Tom Ford, with unbelievable success. Unparalleled growth at very high price points with amazing juice and amazing digital storytelling and an amazing point of sale experience—and a decade’s worth of consistent Fifi awards. I like to think that we’ve had something to do with actually shaping the way that the industry is going. Because it feels to me that we’re returning to the most important things—the product, the package, and the emotional connection. I see a trading up, a focus on olfactive disruptions, and less a sea of sameness.

How has social media changed the way that fragrance is marketed and consumed?

It’s a bit of a pain point. The traditional fragrance business was about strategic sampling, getting the scent out, getting people in store, and telling a story. I’m not sure that the how-to-video influencer sensation that’s been the big driver of a huge acceleration of the makeup business lends itself to the same sort of multiplier effect for fragrance. Social media is very good in terms of amplifying brand stories, distributing films or publicity or ingredient or harvesting stories. But I haven’t seen the tipping point where it can replace some of the other techniques that are used to market and launch fragrances.

What’s your personal Instagram strategy?

I do it as therapy for myself. I don’t do it for anybody to follow me. People are always surprised that I actually have that subversive sense of humor, or that my impossible mashup of high low and culture even exists. They think I hire someone to fabricate it. But it’s truly authentic to me. I don’t show my daughter. I don’t go too far in. But I show what I like, which is part of who I am.

You’re a voracious consumer of pop culture and social media. How do you stay on top of everything?

I still try to buy every magazine on the newsstand, though there aren’t as many, which is sad. But the good news is, in the virtual world, there’s always a YouTube post. There’s always a new Instagram. And whenever I get together with friends, they always tell me about new people to follow. I find it incredibly exciting and fun. I like discovering, I’m curious. And I think my insurance policy for being in this business is I have a 10-year-old daughter and I’m experiencing the world through her eyes and her aspirations and her media habits.

The fragrance brands you’ve brought into Lauder aren’t just successful, or even merely cool, they have something more. What’s the secret sauce?

They’re all subject matter experts, artistic and creative at the core, and have an olfactive arc and a concept. Frederic Malle is the publisher of the greatest perfumers in the world. By Kilian is the master of perfume as art and perfume as seduction. Le Labo is the ultimate artisanal fragrance. Tom Ford is the new luxury and the new aspiration. They’re all rooted in something very authentic and very real. And they all have amazing products behind their successes, not just stories.

What qualities are you looking for in acquisitions now?

I’m looking for something that we’ll be talking about 20 years from now. We’re not in the business of just selling products, we’re in the business of selling and creating brands for the long term. Something that has the germ of an idea that can live generations past that idea—that’s what I ultimately look for.

What’s your biggest 2019 prediction?

What’s successful at this moment will continue to be successful. And what will be successful in 2029 is already out there, we just don’t know it yet. The world goes in buckets of 10 years.


—April Long

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp
SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp

Addiction According to Olivier Cresp

The Fragrance Foundation 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer

Perfume is my life. Perfumers are addicted to this all-consuming work we love and to the rush of excitement we experience when we’ve created something truly new.

Every generation of the Cresp family loved sweets. My childhood memories are of cakes baking; as a child I had even had my own specialty: candied fruit cakes. So it’s not surprising that one of my creations was Angel by Thierry Mugler, which opened the door to a new olfactive family: the gourmand.

I decided to combine edible, sugary notes like licorice, honey, and special vanillas. This led to praline mixed with cocoa to add a chocolate inflection to patchouli. Something very addictive resulted!

Gourmand scents transport us through the power of olfactory memory. Easily recognizable and reassuring, their “edible” quality makes gourmand scents irresistible.

Another addictive fragrance I am proud to have created is Dolce Gabbana Light Blue, a surprising combination of sexy, warm woods and inviting citrus notes. One of the earliest woody fragrances for women, it continues to be successful.

I believe today’s consumers – especially millennials living in big cities like London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sao Paolo – want to live life intensely. They travel the world, which is more accessible now because of the internet, and enjoy extreme sports for the strong sensations they impart. Living life to the fullest, they have lots of energy, and seek immediate gratification, so the scents they wear must complement their complex lives. They must be both comforting and captivating to grab and hold their attention.

Addictive ingredients and fragrances, then, are more relevant today than ever and still resonate strongly with me. I’m proud that, in October, 2018, I launched my own niche brand with my daughter Anais, an architect, and her husband Jack. Called AKRO, which means “addicted” in French, it is a collection of daring and disruptive unisex fragrances inspired by uncontrollable, delicious dependencies – the simple pleasures of life that keep us coming back for more!
My work is figurative. I prefer working with something tangible rather than abstract. I enjoy reproducing the actual smells around me and then making them wearable, with wonderful diffusion. So this project suits my creative style very well.

Each AKRO fragrance relates to a different time of day –and the little daily personal indulgences. AWAKE is a delicious combination of coffee, cardamom and caffeine to start the day right, like our morning expresso. Next, we reach for the DARK – an intense chocolate note to finish our midday meal. We might follow that with SMOKE – naturally addictive notes of tobacco leaves with nicotine. Then we unwind after work with intoxicating MALT and its vapors of whiskey and rum. Now it’s NIGHT – and the animalic allure of “dirty rose,” agarwood and cumin notes evoke the nocturnal pleasures of sex. Finally, HAZE and the daze we’re in from cannabis and cardamom, letting go with a joint after a long, often stressful day at work.

Personally, I am addicted to dark chocolate with a good espresso, so DARK and AWAKE both fit my personality well. Maybe AKRO’s tagline should be “Wear without Moderation”!

— OLIVIER CRESP

Perfumers’ Q&A

WHAT THE NOSE KNOWS

Perfumers’ Q&A

Carlos Benaim, IFF

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
It would be a Rothko painting. I would convey the simplicity and transparency of the superimposed colors through a combination of highest quality ingredients to represent each layer.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of tobacco as it reminds me of my father. He would come home in the evening with his hands impregnated with the essence of pennyroyal mint, and yellowed by his cigarettes, “Craven A”, a British blend of blond tobacco. To me, this combination is more evocative of him than his real portrait.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” I was reminded of this quote by Ghandi during an incredible recent trip to India.

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
Curiosity, tenacity and humility.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
What I learned is a way of thinking, organizing your thoughts – a rational approach to problem-solving. This is something that has been useful throughout my life.


Honorine Blanc, Firmenich

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
It would be one of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings: a blend of purity, simplicity and technique. For my fragrance, I would choose natural ingredients and Firmenich’s Captive molecules to create a new abstract and addictive olfactive texture. The structure of this formula would maintain certain artistic qualities such as simplicity and purity.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness is being emotionally content – having the feeling of floating. It’s not about tension or full satisfaction; it’s about letting go.

Best advice you’ve been given?
Follow your heart; trust your instincts; never give up.

What are the three qualities that got you where you are today?
My curiosity and hunger for learning, an ability to focus, and the quality of my relationships.

Favorite travel destination:
Being on a sailboat anywhere.


Shyamala Maisondieu, Givaudan

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It would smell of patchouli and vetiver with some green lentisque notes on top and a lot of black pepper.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of home especially after I’ve been away for a while…a mixture of white flowers, my spicy Malaysian cooking and incense.

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
Patience, persistence, and curiosity.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Attraction.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?
Nature is precious and if we don’t take care or respect nature, it would make our world a less fragrant place to live in.

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to The Fragrance Foundation’s premiere issue of our digital monthly magazine, Accords.

It is our ambition to provide exciting, exclusive content that is entertaining and valuable. Our features each month will include insights and personal perspectives from industry icons, perfumers, fragrance creative collaborators, and more.

In addition, we will keep you up to date on all the current happenings at The Fragrance Foundation, as well as share sneak peeks into our future initiatives. The Fragrance Foundation team welcomes input to grow our community and create a direct dialogue with consumers. While this new digital magazine debuts now to an audience with a majority of readers within the fragrance industry, we look to expand our reach to engage consumers in the world of fragrance.

All of us are dedicated to our mission to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance.

Please join us on our journey!

Don’t miss a sniff,

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

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