Nov

SPOTLIGHT: CIRCLE OF CHAMPIONS HONOREES VIRGINIA BONOFIGLIO + STEPHAN KANLIAN

SPOTLIGHT: CIRCLE OF CHAMPIONS HONOREES VIRGINIA BONOFIGLIO + STEPHAN KANLIAN Stephan Kanlian, Virginia Bonofiglio
Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: CIRCLE OF CHAMPIONS HONOREES VIRGINIA BONOFIGLIO + STEPHAN KANLIAN

SPOTLIGHT: CIRCLE OF CHAMPIONS HONOREES VIRGINIA BONOFIGLIO + STEPHAN KANLIAN Stephan Kanlian, Virginia Bonofiglio

This year’s Circle of Champions event was the first in the Fragrance Foundation’s history to honor educators. Reflecting TFF’s firm belief that access to education is key to building a flourishing and diverse fragrance industry fueled with fresh ideas, the two honorees are top-of-class veteran educators with unsurpassed knowledge about what makes the scent business tick. Virginia Bonofiglio, assistant professor and head of FIT’s undergraduate program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing (CFM), and Stephan Kanlian, professor and head of the college’s graduate program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management (CFMM), share their insights on the importance of FIT, its relationship with TFF, and education for all. 

Virginia Bonofiglio:

This was the first time that educators have been honored with the Circle of Champions awards.  What did that mean to you?

I have always believed that education is the path to success. 

The recognition by the Fragrance Foundation of the importance of education for the fragrance industry is a confirmation of the importance of educating the next generation, which is FIT’s mantra. I was deeply honored by this award and thrilled that the Fragrance Foundation and its membership values the work we are doing in preparing students for the role they will play in this fabulous industry. I applaud the Foundation’s forward thinking in making education an important part of their ongoing mission to support fragrance as a business, an art form and a societal touchpoint.

What is unique about the programs at FIT?

 FIT’s Fragrance and Cosmetics programs, CFM and CFMM, are built around academic excellence and industry know-how. There are very few college programs that follow the industry as closely as these two programs do. In order to provide the fragrance industry with innovators and game changers we need to offer students a profound understanding of the industry’s current toolkit while providing a pathway to where the industry should be going in the future. 

What has always been most important for you to teach your students about the fragrance industry?

We live in an opti-centric society. Our main way of relating to the world and things around us is by using our sense of sight. This has become even more prevalent during the time of Covid, where our reliance on screens has escalated and our world has become two dimensional. I always start every fragrance class with a review of all of the sensory experiences we need to have in order to enrich our lives. My focus is to drill down to the importance of the sense of smell and the role of the fragrance industry. I confirm for my students that in addition to covering malodors and providing pleasure, fragrances can define a decade and delineate a culture.  

What unifies the undergraduates coming into the program?

The great unifier for our students is their passion for this industry. While there are other universities that offer similar programs FIT has three distinct advantages: cost, location and a fragrance laboratory on the campus. 

Our students are a unique brand of college student that has made a choice about their field of study at the beginning of their college career. Many of them have taken high school classes on the campus and this solidifies their desire to come to FIT for the Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing program. We find that students who do not get in the first time they apply, will return and apply the following year.

What is so special to you about your relationship with The Fragrance Foundation?

The Fragrance Foundation has been an integral part of the Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing program at FIT since its inception.  Annette Green, President Emeritus of the Fragrance Foundation, was one of the original founders of the CFM program.  It was her vision to create a course of study at FIT that would prepare the next generation of industry leaders. The Fragrance Foundation supported the creation of a Fragrance Studio on the campus of FIT to ensure that the curriculum included a strong commitment to fragrance knowledge.

Linda Levy, current President of the Fragrance Foundation, and her team continue to support the CFM program at FIT, and CFM’s relationship to the Fragrance Foundation remains strong. We share common goals and ideas about the fragrance business. The Fragrance Foundation’s dedication to DEI mirrors FIT’s devotion to the same objective. The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship demonstrates this mutual commitment. We are both ardent about education and its importance for moving the industry forward.  

We will continue to partner with the Fragrance Foundation to build a like minded community of fragrance enthusiasts including members of industry, students of fragrance, and ardent supporters of the Fragrance Foundation and its mission.

Stephan Kanlian: 

What did being a Circle of Champions honoree mean to you?

It meant everything to me. FIT educators have been very honored over the years to be the “first educator” to represent the beauty industry in many roles, all owing to the investment the industry has chosen to make in not only educating talent for industry, but “educating the educators.”

What attributes do you think are most important for a graduate to succeed in fragrance?  

First: the dual competency of being both analytic and creative, is a foundational benchmark, given the sophistication of consumer science and competitive nature of the business. Second: a global perspective and appreciation of global culture, both for consumer understanding and inspiration. Success in fragrance depends on having the mind of an entrepreneur and the heart of a poet! 

Why and how is a global perspective especially important for your students? 

 The intimacy of fragrance and all beauty products, and their representation of individual expression requires a deep knowledge and nuanced understanding of global culture.  As a former business diplomat, that seemed elemental to me when I became an educator. We normally take the students to six countries in two global regions on their academic field studies.

What do you think are the greatest achievements of the CFMM program? 

 Two things stand out as the lasting legacy of the CFMM Program: the leadership of its graduates as change agents in the re-shaping of industry, and the prescience of the student research in accurately predicting coming shifts in the marketplace and recommending ways to future proof businesses.

What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in the 22 years of heading the program? 

Change is a constant in the consumer space – as fundamental as change in individuals themselves. I like to think of these 22 years as a “generation” and the changes have been generational, indeed: the development of lifestyle marketing, the growth in the sophistication of behavioral and consumer science, the evolution of retail, the blurring of lines of distinction in distribution, the importance of people & planet in measuring profit, the importance of supply chain to innovation, globalization, and the advent of technology have been the hallmarks of this particular epoch of change. 

What do you find most gratifying about teaching? 

I deeply admire the intellect of the fragrance industry, and to be entrusted with educating it’s best and brightest is a great honor. But the gratification of teaching itself, and the joy of watching students discover their leadership voice, is an exceptional privilege. There is no more important role in society to ensure its future than that of “teacher”, whether it is in families, schools, the workplace or volunteer organizations.

 What is so special to you about your relationship with The Fragrance Foundation?  

Without the Fragrance Foundation, these programs at FIT would not exist. It was the support and “push” of industry and President Emeritus Annette Green that established the Bachelor’s program, and her successors have all been believers in education who have partnered with FIT in creating a unique collaboration and the only working fragrance laboratory on a US college campus.  Before Linda Levy led the Foundation, for example, she was an Advisory Board member to the Master’s Program in the early 2000’s while at P&G. That combination of industry insight and academic expertise is the future of education, in my opinion, and what makes the FIT/Fragrance Foundation partnership so visionary and so special in the world of academia. In my heart I am an entrepreneur, and the limitless possibilities of this industry/academic collaboration, and its ability to push the boundaries of normal academic pedagogy, are what feed me as an educator.

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL
Scents and Sensibility

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: SUPPORTING EDUCATION FOR ALL

TFF’s Circle of Champions event on November 4th marked a major unveiling: The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship, a $100,000 academic award that will benefit FIT’s Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing programs on the undergraduate and graduate levels. The gift demonstrates TFF’s commitment to diversity and to education, and will open the doors to students who may otherwise have been unable to pursue studies at FIT. Here, FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown and Dr. Brooke Carlson, School of Graduate Studies Interim Dean, discuss how this scholarship will benefit both FIT and the fragrance industry as a whole. 

Dr. Joyce F. Brown

Stephan Kanlian, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, Virginia Bonofiglio

What does the scholarship mean for FIT?

We are honored that The Fragrance Foundation chose to establish this exceptional and very timely scholarship fund at FIT. FIT will benefit greatly from the perspective that diverse and underserved students will bring to our fragrance labs and classrooms–our students, in turn, will benefit from exposure to a superior faculty, a forward-focused curriculum and industry best practices. This scholarship will prepare them for executive ranks and leadership roles–and transform their lives. 

What does it mean for the future of the fragrance industry?

I think this scholarship fund is a wonderful measure of the commitment to achieving diverse representation in the fragrance industry on the part of the Fragrance Foundation. I hope it will help not just to open company doors to more diverse individuals, but also–importantly–to provide a meaningful career path so that they advance as far as their talent and hard work will take them.

What are the broader goals you share for DEI within education and within the fragrance industry?

Clearly, we are aligned in making diverse representation a priority both in educational settings and in the fragrance industry. FIT is taking actionable steps to increase the number of diverse youth seeking careers in the creative industries, and with our industry partners, helping to transform the culture within those industries so that current and future employees who are part of these communities can succeed.

What do you think will be the biggest hurdles?

We recognize that real change takes time–it often happens in increments and requires constant collaboration and recommitment to maintain the momentum. But I believe we have reached a turning point in this country, and I am encouraged by the commitment of partners such as The Fragrance Foundation.  I am optimistic that together we will affect meaningful change within the fragrance industry.

Dr. Brooke Carlson

Linda G. Levy, Dr. Brooke Carlson

What does the scholarship mean for FIT? 


The Fragrance Foundation scholarship program symbolizes the college’s interest in helping diverse professionals in the fragrance industry progress to managerial levels and beyond. The support encourages individuals with a passion for fragrance but may not be able to afford the cost of an undergraduate or master’s degree to pursue their educational goals. 

What does it mean for the future of the fragrance industry? 


This scholarship support will be instrumental in advancing the capabilities of the industry itself. In order to best understand and serve diverse groups of consumers, fragrance industry businesses and brands must reflect that same diversity internally among their leadership and in their teams. This is as critical as are the opportunities that will be provided to diverse professionals in the industry.  

What are the broader goals that you share for DEI within education and within the fragrance industry? 

The creative and business industries offer so many varied professional opportunities and we must broaden and focus our reach when it comes to educating our diverse youth and young adults about these career paths. This must be a sustained effort embedded in everything we do. As for the fragrance industry specifically, identifying and showcasing all the career options—from fragrance suppliers to independent manufacturers, small independent brands to large global brands, and of course, retailers—is key. 

What do you think will be the biggest hurdles? 

It takes time, effort, financial support and commitment by all stakeholders to realize change. Recognizing that we need the professional talent of diverse individuals who are also representative of the national and global consumer in order to create, innovate, market, and sell fragrances and fragranced products with authentic, compelling stories that resonate will result in overcoming any hurdles.

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES
What The Nose Knows

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES

Malinda Appel – Senior Director of Product Development, NEST FRAGRANCES

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

The most rewarding benefit of being a CFM student was the life-long friendships I have with other graduates of the program. Over ten years later we still love using our senses to cook delicious meals together.  We celebrate our life milestones and, as we grow in our professions, we are one another’s cheerleaders – even when Finalists for the same Fragrance Foundation Award!  

What was the most important thing you learned?

Professor Bonofiglio provided the most helpful tips on how to begin a career in this industry.  We were encouraged to get involved while we studied through volunteering, interning, or working behind the counter. By doing so we could see in real time what we were learning in the classroom.  Professor Bonofiglio also stressed how important it was to make positive connections within the industry. This advice helped me successfully proceed with an ambitious opportunity received upon graduation.

How has your education at FIT helped you in your career?

My education at FIT allowed me to make career connections while I was obtaining my CFM undergraduate degree.  As a student, I was already hands-on exploring different areas of the industry, ultimately recognizing my passion for product development.  I was able to take on a targeted approach to my career directly stemming from my experiences as a student.

Gayathri Balasundar – Director of Marketing, Takasago

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

The content and rhythm of the FIT program is incredible because of it’s community – the FIT community is generous.  From the professors and mentors to my immediate cohort and the extended alumni network and even the overseas partners – Everyone is very giving with sharing their knowledge, experiences and offering their support.  It’s the gift that just keeps giving!

 
What was the most important thing you learned?

In the world of cosmetics and fragrance, there are so many stories and stats embedded into every brand, person and product that it is important to stay open minded.  The most important thing I learned was to listen to all perspectives and challenge the status quo with empathy to move the industry forward. Today many of our alumni take this invaluable lesson to question what stories are being told in our products and what perspectives are represented around the table. 

 How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 

Through my work ethic, education, and community, I have held key roles at several amazing companies. Over the years, I found clarity in articulating my strengths and value.  I gained the courage to leverage my inclusive spirit and own my cross-cultural background to highlight and amplify diverse voices in my work. Above all, I take the same support and strength that has been given to me by the FIT community and channel it towards those I mentor & coach.

Simone Bolotin – Senior Director, Influencer Marketing and Public Relations (US), Coty Luxury

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

Learning from and collaborating with those who had experiences different from my own. What is unique about the program is that you learn as much, if not more, from your peers and classmates, as you do from your professors and guest lecturers. As a communications professional who tends to work most closely with other Marketing and PR pros, it was fascinating to work on group projects with classmates from backgrounds spanning HR to product development, who provided insights and perspectives that I never would have considered otherwise. The two field studies programs in Europe and Asia also provided invaluable perspectives on other cultures and shopping habits that opened my mind to new ideas.

What was the most important thing you learned?

 The value of collaboration and teamwork. Since much of the coursework in the FIT program includes group projects, I was forced to rely on classmates to deliver work essential to our collective success, relinquishing the control I was used to in my professional role. The outcome was undoubtedly improved as a result, and allowed each team member to shine and take pride in their individual contributions. As my management responsibilities have continued to grow following graduation, I have endeavored to instill this collaborative spirit and sense of pride in my team at Coty, with a mindset rooted in trust, accountability and recognition. 

How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 

 Having a more holistic understanding of all of the aspects of the beauty and fragrance business helps me to have a more well-rounded perspective. When I talk to the perfumers creating our fragrances or the sales teams negotiating shelf space with our retailers, I am able to better understand the ways in which their roles are essential to the overall business, and how I can take a more integrated approach in my own work. The network I built with my classmates at FIT has also been incredibly beneficial, with a solid support system of industry rock stars that I am now lucky to call lifelong friends.

Sophia Gillio –  Director of Sales and Specialty Business Category, MANE

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

The most rewarding part of the FIT CFMM Master’s Program was the ability to make lasting connections with some of the industry’s most talented people.  I like to think about my time in the program as the ultimate meeting of the minds – an all access pass to collaborate, challenge, and learn from beauty industry peers, senior executives, professors, and beyond in a way that transcends the normal limitations of corporate culture and boundaries.

What was the most important thing you learned?

The most important thing I learned is that an open mind paired with the diversity of thought and experiences of others can be transformative to growth – as an individual or as a corporation. In the CFMM Master’s program, we gained exposure to diversity of thought not only from our cohort of beauty industry executives, but from countless people around the globe through our travels to Europe and Asia. In corporate culture, I think there is often a tendency to stay hyper-focused on one’s job, one’s company, one’s industry; however, the ability and confidence to leverage the strengths and knowledge of people with different experiences, backgrounds, skillsets, and cultures opens the door to the possibility of exponential growth.   

How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 

The depth of research we conducted in certain areas has proven beneficial to my ability to add value back to my current company and beyond.  I have a profound interest in what is next for beauty and fragrance + tech, and our culminating Capstone presentation, Beauty and Technology, laid the foundation to my knowledge of tech’s impact on human identity and societal evolution.  We are at a pivotal moment in time where our opportunity to impact the digital world in an inherently physical business is unprecedented through the metaverse and what it means for our businesses and user experiences.  I look forward to spending more time building in this space!

Kaleigh Prokop – Perfumer, MANE

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?
My FIT experience created lifelong friends, both personally and professionally.   These connections enhanced my in-person experience with a chance to learn from others’ knowledge and points of view.  With its unique focus on the beauty industry, I was able to blend my real-life with work-related projects, and push me personally into new rewarding experiences. 
 
What was the most important thing you learned?
The most important thing I learned from the program is that I can turn my passion into a career.  On the first day of History of Beauty class I learned that Perfumery was an actual career.  That class changed my life, I knew immediately what path I wanted to take!  I now have the unique opportunity to create fragrances that consumers attribute to their best olfactive memories. 
 
How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 
I was able to secure an internship after meeting a perfumer at an event that I accompanied with FIT Professor, Virginia Bonofiglio.  That internship opened the door to my future and created opportunities that led to my lifelong career.  I started as a perfumer’s assistant, which led to my apprenticeship learning in house perfumery with a leading fragrance house.  My success can be traced to the opportunities created by my experience at FIT.

Tracy Taylor – Associate Director, Consumer Insights, Firmenich

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?
 Walking off the stage at capstone after delivering our industry presentation!
 
What was the most important thing you learned?
 With determination and humility, almost anything is learnable. From a career standpoint, it was a true gift to be surrounded by so many other industry professionals. I was vicariously exposed to such a diverse range of roles, departments and companies, without ever leaving the classroom. The exchange of experiences with other students will always be one of the most valuable aspects of the program for me.
 
How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 
The CFMM program helped me see beyond the specifics of my role, enabling me to grasp broader industry dynamics that impact fragrance development and our clients. I LOVED the freedom to explore new topics, ideas and business challenges, beyond my usual scope of work. I emerged feeling more confident making strategic decisions and guiding my internal and external partners. Additionally, after completing the program, I feel more integrated within the fragrance community as a whole.

THE MOMENTOUS EVENT SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE MOMENTOUS EVENT SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY Linda G. Levy
The Inside Scoop

THE MOMENTOUS EVENT SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE MOMENTOUS EVENT SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY Linda G. Levy

The Circle of Champions event was truly extraordinary on many levels. 

On an individual level for the attendees, it was the first in-person event for the fragrance community in two years. That human connection was exhilarating and heartwarming for all 175 in the fragrance community, plus more than 50 FIT student guests.

For The Fragrance Foundation, it was a landmark for our Circle of Champions signature event as we honored outstanding educators as Champions, reflecting our core value of nurturing talent. Professors Virginia Bonofiglio and Stephan Kanlian have displayed unwavering leadership and dedication, and have shared their expertise at FIT’s programs for decades, impacting hundreds of students.

It was my great honor at this momentous event to present the awards to these Champions and to announce the first ever Fragrance Foundation FIT Scholarship dedicated to students of diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing a career in fragrance! 

The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship signifies a collective commitment to diversity, and a natural next step in the advancement of our #FragranceForwardTFF initiative. It was a groundbreaking evening for us all at TFF as we showed we can amplify our commitment to championing diversity in all of its forms, and strive towards a fully inclusive industry that is an accurate reflection of our world.

The evening concluded with the guests joining me to recite the TFF DEI Pledge together as one. Click here to take the pledge! This is just the beginning of actionable steps clearly showing all we can achieve together!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy

@fragrancefoundation

Oct

SPOTLIGHT: BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE WITH #FRAGRANCEFORWARDTFF

SPOTLIGHT: BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE WITH #FRAGRANCEFORWARDTFF

SPOTLIGHT: BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE WITH #FRAGRANCEFORWARDTFF

SPOTLIGHT: BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE WITH #FRAGRANCEFORWARDTFF

On October 20th, TFF kicked off its ambitious and focused DEI initiative with Industry Perspectives on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a free webinar watched by more than 1,500 attendees, including beauty and fragrance executives, individuals from fragrance brands and media, as well as students and consumers across the country. The event brought to life and articulated #FragranceForwardTFF, the industry-wide inclusivity movement that TFF is galvanizing in order to push forward significant and visible change.

The event featured a thoughtful and engaging discussion from panelists Chris Collins, the founder of World of Chris Collins, Corey Smith, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for North America, LVMH, Rob Smith, CEO and Founder of The Phluid Project, and Linda Song, Senior Perfumer at Givaudan. Each of these inspiring individuals shared their personal stories with moderator Helen Shelton, Global Chief Diversity Officer and luxury brand marketing communications expert at Finn Partners, as well as a wealth of insight and actionable advice both for those inside and outside the fragrance industry.

Jerry Vittoria, Chairman of the Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors opened the webinar, naming DEI as the number one priority of TFF, and outlining the broad definition of diversity that the organization considers important to its mission. “Our definition of diversity goes beyond gender,” he said, “to include all contexts in which people may identify themselves as part of a minority group. These include ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, different abilities, age, and a variety of backgrounds.” Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy outlined the #FragranceForwardTFF goal, “to foster a fully inclusive industry that truly represents the population of the USA” and introduced the panelists, all of whom had passionate and nuanced thoughts to share on how the entire industry can ignite and propel positive changes.

They all shared personal stories—Collins discussed his journey from fashion into fragrance, and his acknowledgment from the outset that “Whether you’re Black or you’re a woman or you’re LBGTQ+, you have to work three times as hard for anyone to take you seriously”; Song recollected her “love story” with raw materials that drew her in, and mused on how being Korean in America, and a woman, has shaped and enriched her work; Rob Smith outlined his journey from Macy’s and the corporate world into the Phluid Project, the world’s first gender free store, and the Phluid Scent Elixirs. “Why should anything be strictly male or female?” he asked. “It should be about what makes you feel good and brings out your authentic self”; and Corey Smith, who has spent more than 20 years working in DEI, highlighted the challenges and importance of initiating changes within an industry that cherishes heritage.

The panel touched on everything from the need for visibility and representation in marketing to the critical importance of the three A’s: allyship, advocacy, and activism. Corey Smith drove home the point that all efforts need to be 360—and while pledges are important, what’s even more important is “having diverse products on our shelves, products created by diverse people for diverse people.” They offered advice for anyone, but especially minorities, to break into the fragrance business, from networking to mentoring, to just sticking with it. “Don’t be afraid to fail,” said Collins. “If you’re afraid to fail, that means you’re afraid to take risks. You have to be courageous enough to know that you’re going to get some things wrong. You have to learn from your mistakes. And you can’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Song spoke about the importance of having this conversation at all levels of the industry, and thanked The Fragrance Foundation and Michael Edwards for taking a strong stance about the use of the term “oriental” in the fragrance industry, recognizing that it is outdated and offensive, and announced that Givaudan will now be using the classification Amber-y in its place. Corey Smith talked about how critical cognitive diversity is, and all agreed that greater diversity means greater creativity, output, and success. “There is a value in difference,” he said. “Innovation comes from difference. Productivity, efficiency. All of that comes from a bunch of different people sitting around a table and debating until the best idea rises to the top.”

And as for how we move the needle in the right direction? It will take everyone, individually and together. “Accountability is individual, then it’s team, then it’s organization,” said Corey Smith. “It’s a level of self-awareness, learning, unlearning, respecting difference. All of that contributes to what we call inclusion.” Rob Smith advised taking leaps, having conversations, listening, being aware, and celebrating every individual. “You’re going to have to do things that are untraditional in order to make space for untraditional brands to succeed,” he said. “We’re never done with this journey, so let’s keep pushing and challenging each other.”

Among the questions submitted by viewers in a post-event follow-up was: What would you change if you were Chairman of the Board at a large fragrance house or corporate fragrance brand? “First,” Rob Smith said, “I’d look at the diverse composition of the Leadership team and the Board of Directors. I’d make a commitment toward diverse representation, equitable pay and an inclusive environment. I’d ensure the company had ERG’s and a mentor program for high potential and diverse executives. Finally, I’d hire outside consultants to hold the team accountable.” He also offered advice for finding mentors: “Reach out to people you admire. Find a few mentors who can guide you through your career. And, understand, they may not look like you. Many people are looking for talent and opportunities to create a more inclusive future.”

“When seeking a mentor, don’t give up and try not to take it personally—sometimes reaching out to someone on the wrong day or wrong time is just that,” Song said, in response to the question. “Try again, try a different approach, try a different person, take time to self-reflect, pick yourself back up and keep going!” And regarding what TFF’s DEI initiative means to her personally, she said, “All individuals play a role. I never would have imagined speaking on this topic or that I would ever feel qualified, but it’s a human experience and we all have the right to it.”

Levy closed Industry Perspectives on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with an announcement of the creation of an industry-wide, Fragrance Foundation DEI Signatory Pledge. TFF’s 100+ members – that include both independent and corporate entities – will commit not only to furthering their respective DEI goals, but also to assisting TFF in building and shaping #FragranceForwardTFF in the months and years ahead. The pledge in full: “I commit to being fragrance forward by holding myself and my company accountable at all levels to drive diversity, equity and inclusion. I commit to breaking boundaries for people of all backgrounds in launching, growing, and sustaining careers in the fragrance industry. I commit to actionable steps to broadening my perspective, changing my workplace, and changing the industry.”

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: HOW TO BUILD A CAREER IN THE FRAGRANCE INDUSTRY – SPELMAN COLLEGE

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: HOW TO BUILD A CAREER IN THE FRAGRANCE INDUSTRY –  SPELMAN COLLEGE

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: HOW TO BUILD A CAREER IN THE FRAGRANCE INDUSTRY – SPELMAN COLLEGE

SCENTS AND SENSIBILITY: HOW TO BUILD A CAREER IN THE FRAGRANCE INDUSTRY –  SPELMAN COLLEGE

Critical to the Fragrance Foundation’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—and indeed to the entire fragrance industry’s future—is education and outreach. Earlier this month, TFF launched its TFF Career Paths series, which will involve visits to colleges around the country to showcase professions in the fragrance industry and engage curious young perfume-lovers who may not otherwise have easy access to information or guidance about the field.

The inaugural event, Scents of Success: How to Build a Career in the Fragrance Industry, was held during Homecoming at Spelman College, an Historically Black institution in Atlanta and the alma mater of Sharné Jackson, TFF’s Senior Director of Events, Education and Give Back. Venetta Colman, Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Spelman College, opened the webinar, introducing Jackson and TFF President Linda G. Levy, who explained the history and purpose of TFF, including its great mission: to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance. “Regardless of what you are studying,” she said, “I bet everyone who has tuned in today could find a path into the fragrance world if they wanted to.” Jackson’s own impressive and varied journey from Spelman to joining TFF—including stints as a first-grade teacher, the Director of Events at Macy’s, and a developer of educational initiatives at City College—provided the event’s first inspiring story, and opened the floor to very special guests: Chris Collins, founder of The World of Chris Collins luxury fragrance brand and Chavalia Dunlap-Mwamba, founder and CEO of independent fragrance brand Pink MahogHany.

Collins and Dunlap-Mwamba both revealed that their paths into perfume were not exactly straightforward. Collins, who double majored in psychology and biology thinking he would become a doctor, ended up being a model for Ralph Lauren for more than 20 years, then encountering Kilian Hennessy, who encouraged his love for fragrance and inspired him to create his own line. “My advice is to be open to opportunities that come your way,” he said, “and do what you’re passionate about because that will always give you incentive.” Dunlap-Mwamba, meanwhile, first worked as an elementary music teacher, but it was her fascination with fragrance design and the creators behind scents that lured her into becoming a perfume brand entrepreneur. Both felt challenged by others who didn’t take them seriously along the way, but perseverance, self-belief—and, of course, the quality of their products—ultimately earned them respect and gave them the traction that they needed for success.

The two also shared their personal stories about connecting to fragrance and how it inspires them every day. “I make very powerful, intense, emotional fragrances, because I think a good fragrance should move you to tears; a good fragrance should make you fall in love with yourself and make other people fall in love with you.” Dunlap-Mwamba taught herself, through time, commitment, and trial and error, how to create perfumes. “I wanted my imagination to just run free, and fragrance has allowed me to do that.”

Advice for students and budding entrepreneurs? “Own your individuality,” Dunlap-Mwamba said, “Figure out your why. And never deviate from it.” Collins advised being open and listening, but weeding out the actionable information. “Love what you do and be very passionate about it, because when those times come when you fail, you’ve got to get up.” Both recommended finding mentors who can share insight, knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and not being afraid to take chances.

In the second half, students engaged in an experimental smell session, in which they smelled seven scent ingredients provided by Firmenich that introduced them to the seven scent categories—floral, fresh, citrus, fruity, woody, sweet, and spicy—while Collins and Dunlap-Mwamba talked through how they use these notes and ingredients in fragrances. At the end, students chimed in with enthusiastic inquiries about everything from marketing to entrepreneurship to fragrance structure and complexity.

As the first of many such sessions, Dr. DeKimberlen Neely, Associate Dean for Spelman College, declared Scents of Success “a win-win! Our students will now be exposed to a career path that may be unknown to them without this collaboration. Thank you, Linda Levy and Sharné Jackson for being intentional about inviting us into your world and leveraging your influence to include students of color in this space.”

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

This issue of Accords marks a landmark month in the history of The Fragrance Foundation. Our announcement of  #FragranceForwardTFF and our DEI  Pledge officially kicked off and was enthusiastically received by thousands in the fragrance community. Vast media coverage and the live webinar declared our commitment to our #1 DEI priority. 

Now we are moving forward together to ensure that the fragrance community welcomes, appreciates and celebrates people of all backgrounds. We will continue to reach out to colleges and universities following the premiere of Scents of Success at Spelman College. Students will learn that a career path in fragrance has many different entry points, and that the industry intends to recruit, hire, train and retain diverse teams that reflect the entire USA population.

More news will be announced soon that proclaims our united TFF commitment in this ongoing effort. We will continue to take actionable  steps to move forward and expand our reach. The DEI Pledge will serve as our guide and a thread in all we do. We know there is much to be accomplished, but with the passion we share, we are united to move forward together.

We look forward to seeing many in the fragrance community at The Circle of Champions first in person TFF event soon. For those who cannot attend, we will share highlights of the presentations & major DEI breaking news!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy

@fragrancefoundation

Sep

The Reimagineer: Michael Clinton

The Reimagineer: Michael Clinton
Spotlight

The Reimagineer: Michael Clinton

The Reimagineer: Michael Clinton

September 2021

“I appear to have struck a chord,” says Michael Clinton, whose book ROAR Into the Second Half of Your Life (Before It’s Too Late) is currently—and with considerable zeitgeist-capturing buzz—climbing best-seller lists. ROAR (an acronym that stands for four actionable steps towards a more fulfilling future: Reimagine yourself, Own who you are, Act on what’s next, and Reassess your relationships) was born when Clinton stepped away from his role as president and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, and it’s an inspirational, motivational exhortation to view growing older as an opportunity to forge new opportunities and experiences. Clinton—an accomplished photographer, pilot, philanthropist, marathon runner, and wine maker—is himself a role model in this regard, and while ROAR may be targeted at the post-50 set, it resonates with anyone looking to re-examine their relationship with work and envisioning moving through the chapters of their life with passion and gusto. Here, Clinton shares his advice with ACCORDS on how to take steps – and yes, even fragrant sniffs – towards a happy future.

You interviewed 40 people who made major life pivots for ROAR. Who did you find most personally inspiring?

We called them Reimagineers. One was a woman named Stephanie Young. She was a book editor for her whole career. She had studied English in college. She was 53 when she decided that she wanted to become a doctor. She applied to American medical schools and she faced a lot of ageism, but she then got accepted to a Caribbean medical school. During that process, she went through a divorce. So, after getting scholarships and grants to fund her education, she went off to the Caribbean on her own in her mid-50s. I thought that took an enormous amount of courage. She’s now in her early 60s and she is a doctor. She had a lot of twists and turns along the way, but she just kept going. She kept pushing forward. She had a great quote: “You can’t read about the top 10 most beautiful futures. You have to find it through yourself, keep the vision, even when you stumble along the way.

You also conducted a huge survey, gauging people’s feelings about their life choices. What were some of the most surprising findings?

We had 630 respondents, a cross-section of people from all kinds of walks of life, and we asked them if they could do a major redo of their life, would they? Seventy-six percent of them said they would, which was a surprise to me. Then we gave them the opportunity to write in what defining moment in their life they would redo. The number one response was, “I would redo my marriage or not marry the person that I married,” which was really interesting. The second was, “I wish I had taken school more seriously so that I could have done more, expanded more, had other opportunities.”

But the majority of people still felt optimistic about future possibilities and things they might do. This gets back to the thesis of the book, that if you’re 50 and you’re healthy, you may live to be 90, and when you pivot out of a first career, you begin to realize that you have another 20, 30, maybe more, years to live. It’s not your father’s or your mother’s retirement.

What can hold people back?

Two things. One is self-imposed barriers. They say, “I coulda, shoulda, woulda” or “I made a mistake and I didn’t do X or I didn’t do Y.” The second thing is self-imposed ageism. They say, “I’m too old to do that.” Where did that come from? In the book, instead of using the term age appropriate, I say person appropriate. Women are having babies at 50. You may decide to adopt in your 50s. You may decide to completely change your career in your 50s. To say you’re too old for something is an old-fashioned way of thinking about it.

What are signs people should be aware of that it might be time for change in their lives?

I think we all have this little nagging voice in the back of our heads when we need change. Generally, what happens is it gets louder and louder and you can ignore it and be dissatisfied or you can confront it and identify it and say, “Okay, I know that I’ve got to leave this profession or this company or this relationship.”

One of my favorite stories in the book is Rob Smith. He wanted to work in social justice, but his father told him, “I’m only going to pay for college if you study business.” So, he studied business, and had a long successful career at Macy’s, but then when he was around 50, he had kind of a meltdown and he said, “I need to check out and think about my life.” He went traveling and did an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru, and in a hallucinogenic state, he saw his 16-year-old self and said, “I’m so sorry that I abandoned you.” I thought that was very poetic and also poignant. He came back home and he started the Phluid Project, and moved into the social justice space in his 50s. He’s now thriving and loving it.

What’s your advice for people who feel like they need something new, but don’t know where to start?

What I learned from the interviewees is they identified what it was that they needed to change, then they spent a year-plus going deep into it, really pulling it apart to figure out how they were going to make that change. It wasn’t a spontaneous thing. It was very well thought out. Some of them started creating parallel lives to their existing life by turning a hobby into a passion or starting to freelance. A lot of them went back to school.

You also shared a very nice concept of life-layering to find your passion.

That’s right. If you start building a layer, over time that layer may become your launchpad into a new business, or into becoming an entrepreneur. In the beauty industry, there are lots of examples of people who worked for established beauty companies but then went off and launched their own skincare or fragrance or something else in the beauty world. That’s an example of layering. You learn different aspects of the job you already do. If you’re a marketing person and you’re weak on the financial side, then you can go and take some courses in financial management and start rounding out your business experience.

Do you think fragrance is a tool that can be used to focus, or open up connections that might help someone find their path?

We have to find the triggers that can put us into a state of reflection, introspection—let’s even call it meditation. I think fragrance is a great example of something that inherently brings that out. If you are sitting in your private space and you are reflecting on your life, having an aroma that can help facilitate that is a great tool. Sometimes that’s an applied fragrance. Sometimes that’s a fragrance in a candle.

Fragrances and aromas also invoke lots of memories. My grandmother was a huge influence on me, and when I smell the fragrance she wore, which was Youth Dew, it takes me right back to her wisdom, her advice. It makes me stop and think about her. If you had a powerful mentor or you had a powerful influence in your life and she or he wore something that was comforting to you, it will take you back to thinking about them, and put you in the state of really being able to take a deeper dive into your own life. Maybe it will take you back to a time when you were younger that you had a discussion with someone about what your dreams and aspirations were. You may pick up a thread just from that alone.

Ageism escapes a lot of DEI initiatives. What are your thoughts on how even employers can be more inclusive about age?

A very good point. If you think about it, ageism affects you regardless of your gender, your race, your ethnicity, your religious beliefs. It’s a universal experience that people over 50 have. Part of it is language. Part of it is government and corporate policies that haven’t kept pace with the change that is happening with the dynamic 50-plus cohort. Thirty-four percent of the population is now 50-plus. Every day, 10,000 people turn 65. In 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older.

I think that you’re going to see over the next few years a lot of change in policies, government institutions, and corporate policies, especially because a lot of people who are “retirement” age are going to leave a huge gap in employment needs. So you’ll have a lot of people who are 60-plus who are going to be working in different kinds of hybrid roles. There’s going to be a rethink because there are not enough people to fill what will become the jobs that the boomers will be leaving from their first careers.

In the book, instead of talking about retire, we talk about rewire. Instead of talking about getting older, we say we’re living longer. Instead of talking about self-imposed ageism, we focus on self-imposed growthism. Ultimately, things are going to change because the people are going to force change.

The Fragrance Index: Larissa Jensen

The Fragrance Index:  Larissa Jensen
Scents and Sensibility

The Fragrance Index: Larissa Jensen

The Fragrance Index:  Larissa Jensen

September 2021

The pandemic has had different implications across industries. In the case of prestige beauty, from the onset, areas of the market have been particularly hard-hit as so many beauty products are tied to social usage occasions. On the other hand, consumers deemed many areas essential, such as focusing on self-care and treating themselves to little luxuries. This validates the emotional component of the beauty industry. Despite the need to spend more time at home and observe social distance during the past year and a half, people have still wanted to look and feel good ― even in those moments when they were living in loungewear, working from home, or not venturing much farther than their own backyard.

Today, amid many uncertainties, we are seeing a return to some aspects of normal life, and the beauty industry is experiencing renewed growth across all its categories. Fragrance has emerged as the brightest star, posting unprecedented, double-digit growth against both 2020 and pre-pandemic 2019.

We asked Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor at The NPD Group, to help us understand fragrance’s strong growth.

What are the biggest takeaways in terms of the fragrance category’s performance so far this year?

In the U.S., fragrance sales began to recover in August 2020, and remained positive for the remainder of the year before surging in 2021. In the first half of this year, fragrance revenue grew by 82% compared to 2020, and by 35% compared to pre-pandemic 2019, which is nothing short of spectacular. Higher-concentration juices, such as EDP and parfums, have been by far the category’s strongest growth drivers. These higher fragrance oil concentrations enable a longer-lasting fragrance, which is a key consumer purchase driver. In fact, our latest Fragrance Consumer Report shows 70% of U.S. fragrance wearers are willing to pay more for a higher-concentration, longer-lasting fragrance.

Why fragrance, and why now?

There is no question that the past year and a half has been an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. And there is the science behind scent that could help explain why consumers are focused on fragrance. Research tells us the sense of smell is directly related to memory. In fact, smells trigger more vivid emotional memories and are better at inducing that feeling of “being brought back in time” than images. Our Fragrance Consumer Report shows three out of four consumers connect fragrance to boosting their mood or bringing back memories. As a beauty category, it is well positioned as a means to lift our spirits.

Could fragrance be the new lipstick index?

I believe it could be, especially given that lipstick is not exactly pandemic-friendly when wearing a mask that covers the lips. And the shift to fragrance — specifically luxury fragrances — is a solid indicator that consumers are treating themselves. This was validated in our recent omnibus study, where we asked consumers why they recently purchased fragrance. The top reason was as a treat for themselves.

How do you expect fragrance to perform during the critical holiday season?

Times of gift-giving associated with key holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and the December holidays, create excitement around fragrance. These are the biggest revenue-generating periods for the market. I expect double-digit growth in fragrance for this year’s holiday season. Clearly, the fourth quarter is an exciting time for anyone in the fragrance business, but despite the positive news there is no question that many unknowns remain. The delta variant is a major consideration, and we have no idea what’s around the corner. But the eternal optimist in me says that it’s because of all this uncertainty that our industry has many opportunities to maintain the momentum. It’s all about identifying those opportunities to drive your business forward.

To view the report prepared by NPD, FRAGRANCE INSIGHTS: THE NEW FRAGRANCE CONSUMER, click here available on TFF website.

PERFUMERS’ SPOTLIGHT

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ SPOTLIGHT

September 2021

Fanny Bal, IFF

Did you always dream of being a perfumer, or did you begin another career path or study path first?

I was supposed to become “an engineer like everyone else,” but I was looking for passion and thrills. My goal was for my life to be stimulating: I wanted to have a job that I loved because getting up every day to exercise a profession I didn’t enjoy just wasn’t an option. When I found out about the Isipca program and the profession of perfumer, which would consist of creating perfumes that people would wear, and realized that I might find myself recognizing in the street a perfume that I had created. I thought that had a certain magic to it, and that if my job were such, every day would be different from the day before and the day after. And so it would truly be a job that I’d love. I took the plunge while my parents, who were unfamiliar with the profession and concerned about the small number of job opportunities, watched in amazement. Their fears were legitimate, for the exams are notoriously difficult and it is a path strewn with obstacles: Until the very last moment, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So I did have my doubts!

What do you believe that your experiences or studies outside of perfumery have brought to your work as a perfumer?

I think having studied chemistry provided me with a very good skeleton for the precision and the rigor required to be a perfumer. Also, I love pastries; I love making pastries myself and visiting luxury pastry shops. I draw quite a lot of inspiration from pastries; they are behind my Santal Pistache and Nutella Fumé accords. What I love is that you have to follow the recipe to the letter. It takes a lot of rigor and a touch of creativity, as in our perfume craft. Making pastries is precision work. Pastry is about self-indulgence, addiction, a sweet tooth. I like to explore addiction in perfume, the sugary addiction that has characterized perfume for almost 20 years now. My latest collaboration with pastry chef Nicolas Bernardé, to create a candle and a collection of “pâtes de fruits” with LMR perfumery naturals, was a fantastic source of inspiration, a great creative playground!

Who have been your greatest career role models?

Dominique Ropion, of course! Dominique offered me a technical apprenticeship and was the perfumer figure who materialized the profession I wanted to pursue. When I started my training, of course I wanted to be a perfumer, to create perfumes; but I didn’t exactly know what that entailed. Working with him, seeing all that rigor and precision, made me understand. A perfumer has an artistic, creative side, of course. But they are not people who have their head in the clouds, who simply improvise and follow their inspiration, doing pretty much what they like, creating perfumes as if by magic. No, there’s a real rigor, and that’s what inspired me. It’s that tension, that contrast between the artistic side and the very rigorous side, that dialogue between the two, that appeals to me.

Jessica Reichert, Robertet

 Did you always dream of being a perfumer, or did you begin another career path or study path first?

The first career that I ever wanted was to be an actor, but many of the schools that I had applied to had very competitive programs which I did not get into, and I studied art history instead. I was hoping to get an opportunity in the city focusing on art while working in the lab as a fragrance compounder for Premier Specialties. Premier was considering hiring another perfumer and being that both my parents were perfumers, they had asked if I wanted to be trained. I had my doubts because the majority of the perfumers I knew were men, and I didn’t want people to think I only had the opportunity because of nepotism rather than earning it. Ted Barba, who would be the one to train me, was consulting for Premier at the time, and I told him my concerns and thought it would be better if I continued pursuing a career in the arts, to which he asked, “You don’t think creating fragrance is an art?”  It was that question that made me want to be trained, which was not easy by any means, but now, I do feel that I create art, which has become one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things about my life.

What do you believe that your experiences or studies outside of perfumery have brought to your work as a perfumer?

Something that is very special is that I have been able to travel to many different places around the world, with achieving the goal to travel to 30 countries before I turned thirty. It gave me the chance to be exposed to different foods, music, art, the way people live and to explore nature. It has been wonderful to capture those moments by creating fragrances based on the deserts in Morocco, the beaches in Brazil and even the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. One other facet of my life that I feel is very important is being part of the LGTBQ+ community. When the pandemic happened, it was a blessing for me, giving me time to focus on myself and have the courage to not lie about who I was, and come out as queer and non-binary. It has been so rewarding as I can see a difference in myself and my work now that I feel I can be authentic, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by people that make me feel valued and accepted

Who have been your greatest career role models?

Besides the obvious of my parents, Odila Zocca and Tony Reichert and my mentor Ted, my greatest role model is Cecile Hua. She has had a very successful career as a perfumer and had to work harder than most people to get into this industry. I have had the privilege to work with her on the American Society of Perfumers Board and be part of a panel with her for the Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce, where we discussed the importance of Diversity in perfumery. She is extremely graceful and honest about what she feels is important for being a perfumer and has helped me so much. I am extremely  lucky to have gotten to know her and feel that I can call her a friend.

Christine Hassan, Givaudan 

Did you always dream of being a perfumer, or did you begin another career path or study path first?

Although I didn’t know the word “perfumer”, I recognized early on that I wanted to work with fragrance. Smell has always been an integral part of my identity and how I interact with the world around me–the first job I can remember wanting was to become a florist; my favorite lab in high school was synthesizing scented molecules. Apparently, I even told my best friend that I would make her a wedding fragrance when we were kids…and a year ago, I did!

It was eventually through an internship with Givaudan that I first learned about ISIPCA and the job of a perfumer.

What do you believe that your experiences or studies outside of perfumery have brought to your work as a perfumer?

Along with Biochemistry, I studied Fine Arts in college, specializing in sculpture and cinematography. That training taught me how to fully immerse myself in the creative process. Designing a fragrance is like any art, you must understand the history of your craft and the fundamental methods and materials in order to develop your own style. I also learned vulnerability. You need to be vulnerable in order to put your heart into your craft. 

Who have been your greatest career role models?

My greatest role model in life has always been my mom. She left France for the US at the age of 20 (this was back when making international phone calls were a rarity), knowing very little English and having no family in the states, to work for the UN, where she felt she could help impact the world in a more positive way. 

I like to think that I followed her fearless example, with that sense of adventure and curiosity guiding my career. I have particularly enjoyed the multi-cultural experiences that have fed my creative spirit. I have also found a strong sense of purpose as a perfumer, being able to touch people’s lives with the beauty and magic of scent.

The Inside Scoop with Linda G. Levy: Moving Forward with Optimism

The Inside Scoop with Linda G. Levy: Moving Forward with Optimism
The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop with Linda G. Levy: Moving Forward with Optimism

The Inside Scoop with Linda G. Levy: Moving Forward with Optimism

This edition of Accords features varied perspectives and subject matter, but are all interwoven with fragrance, as an important factor in personal or professional paths. Also, all share my personal priority of positivity and moving forward cautiously, with great optimism. 

Our spotlight is on Michael Clinton who has just published ROAR, which is a “must read.”  While it would have been a success at any time, ROAR  particularly resonates now as many of us have reflected on our lives during this pandemic, evaluating not just what we have achieved so far, but also starting to make changes for an even more fulfilling future. His terms of “rewiring” instead of retiring and “life layering” serve as great mantras to move forward with positivity. He shares his own personal story, as well as many others including our TFF star, Rob Smith. 

Michael also adds “ageism” as an important obstacle we must all overcome and TFF will certainly include this as we unite and lead the fragrance community in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  Of course, in this exclusive interview with Michael, our editor April Long has Michael share the importance of fragrance in life reflection, memory and its transportiveness.

Larissa Jensen, Vice President, Industry Advisor at The NPD Group, shares  the positive business growth of fragrances and optimism for the upcoming holiday season. I am thrilled that a new measure in the industry “The Fragrance Index” has brought heightened awareness to the overall beauty category. We are all appreciative of how fragrances have impacted consumers’ lives, prompting memories, escapism, mood elevation, enhanced selfcare, and  as an important daily  invisible accessory.

Our 3 featured Perfumers share their stories of what they dreamed early on before training as perfumers. I am happy these 3 talented individuals reimagined their dreams. One day if you are lucky enough to meet them in person, perhaps you will be certain as I am that we gained 3 talented perfumers even if we lost a pastry chef in Fanny, an actor in Jessica, and a florist for Christine. Instead their related fields have benefited from their fragrance creations. They all found their authentic talents translated from their original career goal to that of a perfumer, where they could incorporate these other areas of creativity.

We will be back in October as we enter a very exciting stage where TFF goes into a major action phase with Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy

@fragrancefoundation

Jun

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT PERFUMER: CALICE BECKER

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT PERFUMER: CALICE BECKER

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT PERFUMER: CALICE BECKER

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT PERFUMER: CALICE BECKER

June 2021

Calice Becker, the widely adored 2021 Fragrance Foundation Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award recipient, has made the world a more beautiful place in countless ways. Her work has a signature grace, but she is also unafraid to be daring, and her singular vision has brought us such masterpieces as Dior J’Adore, Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, and several distinctive By Kilian creations including Back to Black and Woman In Gold. The VP Perfumer is also Director of the Givaudan Perfumery School, where she shares her thoughtful approach and accumulated wisdom with the next generation.

How does it feel to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award?

I have many feelings. First, I think it’s incredible. Second, I’m not sure I deserve it. Third, does it mean that it’s something that is behind me? How about all of the things I still have to do, because I put myself into a lot of new projects. I’m always thinking of what’s next. So, let’s put it this way—I’m not used to this!

What made you want to be a perfumer?

I didn’t want to be a perfumer. I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to heal people. And this feeling, I still have it today, because to be compassionate and to bring good things to people, in a way, is what I do with fragrances. I was pushed into math studies because my father is a mathematician. I ended up doing an internship in an engineering company. And I said, oh God, no, never. I would never do this professionally. It was not my type of environment. That’s why my mom suggested that I become a nose. I imagined that I would be like a dog, sniffing the conditions in factories. I had no idea what a nose was. She told me, “No, it’s not about that. It’s about creating fragrances for companies like Chanel.” At the time we didn’t have the internet, so I grabbed the yellow pages. I called Chanel, and they said, “No, that won’t be possible.” I called many places and someone was nice enough to tell me that I should get in touch with one of the fragrance houses. These days, you have Wikipedia, but then you have to be very resourceful. I called the perfumery school in Versailles and they told me I needed a Masters in Chemistry, so I was just about to go buy a lab coat when I got a phone call from Roure asking me to come in for an interview. I guess I made some impression, because they hired me to enter in the perfume school in Grasse. When I started perfumery school, I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t believe that people would be paid to play with smells. I fell in love with the profession the day I began to learn it.

Did you have a mentor?

Yes. You do your studies for four years and then you work with a mentor. I had very well-known people. Dominique Ropion and Francoise Caron, who have both done so many fantastic fragrances. And then I started to fly with my own wings. I always loved what I was doing, so each time I got a promotion or a raise, I was like, “Do you think I need it?” I was already so happy to do it.

How do you describe your style?

Even if I tried to do things that are very meaningful and powerful, I always work very much towards harmony. So, if there is a spike of something, I always try to go from one note to another in a harmonious way. It needs to be nicely put together, it needs to be kind. To me, all of my fragrances are kind. Even when I do darker fragrances, they are velvety and smooth. I don’t do anything harsh.

What accomplishments are you proudest of so far?

I have many accomplishments I’m proud of. Part of my personality is that I’m always very curious, and I’ll always try to find a new solution of any problem. But in terms of fragrances, I’m very proud of Tommy Girl. I’m proud of what J’Adore has done on the market, but I think Tommy Girl was more of a breakthrough fragrance. I’m proud of the fragrances I’ve done for Kilian, because they don’t look like anything else. But there are also things I’m less proud of. I have done some flops, too.

What are the most important lessons you can teach as an educator?

What I’m looking for is people who love the product above everything, above the glamour of being a perfumer. I teach them to train their brain, because their brain will be their worst enemy. It’s very easy to jump to conclusions, to imagine that you have smelled something, to imagine someone told you something. You need to always take a step back. I teach them what’s called metacognition. You have to ask yourself so many questions as you work. We have limits to what we perceive, and we perceive things under a certain context. For instance, if you go in a room that is normally bright but you come from outside in the sun, the room is very dark; but the same room, if you come from the cellar where it was dark, you’ll find it very bright. It’s the same when working with scents; you always have to contextualize what you’re doing. When you smell something, to be true to what it is, you have to think of what you have smelled before, the environment, how do you feel at this time? Did you get coffee beforehand? These things make a huge difference.  

What do you find most interesting about perfumery?

I’m learning something every day. I’m not that type of teacher who gives something to students to do that I know the result. I’m learning with them, which I think is fantastic. Right now we’re working on a yellow orris. The smell is amazing, and I’m breaking my teeth, trying to find what’s inside it with them. I think that what drives me is curiosity. I need to learn something new every day to have a fulfilled day.

What scents do you dream of that you have not yet captured?

I’m not the only perfumer saying this, but it’s true that it’s very difficult to capture the beauty of the honeysuckle. It’s a little bit like magnolia. It’s very refined, you have to be very close to smell, but even from afar, you can smell it with the same intensity. It fills the air, it creates a trail, but with something very delicate.

What are some of the inspirations that you draw from when you’re creating?

Everything! First, other artists. I look at how artists work, how they transform something from another media, how they trickle down, how they trickly up, how they think. Looking at artists, creators, authors, musicians, inspires me a lot. For instance, one day I was at The Hermitage looking at the Dutch painters of the 17th century, those black paintings with the flowers that are quite bright. I thought, I can’t have a bouquet like that because none of those flowers grow together in the same season. I understood that they work separately with the flowers, the painters. They don’t draw a bouquet with everything together, they go one by one. With J’Adore, that was the way I worked. I worked on each flower separately and I put them together in a way that they don’t overlap.

How has the fragrance industry changed?

Everything has gotten much more technical, much faster, much more ethical, much more sustainable. There is a huge consciousness of what we are doing, what we are using, and that is totally new. When you use something, you are responsible for its safety. You know where the ingredients are coming from, and you know they’re ethical. That has been a huge shift. And the speed. Now, AI is coming as well. It can be a help or it can be a threat. It can take over many cumbersome tasks, but maybe some people are very comfortable to keep doing those tasks and they don’t want the computer to take over. I think it’s not special to perfumery, it’s something you can see across all industries. Everything changes.

HALL OF FAME: PHILIPPE BENACIN

HALL OF FAME: PHILIPPE BENACIN

HALL OF FAME: PHILIPPE BENACIN

HALL OF FAME: PHILIPPE BENACIN

June 2021

Though he may be humble about his impact, Philippe Benacin revolutionized the way that fragrances are licensed and distributed when he co-founded Interparfums in 1982. The hugely influential global company designs, produces, and distributes perfumes and cosmetics for such brands as Coach, Jimmy Choo, Lanvin, Montblanc, Montcler, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Kate Spade, among others, bringing them success and visibility in the fragrance world. Chairman and CEO Benacin, who is an avid musician and art collector, has been recognized with a Creative Audacity Prize awarded by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in 2011 and now he has won the coveted Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame Award for 2021. To mark this milestone, he reflects on his career and shares wisdom he has learned along the way.

How does it feel to be named the Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame honoree?

It is a great honor. I was only once at the presentation in New York and it was when Tom Ford was awarded – it was gorgeous. This time it has to be virtual but that’s ok. It’s very nice to get it no matter what.

You have so many interests. What started you down the path to the business of perfume?

People often ask me if fragrance was something I was always interested in, and I say no. I was not into fragrance at all, and my family has no link to perfumery. It so happens that when Jean [Madar, the Interparfums co-founder] and I finished business school we started a smaller company doing market surveys, and we met a French fashion company that wanted to launch a fragrance. That was the starting point. We did the market survey of the competition, but after a year of work with the CEO of that company he proposed that we develop and continue to work, physically, with the fragrance. This is how we moved, step by step, from market surveys to fragrances. We did market surveys for about two years, and it was something that I personally didn’t like at all, so it was a good point to meet this gentleman, and start in fragrance, which is much less abstract. Scent was very interesting to me, from a creative development point of view, from a supply chain point of view, and from a market point of view. When you look at the fragrance business, it’s very large. It’s very vertical. You meet people who are very different according to which segment they work in. And I have found that it’s a really nice world.

What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to the perfume industry?

I don’t want to be pretentious. I think the perfume world would have gone the same way if we were not there. But what we think we’ve done well is we’ve come to understand all of the segments of the luxury business and we have become very good at translating a brand DNA into fragrance, into product, into communication. I have the impression that we’re good at that, when you compare us to our competitors.

What have been the turning points for Interparfums?

The turning point for sure was 1993, when we signed Burberry. There had been two licensees before but neither was successful. When we signed the contract the business was almost at zero, but we created different fragrances starting in 1995, and after three or four years they were very significant in terms of sales.  I remember in year three we were at 160 million French francs. It changed completely the size of the company and also the strategy. So, 1993 was very important. And then 2013, exactly 20 years after, when Burberry decided to integrate their business. At that time, we lost 50 percent of our scents, but we knew ahead of time and could reshape our brand portfolio. I hope that 2020 will be a key date in the future, because we signed the Montcler license in 2020. But I cannot tell you now – ask me again in two years, and I will be able to tell you whether it was a success or not.

What are the keys of success that you can teach to others?

In luxury fragrance, I would say attention to detail is the most important thing. Attention to the client and to the product and to the brand.

How have you seen the fragrance business change?

Two things. In terms of retail, when you look at France and then the USA, when you look at the markets 30 years ago, you had many different retailers everywhere. Today it is no longer like that. In France you have three retailers who have 80 percent of the business. In the USA it is the same, with Macy’s doing not far from 50 percent. That’s a key point. And secondly the fact that the most powerful brands are more and more powerful. There are probably 10 companies doing most business around the world. Which means that when you launch a brand, if you don’t achieve certain figures, you are going to be out. You have to be successful. It’s no longer possible to be just ok – either you win or you lose, no middle ground.

How does close work with perfumers enhance your role?

We work with perfumers directly. When we start working – with Givaudan or Firmenich or IFF or whichever company – we give them a brief and they come back with different creations, but we don’t know who creates what. If we select three or four fragrances, different mods, then we go to the perfumer at the second stage, and in general we work with the perfumer directly until the finalization. We have a lot of possibilities – because we don’t just work with one or two perfumers, or all of the perfumers of the company. It happens often that we select a fragrance that is from a perfumer we don’t know yet. For instance the next Lanvin will be from an American perfumer, Mackenzie Reilly, from IFF. There was no specific link with her, but we liked very much the fragrance she gave us.

You have said the 200 women of Interparfums are very important. How so?

It is an industry that is very feminine. When you hire someone in France in this industry, you have more women than men. It happens that our company is 70 percent women. I fight to hire men! We have women and women and women. They are all very talented, and it works super well. They are faithful, and probably more conscientious than men.

What is the best advice you have received?

Again, I think it’s about attention to detail. In 1995, 1996, I met the CEO of Clarins and we happened to become friends. We spent hours talking about the industry, and he gave me so much good advice at that time, but on a friendly basis. Like pay attention to details, don’t go with too many creations – I can’t remember everything, but it was such a nice moment. That is why I asked him to join our board after he left Clarins.

What are your predictions for the future of the fragrance industry?

I have the impression that it will not change so much, because it has changed so much already. We will of course find newcomers – there will be newcomers on the brand level, the supply chain level, the retail level, of course – but I think that all of the key elements are there. I am talking in the next 5 to 10 years, not 50 years, because that you can never know.

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE BRAND FOUNDERS

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE BRAND FOUNDERS

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE BRAND FOUNDERS

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE BRAND FOUNDERS

June 2021

Arquiste Parfumeur – Carlos Huber

What was the creative/historical starting point for this fragrance?

The history of how patchouli arrived to European noses (via Kashmiri shawls) and its association and evolution with social changes of the 19th century. Patchouli first became the scent of misfits and counter-culture as the use of these shawls descended from the well-off classes to bohemians and courtesans . 

Were there challenges in striking the desired balance between elegance and decadence in the scent?

Yes, like misfits, the scent of patchouli is preceded by its reputation, and our goal was to turn this on its head.  Misfit is centered on the idea of things to go in and out of fashion… of fads that go from the mainstream to the fringes of society, and from the outside back in. Of making the undesirable desirable again. Instead of following a trend, being a misfit and reclaiming the elegance of patchouli.

What emotion or sensation do you want it to spark for those who smell it?

An enveloping sense of self…of individuality that doesn’t need to sacrifice elegance in order to stand out and declare its non-conformity. It’s a scent for every gender, every skin type, and every season because it celebrates both softness and assertiveness. 

How does your relationship with Rodrigo Flores-Roux enhance Arquiste, and what did he specifically bring to this scent?

Rodrigo has an emotional understanding of my creativity. He gets my ideas on storytelling and historical connection and in the feelings and sensations that I seek to provoke with a scent. He is an artist that creates new accords with seemingly disparate raw materials. He also sees perfume as an affirmation of life…as a tonic to the void that is loss. His perfumes have color and texture and give dimension to the stories I tell. 

Reaching the Finalist level for the Indie Fragrance of the Year is a big accomplishment, what does it mean to you?

This is my third Fragrance Foundation nomination in my career in fragrance and it’s a huge honor. Misfit falls exactly on my 10 year anniversary with ARQUISTE. It reaffirms my passion in meaningful and intelligent fragrance development.

D.S. & Durga – David Moltz

What was the original spark of inspiration for Jazmin Yucatan?

A trip into the interior of the Yucatan, driving through dense humid jungle en route to Coba. One feels a parallel with an inward journey as they reach such a center of ancient civilization. The jazmin yucateco growing wild smells powdery and animalic which juxtaposes with jungle dew and crocodile filled cenotes.

Working with such unique ingredients – including copal and snakeplant – were there any challenges you faced in the fragrance’s creation?

I own a snakeplant, so am quite familiar with its aroma.  The accord is built around fresh green notes and ginger which marries well with jasmine.  Copal is a wonderful base note that I use all the time and screams of the Yucatan. The main challenge was capturing a realistic jazmin flower blooming in humid air.

What is your favorite aspect of this scent?

 The realism of the jasmine. The harmony between green, water, powder, flower, fruit, and vetyver.

What sensory effect did you want it to have on those who smell it? 

I want people to be brought in their minds to an uplifting place – the humid interior of the Yucatan, and also to take an everyday mental vacation (which was particularly important last year).

Reaching the Finalist level for the Indie Fragrance of the Year is a big accomplishment, what does it mean to you?

We are always honored to be considered for our work. It says something about the state of fragrance that a small company like ours could be recognized among giants. Thank you!

Floral Street – Michelle Feeney

What was the inspiration behind Arizona Bloom?

My initial inspiration for Arizona Bloom came a few years ago as I was flying over the desert from LA to NYC – I was taken with the intense colour and it was so vast! A year later I visited the Atacama Desert in Chile with my family.  It’s the driest desert in the world, and we hiked through salt lakes and cactus valleys, all at high altitude under clear blue skies.  This dry, high environment where earth and sky meet was so freeing to the spirit that I literally wanted to bottle it!

What emotion or sensation do you want it to spark for those who smell it?

Arizona Bloom is a scent that is grounded in the wonder of nature for when you are feeling sunny, euphoric, nomadic and free-spirited. It’s a fragrance that really ‘takes you away’ from our tech-heavy world, capturing a feeling of total freedom and high octane living.  It stimulates your mood, reconnecting you with its combination of ingredients and crystallized musks, which give a warmed skin sensation and a surprise element to the scent.

What is its place within the Floral Street family?

Arizona Bloom is our 10th fragrance and our most successful launch to date. It’s a dry, floral amber scent that opens up a new fragrance category for us within our floral portfolio.

What pleases you most about the way that it has been received?

We took a risk by launching it digitally during the height of lock down in the pandemic but the response from e-tailers, retailers and consumers has been incredible. It was a true marrying of my personal inspiration with the skill and expertise of our scent superstar, Jerome Epinette. What has surprised and delighted me personally is that it has been loved by everyone, it’s truly a gender-neutral fragrance.   

Reaching the Finalist level for the Indie Fragrance of the Year is a big accomplishment, what does it mean to you?

As the Founder of an independent, British brand, this is, for me, is the highest accolade Floral Street could achieve. Even being a finalist for us is amazing. If we win it gives us such a credible accreditation in an industry packed full of talent. 

Shalini Parfum – Shalini

What unique properties of iris made you want to create a fragrance devoted to it? 

I have always loved the many colors of irises. I find it magical that Iris flowers are named after the Goddess Iris. Iris Lumière captures the cold silvery beauty of orris butter with all the nuances of its watery green nature. There is a longevity and delicacy to orris butter that is very haunting.

I felt an internal direction to create two fragrances as the twin lights of creation – Golden and Silver lights.  Iris Lumière, the fifth parfum in our Collection, is the Silver light of Iris and the twin to our fourth parfum, Paradis Provence — the Golden light of Thyme. Both parfums carry the cosmic energy of the Sun and the Moon.

My vision for Shalini Parfum is to return to the historical value of perfume – healing and prayer. 

How do you want people to feel when they wear or smell this fragrance? 

There is a cold essence to iris, almost like camellias in the wintertime.  The beauty and fragrance in the cold warms your heart. I desired Iris Lumière to capture the lunar energy of the Full moon and feel watery like the ocean and waves which feel the energetic pull of the moon — the tides as the water rises to the moon.  Iris Lumière evokes the feeling of swimming naked in the sea under the moonlight with the water caressing your skin creating a sense of peace for the soul.

How does your close relationship with perfumer Maurice Roucel enhance Shalini creations, and what did he specifically bring to Iris Lumiere? 

Maurice is a great lover of Iris. We both agreed that the parfum should capture the watery elements of Iris to reflect the lunar energy of the Moon.  It was a very innovative approach to Iris which is usually treated as a powdery element. He understood on an intuitive level what I yearned to create for Iris Lumière, the fifth parfum in this series inspired by the moods and passions of the soul. Usually, I compose a poem for Maurice to bring him into the creative space I am in. He has complete freedom to use the purest naturals to compose his poem.  It is like two artists creating together – a duet. We have a unique synergy as creators.

Shalini Parfum is the only complete collection that Maurice has created during his illustrious career.  

What pleases you most about the way that it has been received?

Created as the Silver light of peace and self-acceptance and launched last year during a time when the world needed peace, it is very rewarding to see how clients have embraced Iris Lumière. It touched our clients at a deep soulful level and became a much-loved parfum almost immediately. We received many heartfelt messages from clients telling us how it helped them during the pandemic and how they desired to be immersed daily in the healing energy of Iris Lumière. As an artist, it is the most precious compliment to bring joy and pleasure to people.

Reaching the Finalist level for the Indie Fragrance of the Year is a big accomplishment, what does it mean to you?

I am truly grateful to have this tremendous honor bestowed upon Iris Lumière.  Being a Finalist reinforces our parfums’ position as Modern Masterpieces that transcend time.

As an Indie parfum creator, I greatly appreciate the recognition of the fragrance industry.  The Fragrance Foundation is very supportive of my vision and it has meant a lot to me personally.

Being a finalist also introduces the beautiful energy of our parfums to a worldwide audience.

St.Rose – Belinda Smith

What was the original idea behind the creation of Vigilante?  

The name Vigilante comes from the latin “To be wide awake” and the inspiration for this bold new fragrance was actually from witnessing the unconquerable human spirit of brave individuals across my native Australia, who rose up to fight the devastating bushfires that took hold in late 2019 and continued to catastrophic proportions in early 2020.

As we were working on this fragrance development through 2020, an unprecedented year with profound revelations unfolding across the world stage, it has been that same power of quiet resistance and of mavericks working to change the status quo, bringing with them hope and optimism, that influenced the essence of our Vigilante.

Are there challenges to working with upcycled and natural ingredients, specifically for this scent?

 Being a clean and transparent brand we already present technical challenges for our perfumers before our push for using only sustainably sourced ingredients of the highest quality. That is truly why we are so proud of our partnership with Givaudan who share our commitment to creating in harmony with nature. Linda Song, the incredible perfumer who is the nose behind this composition was inspired to work with upcycled Cedarwood Atlas which fit so beautifully into the creative direction. At first I was concerned that since many of these materials are created from already distilled materials that there would be a diluted quality to them but it’s exactly the opposite. Instead the aroma is entirely unique and makes certain facets more intense which is an amazing way to intentionally influence a composition into a certain direction. 

To quote Linda, by repurposing what some might discard as waste, we are using the forgotten material to create added value and to explore new olfactive dimension–bringing unique notes to a perfumer’s palette. In the upcycled rose in Vigilante, it’s about introducing a modern, fresh rose nuance to the floralcy and the upcycled cedarwood Atlas, which is a more intense and fruity version of the Atlas cedarwood without the animalic overtones allowing it to be used more fluidly between both masculine and feminine fragrances.

What effect did you want Vigilante to have on those who smell it?

 Intrinsic to the ritual of wearing fine fragrance is that it makes us feel good, confident, sexy … but more than anything I hope with Vigilante that there is a feeling of empowerment as well. It’s a scent that was certainly inspired by a rebellious energy and I think we really infused that sentiment into the final essence. I’ve always loved a bit of a quiet rebel, those who in their tireless pursuits continue to push against the grain. That unconquerable spirit is inspiring and contagious. Of all the mavericks I adore, it’s the artists who don’t just paint, compose, or write what they see, but rather what they wish the world to see; who are my favorite type of renegade. In their finished works we share a common experience and that sentiment of oneness is something I hope we all wake up to, … may art inspire the way.

How does Vigilante express ST. ROSE aesthetic and ethos? My desire for this composition was really to be an artistic call to arms, one that pushes boundaries for clean beauty and luxury fragrance. At. ST. ROSE,  our greatest aspiration is to make this planet more conscious for all humankind and what better art form than fragrance, drawing from the Earth’s most alluring aromatic materials, to inspire a deeper connection between self and nature. Creating with smart transparency from a palette of environmentally friendly ingredients we hope to make the artistic intention behind Vigilante that much more inspiring.

 Reaching the Finalist level for the Indie Fragrance of the Year is a big accomplishment, what does it mean to you?

 It is truly such a dream. To be recognized alongside such a gorgeous company of finalists is an incredible honor. Choosing to take the path less travelled and make choices as a young brand that often presents more challenges and takes more of an investment is not always easy. To be recognized for that effort is so validating and also incredibly invigorating, knowing our efforts are championed. From the entire team at ST. ROSE, I am so thankful to The Fragrance Foundation.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G. LEVY

June 2021

This June issue of Accords includes insightful one-on-one interviews with the 2021 TFF Awards honorees whom we just celebrated: Calice Becker, Lifetime Achievement Perfumer and Philippe Benacin, Hall of Fame. Please get to know these Honorees in addition to viewing their TFF Awards videos on our website here.

In addition, we conducted a Q&A exchange prior to the winner announcement on June 10th with the finalists in the very special category Indie Fragrance of the Year. As 2020 brought challenges to all in the world, reaching Finalist status for these 5 brand creators in such an exceptional year clearly indicates not just what the specific finalist fragrance achieved, but that the overall brand portfolio is positioned for ongoing success in the years to follow. This category is judged by anonymous fragrance experts on many aspects of the fragrance itself and its direct communication to consumers. 

The winner was just announced a few days ago: MISFIT Arquiste Parfumeur!

As in the Olympics, only one contender can win and is certainly the winner. However, as many know I am consistently communicating that Finalists are all to be celebrated, not just winners. So for this year and particularly in this category, it is even more important to celebrate the positivity of this achievement and applaud these Finalists as they are not competitors from the TFF perspective, but undeniably winning brands going forward. I have had the privilege, along with the TFF team, to get to know them and have to applaud these Finalists and all our valued Indie fragrance brands.

Please accept our deep gratitude to the thousands who joined us virtually for The Fragrance Foundation Awards to celebrate with us as a global community! 

You may replay the entire exciting Awards available on our website or view each separate category which includes the experience from the star presenter to the announcement of the winner and their acceptance, here.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy

@fragrancefoundation

May

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE
Scents and Sensibility

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE

THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE – THE RETAIL PERSPECTIVE

May 2021

For this edition of ACCORDS, the Fragrance Foundation reached out to retailers to get their perspective on how the fragrance market has changed, and how it has been in many ways revolutionized by the pandemic. As we enter a new era, how have our shopping habits transformed and how will we continue to fortify ourselves with fragrance moving forward? No one has a closer eye on the consumer than those who watched and learned as their companies navigated the past year.

“Throughout the pandemic, we saw our customers responding to fragrances,” says Julie Walsh, VP, Divisional Business Manager, Fragrances, at Macy’s Inc. “Scent is powerful.  It reminds you of people and places. It makes you happy and brings you comfort. We all needed that this past year!” Elizabeth Miller, VP, Divisional Merchandise Manager for Cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s agrees that this is why the fragrance business showed so much success in 2020. “Smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. In a time where we are all longing for normalcy, it follows that we would look to scents that call back some of our favorite times, whether it’s a wedding day, a special vacation, or another memorable moment. In the past year, our Bloomingdale’s customers shifted from spending on experiences to investing in ‘little luxuries,’ including home and personal fragrance that bring a sense of comfort.”

Retailers pivoted to meet both a surge in demand and the shift to digital that the pandemic necessitated. “We had to think of how to engage the customer digitally, creating compelling content to keep her engaged, connected and excited to come back to hear the story around our fragrances in store, and how to ensure safety through touchless scented sampling,” says Mark Knitowski, VP, Product Development Innovation & Fragrance at Victoria’s Secret Beauty. “Our customers voted for collection fragrances, layering of scents and body products as well as candles and home fragrance,” says Gemma Lionello, EVP, GMM Beauty & Accessories, Nordstrom. “Our team did a great job connecting with our customers through digital events and digital master classes that were very well received. Our customers were able to learn about scent layering and finding new favorites with special event kits that our teams sent to their home. Sampling continued to be one of our core service values and our customers enjoyed being able to try several scents before they decided what to buy.”

All agree that the upswing in fragrance sales, as well as the agility of both retailers and consumers who will be excited to shop for their next scent both online and in store, will continue into the future. “While we anticipate our customer getting back to spending on travel and experiences, we believe the future of fragrance is bright,” says Elizabeth Miller, VP, DMM for Cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s. “Luxury continues to grow exponentially, as does our customer’s appetite for investing in quality items like luxury fragrances. We see the focus on pillar/hero fragrances within lines, while also evolving to include new formats and formulations of our customer’s favorite fragrances. As more shoppers return to our Bloomingdale’s stores, we see a return to in-store activations that our customer craves, and finally, utilizing technology to enhance the customer’s experience.” The key, says Knitowski is maintaining the gains. “We need to take this momentum we are seeing to catapult the category onward.  The customer sees fragrance as special again, we need to hold her attention and think forward to what she wants next.”

“The respect and trust our teams have with our brand partners continues to lay the foundation for success,” says Penny Coy, VP Merchandising, Fragrance at Ulta Beauty. “Our guests have reacted so positively to the many partnerships around new launches, exclusives and  spotlights on legacy.” As for the future? Coy sums up the retailers’ positive consensus perfectly. “We are very optimistic for the category to continue on its trajectory,” she says. “Our fragrance team mantra is “Can’t stop, won’t stop!”

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF
Scents and Sensibility

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF

POSITIVITY FOR FRAGRANCE IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD: NPD & TFF

May 2021

Video Interview – Click HERE To Watch!

The NPD Group is one of the world’s largest market research companies. This week, Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy joined Larissa Jensen, Vice President, Industry Advisor, Beauty, The NPD Group for a wide-reaching and optimistic conversation about the state of the fragrance industry.

Highlights from the discussion centered around consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how much of the change in purchasing priorities and patterns is expected to endure as the world returns to offices, travel, and social interaction.

The pair kicked off by talking about the incredibly strong performance and momentum that fragrance has shown in retail over the past year. Consumers have been purchasing higher ticket items such as larger sizes, high-concentration juices, and luxury brands throughout the pandemic. Remarkably, this has happened despite the shift to online purchasing. “I never thought that fragrance could be soaring the way that it is considering the pandemic where  the vast majority of sales are done online,” Levy says, predicting that even though brick-and-mortar will always be important to perfume purchasers, the shift to digital will continue to be substantial as a percent to total now that consumers are comfortable maneuvering in that space.

Home fragrances became incredibly important during the pandemic, as people rediscovered how scent can enhance an atmosphere and lift a mood. The category diversified, with candles, diffusers, and plug-ins becoming an essential part of creating a home sanctuary—and the market exploded. Similarly, fragrance came to be regarded as self-care, a beauty and wellness accessory that helps everyone feel good. Because the sense of smell is so intertwined with memory and emotion, consumers found that scent could provide them with an important sense of escape.

“In many ways we believe that fragrance has become the new lipstick index,” Jensen says, noting that an NPD survey showed that the number one reason people have been purchasing fragrance—at 50 percent of those who responded—is as a treat for themselves. Fragrance is an affordable indulgence, and, she says, “It really has become a luxury that people are buying for themselves.”

Not that they aren’t buying it for others as well. Holiday was a huge moment for fragrance in 2020, and Mother’s Day 2021 saw fragrance sales soar. According to NPD, 19% of Mother’s Day gift buyers purchased fragrance, double the rate of other beauty categories. During the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, fragrance sales posted a remarkable 33 percent growth rate over 2019. Levy points out that rose scents and florals in general were wildly popular, as well as categories such as candles, perfume oils, and hair mists. She predicts that “bridal registry is the new holiday,” now that people are gathering for events and celebrations and will want to share their love of fragrance.

Consumers have clearly awakened to a newly powerful love for fragrance. “Pre-pandemic, people looked at it as frivolous,” says Levy, “but now it is seen as important, part of their personality and how they feel every day.” She predicts that growth will continue as the market recovers overall. Ultimately, “it’s about understanding market dynamics and the consumer behavioral shifts,” says Jensen. “And companies that are able to do that are really going to win in the end.”

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A
What The Nose Knows

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A

May 2021

Ralf Schwieger, MANE

Bukhara by Gallivant

What were the inspirations you drew upon when creating Bukhara?

Bukhara is a city on the Silk Road with a long history of culture and trade. The scent is dedicated to the majesty of the orris flower: the vast dark blue skies, arid landscape and architectural elements like the vibrant tiles used to decorate the mosques stand in for the colors of the flower, and spices representing the ancient trade are woven into a radiant latticework.

How do you want someone to feel when they smell the scent?

Elegance and transparency are two lodestars ruling my work –  I dislike heavy and cloying fragrances and those where you only smell single raw materials in the trail. I hope that I somewhat accomplished that mission if the person who wears the fragrance  feels the luminosity I tried to infuse in this scent.  

What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

The Perfume Extraordinaire is chosen by an industry panel of experts – perfumers, evaluators and marketers who criticize, praise and judge scents on a daily basis. The fact that Bukhara made it to the finalists’ stage fills me with joy, knowing that only the scent and not the brand or packaging determined the choice.

Florie Tanquerel, Cosmo International Fragrance

Garden of Grace 

What was your starting point for Garden of Grace ?

When I received the brief from Sarah Horowitz, you can only imagine how excited I was! We worked closely with her to make her vision come to life in creating the smell of the “perfect rose” grown in the Rose Grace Farm located in Santa Inez, California. Growing up in the South of France, close to Grasse, the kingdom of the Rose Centifolia, I have a very special connection to the scent of roses.  This was my starting point in creating Garden of Grace.

 What specific effects did you want to achieve with this scent?

I knew I wanted to use our exclusive natural ingredient, the Rose Craftivity®, which is extracted through a green process in our plant in the South of France. This ingredient really captures the purest and most natural impression of a rose field in full bloom. I wanted to reflect a mix of modernity and sophistication while revealing the petally texture and pastel colors exclusive to the roses of Grace Rose Farm, so I combined other fluffy floral notes such as peony and Moroccan orris. Inspired by the California landscapes,  I also incorporated fresh marine notes and fruity vineyard grapes while rounding out the fragrance with a bit of soft cashmere woods and musk.

 What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

All I can say is…Wow! Cosmo International Fragrances and I are very proud and more than happy to have been picked among the other amazing fragrances by the industry.  For me, it means that we have accomplished great success with this fragrance.  It is already a true honor for us to be nominated this year and it really was a great collaborative effort across the globe, from Miami, Los Angeles to the South of France!

Alberto Morillas, Firmenich

Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden Hortus Sanitatis 

What is unique about your collaboration process with Alessandro Michele?

Each time I get to work with Alessandro Michele, he seems to bring out a new facet of my own personality, or a curiosity that I didn’t know existed. He’s a fascinating individual, with a totally unique vision, and he has a way of bringing you into his world, so that you become part of the tapestry of what he’s building. I’ve had the pleasure of co-creating with Alessandro since 2017, and during this time we’ve collaborated on nearly thirty different Gucci fragrances. Ultimately, we’ve developed our own unique ‘language’ and way of communicating. It’s a very special and direct relationship that exists between myself and Mr. Michele, and it’s important that I understand his perspective so that I can create fragrances that mirror his aesthetic and the vision he has for the brand.  There is a certain amount of trust between us, and I have a keen sense of Alessandro’s expectations even before I begin developing usually. Mr. Michele knows exactly what he likes, and subsequently what he doesn’t like, and his feedback is invaluable to me during the process of formula creation. We are very in-tune with each other, and the chemistry between us at a creative level is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable parts of working with him.

What were the inspirations behind Hortus Sanitatis?

Hortus Sanitatis, which is the Latin name for ‘Garden of Health’, is named after one of the first natural history encyclopedias published in the 15th century. Interestingly, Gucci had already published a tome under the same name with English photographer Derek Ridgers, who shot their Pre-Fall 2017 collection. This collection (and specific fragrance) was inspired by the art of alchemy and the concept of layering, to be able to customize fragrance combinations to create an utterly unique and personalized scent. I used notes of premium quality papyrus and cedarwood to showcase timeless elegance, imbued with a smoky quality. During the creation process of Hortus Sanitatis, I imagined rows of old glass flacons sitting on the wooden shelves of an antique apothecary, with recently brewed strange and mythical fumes wafting throughout the space. There’s a rare strand of intoxicating darkness that runs through this perfume, with musky undertones that remind me of journeying to a pool of undiscovered water in a remote cave, the ebb and flow of waves marrying the essence of life and freshness with depth and shadows.

 What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

I’m truly honored to be a nominee. This award is one of the most coveted and renowned for perfumers worldwide. I feel extremely privileged to be in the company of many other esteemed perfumers, and humbled that my life’s work is recognized as a distinguished body of thoughtful fragrances. Ultimately, the greatest pleasure I take is knowing that for every perfume I’ve crafted, I’ve imparted a bit of my soul into the creation, and I’m able to touch the hearts and minds of millions of people in this way.

Philippe Paparella, Symrise

Memo Retba 

How did you translate the idea of Lake Retba into scent?

Retba was initially intended for the Middle East market. My primary idea was to play with an addictive amber and stay away from the Rose/Oud cliché. I started with an accord made of our Ambre 84 DeLaire base, Vanilla Absolute from Madagascar, and some red fruit notes as a reference to the Lake’s colors. Then I facetted this accord with spices (Cardamom, Pink Pepper, Ginger & Cinnamon from Madagascar) and woods to bring more sophistication. The result is an opulent ambery scent.

What emotions would you like the fragrance to evoke?

I want Retba to intrigue the consumer and take them to remote places. I like this quote from Yves Saint Laurent, who once said:  “I use my imagination to conjure up countries I don’t know. I hate to travel. For example, if I read a book about the Indies with photos or about Egypt, where I’ve never been, my imagination takes me there. That’s how I take my best trips.” As most of us have been unable to travel due to Covid-19, I’d like to think that this creation can transport us somewhere else with the strong evocative power of fragrances. And that’s what Memo is about.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

I have always admired Dave Apel and Emilie Coppermann’s creativity, so being nominated in the same category as them is such an honor. It would be amazing to follow in their footsteps. Thanks to my colleague Alienor Massenet, I had a chance to fulfill my passion and work in tandem on niche perfumes for Hermetica, Memo, and a few other brands. I owe this nomination to her for being an inspiration and role model over the past few years.

Pascal Gaurin, IFF

Scents of Wood Plum in Cognac 

What effect did you want to achieve with this scent?

Brands are always a reflection of their creators. Scents of Woods reflects Fabrice Croise’s love for nature and uncompromising stand for creativity and luxury.  With Fabrice, we are both astonished by the endless power of trees, these majestic living organisms have been our silent companions since the beginning of humanity. We also share the same fascination for wood as a living material and its infinite transformative power when it interacts with human imagination. Wood as a raw living material has yielded us the most beautiful human creations on earth whether it be a sculpture, an architectural masterpiece, or a luxury fragrance.

Plum in Cognac is at the confluence of my childhood memories and my constant quest for sensuality in perfumery. With this fragrance, my desire was to convey the memories of a voluptuous purple Plum ripe with life, also known as Quetsche d’Alsace, combined with the dense woody and resinous essence escaping from the dark forests of my childhood.

What challenges did you encounter in its creation?

My first challenge was to preserve the woody signature which is at the core of Scents of Wood’s brand DNA while magnifying it with a sensual and decadent element. It’s where this luscious purple Plum enveloped in a thrill of dark Rum comes into play. The decadent blend of this juicy fruit dripping in voluptuous dark Rum brings this deep sensual purple effect to the wood. 

My second challenge came from the brand’s unique creative process, the organic alcohol was aged in a vintage Cognac Barrel. Throughout the creation process, I had to make sure the scent will perfectly marry with this aged alcohol and will reveal all the olfactive complexity of Aged Cognac Wood.  

What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

Working on Scents of Wood has been a beautiful journey and it’s especially incredible to see Plum in Cognac nominated in the Perfumer Extraordinaire category only 9 months after the brand was launched. At a time when the number of fragrance launches is hitting a record high, seeing Plum in Cognac being recognized for its creativity and uniqueness is also the most beautiful reward I could have wished for.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G.LEVY

THE  INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G.LEVY
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G.LEVY

THE  INSIDE SCOOP WITH LINDA G.LEVY

May 2021

This holiday weekend, when we pay tribute on Memorial Day to honor and remember our Veterans who sacrificed their lives in the military. We also kick off  the summer season officially. For both of these significant occasions, we are filled with gratitude and cautious optimism, as the world moves forward. We are emerging more resilient and going forward, into the “new normal”.

In this May Accords, we feature discussions of the past and the future of the pandemic impact at retail, for consumers and fragrance creativity. The insights in this issue cover a broad range of perspectives but share common themes from Retailers, NPD, and Perfumer  Finalists in the Perfume Extraordinaire category for the TFF Awards.

All of us at TFF look forward to all of the global fragrance community joining us at our big TFF Awards event on June 10th. We will celebrate fragrance creativity, our passion for fragrance, honor Calice Becker, Vice President Perfumer & Director of the Givaudan Perfumery School with the Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award; and Philippe Benacin, Chairman and CEO Interparfums, with the Hall of Fame Award; as well as announce all 2021 TFF Awards winners.

At the event, Louie Schwartzberg, award winning visual artist and filmmaker, who is TFF’s collaborative creative force in 2021, will share his inspiration for the magnificent films he creates of nature & humankind. 

The webinar is free to the fragrance global audience, and open to anyone who registers to join the awards presentation. Please register here.  See you June 10th with Dolly Parton, Alicia Keys, Kylie Minogue, Isabella Rossellini, Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Thom Browne, André Leon Talley, and Christian Siriano!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy

@fragrancefoundation

Apr

NEXT FOR AUTISM – THE YEAR AHEAD: LAURA SLATKIN & TOMMY HILFIGER

NEXT FOR AUTISM – THE YEAR AHEAD: LAURA SLATKIN & TOMMY HILFIGER

NEXT FOR AUTISM – THE YEAR AHEAD: LAURA SLATKIN & TOMMY HILFIGER

NEXT FOR AUTISM – THE YEAR AHEAD: LAURA SLATKIN & TOMMY HILFIGER

April 2021

Laura Slatkin, the unmistakable and famously gracious woman behind NEST Fragrances, co-founded NEXT for AUTISM in 2003, and has since worked tirelessly to build the non-profit into a potent force for change. Whether through medical care, education, or community support, the organization has improved the lives of those affected by autism in countless ways. Iconic fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, who has collaborated with his friend Laura and her husband Harry Slatkin on events and projects raising money for autism research and awareness, has also joined the NEXT for AUTISM Board. Together, they have big plans for the future—including NEXT for AUTISM’s continued partnership with the Fragrance Foundation’s Give Back program—which they share with ACCORDS in this month’s special edition.

April has traditionally been Autism Awareness Month. What has changed for 2021?

Laura Slatkin:

This April is different than in past years when it comes to autism. NEXT for AUTISM and our colleagues across the disability community are formally calling for a change to the terminology we use to recognize this month, moving away from the previous moniker of “Autism Awareness Month,” to the more relevant and meaningful “Autism Acceptance Month.” As the prevalence for autism mounted in the 90’s it was critical to raise awareness, advance the field and make progress. Now that we have seen progress in these areas it’s time to focus on accepting individuals with autism and integrating them into the community. Autism Acceptance Month signifies a necessary evolution in expecting a deeper understanding, value, and inclusion of individuals with autism in society.

Tommy, what motivated you to join the NEXT for AUTISM Board?

Tommy Hilfiger: 

Autism is very dear to my heart and I want to do my part to ensure that the more than 5.4 million adults on the autism spectrum have the support they need to have active, productive, fulfilling lives as adults, without boundaries or barriers to live out their dreams. That’s what NEXT for AUTISM is all about. They are a highly focused team of doers. NEXT for AUTISM is always challenging the status quo, leading the charge to make the world a better, more inclusive, and more equitable place.  

What do you admire most about what NEXT for AUTISM has achieved so far?

Tommy Hilfiger:

NEXT for AUTISM is always pushing boundaries and advancing innovative programs for individuals on the spectrum and their families. They launched two charter schools for students on the spectrum in Harlem and the Bronx, started a training course for educators and professionals with Hunter College and opened a clinical center with NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia and Cornell providing services across the lifespan, to name a few. They have a history of getting things done and impacting the autism community and I want to be a part of that.

What are the current initiatives for NEXT for AUTISM?

Laura Slatkin:

While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been collecting data and releasing information about the prevalence of autism in children for decades, 2020 marks the first time the CDC has reported on adults. There are more than 5.4 million adults living with autism in the U.S. and they deserve equity in the workforce, homes that are safe and welcoming, a rich social life–desirous life experiences for all adults.

NEXT for AUTISM wants to be part of the solution. We are dedicated to building resources and programs that are grounded in best practices, committed to system change and that both promote acceptance and truly move the needle for adults with autism. The goal is healthy quality life experiences within the home, community and social networks for adults on the spectrum. The team at NEXT for AUTISM is working hard to bring this vision into reality.

What are the specific NEXT for AUTISM initiatives for adults with autism

Laura Slatkin:

This year, we are embarking on several exciting efforts to quickly address some of the most pressing issues adults on the spectrum now face. Three of our most exciting initiatives are:

NEXT for NEIGHBORS: There are more than 800,000 Direct Support Professionals/staff (DSPs) working in the United States. The backbone of a quality supported living environment for an adult with autism are the professionals who work in those homes. NEXT for NEIGHBORS empowers DSPs by providing professional development, that inspires the delivery of quality support so adults with autism can thrive with improved communication, having choices and engaging in preferred activities in the community and much more. Presently we are piloting the NEXT for NEIGHBORS curriculum and training initiative with The Arc Westchester in New York and our goal is to fine tune this program, and develop comprehensive materials that can be disseminated and expand our reach nationwide.

NEXT for GOING OUT: There are more than 600,000 adults with autism and other developmental disabilities that are being served in day programs throughout the United States. NEXT 4 GOING OUT is an easy-to-use resource providing visual supports for adults with autism and the professionals supporting them that ensure that adults are going out into the community and engaging in programs that will enhance their lives and promote independence.

NEXT GEN CONNECT Mentorship is a well-established practice for supporting employment. NEXT GEN CONNECT is a peer mentorship program to improve acquisition and retention of employment for autistic adults.

What is your perspective on the third annual December event with the TFF and AARMY? How is this event growing? 

Laura Slatkin:

We are honored that The Fragrance Foundation has chosen to support NEXT for AUTISM by making our AARMY event an annual event. We are building momentum–the Fragrance community is getting to know us and the work we do, and we are building important relationships with TFF members. We value everyone’s willingness to partner, highly. This year we will brainstorm on how we can expand our reach to include more folks, particularly those that are affected by autism that work in the fragrance community—or know someone who is affected by autism. At NEXT we always say “Someone You Know Loves Someone With Autism.” 

Why is the ongoing relationship between TFF and NEXT for AUTISM is important?

Tommy Hilfiger:

The Fragrance Foundation and the fragrance community at large is a very dedicated, passionate group of individuals that also know how to get things done. For someone like myself and Laura and Harry, who have been deeply involved in the fragrance industry for decades it’s heartwarming to know that what is important to us is important to them. The ongoing relationship between NEXT and TFF is important because we all know that it takes time and momentum to build something important and meaningful. With the awareness and funds raised from TFF involvement we now have the opportunity to create lasting and impactful change for the autism community.

Laura Slatkin:

On a very personal level I feel so excited about having the opportunity to combine my two favorite passions in life, fragrance and philanthropy.

ON THE NOSE: DR. PAMELA DALTON

ON THE  NOSE: DR. PAMELA DALTON

ON THE NOSE: DR. PAMELA DALTON

ON THE  NOSE: DR. PAMELA DALTON

April 2021

Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have been conducting groundbreaking research into how smell shapes our daily lives for more than 52 years. This work has perhaps never been so pressing and relevant as it is today, when so many individuals have lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19, and the Monell Chemical Senses Center has become a critical force in gaining greater understand of the mechanisms behind sudden smell loss, as well as building awareness with its Monell Smell For Life Project (https://monell.org/anosmia/).  The Fragrance Foundation welcomed experimental psychologist and Monell Center scientist Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH, to share insights from her studies as part of Fragrance Day 2021, and in this month’s edition of ACCORDS she outlines not only why the olfactive system is so crucial to health and happiness but also how all of us can support the Monell Center’s mission.

How common is the loss of a sense of smell, and what are the primary causes?

Fortunately, prior to COVID-19, complete smell loss was relatively uncommon, although not unheard of.  Because we don’t regularly test smell ability, most data on the frequency of smell loss are estimates.  Probably the best ones are from the NHANES studies, where they found that ~12% of the population has a smell disorder and 3.2% are severely hyposmic or anosmic (total loss of smell).  Increasing age has always been a factor in smell loss.  Nasal-sinus disease, head trauma, upper respiratory viruses, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons) and toxic chemical exposures are all etiologies of smell loss, whether acute, persistent or permanent. 

What are some of the ways that it can affect a person beyond the direct consequence of not being able to smell?  

People who lose their ability to smell often feel disoriented in familiar environments and feel isolated in social relationships (spouses, children) because the odors that signal familiarity are missing.  Changes in eating behavior are also common—some people undereat and lose weight because food is no longer appetitive and some people overeat because they’re looking to regain the satisfaction that flavor (smell+taste) brought them. There is also a tendency to experience depression which may be due to reduced or absent input to the olfactory bulb (a part of the ‘emotional’ limbic system). People also worry about the inability to sense danger—from gas leaks, fires, spoiled food.  And they also worry about not being able to smell their own body odor and offend others. 

What are the current key studies Monell is conducting?

We have studies attempting to understand how well smell loss is predictive of COVID-19 infection; at present it appears to be a better and more specific indicator than fever (which can have many different causes).  We are using a test we recently developed called SCENTinel, that uses a single odorant but taps three different components of olfactory function:  detection, intensity and identification.  We also have an ongoing study of smell training in normal aging, to see if it can improve odor sensitivity.  Other studies that are conducted remotely are using the Monell Flavor Quiz- a 12 item sensory test that evaluates smell, taste and chemesthesis (cooling, warming). And other studies are attempting to understand how the molecular structure of a chemical can be used to predict odor quality and intensity.   

What have been the most significant findings so far regarding scent loss?  

Scent loss affects different people in different ways—but uniformly people report feeling like they’ve lost a very significant dimension of their everyday life.  We’ve never had an occurrence where so many people have lost their ability to smell in such a short span of time. Obviously we hope that what we learn about how the virus is affecting the olfactory system will lead to treatments and understanding for other types of post-viral smell loss. 

How can people participate in Monell research?

Several ways:  there are ongoing studies where people come into the Center to be tested, but we also have modified a number of studies so that people can participate in their home.  Either the samples are mailed to them or they come to the Center to pick up the samples.  In some cases, testing takes place while you’re on a Zoom call with the scientist at the Center, in other cases, you sample the stimuli yourself and respond on a computer or your cell phone.  Studies that are currently enrolling are posted on our web page:  https://monell.org/participate 

How does scent training work?  

The basic program is to choose four odorants—there are kits you can buy or you can choose your own scents—either essential oils you buy or scented objects you can find around your home (spices, fragranced lotions, soaps etc). Twice a day you should sit down with the odorants and smell each odorant—while trying to recall how you remember the odor experience—spending around 1 minute per odorant. The key is to do it consistently.  It can be frustrating (if no feedback initially) and a bit boring, but it is the only recommended therapy for post-viral smell loss that has been shown to restore the ability to smell better than the passage of time.  And it has no risks.

What should someone do if they begin to notice a deficiency in their sense of smell? 

 Because there can be multiple reasons why someone’s smell ability is changing, it is recommended that they try to get tested.  If a smell loss is confirmed, then it’s probably a good idea to talk to your doctor to investigate the potential health conditions that may have caused the smell loss.  They may recommend an ENT exam of the nose to rule out nasal sinus disease or they may identify a recent viral infection that may have caused lasting changes.  However, there is absolutely no reason not to start smell training at any point if you think your ability to smell is changing.

THE HOST WITH STAR POWER: MARIO LOPEZ

THE HOST WITH  STAR  POWER: MARIO LOPEZ

THE HOST WITH STAR POWER: MARIO LOPEZ

THE HOST WITH  STAR  POWER: MARIO LOPEZ

April 2021

Who could fail to be charmed by Mario Lopez? The multi-hyphenate entertainer, presenter, author, producer, and director brought his signature charisma to the Fragrance Foundation’s 2021 Awards Finalists live webinar on April 14th, impressing viewers with his passion for scent as well as his ambitious and productive work ethic. The two-time Emmy winner, star of Saved By The Bell, and host of NBC’s Access Hollywood, Access Daily, and All Access, also helms  a nationally syndicated radio show, “On With Mario,” and currently preparing to start pre-production for a documentary he will be directing for HBO (in addition to countless other projects).  Accords tracked him down on the set of his upcoming holiday film, currently filming in Santa Fe, to get his thoughts on the enduring magic of perfume and why he jumped at the chance to join the fragrance community.

What was it like for you to host the Fragrance Foundation Awards Finalists webinar?

I really enjoyed hosting the awards, especially because I love fragrances! To meet the top people in the industry was very interesting and a lot of fun.

What do you love about fragrance?

I love smelling good and discovering new scents.

What are your earliest scent memories?

Wearing Drakkar and Cool Water cologne and Fahrenheit when I was in Junior High.

When did you start wearing fragrance yourself?

I believe Junior High.

Do you have specific memories that you can share associated with fragrances that other people around you have worn, or places you have been?

Any cheap cologne smells great on my dad. He just has a great body chemistry! He can wear a $10 Jovan Musk and it smells amazing on him. Women will actually pull him aside and ask him what he’s wearing.    I also know great smelling celebs! I can judge them by their fragrance.

What are some of your favorite scents currently in your rotation?

I really like Molecule right now, Égoïste Platinum by Chanel and Santal by Le Labo.

Do you choose to wear them according to your mood, or according to what you will be doing that day/night?

According to what I will be doing that day or night.

How do you like your home to smell?

I like my home to smell clean but when I walk into the kitchen I like it to smell like coffee.

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

April 2021

This edition of Accords is more varied in content than usual as TFF activities cover a wide range this month and we want to share it all.  

April is Autism Acceptance Month so the interview with Laura Slatkin co-founder of NEXT for Autism and Tommy Hilfiger who recently joined their board, provides an update on their progress and programs.  

We at TFF have formally confirmed our ongoing commitment to GIVE BACK and raise awareness with NEXT for Autism.  What began as a plan to partner with our 2019 Game Changer Laura Slatkin for one year, has since grown into a long term relationship. The fragrance community will unite again for the annual December AARMY event and look forward to growing participation nationwide. Meanwhile, please take a moment to learn about the upcoming live stream you do not want to miss on April 30th with Mark Rober & Jimmy Kimmel to support the autism community here.

We are proud of TFF’s ongoing effort to share more expert knowledge about the sense of smell this month.  In this next interview of Monell Center’s Dr. Pamela Dalton we learn more about scent loss, scent training and how one can participate in Monell research.

Our third feature allows us to end on a more celebratory note. On April 14th we held our virtual 2021 Finalists TFF Awards with host Mario Lopez, two-time Emmy-winner, entertainer, actor, producer, and host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood”. Over 1,000 viewers tuned in globally to hear the Finalists announcements. Mario brought great positivity and energy to the event and it was clear he shares our passion for fragrance. Our interview with Mario allows us to welcome him again to the fragrance community as a member in good standing with an ever growing fragrance collection. If you wish to replay the webinar or find out more about the TFF Awards Finalist, you may replay here.

Mark your calendars as we are planning an even more exciting  star studded 2021 TFF Awards event June 10th. More information will follow in the next weeks for the big event when we announce the winners and pay tribute to our Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Calice Becker and Hall of Fame Honoree, Philippe Benacin.

Let’s all look forward to springtime with sunshine and a celebration of a fragrant Mother’s Day!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation


Mar

FLOWER POWER: LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG

FLOWER POWER: LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG
Spotlight

FLOWER POWER: LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG

FLOWER POWER: LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG

March 2021

Talk to Louie Schwartzberg for two minutes, and you’ll immediately get caught up in his enthusiasm about the awe-inspiring splendor of flowers and the natural world. Watch one of his films—even for two seconds—and the same thing will happen. Whether with his Moving Art series on Netflix, his Wonder & Awe podcast, or films such as Fantastic Fungi and Wings of Nature, Schwartzberg’s mission is to explore both the magnificence and the minutiae of the planet, inspiring us to look beyond ourselves. This is why he was the perfect partner for the Fragrance Foundation to bring the theme of Fragrance Day 2021—florals—to life.  The award-winning artist and filmmaker has been focusing his gaze, and camera, on flowers for 40 years, documenting them in time-lapse as they progress from buds to glorious open blooms. His flowers blossomed on the Fragrance Foundation’s social media feeds and throughout the Fragrance Day celebrations, providing opportunities for meditative moments on the miraculous, spellbinding glory of nature. “It’s a beautiful way to get people turned on to being more aware, more conscious,” Schwartzberg says. “It’s all about the one-ness of it all. Let life flourish.”

How did your collaboration with the Fragrance Foundation come about?

I think that Linda went to see my film Fantastic Fungi on the big screen when it came to New York, and we connected after that. I always encourage people to see my work on the big screen if they can, because it’s mind-blowing. That’s one way to shift consciousness and to have people open their hearts, and look at life from a different point of view. It’s all about connection, oneness, beauty. People come out of the theater crying, and it’s not a sad movie. But anyway, that’s how Linda and I originally met.

How do the flowers that you filmed for Fragrance Day connect to your work as a whole?

I’ve been on this lifelong journey with my films. Before I did Fantastic Fungi, I did a film called Wings of Life. In it, Meryl Streep tells the story from the point of view of a flower getting it on with bees, bats, hummingbirds and butterflies. It’s really amazing that beauty is nature’s tool for survival, because we protect what we love. Why and how did that happen? Well, billions of years of R&D, figuring out how to make life flourish. And what orchestrates all that? What motivates all of that? I love the fact that it’s beauty. We’re hard-wired to respond to it. And flowers use color, movement, aroma, pattern. All these things trigger the senses of every living being.

A kid might ask, what is a flower? Is it just a pretty little thing? Hell, no. It’s the sexual organ of a plant. And it has evolved over millions of years with pollinators in this beautiful love affair that’s been going on. The flower seduces these messengers. Us included, because we’re slaves to flowers too. We plant flowers by the billions. We’re helping them reproduce. Why? Because they’re beautiful. They make us feel good.

For me, that’s just, as a visual artist, I’m never going to get tired of looking at flowers because no two are alike. Every color is different, the way they move is different, the way they open is different, the way they smell is different. Each one is a completely different journey into an essential experience that makes me present, makes me connect with the divine.

When did you film your first flower?

About four decades ago. I graduated from UCLA as somebody who took fine art and photography and shot a lot of the anti-war protests and fell in love with photography and history. When I got involved with filmmaking, I wanted to shoot in the highest quality format possible, because especially with nature imagery you want high resolution. But it was very expensive back then. I ended up retrofitting these old cameras that were built in the ’30s, and super high quality, that enabled me to film one frame at a time which is what time-lapse is. It really speeds up reality. With flowers, you could shoot for two or three months to get a four minute roll of film. It fit my budget. And nobody had ever shot time-lapse in 35-millimeter before.

But the other aspect of what I was doing was that it was really about capturing a sense of wonder. I wanted to be able to look at life from a different point of view than the arrogant human point of view. When there’s a fly on your arm, it would look at you like a slow-moving giant, because it’s in hyperspace. Its lifespan is maybe a couple of weeks. To redwood, which lives 500 years, we’re the ones in hyperspace. I use the camera as a time machine. It’s something that blows your mind from a scientific point of view, but also from a spiritual point of view, because it changes your perspective to realize that everything has its own way of life on this planet.

What are the biggest challenges in filming flowers this way?

It’s challenging in a lot of ways. I shoot mostly indoors, where I have grow lights and cameras and timers set up. You can’t have wind. You can’t have bugs. I need to keep the flowers happy. And it’s slow. I’ve been going nonstop 24 hours a day, seven days a week for four decades – and I’ve got 16, 17 hours of time-lapse footage.

Do you have any idea how many flowers you’ve filmed in that time?

I would say hundreds. Basically, there’s no rhyme or reason to what I choose to shoot next. There’s a casting couch actually, right outside my room where I have all these little flowers growing. But it’s whatever excites me. I’ll go to the nursery, and see something’s about to bloom. I don’t care what the name of the flower is, it’s just being able to capture its beauty.

I’ve shot some over and over again. Because it starts with a bud. How do I know where it’s going to be, three days from now? How it’s going to open? How big is it going to be? What direction will it move? Part of the joy of doing it is anticipating the future. Like surfing the wave, where do I need to be to catch a wave? It makes you present. It’s a meditation in a way. I really have to understand the flower, look at it, maybe look at others around it. If it’s a little bush or a plant, see how it opened, then I take my best guess when and how it is going to bloom. The joy is when it finally does happen. If it’s beautiful, hooray. Failure, I learned something. There’s a ratio of failure. Probably get one out of six.

Do you have favorite flowers, and favorite flower scents?

I would say when it comes to scent, I’m a sucker for the ones that smell tropical, like plumeria, but they’re all good. And then, pansies are just insane when it comes to their colors. I like those deep dark purples with yellow. The velvety rich color. There’s nothing quite like it.

Watching the Fragrance Foundation flower films has such a calming, meditative quality. Why do you think that’s particularly resonant, given the pandemic?

It’s super valuable because everybody has not been able to travel and go outdoors. And so what I try to do is I try to bring nature into our environment and digital nature is certainly better than nothing at all. It’s not a replacement for the real thing, but it’s still valuable. The other thing that I think is important is, I don’t just show you a picture of a flower. I’m actually showing you a flower move, and open. I’m opening your horizons, to look at things, and take you on a journey through time and scale. It challenges the brain, because it’s like, what am I looking at? Is it real? Is it animation? Is it CGI? That is good. It means it stops you in your tracks and makes you think about it. I’ll tell you, the common reaction I get from people who watch my stuff is they go, “Oh, my God.” And what does that phrase mean? The oh means I stopped you in your tracks. The my means, it touched something deep inside of your soul, and God is universal energy that we all want to get connected to. That to me is the ultimate compliment.

What would you say your greater mission is?

To turn people on. I may have started just because I was seduced by flowers, but when I learned that the bees were disappearing, I made Wings of Life. I needed to tell the story of this love affair, and show how pollination is the source not only of our food supply but the majority of life on our planet. If you take the foundation out of life on the planet, which are the little things in life, the flowers, the bees, the fungi that creates soil, then you’re killing everybody. That would be a giant disaster. They predict we’re going to lose 50% of species in the next 30 or 40 years, which is heartbreaking. But if we lose the bees for example, Einstein said we have less than five years left to live.

The mission is to celebrate life and have life flourish. I need to tell stories that can help make people aware of how amazing the natural world is, and want to protect it and celebrate it and make the right choices, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because they’re emotionally connected to it.

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON
Scents and Sensibility

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL: DR. PAMELA DALTON

March 2021

Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH is an experimental psychologist who studies smell at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Her work focuses on the ways that we interact with scent in our daily lives, revealing the way that smell guides us through the world, affects our emotions, and colors our memories. The Monell Center’s research has taken on particular resonance in the Covid era, and Dalton has been working closely with individuals whose sense of smell has been impacted by the virus to develop scent training tactics designed to help restore their olfactive function. As the Fragrance Foundation has now established a close relationship with Monell, Dalton joined Linda G. Levy in an engaging conversation for Fragrance Day 2021, which you can replay here. For this month’s Accords, she goes into even greater detail about her fascinating work.

Tell us a bit about the Monell Center and what it does.

We were founded 52 years ago as a basic research center devoted to things that nobody was formally studying in an institute at the time: smell and taste. The institute started small, but it has grown exponentially over time, and our approach is a bit different now. The fundamental mechanisms of smell and taste have largely been elucidated and described so now we’re looking at the downstream effects. What happens when you lose your sense of smell? How does smell determine what you choose to eat, what kind of air freshener you choose, what perfume you wear? We’re trying to understand that in the context of everyday life.

Why has smell historically been less studied than the other senses?

One, it was undervalued greatly and so even a few years ago when people would go to their doctors and say, I can’t smell, or I’m having trouble smelling, it would be like, well, worse things could happen. It’s become very clear that that’s not true. Sometimes it is the worst thing for many people. Also, taste and smell are incredibly difficult systems to study and for a long time there was no standardized way of doing it. We knew how the visual system works a very long time ago, but we only really came to understand  the receptors for smell 20 years ago. 

Can you explain why smell is so connected to memory?

The olfactory system is privileged in its access to what we call the emotional center in the brain, the limbic system. And sensory stimulation from smell arrives in the cortex without having to go through a lot of different gateways. Our emotional reaction when we smell something is very immediate,  even when we’ve never smelled that item before. When we don’t understand what an odor represents, we’re probably going to be a little bit cautious, but this hedonic response immediately calls on our memory system and our emotional memory system to say, “ah, that’s, the smell of my first boyfriend’s cologne” or “that’s the smell of my grandmother’s kitchen when I would go to visit her.” It’s because of this privileged access between these brain structures that govern not only smell, but also emotional experience.

What are some of the things that affect the way that we feel about something that we smell?

Generally, our experience with it. I really love for there to be some definitive evidence one way or the other, but we really don’t know whether we are born as babies with innate aversions or preferences. We know that with taste, for example, all mammals will like something that’s sweet hours after birth. And if you put something bitter on their tongue, they will make a very characteristic gaping, like, get it out of here. These are hardwired probably because ingesting something sweet is nutritive and ingesting something bitter in nature could be toxic. But we don’t have any evidence that that’s true for odors.  In fact, you don’t actually see children start to mimic what we would call the standard cultural adult reactions to odors, liking or disliking, until they get to be about six to eight years old. They’re really learning from the people around them.

What happens to us physiologically when we smell something that we like?

We breathe very deeply. A very good friend and colleague of mine was studying a cinnamon apple odor at Yale many years ago when he was a postdoc. And he was amazed to see that their heart rate got much lower when they were smelling this odor. But what he wasn’t measuring at the time was how they were breathing. When they were smelling something they really liked, they took longer deep breaths, they slowed down their respiration rate, and of course that had an effect on their heart rate. People have studied breathing and relaxation for thousands of years, and it does have a beneficial effect. That’s why people tell you, when you’re stressed at work, sit back for three minutes and do some deep breathing. If an odor that you like can reinforce that, so much the better, right?

What fascinates you personally the most about smell?

The fact that I can’t really experience what anyone else is experiencing. For example, my husband is colorblind and so I know that he doesn’t see color the way I do, but I know that most other people in the world do. With odor, it’s so individual because it’s the genetics of the system that determines what we can smell, how acutely we can smell it, our own experience. With respect to odor, we really live in different sensory worlds.

So I might smell my perfume differently from someone sitting next to me?

Yes, and this is probably why most people don’t realize they have a loss of sense of smell until it’s completely gone. When I say to you “Do you see that?”, if you don’t see it and it’s sitting 10 feet in front of us, I know one of us has a problem. But if I say, “Do you smell that?” we’re much more likely to allow there to be huge individual variation. We don’t have the same confidence in the uniformity of our responses. So if you say no, I wouldn’t say “You need to get your nose checked,” whereas I would definitely say, “You need to get your eyes checked.”

What are some of the things that you’ve seen as far as that shift in thinking about smell due to COVID?

There’s much greater awareness about how devastating the loss can be. Not being able to smell makes you feel incredibly disoriented. We process odors in our environment almost automatically. And so walking into our home, our olfactory receptors are responding, but they’re not alerting us to anything as long as everything smells the way it should. But when your sense of smell is  gone, you have no marker for, “This is home” or “This is my office” or “This is the park I go to.”

How can scent training work to restore the sense of smell?

Generally, it started out by someone picking four qualitatively different scents from something that had been developed earlier as an odor wheel. You would bring these essential oils to your nose and try to inhale them for maybe a minute each, maybe think about what the odor might be, if you remember what it smelled like, like clove. It’s intentional mindful stimulation of the olfactory system. Some people have paired it with pictures, some people have started using it with odors that are specific to the individual and meaningful. There are a lot of variants to it, but it does appear to work. I think the outcomes are better the sooner you start it, and it probably relies on a certain amount of what we call synaptic plasticity. The system may not be responding but the brain representation of what that smell is still exists. We have to retrain the receptors to make those appropriate connections.

Keeping with the Fragrance Day theme, what have you learned about flower scents in your research?

We may have evolved to have some special preference for floral scents. It’s not just looking at things that are pretty and green or floral, but actually smelling them. I think that there’s a real opportunity to use floral scents in a way where they do have benefits for us in terms of relaxation and stress relief.

Finally, what does the support of the Fragrance Foundation mean for the Monell Center?

It brings us an opportunity to convey our science to a wider audience. It also provides us with a level of expertise in the world of fragrances, which is very valuable.  And I think because of the Fragrance Foundation’s reach in the industry and beyond in consumers, we can provide understanding of our science through another outlet. I think the synergy of the association is a beautiful thing.

PERFUMER Q&A: FRAGRANCE DAY SPECIAL EDITION

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMER Q&A: FRAGRANCE DAY SPECIAL EDITION

March 2021

Meabh Mc Curtin – IFF

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

I loved seeing the beautiful time-lapse images of flowers by Louie Schwartzberg. His message of the importance and beauty of nature feels particularly pertinent at this moment. It was also really inspiring to listen to the creative dialogue between brand owners and perfumers. I love how each person’s unique story gets translated into scent through sharing their passion, vision, values and life experiences.

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

To me flowers represent the joy of being alive and present. It speaks to our humanity that we respond so strongly to their beauty. Flowers also represent hope – seeing lilac, cherry blossom and daffodils appear in spring makes me feel profoundly happy. As a perfumer, I often feel that my work is to try and unlock the seductive and mysterious codes of flowers. It’s an enriching and humbling exercise; nature has a sophisticated simplicity that is impossible to match.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

I love orange flower in particular because I was not familiar with it at all growing up in Ireland. I remember clearly the first time I smelled it.  I was on a boat in Morocco and we sailed past a grove of orange trees. The air was heavy with the smell, and I was mesmerized. Depending on how you work it, it can go from clean and bright to very sensual and hypnotic. I also love gardenia and tuberose. The fleshy sensuality of these flowers reminds me of the fragrances that women were wearing around me as I grew up–I associate them with strong independent women.

Dora Baghriche – Firmenich

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

It always feels good to share my passion with others. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about our Olfactive Design partnership with Central Saint Martins. We felt so lucky to work with these amazing students to develop some ideas about how fragrance can have a more positive impact on society. For example, I worked on a refreshing, watery, green scent for the Fragrance Ventilator to show how we could alleviate some of the stress in the cities today. There were so many really interesting projects that demonstrated a new path for the use of fragrances in the future.

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

Flowers are full of possibilities. They still have many unexplored facets, unchartered territories.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

Orange blossom, in all its forms and shapes! Creating a new rose is always an exciting challenge as well. Finally, tuberose, for its milky, solar facet; it’s a note that suits my tastes.

 Dana Schmitt – Givaudan

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

I really enjoyed the virtual Fragrance Day event! I loved seeing and hearing from people with different perspectives in the industry. It felt like an amazing way to welcome Spring this year, celebrating flowers and the idea that we too will (hopefully) be blooming again sooner rather than later!

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

To me, flowers represent love! My fiance likes to spoil me with flowers and it’s just a nice treat that he will surprise me with randomly–it’s his way of showing he loves me. As a perfumer, flowers themselves take me back to my time at the Givaudan Perfumery School. We have a beautiful flower garden that we use to study and perfect our accords. Thinking of almost any specific flower takes me to that beautiful moment in my life where I was focused on learning directly from nature.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

I definitely go through phases of favorite notes to work with, but currently my favorite floral notes are in the rose family. I have been playing with some rosy raw materials introduced recently to our palette, and I’m on a quest to create my own personal perfume that is based on a rose. Stay tuned…

Nathalie Benareau – Symrise

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?


I loved that there were so many different conversations and perspectives around perfumery. Having the opportunity to watch other perfumers express themselves was very interesting as I believe perfumery comes from the heart and all perfumers have different sensitivities when creating or even simply when talking about fragrances. I love how emotions play such an important role in our craft.

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

I grew up in the countryside so I was surrounded by flowers in my parent’s garden, but also in the nature that surrounded our house. There were beautiful prairies, forests and gardens, and when spring came it was such a pleasure watching nature come to life with colorful blossoms and the heavenly scent of flowers in the air. I vividly remember purple lilacs and their intoxicating scent. As a perfumer, flowers represent femininity but also nature, renewal and life itself. They can add signature to a fragrance and really bring a large spectrum of strong emotions: love, happiness, sensuality, relaxation etc.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why? 


I love muguet, or lily of the valley. Its scent is so delicate; simple yet faceted, pure yet playful and colorful. It can be in the heart of any fragrance and can blend very nicely with many types of floralcy.  It can modernize a rose, harness the animalic facet of a jasmine, add lift to the creaminess of a lactonic note in a white floral…the possibilities are endless.

Catherine Selig – Takasago

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

Participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day made me feel part of our global fragrance community uniting to bring wellness and joy through the olfactive experience in consumers daily lives

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer? 

I feel a special connection to flowers both personally and as a perfumer. 

For me, each flower is associated  with an emotion, a place and a moment in time. I infuse flowers in my fragrances as vessels of those emotions, I carefully choose each flower for its unique energy and vibration in the composition. 

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

My favorite floral notes to work with are White flowers. White flowers create a halo of comfort and have the power to make the mind travel in time to various places.


THE INSIDE SCOOP: 2021 VIRTUAL FRAGRANCE DAY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: 2021 VIRTUAL FRAGRANCE DAY
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP: 2021 VIRTUAL FRAGRANCE DAY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: 2021 VIRTUAL FRAGRANCE DAY

March 2021

This edition of Accords marks one full year we are staying home. We look forward with optimism to a brighter future. While we must never forget the lives lost or the impact this pandemic has had ravaging the planet, we all must move forward together. During this most challenging year, we have stayed connected as a fragrance community virtually and hope we will be reunited in person later in 2021. Our theme of Fragrance Day for Accords exemplifies our bonds creatively and through the sense of smell.

The good news for fragrance is that creativity has often flourished and more people have discovered how scent can enhance their lives.  The majority of our community and consumers have actually rebalanced their lives to focus on what is truly important and take nothing for granted.  All over the world, people have as the saying goes “taken the time to stop and smell the roses.”  The phrase has long been a friendly reminder to slow down and enjoy life, to take the time to savor the beauty around you, to relax. It is one positive force that has spread globally for those fortunate enough to be able to adopt it.

This edition of Accords puts a spotlight on our 2021 Fragrance Day collaboration with award winning filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, who brought our focus on flowers to an extraordinary level. Enjoy getting to know Louie in this special interview with our editor April Long and you will learn why we feel fortunate and grateful for this awe inspiring man whose unique lens will continue to mesmerize us all.  Louie often says our partnership began when we met and he quotes “You had me with hello.” Louie had me way before “hello” when I stepped into a theater and viewed  his astonishing filmmaking. You need not go to the theater, you can be wowed on Netflix to start your journey.

Our first ever 2-day virtual Fragrance Day on March 21 & 22 allowed us to showcase Louie’s magnificent videos as well as feature over 20 world renowned Perfumers, many brands, new TFF Indies, fragrance houses, retailers and more. I was honored to interview Monell Center’s Research Scientist Dr. Pamela Dalton. April Long sat down with Dr. Dalton to add even more to our education on the sense of scent. 

In every Accords we proudly feature Perfumers and today we have Perfumers who had roles in Fragrance Day sharing their perspectives on this special 2021 event. As this is Womens’ History month, we highlight these 5 women Perfumers from diverse backgrounds.

If for any reason you could not watch Fragrance Day live, or wish to experience any portion again, please replay and enjoy here.

Spring is off to a great start and we look forward to the fragrant journey ahead with you all!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Feb

2021 NOTABLES: THE YEAR AHEAD

2021 NOTABLES: THE YEAR AHEAD
Spotlight

2021 NOTABLES: THE YEAR AHEAD

2021 NOTABLES: THE YEAR AHEAD

February 2021

TFF introduced its inaugural Notables Awards in 2015, and has inducted exceptional individuals, nominated by their colleagues for their contributions to the fragrance community, every year since. On February 10th, 2021, in the first ever virtual Notables ceremony, a new generation joined the growing group. The contribution of Notables is extremely valuable to TFF, not only in their roles as ambassadors to the greater world, but directly, as they weigh in on strategy and generate creative ideas as part of the Notables Think Tank. For this edition of Accords, we spoke to the new inductees about what the honor means to them and what they hope to bring to the table going forward.

“It’s such an honor to be in company with these other young leaders and the brands they represent,” says 2021 Notable CeCe Conner, Marketing Manager, North America for BYREDO. “Being part of 2021 TFF Notable Class is a reminder of all the creativity, passion, and innovative thinking that exists in the fragrance industry today and the exciting future it has.”  Andrea Duarte, Director, Integrated Communications, Shiseido, says that being named a Notable “has been a proud moment, both professionally and personally. Fragrance has always been a part of my life, and it feels like coming full circle to be recognized for the role I play in the industry today. I am honored that my genuine passion for the art of fragrances has translated into the work I do alongside my amazing team.” The thrill of being positioned so that they can share their enthusiasm and ideas with like-minded peers is a sentiment shared by all. Or, as Cailin McCarthy, Director of Marketing, NEST New York puts it, “I love the fragrance industry and feel so lucky to be a part of it. To be recognized within it is mind-blowing.”

The new Notables are unanimously aligned with TFF’s goals for greater inclusion within the fragrance industry, calling it out as something they consider very important going forward. “The Fragrance Foundation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are critical to creating a more welcoming industry environment that’s representative of society around us. I would like to see TFF drive this essential change in the year to come,” says Jessica Leslie, Senior Marketing Manager for Firmenich. Education and mentoring, too, are top of mind for the 2021 Notables, who will be active in connecting with students at their alma maters as well as working with industry fledglings who are learning the ropes. “I think sharing my personal experience and growth in this industry could help to inspire others that are interested in this field. I am looking forward to the Fragrance Foundation mentorship initiative and the opportunity to speak to students at FIT and other local colleges and universities, says Chantell Gerena, Fragrance Development Director, Symrise. “TFF is such an inspiring organization and uniquely positioned as it serves as the mouthpiece for an entire industry. Promoting TFF as an educational resource, especially for young professionals in the industry is something I’m looking forward to taking part in,” says Tim Halle, Marketing Director Fragrances, Christian Dior. “I hope that I’ll be able to connect others with the amazing resources TFF provides.”

Paying forward the guidance that they themselves received is key, too. “I look forward to mentoring people coming up in the industry,” says McCarthy. “I was lucky that I had a handful of incredibly generous people who shared their passion and knowledge.  It makes such a difference when you have someone looking out for you.”

As we all are, the Notables are looking forward to the TFF events of 2021 and beyond, and already have some thoughts about what they would like to see. “In the coming year, I hope to see TFF continue to offer new and exciting educational opportunities, such as Masterclasses that provide the chance to hear and learn from iconic changemakers in the industry, in addition to expanding the knowledge of the fragrance industry as a career path to college students and entry-level candidates,” says Lindsay Tomaro, Senior Manager, PR and Influencer Marketing, Coty. “In a time where many are still working remotely, the coming year offers an excellent opportunity to expand our reach and capitalize on the ability to bring many people together in digital forums.”

But of course, what will be better than finally being able to join together and celebrate IRL? “I simply can’t wait to finally meet and connect with people in person again!” says Leslie. “To be able to bond and chat about what’s next in this industry over a glass of wine is the dream. Second, the opportunity for unexpected discovery or inspiration is so much greater when exploring the world in person. I look forward to doing this again soon.” There will be much to enjoy and share in the months ahead, when even the simplest things will seem revelatory. Like, says Halle, “Being able to have conversations without realizing 30 seconds in that you’ve been on mute the whole time.” Cheers to the Notables class of 2021.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS
Scents and Sensibility

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS

NOTABLE ALUMNI: ACCOMPLISHMENTS & ASPIRATIONS

February 2021

Once you’re a Notable, you are forever a Notable. Ever since TFF began honoring Notables in the fragrance community in 2015, those individuals have become a part of the TFF family, and have played a role in guiding policy and planning events via the Think Tank. At TFF, every voice is heard, and the power of the growing Notable community is that with each year that group of voices grows ever more diverse. Organizations have nominated Notables, too, from virtually every division and job description in the fragrance world, building a strong collaborative force with a real understanding of how things work and how we can all work together. For this issue of Accords, we checked in with some of TFF’s past Notables to see how they have found the experience so far.

Since becoming a Notable, many of our honorees have hit career milestones. “Since being named a Notable, I was promoted to Fragrance Director of Cartier North America and had to lead my team through the challenges of the pandemic, while maintaining a positive outlook,” says Anais Nouvet, North America Fragrance Director, Cartier, Class of 2018. “I am most proud of seeing the resilience and creativity that each of my team members demonstrated in these tricky times.” Alexandra Cassar, Scent Design Manager, Fine Fragrance, IFF, also Class of 2018, says, “Since having been named a Notable, my proudest achievement has been completing my FIT Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management Masters while juggling a full-time career. You realize you can take on more than you ever deemed imaginable. The difficulty is what has made it so rewarding.” Jordan Saxemard, Vice President Marketing, US Luxury Division, Coty, galvanized the launch of Gucci Guilty Eau de Parfum, beginning work with perfumer Jacques Huclier to develop the scent not long after his 2018 Notables Award. “Fast forward to Holiday 2020, the new Gucci Guilty Eau de Parfum helped the franchise reach its new peak position of #4 men’s fragrance brand in the US market: the stars were, indeed, aligned,” he says.

The TFF Think Tank meetings have been gratifying for all, with a common feeling that creative solutions are valued and that real change is being made. “I feel that they’ve provided fresh thinking and new perspectives on how the Fragrance Foundation can leverage new social platforms and utilize untraditional means to communicate with members within and outside of our industry,” says Ashli Hamilton, Project Manager, Ann Gottlieb Associates, Class of 2016. “I think the Notables Think Tank meetings have been great for TFF and the industry because we are able to effectively communicate and align on goals, values, and missions,” says Hannah Silver, Product Development Assistant Manager, NEST New York, Class of 2018. “These meetings are a safe place for us to clearly articulate what needs to happen and ignites an inspiring start for change.” Saxemard adds, “These meetings are crucial to the future of our industry. We must keep a pulse on present and future trends at all times to stay ahead of the game and continue to inspire the American people through the art of fragrance.”

The Notables also appreciate that they all bring something very different and special to the table. “I grew up on a dirt road in Western Pennsylvania. I now live on a graffiti-covered street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I combine a small-town boy’s appreciation for life’s simple joys with a New Yorker’s love of the fantastically weird,” says Justin Welch, Director of Marketing, Firmenich, Class of 2017. “We all took separate journeys to meet together in this industry. Our individual stories have the power to facet a beautifully colorful dialogue together.”

As the new year gets rolling, the Notables are brimming with ideas and goals that they hope to implement with TFF moving forward. When asked what she would like to see TFF accomplish in the coming year, Hamilton says, “A topic that’s been a hot button for me is the truth behind “naturals” and having a forum for industry leaders to debunk some of the myths around naturals being the holy grail for consumers. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and I think it would be helpful for us as an industry to demystify some of that information that natural isn’t always better.” Silver says she would hope to see TFF “bring more attention to sustainable practices across the fragrance industry. Right now, fragrance houses have done a comprehensive, dynamite job sourcing materials and ingredients in a sustainable way, but the same has not happened for packaging. There are so many innovative packaging materials for both consumer-facing and business to business. I am hoping TFF brings to light the amount of opportunity we have to implement ethical processes and practices.” And for Cassar, it’s all about spreading the good word: “I would love to see TFF achieve their goal in getting the word out to colleges. Our industry is so hidden, you either know someone who works in it or you fall into it by pure chance. Imagine the talent we could be missing out on?”

Lastly, they share advice for those who are just starting out, and dream of becoming a Notable in the future. “Work hard, and communicate with your team and colleagues,” says Liza Ketcham, Account Executive, Givaudan, Class of 2019. “Speak up when you need help and speak up when you’re ready to take on more. Take ownership when you make a mistake, and learn from it. Learn as much as you can from the people around you, not just in your area of the business. And finally, don’t always take everything so seriously—it is just as important to work hard and do your job well as it is to laugh and make connections with people and find joy in the parts of your job that you really love.”

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT
What The Nose Knows

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT

February 2021

Aurore Mane, Perfumer – MANE

What does being named a 2021 Notable mean to you?

It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the people I work with and the fragrance industry. As a perfumer, receiving criticism is part of your everyday job. It is always about creating a perfect fragrance, being very critical about your own creations. Receiving this award is a humbling experience, and as a woman in the industry, I feel empowered to be recognized and hopefully I can lead by example for future women for years to come.  

What can you add in value to TFF as a Notable perfumer?

There is a whole process behind the launch of a fragrance and as a perfumer I take pride in being at the heart of it. I want to value fragrances as an experience, and not just another product to be sold to consumers. Fragrance is an emotional journey, a form of art that expresses an idea created with imagination. And as a perfumer I think it is important to showcase more of the essence of fragrances and maybe bring a different vision to it.  

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?

I am not afraid to blend unexpected ingredients and to overdose them. I like to be bold and let my emotions guide my creativity.  Isn’t it how Chanel No. 5 was created? An overdose of aldehydes?

What are your favorite notes to work with?

I love working with woody notes. They are dependable and pliable. Woods can be mysterious, elegant, modern, unexpected, complex, textural and layered. They automatically provide a bottom note to any composition and reinforce other elements depending on their olfactive profile. Woody notes bring depth, dimension, character, texture and sensuality to any fragrance and it is a way to complete a scent and add a signature.

Is there a scent that you have found keeps you grounded and calm?

Any scents that reminds me of my childhood and my home town the south of France. The smell of mimosa flowers in February, jasmine, roses and orange blossom during summer.

The lavender fields and the exquisite smell of my mom’s kitchen. All these scents remind me of very happy times and unforgettable memories that keeps me calm and grounded.

How do you think that our relationship to scent will change once we are out in the world again?

We might have a resurgence to basics once we are out in the world. I think people are going to look for smells that soothe and ground them and bring a sense of nostalgia.

Being on hold for such a long time has stopped people from experiencing life like they used to know. And when we return to a sense of normalcy, I believe people will appreciate and value scents in a transformative way.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am really looking forward to traveling again. As a perfumer, I am a very curious person and creating fragrance is very emotional to me. Emotions come from my experiences and interactions with others and my surroundings. This is what drives my creativity. So I am really looking forward to reconnecting with people face to face, and to have drinks or bites with friends in a social setting as opposed to over Zoom calls!!

Mackenzie Reilly, Junior Perfumer – International Flavors & Fragrances

What does being named a 2021 Notable mean to you?

It is an honor, as it signifies being recognized by my peers and colleagues (and the board of TFF), as well as others in the fragrance world.  I am very proud to represent IFF as a Perfumer and as a Notable, and am humbled to be in such great company as the other honorees.

What can you add in value to TFF as a Notable perfumer?

I hope to contribute to the future of the fragrance industry in many ways, including in the discussions we will have about how to take sustainability and respect for the environment to the next level. I know that participating in the TFF Notable Think Tanks will allow for great discussions across company lines and among professionals and creatives in different fields of expertise.  There are not so many perfumers in the group, so I am looking forward to adding that voice and unique perspective into the mix.

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?

My style is constantly evolving, but I am always told my fragrances are very signed.  I like to create sophisticated fragrances, elegant in structure, very qualitative and I am always experimenting with our beautiful palette of natural ingredients from LMR. 

What are your favorite notes to work with?

I love working with clean cedar & amber ingredients, musks, and mineral woody notes.  I also love to work with Orris as I find it extremely versatile, chic, and timeless.  Orange blossom and Jasmine Sambac are two of my favorite florals, and I also love accents of notes like Ambrette seed and Clary Sage absolute, as they can enhance woods, florals and musks so beautifully. 

Is there a scent that you have found keeps you grounded and calm?

Scent in general is very grounding! To smell, you must be extremely focused and present, which is intuitively calming. I have been practicing yoga for 20 years and find that scenting the space creates a grounding and sacred atmosphere. That being said, I do gravitate towards Palo Santo, Olibanum, and Copal for their particularly grounding effects. 

How do you think that our relationship to scent will change once we are out in the world again?

I think this unprecedented period of time has provoked a lot of introspection and awareness about the spaces we live in. Many people have started using, or increased their usage of, scent at home (candles, incense, room sprays) and most likely will continue that practice going forward.  I hope and expect that people will be excited to use perfume more frequently as their favorite accessory once we start going out again and socializing! 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am most looking forward to the world finding more stability, people feeling safe and healthy again, the warm weather making it all a bit easier on us, and seeing how we can all take what we have learned from the past year’s challenges into a brighter and kinder future.  And of course, hugs, traveling, and eating once again at our favorite restaurants!

THE INSIDE SCOOP: TOGETHER WITH NOTABLES

THE INSIDE SCOOP: TOGETHER WITH NOTABLES
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP: TOGETHER WITH NOTABLES

THE INSIDE SCOOP: TOGETHER WITH NOTABLES

February 2021

TFF Notables has now reached its sixth year, and continues to be a very important force in our objective to nurture talent.  The original Notables was established with the single premise to recognize talent of those described as “up and coming in the industry”. Now we are doing so much more. A theme I use as a guiding light leading TFF, is always that TOGETHER we can achieve so much more. Together, we take action with measurable results.

All of the Notables from 2015-2021 participate voluntarily in the Notables Think Tank.  We utilize this forum to ideate, brainstorm and formalize strategies. We are forever grateful for their willingness to share “off the record” as well as formally so we may have reality checks on all topics and initiatives, including our own TFF performance.

Our goals remain even more steadfast as we take action and focus on nurturing talent via mentoring, college outreach and TFF’s signature event, Masterclass. We will reach out to  colleges and universities across the USA as alumni, to share that fragrance is a career path, and incorporate information on our website, social and more.

Most importantly as you can read in their own words, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is our #1 commitment. We are dedicated to an even more diverse Notables as our community grows. Other key topics about educating consumers regarding naturals and sustainability will be evident in 2021.

This Accords allows many Notables to share their perspectives of this special role at TFF. We are grateful to all of them that were able to meet our request based on their demanding schedules.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Jan

THE STRATEGY: LINDA G. LEVY & SHARNÉ JACKSON

THE STRATEGY: LINDA G. LEVY & SHARNÉ JACKSON Linda Levy, Sharné Jackson
Spotlight

THE STRATEGY: LINDA G. LEVY & SHARNÉ JACKSON

THE STRATEGY: LINDA G. LEVY & SHARNÉ JACKSON Linda Levy, Sharné Jackson

January 2021

As the fragrance community begins 2021 with a fresh surge of optimism, The Fragrance Foundation is stepping forward to implement a number of initiatives to help make the industry more diverse and accessible. The Fragrance Foundation continues to build upon the progress made with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative (DEI), which was introduced in 2020 with a goal of forging permanent change within the organization and the fragrance world as a whole. For this New Year edition of Accords, Fragrance Foundation President, Linda G. Levy, joins with Senior Director of Events, Education, and Give Back, Sharné Jackson, to discuss the ways in which the Foundation will rally its members—both long-standing and new—to enhance education, accessibility, and engagement, making the fragrance industry stronger and more connected as a result. 

When you decide to introduce something as important as DEI, what is the process?

Linda: 

The Fragrance Foundation is making big strides towards inclusivity. We are embracing all diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, genders and identities. We have a sequence of how we make changes at The Fragrance Foundation. First, I share my vision and strategy with my small but empowered team. Next we brainstorm about what we want to do. Then we translate and articulate it so we can share it in a clear and succinct manner. Then we plan our objectives and actions. Next I propose it to the TFF Executive Committee and with that input I present it for discussion to the TFF Board. Once the board is aligned, we share it with all of our TFF membership, and afterwards we announce it to all in our TFF communications and to outside media. At that time, we open the runway and go into full action mode, as I say, “the plane is taking off.” We’re exactly at that point, the plane is past lift off and in the air, heading for its first landing.

What objectives have you set in place so far? 

Sharné: 

We’ve had several meetings with our Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee and talked about certain initiatives within the community that we want to implement. For 2021, it’s all about action. One of the initiatives that I’m really proud of involves education. I think that from an educational standpoint, young people do not know that working in fragrance is a career. We really want to step up our game. So, we have tasked each of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee point of contacts to find people who work within their companies who have connections with their colleges — to visit these schools and talk about their careers in the fragrance industry. I attended Spelman College, a Historically Black College (HBCU), and throughout my career, I’ve stayed very connected to my school. I always go back to talk to students about my career in the retail industry, and now the fragrance community, to share opportunities because I’m very passionate about mentoring and education.

There will also be a digital piece to this, so that students can really see what a career path in the fragrance industry looks like. That’s one of our big goals. When we talk about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, it’s very important for young people to see that there’s somebody who looks like them. Historically, there have been few people of color in the fragrance community and I cannot tell you how proud I am of Chris Collins, for being a trailblazer and all that he’s achieved as a black man who has had fewer resources available to him. When I talk to people within my community it is a source of pride, the expectation is that there will be other diverse brands to follow in Chris’ footsteps.

Part two of this is that we’ve asked the DEI committee members to provide us with a list of colleges and companies regarding internships, as well as job placement. I’m getting some great responses thus far, and we’re looking to roll this out with Summer Internships.

Linda:

We always knew that we needed to be involved in the student community. It seemed like a separate lane for a while, but now we’re closing the gap. I will be reconnecting with my alma mater, Lehigh University, with ELLE Beauty Director, Katie Becker, who is also an alum and one of my mentees. Taking this step with Katie will allow me to close the gap of … hmmm… several decades.

The other thing that allows us to take this leadership position is that in this industry we represent very big organizations, as well as mini brands, so we can create overall guidance, and each can adapt in their own way and culture. We formed our DEI committee by going to our board and asking them to identify people who are passionate about the subject. We have HR heads, people in marketing, all different categories. We’ve got this group that can really be aligned with us. They’re very grateful to us that we’re doing this without making rules for them and letting them just express themselves. It’s a big deal.

You’ve also been very proactive about expanding membership. How is that a part of this?

Linda:

We wanted to bring in a more expanded, diverse community. Plus, I realized that there were a lot of talented small brands that might not necessarily be on our radar. There was a backlog of indies, who had been turned off by the Fragrance Foundation in the past and couldn’t join because of monetary restrictions. So we went to the board and we changed the bylaws officially, allowing us to bring in brands, with voting rights, as well as a different type of membership structure. We have to keep this membership a short list based on our tiny team and limited bandwidth. We need to ensure we can deliver on our benefits and commitments. TFF Indie membership applications will open in July 2021. In future years we expect this will not be so limited based on our learnings and expanded partnership in our fragrance community.

Maison d’Etto is a great example of an Indie brand who contacted us way back. That is a brand that was so involved in the community, and really wanted to join TFF but was put off by the expectations of monetary commitments. I realized, instead of just looking for new, we need to embrace those people who have been trying to get in. Harlem Candle Company and Teri Johnson we did not know. So when she was brought to our attention we went after her. It’s really working both ways. But the other thing that is important is that we wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t just be about being able to say you’re a member of the Fragrance Foundation—we wanted to give them benefits.

Sharné: 

This spring we will launch the opening of our Fragrance Online Academy, which will be complimentary to our new Indie members. We will also provide them with marketing and PR in terms of including them in Noteworthy, Accords, and on Instagram – really in all parts of our Fragrance Foundation communications. 

Linda:

The key word is access. I make sure that I include these smaller brands in every conversation that I have with the media and the business network. I also make sure that we find ways that we can help them with our different members. It used to be that in order to sell at a major retailer, it could almost make a small brand bankrupt. So we’re asking our members to be a bit more lenient just as we are with our participation. We can’t redo their financial model, but we can really ask them to help us nurture these brands and give them access in ways that they would not have had before. 

Based on my 20+ years in the beauty business I was able to reach out and identify experts for an Indie Advisor Panel. They no longer have full time roles, but have great fragrance expertise and are gracious and generous enough to share their time to provide guidance to our TFF Indies in group zooms as well as one on one discussions. We are thrilled about it. The panel so far includes Gary Borofsky, Terry Darland, Nance Hastings and Nancy McKay.

What is the strategy going forward?

Linda:

We will include DEI in everything we do. The Notables will join us in our efforts. When we do our Awards, we want to make sure that the people who are presenters, and those who are nominated, are strongly representing diversity. I think we’re joining hands and we’re doing it. And when we get to the Masterclass or to Fragrance Day, which is a big conversation with the consumer, as well as within the industry, it will be clear that this is part of us. This is not just a special event.

Sharné

I’m very excited about the next generation of leaders. At the TFF Notables meeting last week I spoke about the DEI initiative and said, “You all are really going to be the ones that move this needle in everything that you do.” I was so inspired by the meeting and the enthusiasm and future participation of the Notables and how they will help to make an impact. The Fragrance Foundation understands that we can no longer do what we’ve done in the past and we have to move forward to be inclusive, putting into place the steps that we must take for change. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s an ongoing commitment.

Linda: 

I do not think there’s anything we’re going to be prouder of when we come out of this stay home pandemic year. It’s really, how do we support the industry? And without question, the enthusiasm from the Notables, from the board, from the fragrance houses, from everywhere, is huge. We’re going somewhere all together, and it’s very exciting. What we are calling diversity is opening up all we do for everyone to join us. The USA is the melting pot of the world, and there’s great optimism now. I think it’s the time to take it and make it happen. 

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH
Scents and Sensibility

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH

THE DISRUPTOR: ROB SMITH

January 2021

Rob Smith calls himself a “disruptor in traditional spaces,” and the work he has done to challenge norms within the fragrance industry is nothing short of astonishing. His Phluid Project community (and gender-free Phluid Scent Elixirs) gives underrepresented LGBTQIA+ youth a platform for their voices to be heard, as well as opportunities to forge career paths free from the hindrances or bias of the past. His emphasis as a leader in the Fragrance Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative is on education, and helping corporations transform their policies to make them more open and equitable. This month, he shares his thoughts on the DEI’s accomplishments, and the objectives he hopes to spearhead in the months ahead.  

Why do you think TFF’s DEI is so important, based on your experience in the industry?

To be honest, every industry should be focused on DEI, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s statistically proven that more inclusive companies outperform their competitors. The world continues to look more diverse, the global economy is booming, and companies that don’t stand up and face that reality, they will lose out. Starting with an inclusive workplace will bring the voices and insights into a brands voice, focus and strategy. 

Why do you feel so personally committed to this cause? 

I’m an openly gay man and I guess that I started off navigating a heteronormative Caucasian industry. Even after I came out as gay, I was performing as a straight acting executive. I suppose this helped to create a sense of empathy by being “othered.” I started to direct this passion into working within my companies to bring inclusive thinking and strategy into the workplace as well as working with nonprofits. The more I focused, the better I felt about my purpose. Now, it’s just a part of my everyday existence. But, I tell myself everyday, I can always do more and give more.

What are you proudest of that the DEI initiative has accomplished so far? 

I’m proud that we’re starting the conversation, knowing that we don’t have the answers, and we’re willing to expose our naiveté. That takes courage. We’re lifting up underrepresented voices and giving them a platform. It was shocking to me; the lack of diversity in the fragrance industry. We have work to do. But we’ve started to take the first step. And, that’s how the journey begins.

What are the next steps? 

We need to find more and more voices from underrepresented communities to join the group. Each bringing a unique perspective. And, then we need to listen and learn. Additionally, I learned during the BLM movement that it’s our job to educate ourselves and not just sit back and wait to be educated by a minority. Once you’re educated, you can have a much more intellectual and productive conversation. Then, we move from ally to advocate, helping to create change and impact within our sphere of influence.. and we have many of them. 

What do you consider the biggest challenges we will need to overcome? 

The biggest challenge is making change in a very traditional space. Fragrance is notorious for the exploitation idealism of what it is to be male or female. It’s a dated and very unhealthy representation of masculinity, femininity and beauty. Deconstructing this space to be more inclusive will take a great deal of work and courage. 

What do you consider your mission within the DEI as well as within the fragrance industry as a whole? 

My role is, and will continue to be, a peaceful warrior. I find a great deal of satisfaction being a disruptor in traditional spaces. I hope that I can help people to think differently as we enter a conversation with an open mind and open heart. The mission statement of The Phluid Project is to “challenge boundaries with humanity”. It could serve as my personal mission statement as well. 

You’ve offered to help educate TFF member companies on communication and culture surrounding DEI. Why do you believe this is necessary? 

One of the social codes from The Phluid Project is “we are all students and we are all teachers”. I have spent the past three years learning about Gen Z, learning about the fluidity in identity, expression, orientation. I’d like to share this insight with as many interested adults as I can find, navigating us through a portal into the future. You see, I’ve learned that binary constructs hurt all of us. We are binded into “rules” about how we’re supposed to act, believe and behave. Gen Z says “I’m not this or that. I’m this AND that. We all have the opportunity to join them on this crusade toward authenticity and self-expression. Let’s stop wasting time and get on with it.

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS
Scents and Sensibility

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS

THE TRAILBLAZER: CHRIS COLLINS

January 2021

As the founder of Harlem-based luxury brand, World of Chris Collins, Chris Collins is a vital force in driving diversity within the fragrance community. His enthusiastic participation in the Fragrance Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative has been integral to the program, and by sharing his example and brand story he hopes to set an example for other Black brands to see and follow. Here, he shares his thoughts on the advances made so far, and where the fragrance community still has important strides to make to build a future where everyone is represented and given the tools and opportunities they need to thrive. 

Why do you think TFF’s DEI is so important, based on your experience in the industry?

When I entered into the world of perfume, there were very few examples of people of color that I could follow, if any. I think in high-end perfume, I had the first brand that was launched by a man of color. And it was a very tough road. I was well-accepted because I had great mentors and great support around me, but had I not had that, I think it would have been even more difficult. I think it’s important now that we shed light on the diversity in perfume. There’s so many smaller brands that don’t have the opportunity to be noticed. And I think that it is very important that the Fragrance Foundation, which has a very large, broad platform, shed light on them. I had a conversation with Linda right before the pandemic, that I thought it was a pretty big deal that a man of color had his brand sitting on a shelf next to the likes of Tom Ford, Creed, and Killian, which are brands that I look up to and that I admire very much. We should shed light on the fact that I’m next to those brands, so other brands can know that they also have the opportunity to do the same. I’ve learned so much along the way. And there’s so much to share with brands that are wanting to launch, or people who just want to be in the business, whether as a buyer, or an evaluator. People of color, both men and women, need to know that there is possibility in this industry.

Why do you believe it is crucial that people see diversity within the fragrance industry?

I just think the more you show diversity, the more people understand that they have the opportunity to be a part of it. There are some very cool brands out there, with really cool stories. I knew that once I broke into the industry, I would have to be a trailblazer, because again, people who follow, they have to know that it’s possible. I still have a long way to go. It’s not a situation that is fixed, or even up to par to where it should be, but we’re on track. And, with me and some of the other brands that are involved and with Prez Levy, I think we could really break some ground here, and open this up to a lot of brands, a lot more diverse brands, both men and women, around the world.

What are you proudest of that the DEI initiative has accomplished so far?

I’m proudest of the fact that it started as a conversation between Linda and me, and now it’s grown. And now we have so many retailers and buyers onboard who understand. I think the Black Lives Matter situation, the racial unrest that happened last year, lit a fire under a lot of retailers and a lot of people in the industry recognizing that we need more diversity in the field of perfume. I think it is happening, and I think it will happen, and I’m proud of that. I’m proud to be the brand that is being able to be discussed with these bigger brands. And now other smaller brands can see my example.

What are the next steps?

When you think next steps, it’s hard to see how this initiative will grow, but you just keep pushing forward. You put one foot in front of the other. There’s been new involvement within the Fragrance Foundation with other brands that are more diverse, so we just keep pushing. I think it’s a beautiful thing. Diversity is beautiful. Men, women from different walks of life, races, cultures, it just adds to a platform for new stories to be told.

Where would you like to see the program be in a year’s time?

Next year, hopefully, we’ll have more brands that we can shine a light on. And, we’ll keep having a conversation. We have a great Board. We have a lot of people who want to be involved, which is very exciting. I’m here to support. I’m here to help, and do whatever I can do. It will be one of my proudest accomplishments if my brand grows to a point where other brands of color have never gone, but also to bring some other brands with me. I take that job very seriously.

What do you consider the biggest challenges we will need to overcome?

The biggest challenge I think is just to convince people around the world, other retailers, other boutiques, to give us the opportunity. That is the number one thing that we all need as diverse brands, brands of color, both men and women, the LGBTQ community. We all need opportunity. Once we have the opportunity, I think we will be able to show that we’ve got good stuff. After the Black Lives Matter and racial unrest happened last year, there was new attention paid to Black brands. And, all of a sudden, I started to see all these brands come out of the woodwork that I didn’t even know existed. There are hundreds of beauty brands that are run or owned by men and women of different diverse backgrounds, and I thought that that was beautiful to see. There’s a place in this space for all of us. So hopefully, we can grow and move the initiative forward, and this time next year, we’ll have more brands on shelves by men and women of color.

What do you hope that aspiring fragrance brands can learn from your example? 

 I hope that they can learn from me that all things are possible. You have to put the work into it. I never wanted a handout. I never wanted someone to just give me an opportunity because I was Black, but I did want an opportunity to show work that I took a lot of pride in. So I hope people will give these brands at least a chance. I’m looking forward to seeing how the DEI grows, because there’s so much work we need to do, but there’s so much possibility that we can attain. I want to keep trailblazing. There’s more ground to cover. There’s more places to go, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m looking forward to making sure that there are more diverse brands in the market very soon.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: SHYAMALA MAISONDIEU & LOC DONG

What The Nose Knows

THE IMPORTANCE OF GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: SHYAMALA MAISONDIEU & LOC DONG

January 2021

SHYAMALA MAISONDIEU, GIVAUDAN

What initially drew you to perfumery?

I chanced into the perfumery world more by a haphazard coincidence as this job wasn’t known to me, however I had always been intrigued by smells unconsciously; growing up in Malaysia, I was surrounded by a rich array of flowers and spices. It was my chemical engineering studies which landed me this job, and an interview with Dwight Loren who introduced me to the wonders and beauty of this job.

How did growing up in Malaysia impact your global perspective and work as a perfumer?

I grew up in Malaysia and started work (with Givaudan Roure) in Hong Kong after studying in Manchester, England. In Hong Kong I was exposed to the different olfactory tastes of the whole Asian market which was very specific for each country. I also had worked for 8 years with a Japanese company right after Givaudan perfumery school, and before coming back to Givaudan in 2006. I travel a lot to New York for work; and I have relatives in Chicago and Maryland. Malaysia is also a land with a rich history of trade, the spices of that whole region was actually what had prompted the Spanish (Christopher Columbus) and the Portuguese (Magellan) to indulge in that race for the discovery of the east. We had Arab and Chinese merchants coming before that, and we were afterwards colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English respectively. There are three main distinct cultures in Malaysia, the Indian, the Chinese and the Malays. And there is a tendency in Malaysia of assimilating different cultures and making it our own. I think all this makes me in a way open and curious to different types of cultures, stories, food and odor.

What obstacles did you face along the way?

I must say I have been really blessed, I did face obstacles but there were always solutions.

Paperwork like visas when you come from a country that isn’t well known can be a hassle; but with a big international company like Givaudan, problems like that can be solved. I was also very lucky to be chosen to do the internal Givaudan perfumery school in Grasse at a time when there were less people dreaming to do that job, I must say. We were a very mixed group with students from Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and France; although I must admit not being able to speak French fluently in the beginning was an obstacle to blend in and feel at ease. In fact I still do misunderstand French humour after all these years.

What do you consider your mission as a perfumer?

I really love my job as a perfumer, and I love talking about my different background and culture.

I love the fact that we live at a time where the whole world is open to different tastes and different smells. The world of food has seen a huge revolution with the fusion of various ingredients from all over the world. In a way this has also helped us I think in the perfumery world to introduce different scents. For me it is a subtle way of bringing people together; making the world smaller in a way, a huge melting pot where differences are appreciated instead of shunned. To be honest I never really thought of my job as a mission, but for me I really love the idea that fragrance is a poetic way of uniting people of different generations and different backgrounds; in the same way as music or food can.

What specific notes or ingredients do you love to work with the most?

I do love various types of smells; I am naturally drawn to things which somehow reminds me of home so I love ginger and nutmeg as spices, ylang ylang and jasmine as florals and benzoin which comes from that region of southeast Asia. But I also love ambrette seeds which somehow reminds me of the freshly made soya milk I used to drink as a kid.

And yet Tonka bean is something that I use a lot even though it has no connection to where I come from.

Why is the The Fragrance Foundation Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative important to you based on your experience, and for the future of the fragrance industry?

The fragrance industry is an industry where diversity is an absolute necessity. We are catering to people from all over the world in an era where distances are becoming smaller (virtually and also in terms of time for travel). It is also an industry which promotes beauty and to a certain extent brings poetry to this world; what better way to do it with members from different walks of life. A lot can still be done to encourage people from various backgrounds; through different ways of imparting information and knowledge of how our industry functions. This will surely make our industry a brighter and richer one. Which makes the initiatives of the Fragrance Foundation to promote diversity, equity and inclusion a very meaningful one.

LOC DONG, IFF

Having grown up in a small village outside of Saigon, and originally studying medicine, you had a very unusual path to becoming a perfumer. Can you share your story with us?

I like to think that my path into perfumery isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but more that it is a path and a career that found me versus me having to seek it out. I am a firm believer that for life to have luck and opportunity in it you must be at the right place at the right time. I was just at that right place being in America where you have freedom to be what you want to be with hard work and dedication.
 
How do you think your life experiences impact your work or style as a perfumer?

I believe that everything has a positive angle. Life evolves every second of every day and I take those chances to be creative, to listen, and to encourage others to dream. This year especially we are really focusing on being together and in it collectively, and I want to make sure we stay optimistic and authentic. I always trust that by living life through a hopeful lens, it has helped me to create happy fragrances. I have gratitude every day for being so fortunate to experience a life that includes a dream of impacting someone’s day. 

 
You are one of the first Asian fine fragrance perfumers in the industry. What does that mean to you?

Being multicultural is a blessing. I love that I can share or inform people about my culture and knowledge through my creations.  We must take into consideration different ingredients and different values and always with the utmost respect and understanding. I see a fine fragrance composition as an opportunity for a consumer to discover a new ingredient, to love it, to accept it and to learn about it. I tend to think of being a perfumer as a prospect to create fragrances for everyone in the world to wear and even more importantly, for everyone to LOVE.  


What do you consider your mission as a perfumer?

My mission is simple: To make the world happier through scent.

A fragrance is a necessity that is one of the best lifetime memories that one can have. If you think of a memory of someone or something, you will always remember the smell and in that one simple fact we have a purpose to infuse happiness wherever we can. 

Which of your fragrance creations thus far are you most proud of? 

I get this question a lot and to be honest every single fragrance that I create is a part of me. It’s very hard to pick an overall favorite of my career. I’m proud of everything that I have created and what I’m working on right now, might just be my newest favorite! 

Why is the The Fragrance Foundation Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative important to you based on your experience, and for the future of the fragrance industry?

For the last five to ten years, the world has come much closer than ever and I think it’s our job to bring more diversity to the world through fragrance and education. When you include a goal where diversity can be a vehicle of multicultural dimensions it allows us to honor the beautiful fact that there’s always a place for everyone. Diversity creates innovation and opens paths of appreciation, acceptance and embracing differences rather than rejecting them. Creating fragrances has taught me to look at the world through a lens where diversity and happiness reign over anything else; without it, we would rarely create the next best olfactive journey.

Dec

MAKING HISTORY IN PERFUME: LEONARD LAUDER

MAKING HISTORY IN PERFUME: LEONARD LAUDER
Spotlight

MAKING HISTORY IN PERFUME: LEONARD LAUDER

MAKING HISTORY IN PERFUME: LEONARD LAUDER

December 2020

Could this year be capped off more memorably? On December 15th, TFF President Linda G. Levy sat down (virtually) with the man most people consider to be the biggest name in the beauty business: Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, Leonard A. Lauder. In this incredible, very special Masterclass event, Lauder shared his memories of working with his mother Estée Lauder to build what is now a global corporation, and reflected on his experiences in business and in fragrance—even beyond what he has written about in his new, must-read book The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty. Lauder, who was inducted into the TFF Hall of Fame in 1990 and was the inaugural honoree of TFF Circle of Champions Award in 2000, is so sought after for his guru-like advice that he has taken on the unofficial mantle of Chief Teaching Officer at the Estée Lauder Companies, and to have such an intimate audience with him was truly remarkable. Now, this issue of Accords goes even further, as Lauder was generous enough to expand on some of the Masterclass conversation topics and reflect on some of Estée Lauder’s most impactful moments in the history of perfume. 

Estée Lauder has had so many significant chapters in American fragrance history. You shared the story behind Beautiful and how it became a favorite for brides in the Masterclass. Can you tell us about the development of Pleasures, and why you think it became so popular?

My late wife, Evelyn, came up with several ideas for Estée Lauder products throughout her time with us. Many of these items are now considered staples, including Pleasures, one of our best-selling fragrances. Perhaps one of the reasons it became so popular was because it had her brilliance behind it. For those who don’t know, Evelyn took charge of training our beauty advisors and sales staff, and eventually created our training program with the knowledge she acquired from her experience. Thanks to her teaching background, it’s no surprise she was great at this! She always listened and digested the information and advice she received from her advisors and used this insight to enhance her work with new products. She later became the director of new products and marketing and oversaw the creation of Pleasures from start to finish. Her ability to listen to the direction from our sales team and advisors was likely why the fragrance became so popular—because it was guided by the advice of those on the shop floor!

White Linen was a pioneer in the idea of fragrance layering when it was first launched. How did that evolve?

Starting with Estée, we introduced a new fragrance almost every other year throughout the 1970s—including White Linen. Every fragrance has its own personality, but the point was, no matter what your preference, Estée Lauder had a scent for you. We wanted our consumers to be able to express themselves with our fragrances, using whichever product (or products!) fit their needs. The idea of having a plethora of options to choose from was appealing at the time, which is why we produced a new fragrance almost every other year. We didn’t stop there either. When White Linen matured, we came out with White Linen Breeze, a lighter version.

As an art collector, what similarities do you see between visual art and fragrance?

Everyone has a unique taste! Whether it’s fragrance or visual art, everyone has their own, distinct way of expressing themselves. Everyone is fascinated by something different—a smell, an image, a painting—different art forms speak to different people. It’s magical when you think about it!  

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER Credit: The Estée Lauder Companies Archives
Scents and Sensibility

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: LEONARD LAUDER Credit: The Estée Lauder Companies Archives

December 2020

Leonard Lauder’s page-turner of a memoir, The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty, is essential for beauty junkies and aspiring moguls alike. The former CEO, who famously pens handwritten thank you notes on robin’s-egg-blue stationery, maintains that the secret to his success has been treating the company—including its employees and the brands it has acquired, including Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Kilian Paris, Le Labo, and Jo Malone—like family. He also writes thoughtfully about maintaining equilibrium and collaboration within the Lauder dynasty itself, nearly every member of which, from Leonard’s brother Ronald and son William to his nieces Jane and Aerin and even his grand-daughter, Danielle, have come on board to enhance and enlarge the house that Estée built. Here, Lauder reflects further on his business philosophies, and how a corporation can stay forever nimble. 

Fragrance is very personal. What is the key to devising scents that can be both very popular and very individual?

The key is to listen to the consumer! They will tell you everything they need.

You have talked about human nature versus marketing, and instinct versus strategy. Where is the line between the two, and how do you balance them?

These are very important concepts, and while they may seem like opposing ideas, they work hand-in-hand for successful business operations when balanced correctly. Marketing and strategy are two concepts you learn how to use successfully; human nature and instinct you experience. That said, I want to make one thing clear: one of the most important lessons I learned that would shape my career and my life inside and outside of the company was this: to trust my instincts. Instinct is something that is natural and ingrained, but also that has its foundation in experience. If you have enough experience, somewhere along the line, instinct will kick in—crossing the line from learned strategy to experienced instinct.

What is the key to keeping a business modern?

Never stop evolving! Never stop trying to elevate your game, to reach new heights, to explore the unknown. There is always learning that can be done, and a modern business is always evolving to learn what’s next.

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER
What The Nose Knows

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER

December 2020

When you read The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty, it’s impossible not to be astonished at the countless times both Estée Lauder herself  & the Estée Lauder Companies were first out of the gate with a new idea. From the introduction of a bath oil that became a fragrance sensation (Youth Dew, 1953) to launching the first-ever men’s prestige fragrance to be sold in department stores (Aramis, 1963), to the first hypoallergenic skincare regimen (Clinique, 1968) and custom-blend foundation (Prescriptives, 1979), the company was a trend-setter and gamechanger for consumers and other businesses alike. We can even credit Estée Lauder with changing the way that women thought about fragrance—as something to be bought for yourself, not received only as a gift—and for introducing the idea of the fragrance wardrobe. In the book’s pages and in TFF’s Masterclass, Leonard Lauder shares his memories about all of these seismic moments, but many in his audience will perhaps most cherish his “Life Lessons”—the key insights into what everyone who knows him admires: that he has proven it possible to run a business with kindness, graciousness, and generosity. Lauder has said that he thinks in decades, not years, and always has his eye on the future—perhaps the best lesson to close out 2020.

What has been the most gratifying feedback that you have received about The Company I Keep?

When people tell me they’ve learned so many lessons from the book, it makes my heart soar. I hope people come away from this memoir with inspiring stories, sharp observations and pragmatic lessons about leadership and life and a little bit of hope. Storytelling is the best way I know how to teach.

Were there moments, or stories that you wanted to relate, that didn’t make it into the final book?

Absolutely! If it were up to me, I would have a never-ending book—there are so many stories and moments and lessons that I have acquired over the years, but unfortunately, I couldn’t include them all or I’d still be writing! There’s always another, brighter chapter waiting to be written.

You are known for giving such insightful and meaningful advice. What is the best advice that someone else has given to you?

My mother drummed into me an important lesson from a very early age: “Everyone is a competitor or a potential competitor. You can’t ignore anyone.” This lesson has guided my business decisions through the years and has been key to our successes.

That said, I have learned from many people, both past and present, that we can always learn more and the best way to do that is through listening. If there’s one enduring lesson I hope this book gives readers, it’s the importance of listening!

THE MASTERCLASS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE MASTERCLASS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY
The Inside Scoop

THE MASTERCLASS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE MASTERCLASS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

December 2020

TFF Masterclass is an important event, as it is a major element tied to our objectives of nurturing talent and contributing to our role in fragrance education. On December 15th, the Masterclass with Leonard Lauder was an extraordinary global event for all of us in the fragrance community. Over 2000 tuned in live the day of the event. Since then, more than 1000 have tuned in to watch on our website to enjoy this hour of personal storytelling and major insights.  

For Accords December edition, the timing is just right to share even more from Leonard Lauder as we all experience a year end like never before. While we are challenged during this global pandemic, there is no better time to pause and reflect on personal and professional growth as well as the impact of fragrance in the world. This unique opportunity to learn first hand from Leonard Lauder how he grew up from his childhood highchair to the CEO seat in the boardroom is recorded in his recently published memoir, The Company I Keep.

 On a personal note, I was greatly honored to have and share this conversation with Mr. Lauder. I have reconnected with so many in the fragrance world who enjoyed and valued bringing this discussion into their living rooms, conference rooms and board rooms. The heartwarming reviews and gratifying feedback continue to arrive in my email and on Instagram, but please continue to share, as we conclude a year where we all learn to grow together. Mr. Lauder himself generously let me know that the wrap up of the program with  Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World“ was very moving for him. I join him in saying it is a wonderful world thanks to people like you!

Wishing all of you a healthy, safe, peaceful holiday season and  looking forward to a better world together in 2021!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Nov

THE PERFUME PUBLISHER: FRÉDÉRIC MALLE

THE PERFUME PUBLISHER: FRÉDÉRIC MALLE
Spotlight

THE PERFUME PUBLISHER: FRÉDÉRIC MALLE

THE PERFUME PUBLISHER: FRÉDÉRIC MALLE

November 2020

One of the brilliant rays of light in 2020? This year marked the 20th Anniversary of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, the perfume publishing house that revolutionized modern perfumery. When fragrance impresario Frédéric Malle decided to boldly embark on what was then a completely unheard-of business venture, he did so because he believed that it was time for perfumers, the unsung heroes of the industry, to finally get their due—and he knew that by giving them complete freedom, both financially and creatively, they would produce works of art destined to revitalize and galvanize the world of perfume. As we have seen, he was absolutely correct: Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle creations such as Carnal Flower, Portrait of a Lady, and Musc Ravageur are now icons, and the idea that perfume should be recognized and cherished as a true art form (signed, of course, by its creators) is not merely accepted, but celebrated.

In honor of this milestone year, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle has issued seven perfumes in limited-edition bottles specially designed by Patrick Li. A retrospective book, published by Rizzoli, reveals the breadth of ambition and the accomplishments of this visionary undertaking. The Fragrance Foundation is also shining its spotlight on Malle, who was honored in 2018 with The Fragrance Foundation Gamechanger Award, and his perfumers. This month’s special webinar edition of The Creatives featured an intimate conversation between Malle and perfumer Carlos Benaïm with Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy, and here, Malle sat down with Accords to reflect on two decades at the top of his game.  

How did you first propose your idea to perfumers 20 years ago?

I was certain that it was a good idea, but I didn’t know how anyone would take it. Pierre Bourdon was one of the perfumers I was working with most closely at the time, and he was one of the most vocal perfumers against what was happening with marketing, against the fact that he was not working with people who had full power and knowledge of the industry. I came to him and said, I have a solution to your problem. I said, things are tough for you, but I think they’re also tough for the public and I would like to create a link between people who are not happy to have a choice only between smelling very mass market and smelling old. There was no such thing as contemporary perfumes of quality at that time.

So, the first meeting was with him. I had this idea of naming the perfumers because I felt that not only was it a good story, it was simple justice. He was fascinated. Then the one who always saw himself as an artist, as an author, was Jean-Claude Ellena. He just had his break with Bulgari Green Tea. He was a bit like Zaha Hadid in the sense that everybody considered him extraordinary, but he didn’t yet have the success that he deserved. He was very true to his commitment to being an artist perfumer with a specific writing and a specific philosophy. It was very natural for me to call him, though he was not the one I was most intimate with at that time. Jean-Claude was so enthusiastic about the idea of being given carte blanche that he said, ‘I’ll do one every year for you.’ Then I called Edouard Flechier who was another huge star. I knew that he would do it out of friendship, because he’s so generous and so kind. So now I had the three most prominent perfumers in the industry backing my project.  I went progressively to complete the list of those first nine perfumers.

I knew from the beginning what the bottle design would be. That was part of the initial conversation that I had with each of them. I showed them what it would look like. I also knew that making such specific perfumes would only work if I went back to full service, not what Sephora was doing with no service. In nine months, literally from September to launching in June, I found the store, designed the store, invented a modern version of a classic perfumery where people feel comfortable and could be helped by true experts to find a perfume matching their character and their desires. The very nature of this enterprise called for an entire reorganization of the business. I even had to have my own distribution. It went deeper and deeper.

Did anyone tell you that you were crazy?

No, because I’m a very secretive person and I did not talk to anyone—especially my mother, who had been in this business for many years and who would have never believed in this. And the people who were addressing the business in a way I felt was wrong—I didn’t want to have a conversation about what I was doing with any of them, for fear of diluting my energy. I was very sure what I was doing. It was very clear in my head, and I didn’t want to pollute that. I only called a handful of people, including Christian Louboutin who was always a maverick and extremely bright, and even though we do things differently I always admired how independent he is.

How quickly after you opened could you tell that the concept was working?

One thing that really amazed me when we opened was how supportive the French press was and then the international press. I remember having a huge article in ELLE France. And I had an article in every single daily paper. We opened in June and in July couture happened as it always does and all the big buyers from the department stores came to visit. Each individual entrance was like a movie. People from Barneys explaining to me who they were and what Barneys was, and being so modest; Burt Tansky from Neiman’s having his entourage come earlier to make sure that the store was cleaned. Burt comes out of his limousine with a bodyguard. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so funny. But they all came, and I was very happy about that.

Everything was ahead of plan, but I didn’t sell more than I expected. It worked as I hoped, but I thought that with the amount of press I would have sold more. It takes a while before things kick in. The smallest article two years later was much more effective than this amazing launch that we had that friends and families were impressed by. That was really interesting. And it made me understand that you can’t rush things. You have to show who you are first. So, things went better than planned as far as communication is concerned. And as planned, as far as sales are concerned.

Our opening in America at Barneys was delayed due to 9/11. We opened in the springtime rather than before Christmas. It wasn’t wow within five minutes, but it was wow within six months. We became kings of the floor.

What was the first bestseller?

Musc Ravageur.  What’s interesting with Musc Ravageur, which is a bit like the story of Cool Water, is that it was exactly opposite of the prevailing trend. In those days, Dior J’Adore was It. We were just finishing with the L’eau d’Issey type of trend. Transparent florals were all over the market. And this uncompromising non-floral amber oriental seemed very classic to me, although generous and opulent and incredible, completely against trend. But sex appeal is always there. It’s not because you have a wave of purity that people stop having sex and stop wanting to seduce—and surely enough, it became a very well shared secret on the Left Bank. Men and women alike came to wear Musc Ravageur. It gave us this modern Guerlain type of image right away in France, sexy but quality perfume, which is what the respectable French person is after. That did a lot for us.

Were there fragrances that surprised you because they were best sellers or because they were not?

Yes. La Parfum de Therese. It has always been seen by people in our industry to be a masterpiece. Someone like Pierre Bourdon will tell you it’s a great perfume of the century. Roudnitska’s wife gave it to me. It’s one of my prides in this collection. I thought, it’s going to make millions for us.  But in fact it was probably too sophisticated to become our best seller. You learn when you do these things.

I also sold Musc Ravageur mostly as a feminine perfume in the beginning, because being heterosexual I sort of projected that I’d love to be with a girl that smells like this. Then all of the sudden I saw hordes of men wearing it, and I thought to myself how stupid I am. I didn’t see that.

It’s interesting that the consumer can teach you these things.

Yes and it did a lot for the way we sell. I have always told sales people not to have preconceived ideas and to follow the customers instinctually. They should use those perfumes like a palette of different colors that would suit the people that they have in front of them. Don’t think this is for men and  this for women, just give them what they feel comfortable with. We’re not there to tell people how to seduce, but to help them, with the instruments we have created. The perfumes are almost like weapons of seduction.

What guided your selection of which perfumes got the beautiful limited-edition treatment by Patrick Li?

Sales is one element, but I also wanted diversity because I think one of the beauties of our collection is how eclectic it is.. From an En Passant to a Musc Ravagaur to a Portrait of a Lady, you have extremely different perfumes.. What this collection expresses what we have done in the sense that I have never tried to impose my style. I have a few principles, but it’s not a style. Just as when I go to the Met, I like Van Eyck as much as I like Pollak or Rembrandt or Mondrian, I don’t have a preset idea about what type of perfume we should publish, just as long as they are very good and best in class.

In doing this, we have made those very, very specific perfumes. And sometimes as if, in sports terms you hit a home run; in a more spiritual way, you’ve been touched by grace. And all of a sudden there’s a little miracle that’s happening where one of those very specific perfumes touches a much wider audience than it should. We have been blessed by that a few times. And these are the perfumes that are the most successful. Musc Ravageur was certainly that. Portrait of a Lady was a perfume that I thought might be too difficult because it’s so sophisticated. And I wasn’t sure how well it would do, but I had to publish it because it was so beautiful. But it touched a wider audience than I ever imagined.

Something that I’m super proud of is that they have stood the test of time. Musc Ravageur is 20 years old, but I wore it today and it hasn’t aged a minute. There’s a reason for that: none of these have made the little compromises of adding materials that make them a little bit easier, because there are raw materials everyone uses at a certain time which is a sure way to make something that becomes dated quite quickly. The collection is a way of saying that we have really managed to make things that are timeless, diverse, and have touched a wide audience.

What was your approach to the book?

It was fun. I always wanted this book to be like a scrapbook and to be walking down the memory lane. I’m not a nostalgic person, but for once, I was ready to look back and sort of have a look at what I had done in the past 20 years. And as if I were doing a book to leave to my children literally. That was really what I had in mind.

What do you think might surprise people and what might they learn about you or that they wouldn’t have known?

I don’t know, to be honest. What I was surprised by when I saw all of this myself was how much we had done in 20 years. I never congratulate myself, but when I opened the book, I must say I was impressed. I thought, this is a lot. So many adventures.

So, I don’t know what will surprise people. I suppose at a moment where everybody is so specialized, especially in those big perfume companies, the fact that I’m seeing this job as a whole, like being good like a conductor who knows how to play each instrument, might be surprising. To be good, you have to know about glass making, know about printing, know how to design, know how to do accounting, know about distribution.

Given this time to look back and see what you’ve done, what do you feel most proud of?

It’s always perfumers. What I’m most proud of is the beginning of our conversation, the fact that they all followed me. And this is also what committed me to taking this huge risk of putting everything I had into this adventure, regardless of the fact that I already had three children and that if I had to talk to people, they would have said that I was crazy. What I’m also proud of in retrospect is the example that we set for the industry, including the fact that perfumers are now considered true authors. I have participated in creating what perfumery looks like in its present form. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I’m proud of that.

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM
Scents and Sensibility

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM

MASTER PERFUMER: CARLOS BENAÏM

November 2020

IFF Master Perfumer Carlos Benaïm is a true legend. Hailed by Frédéric Malle as the greatest American perfumer, he is the creator of a slew of instantly recognizable blockbusters, including Polo Green, Polo Blue, Calvin Klein Eternity for Men, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb, and YSL Libre. He is also one of Malle’s most prolific collaborators. As much to his surprise as to everyone else’s, his work with Malle began not with the invitation to create a bottled fragrance, but rather a collection of candles—the first wax-and-wick line-up, it would transpire, in the Editions de Frédéric Malle repertoire. Though Benaïm’s considerable expertise was in fine fragrance, not home scent, he took up the challenge—and the world’s rooms have been unforgettably transformed by the beauty of his creations. Here, the Morocco-born perfumer, who in 2014 received The Fragrance Foundation Perfumer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award,  talks to Accords about his journey with Frédéric Malle on the occasion of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle’s 20th birthday.

What originally made you want to become a perfumer?

My father was a pharmacist and a botanist. He was very interested in going through the mountains and the fields in Morocco and looking for plants that he could distill for pharmaceutical purposes. With him, I was able to see how distillation works—how you get the essences of plants—and that whole process brought me to perfumery from the ground up, not from being from a family of perfumers.

To be a perfumer was not in my radar. It was only something that I became interested in after the first year of engineering school, when I needed to do an internship. I was sent to Grasse through one of my father’s contacts where he used to sell his raw materials, and when I arrived, the chemist that I was supposed to work with had gone sailing and didn’t come back until the day before I left. Nobody knew what to do with me, so they just put me in a room with all the raw materials, naturals and synthetics, each one in those old-fashioned brown bottles with handwritten labels. I spent a month smelling. And through that I developed so much curiosity about the field of perfumery that I eventually took the plunge.

How did that unconventional beginning, and your studies in chemical engineering, affect your path as a perfumer?

It doesn’t hurt to have a chemistry background to understand the ingredients like chemists do, but fine perfumery is more of an artistic creation. When I basically abandoned chemistry at age 22 to go into an artistic career, it was a big step because it’s a completely different discipline, and it takes five to 10 years to know whether you’ll make something out of it.

I learned, not from a school, because I didn’t have any opportunities like that at that time, but more like the old masters used to teach their apprentices. I was invited to work in New York with Ernest Shiftan, who was the Chief Perfumer of IFF and had just retired to open a perfumery school. But it was not a classic perfumery school. It was more, “You learn by doing it next to me.” After that, I went to Paris for two or three years to continue because I had to get my visa. During that time, I worked with Max Gavarry, who was a Chief Perfumer in Paris, and we did a lot of the classical way of learning, which is to study all the classics in perfumery, just by smelling. I couldn’t wait to get to do real work in perfumery, but that only came when I arrived back in New York, and I started working with Bernard Chant, who was the Chief Perfumer then. I worked with him for 15 years as his right hand, and I just learned as I went along.

How did you first meet Frédéric?

I met Frédéric when he came to me to ask me to create a whole line of candles for the home for him. I had never done candles. I was very frank with him. I said, “Listen, you’re asking me to do something I’ve never done in my life. Are you sure you want to do this?” He insisted. He said, “No, this is an opportunity to put your imagination to work. You’ll have no constraints of price. Just try to do something beautiful.”

When you start working with him, it just becomes long conversations about everything and anything, while you are doing experimentation. By the time the lab is weighing what you’ve done, you talk architecture, you talk artistry, you talk France, you talk family, you talk anything. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasts today.

What was your process in creating the first collection?

I worked on them one at a time but they were introduced together—Jurassic Flower, Rosa Rugosa, Casablanca Lily… I wanted to bring a novel approach to this whole development. Frédéric and I both really admired one of the heads of research of IFF, an Indian man, Dr. Braja Mookherjee, who had been a brilliant, very religious man, who invented the Living Flower technology. So, I thought, why not take that headspace technology and develop candles based on the smell of those flowers in their natural environment.

How different was it for you to work on candles instead of perfume?

It’s very different in the sense that what counts is how the essential oils and the ingredients burn, not how much they smell when they are just freshly incorporated in the candle. And that is all technology that was really not my specialty. You want to create the feeling in the air of that flower when it burns without smelling the smoke. That was a challenge, and with enough experimentation we were able to do it.

Was there ever any discussion about making any of those into fragrances?

Yes, some did become fragrances. Eau de Magnolia came from Jurassic Flower. Jurassic Flower was such a success in the stores that the idea came naturally. But one thing is to have the smell of a flower, and another thing is to make a perfume that people can put on skin, that wears well, that has a beginning and an end and a beautiful sensual feeling. It’s one or two years of work before it becomes a real fragrance.

Another example was the candle calleafé Society. That started as a very sensual accord that I had made with patchouli and lavender. It was in my drawer and I had not shown it to people, but I showed it to Frédéric, and we made a candle out of it. A few years later, Frédéric suggested we go back and make it into a fragrance. That became Music for A While. In order to be a fragrance, it needed to be softened and surrounded by notes to make it prettier and sweeter, all those little things that you need to do to make a note that has a lot of character into something that people can wear more easily.

What do you think that Frédéric has done for perfumers and for the way that people perceive perfume?

The most important one is putting the name of the perfumer on the bottle because, previously, perfumers were ignored. They didn’t exist, basically. They were like ghost writers. What existed was the brand or the designer, but who were the creators? Nobody knew.

Frédéric broke the rules and started putting the name on the bottle and all of a sudden, the perfumer was celebrated. They were recognized, they had faces. The press fell in love with them. Everybody wanted to know who they were. And for the perfumer, that has been like a liberation. What Frédéric did was revolutionary and a big gift to the perfumers.

The second thing that he did that was very important was to bring back perfumery to the level of quality it had 50 years ago. He said, “You can create without any price constraint,” meaning use whatever ingredients you want. You could use sandalwood from India, you could use the best roses from Turkey or Morocco, anything. The main thing is that you be creative. That approach puts the perfumer front and center because the perfumer becomes very responsible. If your name is there, it’s your creativity that is at stake and your reputation. That was smart. And for the perfumers and the industry, it was a great advance.

You and Frédéric are aligned in your belief that ingredients shouldn’t be the main way that fragrances are presented. Can you explain?

The ingredient story was something people thought would impress the consumer. Somebody came up with the idea, “Oh, you have to give three top notes, three middle notes, three back notes,” but that’s not what a fragrance is. A fragrance is the intention of the perfumer. As with any art. What did the artist want to accomplish? Whether he used blue or yellow or green, it’s fine, but that’s not the point. The point is, what emotion did you want to get out of it? Is there any special theme that you have for your composition? Could be one thing, could be three things. It doesn’t need to be an ingredient. It could be the smell of autumn, and that’s it. I don’t need to tell you that I used the smell of a burned leaf. To me, that’s irrelevant.  The ingredients by themselves don’t paint the picture, the artist does. 

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: DOMINIQUE ROPION & MAURICE ROUCEL

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: DOMINIQUE ROPION & MAURICE ROUCEL

November 2020

DOMINIQUE ROPION, Master Perfumer, IFF

How is your creative process when working with Frédéric unique? 

One of the unique aspects of the collaboration with Frédéric is the luxury of time. There is no deadline. We consider the creation process complete, once it’s complete. There is no rush to launch, and until we’re both satisfied we’ve reached our goal, we keep modifying… and we’re both demanding enough that thousands of trials are necessary. There is also the luxury of knowing each other, and having worked together, for over 35 years. Frédéric is a genuine aesthete, and the history we have of working together is quite unique. 

What has working with Frédéric brought to your life and career? 

A career is made of every single one of our experiences, all the perfumes created. Of course, Frédéric is a major milestone, but I really consider each new development as a new milestone.

 Of your many iconic creations for Editions de Parfums, which is your favorite or which are you proudest of?

 It’s impossible to answer that question. I love each and every one of them, there isn’t one I would disown! Each allowed me to reach the absolute end of each creative exercise. Of course, some are more successful than others, but this is not a criteria of likeability or even pride for me! 

MAURICE ROUCEL, Master Perfumer, Symrise

How is your creative process when working with Frédéric unique?

The most unique thing about working with Frédéric is his allowance of total freedom of expression, which I really appreciate.  The partnership is also unique.  Working with him is like playing a game of tennis; you can’t do it alone.  It’s a true collaboration in which he always provides very precise and impactful feedback that is precious to the creative process.  

How do you describe your style as a perfumer? 

To me, a raw material is for perfumery what a note is for music or a color is for painting.  If I were to describe my perfumery style in terms of painting, I would say it is similar to fauvism; an expression of my impression of the things that inspire me, using bold colors and wild brushstrokes.  It doesn’t have to be so literal.


How has Editions de Parfums changed the way that perfumers are perceived, and the way people understand perfumery, over the past 20 years?

Frédéric was a visionary in his way of working with perfumers and the first to really highlight them all the way through to the bottle.  He also developed unique and novel ways of explaining and experiencing perfumery, including the signature smelling columns that he has in all of his boutiques.  He is an expert in the field and has established a perfect blend between technical proficiency, poetry and philosophy. For two decades, he has remained true to this vision, focusing on the juice rather than the packaging and marketing of the scent.

THE CREATIVES WEBINAR SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE CREATIVES WEBINAR SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY
The Inside Scoop

THE CREATIVES WEBINAR SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE CREATIVES WEBINAR SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

November 2020

It was my great honor to moderate the first virtual Creatives event on November 20th for an audience of more than 1200 viewers. All of us gained insights into the creative process & the special bond between Frédéric Malle, Perfumer Publisher & Carlos Benaïm, Master Perfumer, IFF.

This event was, as we all say during this global pandemic, a big “pivot” from the original 2020 plans. When the perfume publishing house held its September Perfume Summit in Paris, Carlos was not able to participate in person. So I was inspired to define TFF Creatives as a celebration of Frédéric’s 20th anniversary of his brand with him in New York City & his star USA Perfumer Carlos. Up until a few weeks prior to the event, our plan was for the three of us to have a discussion in person at the brand’s Madison Avenue boutique. Once again a plan had to be adjusted as we could not meet in person. I must admit we were all disappointed to not be physically together, but the virtual event was possibly even more meaningful, as we appreciated getting together after months of separation. The kinship between Frédéric & Carlos, based on their friendship & creativity together, is so in sync, the discussion was truly inspiring. Our locations may have been separated by miles, but the warmth was palpable & for me it was so smooth a conversation that it flowed naturally. I was merely leading a conversation that was part of an ongoing exchange spanning decades.

This edition of Accords contains several subjects highlighted during the event in more depth, as well as additional content. As April Long, our editor, spoke with Frédéric & Carlos separately, they had even more to share that is unique to each of them. Also we were delighted to include a few other star perfumers of the Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle brand: Dominique Ropion & Maurice Roucel to add their insights as the 20th anniversary celebration continues.

Our last topic was how fragrance is integrated into our current  lifestyles & its overall future.  Frédéric and Carlos shared respectively an increased presence of fragrance as soothing, comforting and transportive plus  a redefined and expanding ingredient palette used in new perfumes. All of this will be revealed by young talented perfumers, leaving us with much to look forward to indeed!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Oct

THE STORYTELLER: TERI JOHNSON

THE STORYTELLER: TERI JOHNSON
Spotlight

THE STORYTELLER: TERI JOHNSON

THE STORYTELLER: TERI JOHNSON

October 2020

Teri Johnson is a natural storyteller. In her former work as a content creator in the travel space, she wove tales of far-flung locales and the allure of experiencing the world at large. But it was closer to home—in founding Harlem Candle Company—that her stories truly came into their own. Inspired by the energy and atmosphere of the Harlem Renaissance, the brand’s first collection featured meticulously researched and wildly evocative scents that paid homage to such figures as James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Duke Ellington. Housed in luxurious glass keepsake vessels, the candles conjure the elegance and sophistication of days past, but with a truly modern sensibility. Here, Johnson reveals her vision for the expanding brand, and why officially joining the fragrance community is a dream come true.

How did you start making candles?

I have always loved beautiful fragrances. The very first time I smelled a Diptyque candle many years ago, I was so moved by the fragrance that I bought it and candles became my affordable luxury. No one at my age at that time was spending $60 on a candle, but that was where I would much rather spend my money than on a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes or a designer handbag. For me, it was candles because it’s about the constant, feel-good effect of fragrance. It’s long lasting and it’s beautiful and it makes me happy.

It really started there, just understanding what luxurious fragrances can do to you and do to your mood. Then I happened to meet a chemist, maybe about seven years ago, who had created fragrance oils for different candle companies and had worked for different perfumers. He gave me some fragrance oils and I used them to make candles for friends and family for Christmas. I had so much fun figuring out what I was going to call each candle and how I was going to package each candle and who was going to get what, based on the things I thought they would like the most. At the time it was not the Harlem Candle Company because it wasn’t a company. I called it La Maison Des Bougies de Teri, Teri’s House of Candles, and I put them in little craft boxes with some stickers that I printed on my printer. It was cute. People really, really loved it and they saw the thought I put into it. They all told me: You should do this.

Were you surprised to find that you had a nose for scents?

For a lot of my friends and family, I’m the one who chooses their perfume. I will choose it for them because I know what mixes best with their body chemistry and I’ve always gotten such great feedback. I had a friend who had worn the same perfume since college but I knew it wasn’t right for her, so once when we were shopping I had her try on several perfumes on different parts of her arms just to see what she might like. There was one that was beautiful on her so I convinced her to buy it, and she came back to me and said, ‘Teri, you changed my life. I’ve never gotten so many compliments on how good I smell.’ I was like, “Yeah, I think I’m kind of good at this.” If I had more time I would love to do that on the side.

What brought you to connecting the inspiration of the Harlem Renaissance with candles?

Once I started making candles beyond just giving them to friends and family, I started selling at local pop-ups here in Harlem, and I decided to change the name to Harlem Candle Company. I realized then that I couldn’t just make lavender and vanilla candles. If I was using the name Harlem, it had to be of significance. I’ve always loved the Harlem Renaissance period—the art and the literature and the music and even how people carried themselves. Everything about it. I felt like this would be the best way to pay homage to all the greats who have come before us, like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington. It was also just a great way for me to deepen my knowledge about these people and to help share pieces of history through fragrance. I felt like this is a really cool way to just kind of preserve the legacy of Harlem and what made Harlem so special back in the 20’s and the 30’s and to do it through a fragrance. I wanted it to be really elegant and I wanted it to personify these people in some way.

How do you go about creating the scents?

I do a lot of research to understand my subject. Who was Langston Hughes? What did he love? What inspired him? How did he work? Did he smoke? So, we put tobacco notes in there and we learned that he spent a lot of time in Mexico. His father actually relocated to Mexico, and he went with him and would spend time in these really small churches in Mexico that were candlelit and dusky with incense burning. And while his friends were playing soccer, he didn’t want to play soccer, so he’d just go into the churches and just hang out there. So we put incense in the candle. He also did much of his work really late at night, so I wanted that sort of after dark scent,  like Harlem nights. There’s some leather and some smokiness and just something that’s just sexy. I communicate all of those things to the perfumers that I work with and they’re so fun. They just run with it, they’re amazing. They do their own research on top of mine, and they know even the notes that were in the sweet tobacco during that time period. Their level of knowledge is so awesome.

It’s fun to see people’s reactions when they smell the Duke Ellington and they’re like, “Something about this reminds me of my grandfather.” We wanted to ask, how did men scent themselves? What was that classic gentleman walking in Harlem wearing? Was it this kind of bay leaf? We look at what  fragrance notes were prominent during that time, and then we make it fun and sexy and exciting for today.

How did your work in travel and design enhance what you do now?

I was producing, hosting, and creating video content and content for different brands, different tourism boards, car companies, and hotel chains. Inspiring people to travel to cool destinations. I don’t think I would have had so much appreciation for the smell of a destination, especially a place that I love because sometimes you might smell a flower or smell something, and it takes you back to that place. I do like to travel with all of my senses wide open. I started traveling at such a young age and I’ve lived abroad a few times, so traveling and just being in other places and experiencing different cultures has always been a really big part of my life. I love everything that comes with it, from the different foods and the way the language sounds to the smells and spices of the food.

The vessels themselves are very beautiful. Why was that such an important attribute for the candles to have?

I wanted to create something that was timeless. Something that you can see now, and you can see in 20 years when it still has this elegance. I was very thoughtful when it came to the logo. If you look in the H, in the logo, it looks like it’s a flame, but it’s also a person. You can see the head in the middle and the person has their arms up almost like in prayer and almost like in a yoga position. It represents unity, community and love. I feel like no matter where we go in the world, those are things that are important to everyone. And  I am very inspired by the Art Deco period. You can see it in the gold braiding and that rich sort of deep gold. I just wanted it to be elegant, and I wanted it to really represent the people that I’m celebrating.

What have been the biggest challenges you faced as an indie brand?

The biggest challenge is being self-funded. You can only grow so fast and you’re just reinvesting the money back into the business constantly. You want to grow so much faster, but you must be really thoughtful and careful. And then of course, production. Everything started out getting made in my kitchen and then we outgrew that. So, finding the right manufacturing partners who are able to understand and who are ready to grow with us was a challenge.

How has social media helped you grow?

The look of our social media reflects the brand ethos, and it has consistency.  People look at it and they can  get the brand right away.  I think those are extremely important things, but I think people also like to know that you are active on social media. Before they buy from us they like to see that we’re active, we’re posting, we’re doing Instagram Lives. That gives people a little bit more comfort when they are purchasing from a new company, because we’ve been doing these Facebook and Instagram ads, reaching people who might have never heard of the Harlem Candle Company before.

It’s been fun. I don’t feel like we’re ever going to run out of content because it’s not just candles, it’s candles, it’s history, it’s celebrating different people and it’s also interior design, I love that, because our candles complement so many spaces. I think because the brand is about storytelling and that we really do love beautiful spaces and design, it makes doing social media a lot of fun.

How does it feel to be a new member of the Fragrance Foundation?

It’s exciting. I feel like, “Ooh, I’m official.” When I was 18, I was a freshman in college and I was in this development class and one of the requirements they had for us was write out a hundred things you want to accomplish in life. And of course at 18 you think okay, this is the stupidest exercise ever, but I’m just going to do it just to show I did it, but once you’ve gotten to like 20, you’re like, “What? Now I’m just making stuff up.” So I’m just making things up. But you realize that the exercise is actually really quite good because it’s stuff that subconsciously you might not have ever really given thought to. It’s things that have just been in the back of your mind. And one of those things I wrote down was, I’d like to have my own perfume. I’ve always wanted to be in the fragrance industry. I just had no idea how I was ever going to get there. And I never made any conscious steps to do it. The things have all presented themselves when the time was right. It’s really fun to say, ‘Now I’m part of the Fragrance Foundation.’ But it’s not a surprise at all to people who’ve known me for a long time.

@harlemcandlecompany

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN David Kien, Matthew Herman
Scents and Sensibility

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN

THE DYNAMIC DUO: MATTHEW HERMAN & DAVID KIEN David Kien, Matthew Herman

October 2020

How do you create a super-cool, millennial-friendly candle? In the case of Matthew Herman and David Kien of Boy Smells, it was simply by following their noses. The business and life partners were disillusioned with the way they saw scents being gendered, and—through kitchen-sink experimentation, hard work, and laser-focus vision—they set out to build a company that would appeal to, and embrace, everyone. With colorful vessels that pop on Instagram, out-of-the-box aromas such as Rhubarb Smoke and Cashmere Kush, and a witty, engaging approach to social media, Boy Smells quickly made good on that initial premise, and, since 2016, the brand has grown exponentially, embarking on high-profile celebrity collaborations and even introducing an “Unmentionables” underwear line (with more exciting news to be revealed in the coming weeks). As the brand meets another goal post in joining the Fragrance Foundation, Herman discusses the secrets to Boy Smells’ success.

What was the original spark, for you and David, behind Boy Smells?

David, my real-life and business partner, and I created Boy Smells in 2016 as an experiment in our home in Los Angeles. At that time, we were both drawn to fragrances that were more traditionally labelled as feminine, and also noticed that many of our girlfriends were drawn to more masculine notes. So we wanted to approach scent in a way that broke the traditional gender norms. As we moved in this direction, the “genderless” caption to beauty and wellness products didn’t resonate with us in the way we saw ourselves. Coming from previous careers in the fashion industry and also engaged in LGBTQ+ activism, we were seeing trends across industries move in the gender defying direction, but felt that there could be a better way the fashion and beauty industries should approach it. In 2016, we ditched our day jobs in pursuit of our passion: Boy Smells, a company that speaks directly to expanding gender identity in fragrance, adopting the term GENDERFUL. Genderful is a celebration of all different ways people identify gender identity and expression, recognizing that neither is static. 

What was the idea behind the name and how is that reflected in how you wanted to position yourselves and your messaging?

The name Boy Smells came to us as the perfect juxtaposition to our signature pink packaging, purposefully poking fun at gendering. It teases that what you’d find inside will defy norms and challenge the usual binary trenches often associated with scent.  

As gateways to gender expanding olfactive moments, we blend the traditionally “masculine” and “feminine” to capture the complexities that come with modern identity. The implication is to harness your power from wherever you find it. Something as simple as a candle has the potential to reflect the quickly evolving and a drastic reimagining of identity that is underway in society; and we saw an opportunity to contribute to the social discourse around gender by creating Boy Smells. 

How did you first go about getting the candles into the marketplace?

We showed the collection to our families, real and chosen, and sent samples to our friends in the fashion industry. In our first year we were in some of the best directional boutiques. From there it happened quite organically.

Your social media is how many of us found (and fell in love with) Boy Smells. How would you describe the aesthetic? What was on your mood board when you envisioned it?  

The success of our brand on social media was a complete surprise to us, and not something we master-minded. I hope, though, that it speaks to the spirit of our brand: fun, provocative, and progressive; something that resonates with today’s consumers.

While our pink label became more iconic than we could have ever imagined, we love seeing it in homes all over the world, dressing vanities, coffee tables, bedside tables, what have you. It’s always a thrill to see our customers posting about us on their social channels, just as they’d post an outfit, beauty routine, or a new piece of furniture.

What has social media, and the connection it fosters, brought to the brand?

It has helped us connect and build community. And, we now view it as an essential part of the brand. Social media has been hugely impactful in communicating our purpose-driven messaging, and we love that our brand can stand for more than just expecting a good fragrance. It is an intimate relationship we get to develop with our customers.

What was the process in creating the early fragrances?

Our very first scent, Kush, a cannabis-inspired scent, continues to be our #1 selling candle. Its long-term success took us from indie newcomers to an established brand with a known hit product.  We mixed all of our original fragrances at home and have since reworked them to be clean formulations with more refined olfactive balance.

How do you go about working with perfumers?

We work with fragrance houses Robertet and Firmenich, and each relationship is unique. We usually start with a brief. I like to use visual briefs of photography, graphic design, architecture, furniture, sculpture, wherever conveys the emotion we want the scent to occupy. We also start with a laundry list of fragrance notes we’d like to explore. I like to think of it as a conversation and collaboration.

What do collaborations – such as Slow Burn – mean to the brand?

We have been so excited to introduce two noteworthy collaborations thus far in 2020, the first of which being with Kacey Musgraves. Upon its debut in early February, the spiced and smokey Slow Burn candle sold out in less than 24 hours and generated an eager waitlist of over 15,000 people. The Slow Burn candle was the first ever musical artist collaboration for the Boy Smells brand as well as Kacey’s first major brand collaboration, bringing her creativity and great tastes to the complex world of fragrance. Our launch event at PUBLIC in NYC created a huge media moment that opened us up to an entirely new audience and the collaboration has sold out multiple times since. 

Another keystone moment was the launch of the PRIDE Collection this June, benefitting The Trevor Project. We partnered with 6 unique luminaries to ignite a campaign spanning diverse ethnicities, backgrounds, and industries who are breaking down boundaries towards universal acceptance for the LGBT community.  Each of the six ambassadors––including fashion model Richie Shazam, R&B rising star Rileyy Lanez, drag superstar Naomi Smalls, dancer Harper Watters, musical artist VINCINT and actor & musician Alex Newell, –– embodied their own hyper-hued candle from the limited collection to open the conversation about embracing one’s full spectrum identity. 

Why did you decide to also introduce underwear?

We view candles and underwear as objects you intimately relate to, integral to one’s personal care routine and identity. The objects we hold closest to us, candles, fragrance, underwear, should reflect our most authentic selves, before we put on our uniforms for the roles we play in the world. We always knew our next step after candles would be underwear, due to the fact that it’s perhaps the most gendered item out there. The way we label our underwear allows for the purchaser to decide how they relate to the product, we don’t dictate that. It’s effortless and uncomplicated, no shame in our Unmentionables collection. Everyone participates in their own way.

With underwear, perhaps more than any other category, binary ideas of gender are used in marketing to consumers  In our newly relaunched Unmentionables collection, each style and color is available with either a “Pouch Front” or “Flat Front,” shifting the conversation away from gender labels to the right fit and end usage for the customer. No matter how you define yourself, Unmentionables is here to support your comfort and confidence. 

What challenges have you faced as an independent brand?

At the onset of the pandemic as stores began to close, we found ourselves with close to 100% off our wholesale orders canceled. On top of that, our supply chain quickly came to a screeching halt with components coming from both Northern Italy and China. The early success we had experienced since the start of the year, along with our Q2 sales projections, seemed like they would no longer be a reality. We knew it was time to go back to basics and connect with our customer through a DTC-focused model. 

We have an amazing team, and we all learned how to pivot quickly and adapt our sales model to fit the current economic landscape. DTC took off significantly, hovering at about 1200% above last year!

What does it mean to you to officially join the fragrance community with the Fragrance Foundation? 

We couldn’t be more excited to become a part of this community. Despite not starting our careers in the fragrance industry, we have been so welcomed by all of our partners and TFF.

What is your vision for the future of Boy Smells? 

As we grow, we will continue to activate this conversation around identity expression with everyday products used to reaffirm and feel good. Our goal is to turn all of our daily routines into rituals of self-realization. There are exciting plans in the works for new product categories, with scents that go beyond anything we’ve ever done before.

@boy__smells

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY Photograph by Dora Somosi ©
What The Nose Knows

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY Photograph by Dora Somosi ©

October 2020

Brianna Lipovsky started Maison d’Etto with a very unusual concept: She wanted to create scents inspired by horses. While this may at first sound hyper-specific, her vision is anything but: Maison d’Etto’s unique and evocative fragrances are olfactive snapshots of time and place that open up worlds to those who smell them. Lipovsky sees fragrance as a vehicle for making connections—bringing people closer to themselves, to others, and to nature—while the overarching Maison d’Etto mission is to bring more moments of beauty (and beautiful objects) into our everyday lives. Since launching last year, the luxurious, gender-neutral collection has become a favorite among the fashionably in-the-know, and it continues to win hearts apace. “We are in the stage where we can take risks, use insanely expensive ingredients and roll the dice,” says Lipovsky. Here, she shares with Accords what guides her aesthetic, and what we can expect from Maison d’Etto going forward.  

You began with scent memories from your life’s equestrian experiences—why were those so meaningful to you, and how did that lead you to creating Maison d’Etto?

Horses have been a constant in my life from the age of five. I didn’t grow up in an equestrian family but the vast majority of my life outside of schooling and in my adult years, work was spent with or around horses, riding and competing. I sacrificed so much to have a “normal” city life and a horse life. Instead of going to the fashion shows, gallery openings or other social engagements, I spent most of my free time driving and/or flying to practice and compete. After having my daughter and seeing how brands were really fragmenting around psychographic niches vs just demographics I felt that it was my time to build and create something around my two passions – horses and scent – combined with my background in luxury, fashion and design. I have had close to 35 years of intimate experiences with these animals and so many amazing stories, experiences and personalities that I could deeply dive into creatively with authenticity and truth. It served as an incredible platform for me to create from but make something that was profound enough that it could really speak to anyone and serve as a metaphor. We don’t translate any of these scents directly. It’s not like we’re saying what horse X smelled like; we paint a picture based on a day or a few days, the horse’s personality, the setting, a special place or experience. 

I look at each individual fragrance as a piece of art and each collection as an exhibit. So the brand Maison d’Etto is about inspiring moments of connection, reflection, well-being and nurturing the human spirit one moment at a time. Our first collection, “Connection to Self,” is represented by 5 horses that had huge pivotal impacts on my life. Our next collection is titled, “Connection to Nature” and it will feature stories that took place on horseback but immersed in nature. The fragrance that will launch for holidays took place in the French Pyrenees on a very special palomino mare, who’s name I can’t share for another few weeks ;).

You had a very clear sense from the beginning not only about how you wanted the scents to smell but how you wanted them to look and fit into people’s environments. What inspired this vision?

Yes, we did not come at this from a traditional beauty or fragrance perspective at all. That was very important to me. We drew inspiration from art, architecture, and design as well as a unique interpretation of the contemporary equestrian lifestyle, which is extremely nomadic. I not only wanted to be known for our fragrances but our packaging and the entire Maison d’Etto experience. Knowing how transitional many of our clients are we wanted everything to be not only beautiful, an object of art in and of itself, but also practical, and portable. I worked with the insanely talented and world-renowned graphic and product designer Lotta Nieminen as well as space and interior designer Olivia Song to help ensure that our products are adding an aesthetic value to each client’s life space and home. 

The packaging is extremely considered. I wanted to create something sustainable and beautiful but not just for the sake of sustainability. So for example, we could create sustainable, recyclable but inevitably throw-away D2C packaging or we could create something with wonderful quality with a focus on materials that will last the test of time. Something that you want to hold onto and treasure, like an Hermes box. So our discovery set, after use, provides a beautiful design piece to place in a room or save jewelry, trinkets or crystals in. You will see with some of the other product categories that we start rolling out how we envision this evolving.

How do you believe that fragrance can help us connect with each other, ourselves, and to the world around us?

As we all know, scent is the only sense that we have as humans that goes straight into the limbic system and isn’t processed elsewhere in the brain. This guttural, reactionary nature I find to be deeply therapeutic. It almost brings you back to a childlike state. Many times, when I would get too in my head about things in the brand development stages, I would actually turn to my then 3-year-old daughter to ask what she thought because I know there would be no pretense, anxieties, judgement or overthinking. 

Additionally, after doing a lot of work myself dealing with anxiety in my late 20’s I learned how to apply behavioral and observational patterns to reduce the anxiety. The more I came into myself I was able to apply those same techniques to the world of mindfulness, consciousness and meditation that translated into awareness and appreciation in even the most mundane aspects of life.  I am so intrigued with the intersection of fragrance and science, the brain and the mind. 

The brand focuses on five key aspects of connection — the sacred pillars that help us to achieve a sense of balance and wholeness. These include: connection to self, connection to others, connection to nature, connection to the world, and finally, connection to finding one’s purpose. These aspects will be brought to life with more robust programming and community-based initiatives. 

What was the idea behind the name Maison d’Etto?

Etto is a combination of Ethics + Motto, created by writer, novelist and female polo player Courtney Maum. It represents the core truths and beliefs you carry with you despite where you are or what you are going through in life. It also stands for “Each To Their Own”. It is a brand that refuses to dictate values and beliefs to its wearer but rather empowers them to explore what Etto uniquely means to them. 

What is your process for working with perfumers, and what have you learned from them along the way?

Ha. It’s unconventional to say the least! 

Sometimes it can be a straightforward brief, but even then it’s just a springboard – there is always plenty of room for interpretation and space for each performer’s signature style to come through. Other times it’s a conversation, text (or even Instagram DM which drives the sales team crazy, sorry!) Other times, it’s cracking open a bottle of champagne on a Friday evening dissecting every single ingredient, nuance, and modification then doing a documentary photoshoot, which turns into a bunch of us rolling around on the ground of IFF laughing until our stomachs ache…Pre COVID, of course!

Perfumers are creatives. I really like to work with perfumers that connect with energy, passion, emotion, and can distill all of those things into an incredibly soulful fragrance. I have never had success with any type of creative person sitting behind a desk, so I like to get them out of the office if I can, and get them out of “work” mode. I like to be able to connect deeply with each perfumer, and let’s not forget the evaluator. I couldn’t do any of this without Alexandra Cassar, she’s my eyes, ears, voice, translator, and brand filter. We have a very deep and personal relationship, she at this point knows exactly how I’m going to react and respond. 

I have learned from perfumers to love and enjoy life and to surrender to the beauty and frustrations of life and perfumery. Sometimes it just works and other times you can’t force it, you have to just give it space, time and a lot of patience. The more you respect the fragrance the more it will give to you. Perfumers have also taught me that this is where I belong, and that is so cool. 

What achievement has been most gratifying for you since the brand’s launch?

Hands down the most gratifying achievement was the ‘Our Love Letter to You’ initiative that we did during the first wave of COVID in May when the tri-state was absolutely inundated with cases. I wanted to do something special for my friends who had all become doctors and were on the front lines. I had to do something as a member of society, founder and leader of a purpose-driven brand. 

We partnered with IFF and other like-minded brands (Costa Brazil, Diptyque, Royal Fern and natureofthings) to donate 500 care packages to healthcare workers. IFF discovered through fMRI technology that one of the ingredients used in the fragrance, which by the way was still a complete work in progress, was associated with activating parts of the brain involved in relaxation. Our purpose was to bring respite, hope and peace to healthcare workers through a new fragrance we were working on at the time.. It was a true moment of community, care, commitment, love and gratitude. 

What does joining the Fragrance Foundation mean to you, and what do you hope it will bring to Maison d’Etto?

As a complete outsider to the fragrance industry, joining The Fragrance Foundation means so much. Number one, it validates our existence by a trusted and respected industry authority. It provides community and a place for connection and collaboration. As a self-funded brand, being a part of TFF always seemed a bit out of reach given the capital requirements for membership. With the new inclusivity initiative, I am now able to participate, and have a seat at the table, but also give back with my unique skill set as well. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and I am so excited to be able to learn and strengthen our weaknesses and add tremendous value with many of our strengths to the collective membership and organization. When we all come together amazing things happen! @

@maisondetto

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

October 2020

At the September TFFAwards webinar, I announced our new important objective: to grow and expand our community to include diverse members. We have made great progress. We added new benefits for indie brands based on our resources. We have reached out and met new indies and discovered great new brands who align with our mission. They join us to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance. 

For a limited time, we are offering one-year memberships to indies whose overall USA brand footprint has considerable growth potential and to whom we can provide guidance. These entrepreneurs have progressed in their brand development and are now in the position to benefit as TFF members. In addition, we also reconnected with those brands that had contacted us in the last year who had not applied for membership due to constraints on either side.

In this edition of Accords, we feature extraordinary creators of fragrance brands, each with unique identities: Teri Johnson of Harlem Candle Company, Matthew Herman & David Kien of Boy Smells, and Brianna Lipovsky of Maison d’Etto. Each of their stories clearly indicate that they are on a trajectory to fragrance success. While we have met them in what appears to be the early chapters in their journeys, they all clearly are open to a future of growth at a time when there are many unknowns. But this we know for sure: their creativity, resourcefulness and first-class candles and fragrances make us proud to welcome them as new members into our fragrance community.

Starting today we will welcome these and other new indie brands, highlighting them all in our weekly newsletter Noteworthy and on our TFF Website. 2020 has brought us so many challenges, but this is proof positive that TFF is embracing the best we can be together, with diversity, equity and inclusion as our guide.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Sep

PERFUMER SPOTLIGHT: CELINE BAREL

PERFUMER SPOTLIGHT: CELINE BAREL
Spotlight

PERFUMER SPOTLIGHT: CELINE BAREL

PERFUMER SPOTLIGHT: CELINE BAREL

September 2020

Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year Winner – Zoologist Squid

Celine Barel, IFF

Celine Barel is a rarity: someone who grew up in Grasse, but had no family members in the fragrance industry. She initially went to business school to work on the brand side, but soon fell in love with the art of creation and went on to study at IFF, honing her olfactive talents and ultimately bringing her unconventional and spirited approach to fragrances for Diana Vreeland, Jo Malone London, Norell, Maison d’Etto, Lancôme and more. Barel is widely regarded as a rising superstar, and winning Perfume Extraordinaire for Zoologist Squid surely cements that reputation. Here, she shares the inspiration and ideas that went into the making of this special award-winning scent.  

What was the initial idea behind Zoologist Squid? 

There was no real corporate brief. All I got was this word: “squid.”  It actually meant a lot to me, as it opened a whole fantastical world without boundaries. I love how Zoologist’s animals are portrayed as true characters and have an olfactive identity. It talks to my Peter Pan side!

What were some of your inspirations while formulating it?

The animal portrait brought me to the Victorian age, one of my favorite historical periods; to the XIXth century, at the height of Romanticism. Immediately “Squid” made me think about Jules Verne’s A Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, with a frightening giant squid coming from the deepest part of the ocean. Those abysses are supposedly located in the Chinese sea, so I also thought about incorporating frankincense.

But the true starting point was serendipitous: when Victor and I started talking about creating Squid I just came back from a trip to Dubai. While swimming there, I injured my foot walking on a massive squid bone. I seized the bone, smelled it and fell in love with its smell: it had an intense solar saltiness, was pungent, sweet and grainy like tonka, and more raw than ambergris. I brought it back to IFF and we did a headspace analysis.  

How does the fragrance express your style as a perfumer? 

 Squid is telling a story. It takes you on a journey. It has a universe of its own, and is unexpected. It is NOT obvious nor common. It evokes totally what it is supposed to. I love to create this type of perfumery. 

What made Squid a unique experience for you personally?  

I truly loved collaborating with Victor, Zoologist’s founder, because of his unique vision, his great culture, the richness of his brand’s universe with each animal. The fact that when we thought we had a good olfactive idea, he encouraged me to overdo it! 

And now, what makes Squid’s creative experience even more unique is this TFF Perfume Extraordinaire Award, which means it has been appreciated by my peers and experts of the fragrance industry. It is a very very sweet award to receive. I am really grateful and deeply honored. 

And I am happy that a “small gem” like Zoologist is made visible among the industry’s giants thanks to TFF and this award. Self-funded brands don’t always have the financial means to shine in the glossy magazines so the role TFF is playing in supporting them is major.

What effect did you want the finished perfume to achieve for the wearer?

I wanted Squid to express at the same time a calm and stormy mind, going from a deep dark mood to a bright happy place. I imagined the wearer becoming a romantic hero! I totally imagine Louis II of Bavaria wearing it! 

INSIDE THE INSPIRATION: JEAN-CLAUDE ELLENA, CATHERINE SELIG & CHRISTIAN ASTUGUEVIEILLE

Scents and Sensibility

INSIDE THE INSPIRATION: JEAN-CLAUDE ELLENA, CATHERINE SELIG & CHRISTIAN ASTUGUEVIEILLE

September 2020

Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year – Finalists

For the keen eye (and especially the talented nose), inspiration is all around us. But what elements spark the creation of a true Perfume Extraordinaire? The 2020 Fragrance Awards Finalists—and Winner—in this category are all perfumes that excel at bringing to life the unique vision and inspiration of their inventors. And they could not be more different—these singular scents originated from ideas summoned by the smell of freshly cut grass (Copper eau de Parfum by Comme des Garçons, by perfumer Aliénor Massenet), a rose (Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Rose & Cuir, by Jean-Claude Ellena), a family legacy (A.N. Other F/W 2020, by Catherine Selig), and a mysterious sea creature (the winning scent—Zoologist Squid, by Celine Barel). Here, the perfumers and creators provide a glimpse into the compelling backstories behind these olfactive masterpieces.

Jean-Claude Ellena

Rose & Cuir, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle

What was the initial spark behind Rose & Cuir?

A new idea of writing roses. 

How did the collaboration process with Frédéric Malle shape the finished fragrance along the way?

In complicity, friendship and mutual respect. 

How does Rose & Cuir express your style as a perfumer?

Elegant juxtapositions. Elegant interplays.

What are some of the elements that make this fragrance so unique?

New interactions between raw materials. 

What did you want to achieve with Rose & Cuir that you had not yet accomplished in your career?

Let the story go on until my last summer.

Catherine Selig, Takasago

WF / 2020, A.N Other

What was the family backstory behind this A.N OTHER fragrance?

The creative journey of the fragrance WF / 2020 from A.N OTHER started in the 19th century.  My great grandfather Meinrad Hilfiger Maitre Gantier Perfumer created a signature patchouli fragrance formula.  His secret formula manuscript was handed to me by my father when I was a child and I gave this elegant 19th century formula a new life when I redeveloped it with exclusive quality ingredients, a modern twist, and a new vision.

What were some of your considerations while formulating it?

I was inspired by thoughts of timelessness, elegance, and the uniqueness of an unforgettable trail. I purposefully chose only the best quality ingredients such as Italian Bergamot, French rose, Ambrette Absolute and Patchouli Coeur, the purest exclusive quality of Patchouli from Takasago, to create its unique and unforgettable trail.

How does the fragrance express your style as a perfumer, as well as your lineage?

The creation of this fragrance came to me naturally, all the ingredients combined beautifully with each other in harmony allowing each of them to radiantly diffuse. Within its first trials, this fragrance already displayed its unique characteristics and personality. 

My creative signature in every fragrance I create is a combination of  radiance and luminosity which resonates with the soul. The foundation of this fragrance is based on my family legacy of creating fragrances with pure lines, beautiful ingredients, luxurious simplicity with a mystical travel through time.    

What effect did you want the finished perfume to achieve for the wearer?

I wanted this scent to be the essential olfactive finishing touch that radiates self-confidence and inner strength of those who wear it.

This fragrance, like the Kelly bag from Hermes, will dress its wearer up to the effortless style of timeless elegance.

What does being a finalist for Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year mean to you?

Being a finalist for Perfume Extraordinaire is indeed a great honor for me.  It acknowledges the timeless craftsmanship of my fragrance creation and gives me the opportunity to tell the story behind that fragrance creation to those who wear and appreciate fragrances.

Christian Astuguevieille, Creative Director

Copper Eau de Parfum, Comme des Garçons

Christian Astuguevieille, the creative director for Comme des Garçons’ fragrances, worked with perfumer Aliénor Massenet to conceive Copper Eau de Parfum.

What was the initial inspiration behind Copper Eau de Parfum?

 The initial inspiration behind Copper was the green scent of fresh cut grass.

Were there challenges in conveying the idea of a material such as copper through scent?

We tried to work on the specific Galbanum green and metallic amber.

How does the composition express the brand?

We expressed the brand’s universe through the choice of high quality raw materials, from galbanum, blackcurrant buds, myrrh and metallic amber. This green is like no other, and originality is what we aim for in our olfactory writing. 

What effect did you want the finished perfume to achieve for the wearer?

I would like the wearer to have the wonderful sensation of wearing a true green. The mythical notion of green in perfumery.

What makes you most proud of this scent?

 I am very proud of the green we created. Green represents audacity. We stand behind legendary greens but today it is not very common anymore, and that is what’s so exciting.

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE WINNER & FINALISTS

What The Nose Knows

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE WINNER & FINALISTS

September 2020

Indie Fragrance of the Year celebrates the creations of smaller, artisanal brands that have blazed innovative, wonderful-smelling, trails—often without a safety net. The scents honored in the 2020 Awards lineup each offer a compelling example of how to present a daring, memorable elixir that conveys personality, original thinking, and—of course—desirability. Here, the brains behind the brands grant insight into the independent spirit that brought the Fragrance Foundation’s 2020 Finalists and Winner to fruition.

Indie Fragrance of the Year Winner 

THOM BROWNE 09.27.65 VETYVER ABSOLUTE

Thom Browne – Founder & Head of Design

What was the starting point for this fragrance?

I wanted to create a timeless fragrance for men and women. This started with vetyver…

What were the most important sensory effects that you wanted Vetyver Absolute to achieve?

A sense for day into night…bold individuality, and confidence.

How does scent resonate with or reflect the brand as a whole?

It is truly signature and truly authentic to what I wanted in a scent. Like the grey suit, it is created for anyone who has the confidence to be themselves.

What does winning Indie Fragrance of the Year mean to you?

I have always loved fragrance, and these six scents are very personal to me. They took a long time to create and get them right. To be recognized for this is such an honor.

Indie Fragrance of the Year Finalist 

Notorious Oud by D.S. & Durga

David Seth Moltz – Founder & Perfumer

What was the initial spark or idea behind Notorious Oud?

I wanted to make an Oud that spoke to the Brooklyn melting pot. I copied a rare Indonesian oud in my little lab in Brooklyn and balanced it with choice materials from 4 continents.

What were the challenges in its creation?

Just how realistic to go with the stink of the real oud I copied.

What effect did you want it to have for the wearer that would make it utterly unique?

Stink boiled beautiful.

How did you land on the name Notorious Oud?

Oud is probably the most notorious ingredient in perfume. Everyone has an opinion about it and every oud perfume (is it real? is it rare?).  This doesn’t happen with jasmine or vetyver perfumes.

What pleases you most about the way it has been received?

It’s been well received by all kinds of people, which is promising.

Indie Fragrance of the Year Finalist

Eric Buterbaugh Los Angeles Oud Saffron

Eric Buterbaugh – Founder & Designer

What was the initial idea behind Oud Saffron? 

The ideas start with conversations. I wanted to expand on the great reception that my prior Oud scents had received. In talks with Ilias we discussed duality and contrast …  then came to the two iconic ingredients called the black gold and the red gold of a perfumer: “oud and saffron.”  I wanted this scent to feel the luxury of fine jewelry. As most of you know, I adore jewelry.

Were there any challenges in its creation? 

Creation is always a challenging equation.  Oud and Saffron was a departure from my floral universe, but had to meet my codes of Haute Perfumerie.

What unique quality did you want it to bring to the EB collection? 

Ilias and I wanted it to create a new sophistication through contrast, a surprise and an aesthetic inspired by gemstones.

Why was Ilias the perfect perfumer for this project?

Ilias and I have worked on many fragrances together. We have a unique way of trusting each other and a great respect for each other. He always keeps in mind the DNA of my brand. Also we love to laugh and dream. So any time spent with Ilias is happy for me.

What pleases you most about the finished scent and the way it has been received? 

First and foremost, the scent perfectly completes my Floral Ouds collection. The fact that it was nominated for the Fragrance Foundation award makes myself and Ilias happy and proud,  it is a real tribute to the vision of my brand.

TFFAWARDS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

TFFAWARDS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY
The Inside Scoop

TFFAWARDS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

TFFAWARDS SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

September 2020

This year’s 2020 TFFAwards celebration was a live webinar with over 2,000 attendees in our global audience. We joined together as a fragrance community with an exciting host and presenters who all shared their passion and personal perspectives of fragrance. There was great anticipation leading up to September 10th when we announced the winners of 25 categories for 2020 TFFAwards.

In this issue of Accords, we are featuring the finalists & winners in two categories that, like all other award categories, represent our TFF mission: to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance. They are Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year & Indie Fragrance of the Year, which are in limited USA distribution. One finalist in each category was not included here as timing and other constraints affected their participation.

These are very important awards that are judged by those with expertise specific to the categories, who have not created any of the entries. They judge independently and anonymously from each other. For Extraordinaire, the fragrances are presented “blind” and coded without any identification for confidentiality. Voting criteria focuses on the juices’ design, signature, creativity, and quality. For Indie, they are fully identified with packaging, marketing, and judged by other experts on creative factors of the juice quality, as well as presentation and packaging.

While I am frequently emphasizing the achievement of reaching TFFAwards Finalist status, you can all more clearly understand that significance as you hear from the perfumers and creators themselves in Accords today. Next, you definitely should experience the fragrances themselves on your own. I am proud, both personally & professionally, to bring you these extraordinary individuals’ stories whose inspirations are thoughtfully delivered to you by our fabulous Accords Editor, April Long.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Aug

THE ROLE MODEL: MAYE MUSK

THE ROLE MODEL: MAYE MUSK
Spotlight

THE ROLE MODEL: MAYE MUSK

THE ROLE MODEL: MAYE MUSK

August, 2020

On September 10th, the gorgeous, gracious Maye Musk will host the special 2020 TFF Awards Webinar. Has there ever been a more aptly named master of ceremonies for a scent celebration? Musk is a dynamic, inspirational personality with an extraordinary biography, from a childhood spent traveling South Africa with her parents in search of archaeological treasures to her wildly successful career as a model, culminating in her current role as age-defying CoverGirl ambassador. She is also a dietitian and author of the recent A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success. Almost incidentally, you might also know that she has 3 highly accomplished children, including a well-known son. As we prepare to celebrate together the achievements of the fragrance community, Musk shares some insight into her own relationship with the enthralling world of scent.

Having presented at last year’s TFF Awards, how does it feel to be this year’s special Webinar host, knowing that TFF was inspired by the positive message of A Woman Makes a Plan?

This was a huge surprise and an honor. I couldn’t believe that I would be given such a special hosting position. Attending TFF awards has always been a highlight for me in New York. Now I am so happy my positive messages in my book are inspiring women, and men. We need more positive messages.

What is your personal connection to fragrance?

From when I was a little girl, I used to play with my mom’s fragrances. She had many. I would clean the face powder off them after my Mom put on her makeup and put them in pretty patterns on her dresser. They were gorgeous bottles and they smelled so good. As a teenager I would wear perfume every day and spray my neck and wrists.  Now I line up all my fragrances and wear a different one every day.

In the 1970s, my children were teased and called MuskRat. Musk was not a nice surname. In the 80s, Musk became a popular name with fragrances. People asked if I changed my name to Maye Musk as I was a model. I told them I had to live with being called MuskRat for 9 years, and now it’s a great name.

You have lived and traveled all over the world. Are there certain fragrances or smells that conjure specific places or memories for you?

Funny enough, many cities and countrysides have different smells. We won’t talk about New York City. Haha! I enjoy reading about the origins of the ingredients in the fragrances, which come from different countries. I remember the scents of spices from India and the floral markets in The Netherlands, and so many other countries with memories.

What is your fragrance routine (ie, a different scent for day and night)? 

Every morning, before I walk my dog, I spray my neck and my wrists with a fragrance. If I’m going out at night, after my bath, I will change my fragrance. depending on what I feel like.

What guides your selection?

I pretty much change my perfume every day, depending on my plans for the day. It’s so much fun for me and brings me joy. We need more joy.

How does fragrance relate to the bigger picture of beauty and success? 

When you wear a fragrance, you feel good and it gives you more confidence.  This gives you a bounce in your step and will help you succeed in life.

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA
Scents and Sensibility

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA

THE ENVIRONMENTALIST: FRANCISCO COSTA

August, 2020

Brazilian designer Francisco Costa has long been a force in fashion, having garnered accolades as creative director for Calvin Klein Womenswear for more than a decade. His newest project, however, is supremely personal: In 2019, he introduced Costa Brazil, a line of home fragrance and luxurious face and body oils using indigenous ingredients from the Amazonian rainforest. Costa Brazil is mindfully intentional and committed to proper stewardship of the environment—the ingredients are responsibly sourced, the packaging is recyclable, and the brand’s partnership with the non-profit Conservation International ensures sustainability. The products have drawn raves across the board, but it is their unique fragrance profile that has made them most recognizable and unforgettable. With Resina de Breu, a resin used by Amazonian tribes, Costa has introduced a novel experience to the home fragrance market. Once lit, the resin fills the surrounding space with an intoxicating aroma of soil, leaves, and wood—fulfilling Costa’s mission to remind us how interconnected we are to the earth. Here, Costa shares his inspiration with Accords

What has been your relationship with fragrance throughout your life?

Fragrance is everything, fragrance has the power to transport you. I remember taking walks in my childhood in the countryside near my town, the olfactive memory of my childhood is vivid. I also remember my sister’s lavender scent, an alfazema fragrant water she would put on after a shower.

How did you first encounter Breu, and what sparked the idea to introduce it as a home scent?

I discovered Breu during my time with the Yawanawa tribe in the region of Acre in Brazil. I noticed this incredible scent, I thought it was wood, but saw they were tossing Breu into the fire. It’s a wonderful home scent because of its healing and balancing properties; it stabilizes the ambiance in any space, and it is said to open up the 6th chakra.

Why was sustainability so crucial for you, and what have been the challenges and rewards of assuring environmental responsibility?

Beauty is inseparable from the health of the earth. This isn’t something we should be praised about, it’s something we need to consider every step of the way as our new normal. 

What feedback about Costa Brazil has made you happiest?

When people tell me they instantly recognize Costa Brazil through scent, without seeing it. 

As a newcomer to the US fragrance community, what would you say is the biggest difference between the fragrance world and the fashion world?

When fragrance walks into the room, it’s the last one to leave. There is more longevity. 

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER
What The Nose Knows

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER

August, 2020

You may recognize Argentine polo champion Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras and his wife Delfina Blaquier as the glamorous couple from countless Ralph Lauren fragrance campaigns—but with the launch of their own fragrance line last year, they began an entirely new journey into the perfume world. Having zigzagged the planet with their four children for matches and events, the couple wanted the Ignacio Figueras Collection to have a truly international perspective, so the six scents are like olfactory postcards from their favorite cities: Buenos Aires, Windsor, Aspen, Palm Beach, Dubai, and Jaipur. And since family and philanthropy are deeply ingrained in the enterprise, a portion of the fragrances’ sales benefit Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity, which helps children and communities in Lesotho and Botswana. As founders making a tremendous splash with a project clearly so close to their hearts, Figueras and Blaquier share their insight—and excitement for the upcoming awards—with Accords.

You have presented and attended TFF Awards in prior years and have many close ties to the fragrance world having been ambassadors for Ralph Lauren. How does it feel different this year to participate, now that you are TFF members and brand creators?

The difference this year is that we truly feel like we are part of the fragrance community.   We have a much better understanding of the entire process – from concept, through development and finally selling a finished product. In translating emotions into fragrances, we worked with so many artists – perfumers, designers, writers and retail partners that gave us the chance to share our story.  Creating our own brand is a much greater responsibility!

Why was it so important for you to create a fragrance line with a global perspective?

We travel as a family all over the world, often staying for a long time in these polo locations and experiencing so many incredible cultures.  There are many unique aspects of each city yet I find the similarities are what connects us together as people.  We wanted to share the beautiful special emotions that we feel and hopefully connect everyone in a good way.

What has been the highlight of your journey in the fragrance world so far? 

There have been many special moments but the highlight is creating something together as a family.  During the development process we revisited so many emotions and how we grew over the years, solidifying our values and the importance of family. 

What lessons have you learned that you would share with others who are new to the perfume business?

We learned that there are many contributors to a successful brand and although it is a personal process, it is very important to stay open to new ideas.  Another lesson—it is essential to know what you want your brand to stand for. Know what you value.  I also learned to trust my team to help bring my vision to life. We are still learning and are at the beginning of our journey.

How have you incorporated philanthropy into your strategy, and how does it relate to the brand DNA?

Philanthropy is a way of life for us so it was important to make it part of the brand.  We built the brand on three pillars: polo, family and charity.  We wanted to use this opportunity to create awareness and help support the Sentebale charity with our sales and greater exposure.

THE INSIDE SCOOP SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: LINDA G. LEVY
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: LINDA G. LEVY

August, 2020

For this edition of Accords, I am excited to announce our 2020 TFF Awards special host and all the award presenters.

Inspired by her new book, A Woman Makes A Plan, we are thrilled to announce our host will be Maye Musk, international author, dietitian, and model. Maye is a woman of many accomplishments, whose determination and positive outlook drove her to overcome many difficulties & build her own path to success. Maye is truly a role model and shows us that age is not an obstacle but an attribute.

While in prior years, our TFF Awards red carpet was filled with many celebrities from outside the industry as well as insiders, this year we proudly have a star line up where all presenters are highly engaged in fragrance and are active TFF members today. These fabulous presenters will be streaming in from a wide range of USA locations which include their homes, music studios, ateliers, and even a horse ranch. The presenters all share our passion for fragrance and will explain their personal perspectives on fragrance.

ANNOUNCING…… The exciting presenters of the TFF Awards 25 categories are: Two music icons who are both Grammy Award winners and Kennedy Center Honorees: CHER, the one and only who is also an Oscar and Emmy winning, multi-platinum recording artist, actress, and humanitarian;  Lionel Richie, singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, American Idol judge and philanthropist; three extraordinary fashion designers Francisco Costa, Wes Gordon, and Jason Wu; multi-talented artist Rebecca Moses; international polo player Nacho Ignacios and his photographer wife Delfina Blaquier; plus entrepreneurs Chris Collins, Rob Smith and recording artivist Mila Jam. Not only are these fabulous friends of TFF creative forces, each in their own special style, but they are also leaders who GIVE BACK and stand up for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the new TFF initiative which has an action plan I will present myself on the webinar.

Looking forward to September 10th with all of you in the audience when we celebrate all the finalists and announce the winners!

We are in the final countdown to the 2020 TFFAwards webinar which will be presented September 10 at 12 noon EDT. So if you have not registered yet, please sign up now at tffawards.org.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Jul

THE RENAISSANCE MAN: CHRIS COLLINS

THE RENAISSANCE MAN: CHRIS COLLINS
Spotlight

THE RENAISSANCE MAN: CHRIS COLLINS

THE RENAISSANCE MAN: CHRIS COLLINS

July, 2020

If you recognize Chris Collins, there are a few reasons why. For 20 years, he was the face of Ralph Lauren, appearing on billboards and in ads, and traveling the globe as a brand ambassador. But talk about a pivot. In 2018, Collins launched his own eponymous fragrance collection, an assemblage of beautifully crafted, luxurious scents, each brought to life with a vivid, inspiring story. His first collection, Harlem Renaissance, drew a scented line between Paris and Harlem, celebrating the spirit of early 20th century artistic pioneers who hailed from the borough and traveled abroad, such as Josephine Baker, as well the creative energy that flourishes in Collins’s home neighborhood today. A passionate force in the world of fragrance, Collins is on the core leadership team of The Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and has made it his goal to help fledgling brands flourish.

How and when did you first become interested in fragrance?

This goes back to when I was a kid. I’ve always loved cologne. My dad used to wear all of those now iconic scents like Grey Flannel and English Leather. As I grew older, I became more infatuated with it, never thinking that my love affair with fragrance would one day end up with me owning my own brand. But along the way, I met a few people who were able to make that journey happen. I knew I had to go for it. Because this is the thing that I’m in love with more than anything.

What initially inspired you to embark on creating perfumes? 

Meeting Kilian was probably the most important connection I made that led to where I am now. Kilian and Frédéric Malle were the first two brands to introduce me to the world of niche fragrance, because before that all I really knew were brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. I was introduced to a Frédéric Malle fragrance by a friend of mine, and when I ran out of it, I went to buy it again. But I went to the wrong store and I ended up buying a Kilian scent. That started me down a path of discovery.  Then our universes sort of collided. I was wearing one of Kilian’s fragrances, and I met someone who worked with him. I said, “I would love to meet Kilian.” And not only did we meet, we worked on a project together—a customized, bespoke fragrance. When I had the bug to launch my own brand, he was very supportive and still is. He’s been an incredible mentor.

How did you find the perfumers to work on your brand?

 I knew that in order to fully understand the world of perfume I needed to go to Grasse, to the birthplace of perfumery. I flew to Cannes and I started to do research on fragrance houses like Givaudan and Robertet and some other small houses. I showed up and said, “I have this idea to launch this fragrance brand. I would like to know how the process works.” And they were all very welcoming. I stayed there for a few months and met some Perfumers to learn about the science behind perfume. I ended up, for my first collection, with a smaller fragrance house, because it was important for me to start from scratch. Finding the perfumers was challenging, but it was part of the process. I had to pay my dues and take the time to be taken seriously. Now I have a group of incredible Perfumers that I work with who do a great job of telling the stories that I like to tell. Perfumers to me are the artists. It’s fascinating the way we work. I always say that the Perfumer and I need to have a great dance together. They have to understand me personally as well as my ideas, and literally speak for me to tell the story of the perfume.

Why do you believe the storytelling aspect is particularly pertinent for perfumery, and why was it so important to you to create a brand with a real connection to Harlem?

Along the way, I figured out that I had a lot to say. And I really believe that not only should every perfume have a great story, every great brand should have a great story. For the first collection, the idea to launch the brand happened in Harlem, so I knew that I needed to pay homage to Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance of the ’20s and the Renaissance that’s happening as we speak. In my opinion, there’s a real resurgence of fashion, art, and food going on, and this is my contribution to that.

Danse Sauvage is the story of Josephine Baker. Harlem Nights is my depiction of a Harlem speakeasy at night. And Renaissance Man is the rebirth of mankind, not just men in general, but the rebirth of men and women together. Those three fragrances told stories that were important to me to tell from the very beginning. There’s also an incredible connection between Harlem and Paris. Josephine Baker, and Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes all left New York and went to Paris, where they were welcomed with open arms.

How do you think your experiences in the fashion industry influenced or benefited your perfume business? 

I’ve always felt like fragrance was an accessory to fashion. I was able to connect it to what I learned through fashion, when I was involved in working for Ralph Lauren. Working with and for him I learned so much about branding and marketing, messaging, packaging—it was almost like I went to RL university. I think it all happened for a reason. Over 20 years it taught me so much. Now I’m here with my own brand, which is an incredible, humbling feeling.

What are your favorite notes? 

My brand, I would say, is genderless, because I don’t believe in saying that fragrances can only be for men or women. Some men are drawn to florals. There are a lot of women who love to wear a more masculine scent. The one common denominator to most of my fragrances is that they have an intensity to them. They all have 20 to 25% fragrance oil. I love boozy notes. I work with a cognac accord. I work with a rum chord. I love oriental, woodsy notes. Even the one floral that I have, Tokyo Moon, is very musky and woody, even though the violet note is the hero. I’m now transitioning into teas and more florals and solar scents to open up the wardrobe of my collections. But my DNA is still going to be imprinted on them with boozy notes, gourmands, and woods.

What are your plans for the brand in the future? 

Obviously with everything going on, a lot of my plans have been slightly delayed. But I’m adapting and figuring out the way forward. I’m just going to continue to make more incredible fragrances. I may enter into the world of home fragrance and possible auxiliary products and grooming. I do plan to expand the brand, but right at this particular moment, I’m still focusing on mastering the universe of perfume.

How has your relationship with The Fragrance Foundation been beneficial?

 The other single most important connection or relationship that I have in the perfume businesses is with Linda. She’s been so helpful in ways that only she and I will ever know. I’ve had legal questions, I’ve had creative questions, relationship questions with retailers. She’s been incredibly helpful. She’s always there for me. We’ve had some brilliant heart to heart discussions. What she’s done with The Fragrance Foundation is more than impressive. And now we’re working together on an initiative to bring more diversity to the world of perfume.

How will you contribute in your leadership role on TFF initiative for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion? It was on my mind prior to the racial unrest that is happening in the country. I had already had a conversation with Linda about it. I said, “It’s very rare for a person of color to have a brand in perfume. We need to talk about it more,” because one of the responsibilities that I have is to inspire others and help or lend whatever advice that I can give. One of the things that we’re going to work on is using my resources and what I’ve learned through my successes and my mistakes to help others, because they both go hand in hand when you’re launching a brand. I think it can be very daunting to people, and especially people of color who don’t honestly think that it’s possible.

I’m here to say that it is possible. I want to be able to help and to make sure that this world of perfume is more diverse. Women of color, men of color, women in general. I just think there’s enough room, enough space for all of us to thrive. When I started having this conversation with Linda she thought it was a fantastic idea. Then the idea just accelerated after everything happened with the racial unrest. I’m very proud to be on this committee. I’m here to build an incredible brand that all people can be proud of, especially people of color, because I want them to be inspired.

What can new TFF indies learn from you and your experience?

 I’ve made so many mistakes. We’re all going to make mistakes. The key is to be able to live another day to be able to fix those mistakes. To me it’s three things. There’s the creative process, which is obviously the most fun, the most fulfilling. But there’s also the business aspect and the legal aspects. It’s very important to pay attention to all three, because if one of those legs is not done properly or doesn’t stand strong the whole business can be affected negatively. My advice to indie brands is to pay attention to all of it, the creative, the legal, and the business parts, because the brand cannot be successful without all three moving together.

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR
Scents and Sensibility

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR

HAUTE PURSUIT: SHALINI KUMAR

July, 2020

When Bombay-born fashion designer Shalini Kumar launched her fragrance collection in 2004, she did not hold back. Her goal, she says, was “to create opulent perfumes composed of the rarest, purest ingredients,” and the first scent out of the gate, Shalini, was a tour de force white floral composed by esteemed nose Maurice Roucel, who has since created a wardrobe of sumptuous showstoppers for the brand. With a background in architecture as well as couture, Shalini brings an attention to detail and eye for luxury to every Shalini Parfum, each of which is available for collectors in limited-edition Lalique bottles that are themselves works of art. Here, she shares her journey and inspirations with Accords.

What inspired you to start your fragrance brand?

I believe I was destined to create a collection of pure parfums. My first scent memory was as a baby being massaged in essential oils by my mother. There were different oils ranging from classic florals — rose and jasmine — to others like sandalwood, olive and ylang ylang. That’s when my love for fragrance was born.

I started my career at Valentino where I developed an appreciation for couture and the history of design, luxury, and longevity. Subsequently, I launched my own Haute Couture collection, Shalini Couture, focused on womenswear and a limited collection of jewelry. Shalini Parfum was conceived as a heritage brand built on the principles of classical French perfumery. I wanted it to be the ‘essence of luxury,’ and the fragrances to be modern masterpieces. Our fragrances are of the pure parfum concentration so the wearer can feel the quality of the natural essences. Each bottle is hand-poured and presented in beautiful black boxes handwritten with gold ink and tied with our signature Shalini yellow ribbon.

Historically, perfumes were not used merely for beauty, but for healing and prayer—the spiritual element. My vision for Shalini Parfum is returning to the healing properties at the root of perfume.  

How did you find and begin to work with perfumer Maurice Roucel?

I met Maurice through a friend and we instantly connected. He visited my atelier a few days later to see the couture collection and we had a very long lunch. Tuberose is my favorite flower and I lamented to Maurice that it was difficult to find a parfum composed of the pure tuberose absolute, often referred to as liquid gold. His response was “Let’s create one.” This was the beginning of Shalini Parfum.

I wanted to create the most exquisite tuberose and neroli fragrance. As a child I would sneak into the garden at night so I could inhale tuberoses by the moonlight. My first memory of neroli was arriving in Seville in the evening hours and the entire city was filled with clementine trees in full bloom. The smell of the orange blossoms was mesmerizing. So my Shalini parfum was originally created for my skin and we offered it to our special couture clients.

Maurice is a pleasure to work with. We connected instantly in creating something of lasting beauty. He captures what I am yearning for. It is a joyful experience. He has the soul of an artist and is very present and connected.

What challenges did you face getting established?

My journey with fragrance was rather miraculous. I didn’t experience many of the challenges faced by most brands. I desired to launch Shalini Parfum at the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman, and Pat Saxby, VP Divisional Merchandise Manager of cosmetics and fragrances at Bergdorf fell in love with Shalini immediately and decided to launch it. Pat is the Godmother of the brand. She recognized the uniqueness of my Parfums and has always believed in them. Harrods Salon de Parfums has also been extremely supportive. They have an exquisite display of our parfums and have dedicated their most coveted wall to them.

I do face some challenges in launching in the Middle East and Russia. We have many clients in both these areas and they would like us to launch the parfums there. However, the logistics and registration processes are rather complicated. 

Your Lalique flacons are so special. How did you begin to incorporate them into the world of Shalini?

For Shalini, I envisioned a bottle that would convey the exquisite beauty and the lightness of flight of the fragrance. I found the beautiful Lalique crystal flacon “Le Coquillage” in Paris. The design reminiscent of a butterfly wing echoes the preciousness of the fragrance.

It is an honor to be able to present our opulent pure parfums “Grand Cru” in the exquisite creations of Rene Lalique. Each parfum has its own Lalique flacon which reflects the inspiration of the parfum. The sense of the visual is extremely important to me and the Lalique flacon allows the wearer to engage both sight and smell. To hold the falcon in your hand as you apply the parfum on your skin is magical.

What do you love most about fragrance?

Fragrance transcends country, gender, culture, religion and season. Like music, it is an art form that is very inclusive. I compose my fragrances like poems that leave something to the imagination of the wearer to interpret based on their own memories and experience. My fragrances are inspired by moments and memories of my life—my magical childhood, my first love, endless days of summer by the Mediterranean, arriving in Seville in the evening hours, driving under the night sky of Dubai, fields of blue lavender in Provence…and the sense of the ethereal. 

The passion I bring is very deep. It is an offering of the self, at the soul level to the wearer. The wearer experiences that passion. Fragrance is what a person wears closest to their skin. It enters the body through the pores and affects the soul in the most subtle way.  Selecting a fragrance is a very personal commitment so our fragrances need to appeal to a deeper sense of self.

 What are your goals for the future?

We are planning to launch our new parfum, Iris Lumiere in Autumn. Harrods has an exclusive pre-launch in August, and we have a worldwide launch in September. There will be a sixth parfum of the series with Maurice Roucel planned for Autumn 2021.

We have a loyal following all over the world including Royal families on two continents. Our brand has been built through word-of-mouth by those who understand “the essence of luxury” that we stand for.  We are looking for an umbrella company which would understand the luxury and purity of our parfums and bring in the infrastructure to develop the brand worldwide.

How has being a part of The Fragrance Foundation benefitted your business?

Linda is a wonderful friend and mentor for me and I have immense gratitude for all the support of The Fragrance Foundation. It is a great community to be part of. There is also an immense learning opportunity in connecting with the foundation members at events.

Amorem Rose was a finalist for The Fragrance Foundation awards which brings visibility and honor to our brand, and Paradis Provence was also nominated for an award which was a great honor. The Fragrance Foundation is also very supportive in including our brand on Instagram and other media. This brings further visibility and is wonderful.

What can you teach other independent brands from your experience?

I always say find something you believe in and pour your heart into it. Trust that your heart and creativity will take you in the right direction. Don’t follow any trends, just your inner vision. I believe it is very important to be authentic in your creation as well as your message.

As a child, my grandfather took me to the races where he showed me that the thoroughbred horses wear blinders when they race so they are not distracted by others. He told me that to be a success in life you need to think like a thoroughbred and focus only on your vision and not what others are doing. To this day, I follow that advice.

Persistence and patience are extremely important virtues in any endeavor. I remind myself of this every day. I also feel it is very important to connect with your clients, spend time with them and laugh with them. I understood that during my time in haute couture where my personal relationships with our clients was very important.

How can you contribute to The Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

As a woman, creator and artist I have lived and traveled in many parts of the world. This shifts your awareness and everything you create encompasses your view of the world.

Our parfums are inspired by different places, and bring not only the essences of those places but also their culture and art, their very soul. Diversity begins with compassion and understanding of another culture, religion, food, music and art.  Once you raise your soul consciousness, diversity, equity and inclusion become a natural state of being. You transcend these definitions.

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE
What The Nose Knows

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE

July, 2020

Otherland candles make you happy just to look at them. To light them, even more so. Founder Abigail Cook Stone began her career as an art buyer for Ralph Lauren, so it’s no surprise that when she decided to launch a home fragrance brand, she brought discernment and a flair for style to the enterprise. Working with perfumers to concoct perfectly balanced scents that fill a room but never overpower, Cook Stone’s vision was to create a collection of meticulously (and cleanly) crafted candles, so beautiful that you’ll want to display the glass vessels long after the wax has dissipated. With an engagingly joyful social media presence—tune in to one of Cook Stone’s Instagram Lives for a delightful diversion—Otherland has infused the home fragrance landscape with a new, youthful energy. Here, Cook Stone fills us in on how she got Otherland off the ground and made it a runaway success.

What inspired you to start Otherland?

I’ve been obsessed with art, candles and the power of scent my entire life. I came from a background of art and design, studying art history in college and working in the Art Acquisitions department at Ralph Lauren. When I was in business school, candles became a part of my everyday self-care routine, from my morning Headspace meditation to unwinding after a long day of class with Netflix and a sheet mask. I was obsessed with candles, but what I could afford wasn’t matching what I liked. I realized through talking with my friends that they felt similarly. 

Seeing this opportunity, I wanted to build a modern brand with high-quality fragrance at an accessible price and with a focus on art. It’s a consumable, experiential object d’art (visual, olfactive, tactile), while incorporating storytelling and community through digital channels. Hence, Otherland!

What principles and brand attributes were most important to you from the start?

I define brand as the relationship a company has with their customers, and every touchpoint counts: from logo all the way through to packaging, engagement on social media, even the tone of customer service. We spent a lot of time considering how our brand would be consumed at home (and on Instagram), not just at the point of purchase on our website, and studying what the key elements could be to differentiate it. 

We decided to invest in not just extraordinary fragrance, but placed equal importance on visual design. We work with different artists to create each new collection and design custom packaging with lots of unique surface areas as a layered canvas for the storytelling and scent experience to play out. As a digitally-native brand, expressive color, pattern, and design–seen in the packaging, social media content and website–activate an emotional connection with our customers that inspires them to purchase, overcoming the hurdle of not being able to smell beforehand.

What was the initial development process like?

I decided I first needed to learn how to make candles, so I turned my very tiny West Village NYC kitchen into a candle laboratory. After a month of near-daily production (and starting a few small fires)—testing out different wick sizes, container shapes, wax blends, fragrances, melt temperatures—I felt confident I had enough background knowledge to talk to manufacturers and fragrance houses. 

While working with a major fragrance house seemed out of reach as a pre-launch startup, at a friend’s bachelorette party she strategically seated me next to a friend of hers who worked at Firmenich and connected me with Asha Talwar Coco. Asha believed in my vision for the brand from the start, and I’m grateful Firmenich took a chance on us at such an early stage and has continued to nurture our brand, as well as Givaudan more recently.

How did you decide on the scents, and how did the unique packaging evolve? 

Each Otherland scent is inspired by a vision or nostalgic memory, creating complex, unexpected scent combinations that naturally lend themselves to storytelling and artwork. It was important to me to develop scents in an evocative, emotional, experiential context instead of focusing on single ingredients like grapefruit or rose.

In terms of the packaging, we knew we wanted to develop a system that would allow us to work with different artists for each new collection. Having a unique assortment of surfaces for printed artwork for their creation to occupy and communicate the scent experience and collection vibe with was critical: the large, frameable “platform” in our box, the candle “topper” lid, the matchbox, and candle label. This modular system has allowed us to successfully develop and market such distinct collections while allowing the brand to evolve visually and bringing a constant sense of newness to our customer. 

When you were establishing the brand, was there a moment that felt like a breakthrough?

Less than one year after launch we received an exciting call from Instagram letting us know they had selected us for the first-ever official Instagram Holiday Gift Guide. A few months later, Instagram’s Eva Chen was unboxing our candle on Good Morning America – an awesome and surreal moment for a young brand! 

What are your goals for the future of Otherland? 

One of our biggest goals has been to expand from direct-to-consumer to omni-channel distribution. We recently launched in select Nordstrom stores and will have more to share on this effort soon, so stay tuned! 

In the next five years, my goal is for Otherland to be the go-to candle and home fragrance brand for millennials. In addition to our omni-channel expansion and continuing to build our direct business, key growth drivers will include launching new product formats and thematic scent collections, and our own stores and pop-ups down the road. 

Another goal is to continue developing our digital community on social media. At the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in mid-March, I started doing daily Fireside Chats on Instagram Live to further the conversation around self-care, fragrance, women’s entrepreneurship, and the art of living well. I’ll admit, I had never done a livestream before and was quite nervous about it! I pushed myself to give it a try and am so glad I did, as it opened the door for us to interview guests like Arianna Huffington, itCosmetics Founder Jamie Kern Lima, Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Aya Kanai, SNL’s Heidi Gardner, HoneypotCo Founder Bea Dixon, drybar Founder Alli Webb, designers Rebecca Minkoff and Cynthia Rowley, activist Noor Tagouri, chef Candace Nelson, and more.

What’s the secret to a great Insta Live, and what have you learned from doing them?

The secret to a great IG Live is in the prep work! Finding the great guests, thoroughly researching them, and developing a tight list of questions that lend to engaging, attention-grabbing conversation while speaking to overall brand themes, current events and cultural climates, and the guest’s specific identity and story. 

One thing I’ve learned is to approach each Fireside Chat as a two-way conversation, not just an interview. Rather than just reading off questions to the guest, by putting myself out there a bit more and sharing some of my experiences I’m able to better connect with the guests. You get better, more interesting answers when the guest feels comfortable enough to let their guard down a bit and it feels like a chat among friends. 

How has being a part of The Fragrance Foundation benefitted your business?

I’m grateful to have been introduced to The Fragrance Foundation early on in the life of Otherland. Their nurturing of our young brand has made a real impact, from introducing Otherland to the fragrance industry community and sharing us on social media, to mentoring me as we scale and face new challenges and opportunities such as moving into omni-channel distribution. As an outsider to the industry, having The Fragrance Foundation’s warm welcome and guidance has made a meaningful difference in setting us up for success as we grow our business. I feel deeply inspired to be among a community of so many brands and individuals who are so passionate about the art and creativity of fragrance and I love to hear the stories behind brands, perfumers, fragrances, ingredients and creative processes. It inspires me to continue to build Otherland.

How will you contribute to The Fragrance Foundation’s work to nurture other indie brands? 

I look forward to welcoming other indie, startup brands to this community through making myself available for mentorship to other founders, supporting on social media, and sharing our Otherland founding story to inspire others.

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon

July, 2020

We are very proud to share this issue featuring three inspiring entrepreneurs. Chris Collins, Shalini Kumar and Abigail Cook Stone each developed brands that are unique, as are their personalities. They are true personal love stories in fragrance. In the last few years TFF and I developed lifetime relationships with each founder that makes me so proud every time I catch a whiff of their fragrance and have a huge smile visiting them online and in-store. They are inspiring individuals whose brand stories exemplify our TFF mission and objectives.

As we have shared recently, The Fragrance Foundation is dedicated to our major new initiative to expand our membership and community with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. A major force within this effort is to nurture indies and amplify the talent of the diverse creative forces in fragrance, reflecting the entire USA population. We are embracing all new members, so it was fitting to bring these three unique stories to our audience. We look forward to many more joining us.

Our course of action and ambition is to broaden our membership, offering benefits including education, mentorship and connectivity within this exciting industry.

Enjoy the experiences shared in Accords and you will be inspired as am I. World of Chris Collins, Otherland, and Shalini each show what is possible in creating a fragrance brand. 

Keep your eyes on them and experience their scents as they are just at the beginning of their brand journeys to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Jun

THE BEAUTY DIRECTOR WITH INCLUSIVE VISION: JULEE WILSON

THE BEAUTY DIRECTOR WITH INCLUSIVE VISION: JULEE WILSON
Spotlight

THE BEAUTY DIRECTOR WITH INCLUSIVE VISION: JULEE WILSON

THE BEAUTY DIRECTOR WITH INCLUSIVE VISION: JULEE WILSON

Julee Wilson is a veteran beauty editor with a keen eye and a dynamic career path that has taken her from Real Simple to Huffington Post to Essence—and now to Cosmopolitan, which she joined as Beauty Director in April. Wilson has been a vital force for change in beauty, fashion, and media, joining forces with purposeful organizations and making her voice heard as an engaging Instagram presence and public speaker. As a key participant in The Fragrance Foundation’s initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she will work to bring attention to those in the fragrance industry who have been underrepresented, and contribute her invaluable insight and energy to the cause.

What excites you most about joining Cosmo?

For most of my career, I was in mainstream media. I spent six and a half years at Real Simple. I spent almost five and a half years at Huff Post. Really only a blip of my existence has been at a more niche Black publication, but I think that being at Essence allowed me to really hone my voice and understand the problems within beauty and fashion. That’s given me the confidence to now go into an iconic brand like Cosmo and be bold and unapologetic about the direction that I’m hoping I can push the beauty content. It was dope anyway, but as a Black woman, I can bring new ideas, and more diversity and inclusion. And just in general, I’m a beauty fanatic. I’m interested in making sure that everyone feels celebrated and excited and that we give them the best content Cosmo has ever had.  

You’ve been such a strong force in pushing for diversity across the board in beauty and fashion. What have you been proudest of along the way?

I’m most proud of my work in diversity and inclusion. I’m hell bent on making sure that my seat at the table is not taken in vain and that I’m not just there going through the motions. I’m really pushing whatever company I’m working with to be more woke. I don’t take that lightly and I don’t hold any punches. I’m tactical about it. I obviously want to make sure I’m presenting my ideas in a way that makes sense and from a loving place. But at the same time, I’m very forward about the things that I think need to be done and changed in the industry. And so a lot of my work has centered around that. I love the project I started at Essence where I pulled back the curtain of the beauty industry at different beauty brands and celebrated the Black women there. A lot of times there are not that many, but they are the ones doing the work. Part of the legacy that I would like to leave is that I told really dope stories and that I was able to celebrate people who might not be celebrated otherwise.

What are some of the organizations or groups that you support that we should all be kind of watching and supporting and learning from?

Harlem’s Fashion Row is an organization that champions designers of color to make sure that they get the visibility and the resources they need to succeed in the fashion industry. I’ve been on the advisory board since it started, which was 11, 12 years ago. I’m also a part of 25 Black Women in Beauty, which celebrates Black women in the beauty industry and Black-owned companies. These are women from all aspects of the beauty industry, from founders to women who work for the big corporations to editors like myself. That’s a really great organization, really championing diversity within beauty.

What would you say are some of the biggest obstacles that we still need to overcome in beauty and media?

There are a lot of problems, but I’m a glass half full type gal. So, I definitely approach it from “Okay, but how can I help?” Instead of just wagging my finger. It’s about being a changemaker. I think it’s everything from soup to nuts in the beauty industry. It starts with product development and goes on up. I always use the example of edges because they are a universal truth for Black women. No matter how we treat our hair or how we wear our hair, our edges matter. And if you look at the top beauty brands in the industry, how many of them have products for edges? If it was universal for white women, every brand would have multiple products. The fact that even just our basic needs are not being met is such an opportunity for growth within beauty.

I think things happen when you have people of color in leadership positions and at the table in your company. I’m not just talking about interns and assistants, I’m talking about true leadership, people who make decisions. That goes for beauty brands, that goes for magazines and media. You wouldn’t know that edges matter if you didn’t have a person of color on your editorial team saying, “You’ve never printed a story about edges, that’s a huge mistake.” Again, that’s just one small thing. I could run a list of things within ethnic communities, not just Black. I think a lot of times we get stuck in Black and white, what about our Latin X, brothers and sisters? What about our Indian brothers and sisters? What about our indigenous brothers and sisters? There are so many nuances within our culture when it comes to beauty that people completely forget. I think it’s dangerous to only be concerned with the beauty that’s reflected in the mirror.

What do you hope to accomplish with your involvement in The Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for diversity, equity, and inclusion?

It’s about shining the light on a group of professionals within this space that have largely been forgotten. There are Black perfumers and Black-owned fragrance companies out there that have been trying to establish a presence and haven’t really been able to the way that their white counterparts have. And I think that’s due to a lack of visibility, and a lack of resources for a start. I think that this will be a great opportunity to give them the attention that they need in all of those different areas. I’m really excited about that because I think that it’s a new frontier for the fragrance industry. Not only is it morally right, but business-wise it makes sense. The fragrance industry can feel very elitist, and so I think that this is an opportunity to kind of open those doors and show that it can be diverse and it can be welcoming and inclusive.

What do you personally love about fragrance?

Fragrances to me are like shoes, I have way too many of them and they really dictate my mood and my personality for that day. At home I have probably 80 to 90 fragrances. Obviously, it’s an occupational thing, too, but I’m that girl. One of my beauty rituals is that I put a fragrance on every time I wash myself. After I shower in the morning, and then again if I take another shower when I get home at night. Even when I’m just getting ready for bed, I put fragrance on.

I don’t feel like I’ve completely gone through my wash routine unless it ends with putting on a fragrance. Sometimes it’s more than one fragrance. I shadow my fragrances, wearing something different on different parts of my body. At night I usually only just wear one, but I love picking out which one that might be based on my mood and how I’m feeling after that long day. It’s nice to have a little finishing touch.

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU
Scents and Sensibility

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU

THE FASHION DESIGNER TAKING A STAND AGAINST HATE: JASON WU

Jason Wu, lest he need any introduction, is one of the world’s leading fashion designers and lifestyle creatives—and the very scent-attuned, super-involved creator behind the beloved Jason Wu fragrance and its nighttime sister Velvet Rouge. Just as he has always broken down barriers with his democratic fashion vision, Wu has also been actively working to give voice to the marginalized, striving for progress and acceptance for all in his role on the Board of Directors of the GMHC [Gay Men’s Health Crisis] organization. Most recently, he aligned with the creative agency Collective Shift to design a face mask for Distance Yourself from Hate, a campaign that features social media PSAs from an array of voices from the arts, fashion, and entertainment worlds (think everyone from Rosie Perez to Diane Kruger to Latrice Royale) calling for an end to prejudice and discrimination. All proceeds help GMHC provide assistance to people in need throughout New York City. As he joins the Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Wu shares his thoughts on how the fragrance and fashion industries can be powerful players in communicating messages of love and solidarity that will make the world better for all.

How did you originally get involved with GMHC?

I’ve been on the board for about five years. I was originally on the board of ACRIA [AIDS Community Research Initiative of America], which merged with the GMHC, a much larger HIV/AIDS organization. I’ve been working with them at their center on 38th street and in many other capacities. We do the AIDS walk every year, and we do the Latex Ball, where thousands of voguers come to compete. These kids are just incredible, and it’s a great way for our community, which is very diverse, to come together and share their creativity. This year I took on more of a developmental role, to come up with ideas and see how we as a service can be even more inclusive.

What was the genesis of the Distance Yourself from Hate project, and why was it so important to expand the message to all kinds of discrimination?

With everything that started happening with the pandemic in March, we sought out a collaboration with my friend Jae Choi at the Collective Shift creative agency, and came up with the program for Distance Yourself from Hate. It started because it became very apparent that face masks would become important to our daily lives in the coming months, and we wanted, first of all, to address the issue that there was a lot of anger and discrimination against the Asian community at the beginning of the virus. Being Chinese myself, I felt singled out, just walking down the street. Jae is Korean American, so he felt the same way. We talked to the GMHC board, which is amazing, and together we thought, how can we expand our services? The GMHC came from the LGBHQ community in the 80s when gay men and women were targeted because of HIV/AIDS. So we’ve seen it before. And now we have technology to spread our message so much more quickly. But the work is not finished. That’s why today in addition to covering the LGBTQ community, we’ve expanded to work with other organizations to provide them with protective masks and food.

Fabien Baron graciously designed the logo. I know everyone in the fragrance world knows his name very well. He’s been a close friend for many years, so I looked no further than asking Fabien to design a logo that’s really beautifully executed and also powerful in its messaging. Then we created videos for social media that involve a hugely diverse group of people from actors to volunteers to people in fashion. It was very important to show our diversity, because in New York City you have such a diverse environment, but that’s not necessarily the case everywhere else. We wanted people who don’t live in big cities to hear from voices they might not hear from so often.

What is some of the most crucial work that you think needs to be done to overcome discrimination, and spread the message of finding real strength in solidarity?

Since we started this in March a lot of things that have happened in our country that have revealed that we have a lot more work to do as a society and as a country in terms of systemic racism and bigotry. As one marginalized community to another, we understand how that feels. We want to be spearheading the idea of leading with a voice of love not hate.

I think a lot of us in creative fields are particularly open minded because we have to open ourselves up to so many cultures and experiences in order to stay creative. We are often lucky enough to be able to travel the world, whether it’s sourcing materials for fragrance materials or for fabric, and there are a lot of lessons out there for us to take away. The creative industry is really primed for helping society move forward to be much more inclusive and forgiving, and spread the message of equality.

How can fragrance and fashion specifically help change people’s perspectives and build a more inclusive world?

I think we can actively use our platforms in order to communicate and spread awareness. Everything is connected. We created a mask, rather than a T-shirt or something else, because we wanted to make sure that we were making something that people actually need. I think it’s become painfully clear how overly consumeristic we are as a culture – and I know that’s weird coming from a fashion designer – but I think we have to slow down our consumption. It was important to create something functional, quality, reusable, and sustainable.

What do you hope to accomplish through your involvement with the Fragrance Foundation’s initiative for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

I think it will really open up the conversation. Every time I go to the Fragrance Awards, I’m always in awe about how international it is. This is more than a national movement, and we’re so solidly connected to the world through the Fragrance Foundation itself, more so than any other industry. I think the Fragrance Foundation can be a key player in helping us to unite and bring our voices together as creatives globally. When you go to the Fragrance Foundation Awards, it’s like the Super Bowl for fragrance. Everyone from the amazing Frederic Malle to the best perfumers in the world are there. And I think that’s something that’s so powerful, how one organization can unite different races and cultures and people from all walks of life who come together in the interest of creating beautiful fragrances.

And these people have all traveled the world. Having been in the fragrance game myself for about three years, I’ve learned so much about ingredients and where they come from, such as my favorite jasmine sambac, which we source from India. These amazing materials connect us, and we can use that connection to spread the word of love.

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH
What The Nose Knows

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH

Rob Smith is the mastermind behind The Phluid Project, which began as a gender-free fashion store in 2018 (originally brick-and-mortar, now digital-only), and has become a powerful community hub and a driver of change in the retail and corporate spheres. This includes fragrance: The Phluid Project’s collection with Scent Beauty, Phluid Scent Elixirs, introduced a revolutionary concept—biphase, nonbinary perfume sprays with crowdsourced notes. As a pioneer in the gender expansive movement and a thought leader on the values and priorities of Gen Z, Smith educates and advocates on behalf of underrepresented LGBTQIA+ youth, working to open up minds and doors along the way. Accords speaks to him about his goals and accomplishments as he joins forces with The Fragrance Foundation in spearheading its initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

What was the impetus behind The Phluid Project? 

I had been in retail for 30 years, working for Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret and then I had a brand doing licensing work. And then I had an awakening when I went to Burning Man. It was really special for me. One, because it’s a utopian society, where people take care of each other. But it was also interesting for me because it’s an atmosphere of self-expression and people adapt to it very quickly. By day three, heteronormative straight guys are like, “I need tights and I need you to paint my nails now,” because they don’t fit in. Everyone joins in this culture of freedom and caring. I came back thinking, “I need to do more with my life, and participate in a world that’s more compassionate, empathetic and purpose driven.” I quit my job, and I backpacked around the world. On that journey, I came up with the idea for The Phluid Project. I got back in July, and I opened in March. 

What have you achieved that you’ve been proudest of?

When you’re in your 50s, and you’ve been doing something for so many years, just being the first at something was pretty remarkable—and that was finding the intersection of fashion with community, activism, and education in a way that seems really authentic. Building a company with values is the other thing I’m proudest of. I built a value system, and a social code, from the very beginning. Even the names of the scents are from our value system: Transcend, Balance, and Intention. 

How did the Phluid Scent Elixirs come about? 

During last year’s Pride, we worked with Edge Beauty to create scent cards that were gender neutral, with a combination of masculine and feminine notes, and passed them out. We put them in all the packages, and people voted on what scents they liked most—so the final scents themselves were really created by the community. It was an interesting process, to let go, and let them decide what they like.

What made you want to do a fragrance in the first place? 

I was looking for extensions of products to do that would be a natural fit. And the first thing that I wanted to do was fragrance. Steve Mormoris from Edge reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in creating scents with them, and it felt like kismet. It was their idea to combine oil and water. And I loved it. And also the idea of making a collection of scents that put together looks like the rainbow. And the last one, Transcend, is the color of the trans flag. 

What did you want to give people that they might not have found in the fragrance market before?

I think it’s been so binary, for so long. Women’s are florals and fruits, and men’s are spices and woods. It was like, where are the ones that don’t speak to your gender identity, but speak to your humanity? It’s not necessarily just for queer people. It’s for everybody. 

The Phluid Project trains companies how to build more gender expansive teams. Why is that so important ?

We started because I would get dozens of resumes every week. And my team, altogether, was only about 20 people. But I thought, “How can I help these people get jobs?” So, we decided to create a job portal. If you’re looking for a job, and you’re queer, you can put your resume into this portal. And then, if somebody wanted to hire intentionally, from the trans non binary community, to be more inclusive, this would be a source. But I realized I couldn’t send these young people to companies until the companies were trained. I decided to create something called Gender Expansive Training, GET Phluid, and start to educate companies, and get them ready for this workforce and consumer base. 

You’ve become a real thought leader on Gen Z. What are some of the insights you have found about generational values?

I call them Gen Me, and Gen We. They’re Gen Me, because they’re their own brand ambassador. They use social media to voice their performance. Each of them is their own brand. But they’re also Gen We. They’re activists. They care about social justice. They care about all identities. They don’t check just one box. They’re like, “Why do I have to check a box?” The reason the company’s called Phluid is because that’s the space between the boxes. 

What does that say about the importance of inclusion moving forward?

Statistically, over half of Gen Z are queer, or somewhere in the spectrum of gender expression. The binary concepts of male and female are so limiting, but that’s the way the infrastructure is built. I did a TEDx talk on gender and fashion—past, present and future. And I did research on the color pink, and how it didn’t become gendered as female until after World War II. So you think, within a lifetime, this happens. We’re constantly learning and relearning. And now we’re moving so much faster, because of social media. We get so focused on things that are rolling backwards, but you can’t stop the momentum of our planet right now. As young people continue to take more space where their voices can be amplified, we’re going to be unstoppable.

What do you hope to see come of the Fragrance Foundation initiative?  

When I walk into any space and when I partner with anyone, I hope that I can be a voice and advocate for the community that I serve and represent. In this case, it’s Gen Z and specifically the gender expansive community.

It starts out with challenging the idea of the binary system. This idea that there’s just male and female doesn’t allow people to be self-expressive. It will always exist, but how do you break it down a bit? And, when you understand that gender is a social construct, how do you start to deconstruct that? When you think about fragrance, if you’re a girl who loves pink and flowers, you’re definitely represented. If you’re a man who likes masculine smells, and blue and black and brown, you’re definitely represented. But what about the people in the middle, who like both? Breaking down those constructs gives people permission to try new things. It’s fun. And the more we get to play, and be curious, the more we’re going to find our authentic selves. 

THE INSIDE SCOOP – DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP – DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP – DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION: LINDA G. LEVY

THE INSIDE SCOOP – DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon

This edition of Accords marks the official launch of a major new initiative at The Fragrance Foundation: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Fragrance Foundation Board is aligned and we have dynamic, creative professionals who are dedicated to the importance of this initiative so we can move forward to formulate specific objectives and a plan of action. 

We are fortunate to share the stories of three accomplished leaders of change who will be instrumental at TFF as we define our goals and who will take on this important effort with us. We are confident their contributions will be key to our success in expanding our fragrance community. Julee Wilson, Jason Wu and Rob Smith are great talents who have already dedicated their lives and careers to make the world a better place through positive outreach and inclusiveness, each in their own way.

We ask that you all commit, stay the course, and take action with us to engage an expanded fragrance community. Let us together join in and contribute to our mission: Inspiring the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance. Our objectives remain steadfast: engage consumers, nurture talent, create content rich experiences, give back and insure all are welcomed and included.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

May

VISION BOARD: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE CURRENT & FUTURE STATE OF THE BUSINESS

VISION BOARD: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE CURRENT & FUTURE STATE OF THE BUSINESS The Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors Meeting – January 2020
Spotlight

VISION BOARD: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE CURRENT & FUTURE STATE OF THE BUSINESS

VISION BOARD: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE CURRENT & FUTURE STATE OF THE BUSINESS The Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors Meeting – January 2020

TFF Board Insight: Current & Future State of the Business

For this month’s special edition of Accords, we reached out to Fragrance Foundation board members to learn about how they and their colleagues are navigating the unchartered territory of Covid-19. As brands, fragrance houses, suppliers, and retailers adjust their business practices to changing circumstances, they are finding creative ways to tackle challenges, make vital connections, and carve out exciting opportunities that will propel the industry into a bright and prosperous—if somewhat different—future. Here, leaders share how they have adapted, and the lessons they have learned along the way.

Marc Blaison, EVP, Cosmo International Fragrances

How do you keep your team motivated and on track when you can’t see them face-to-face?

Daily touch base with leaders of the organization and with the cross-functional teams where we promote a constant message of positivity, appreciation, connection, trust and solidarity.

Trusting each other, effective communication and company wide support of shared common goals, sentiments & vision allowing us to stay motivated and on track, even when distance.

Initiatives where we can work together cross-functionally & globally, whether it’s giving back to the community, gaining new perspectives, having a virtual discussion or a virtual happy hour.

Strengthening and fostering a deeper connection with our colleagues by staying more connected amidst the distancing.

Not losing our sense of humor.

How have you seen consumer habits change during this stay home time?

The crisis will not only carve out change and open up new opportunities but fast track existing trends into overdrive; i.e. technology, sensorial escapism, wellness, clean ingredients, transparency and social responsibility.

Consumers are searching for ways to foster a sense of togetherness while apart; connecting in the digital world has never been so important and many are having a greater appreciation for technology more than ever before, virtual spaces are facilitating human connections and social engagements.

Transparency will be a non-negotiable for consumers, more transparent supply chains will ensure the health and wellbeing of those involved in the creation of a product.

People are re-assessing their priorities and values, and shifting away from an uber fast-paced lifestyle, taking this time as an opportunity for a slowdown, a reset…. slow living, slow beauty, self-reflection, mindful consumption, and inner wellness will gain traction.

Penny Coy, Vice President Merchandising, Fragrance and Prestige Skincare, Ulta Beauty

How have you seen consumer habits change during this stay home time?

The guest is even more focused on self-care and wellness. During this time, they have made time to develop regular routines for a sense of “normalcy.” Treatments, like masking and exfoliation, whether it’s face, hands or feet (may be even all at once!). We see these categories continuing to trend, along with candles and home fragrance.  Do-it-yourself hair color kits and nail kits are also very popular.

What is the biggest challenge you find with the new work from home reality?   

As a team we have thrived working together through Microsoft Teams Meetings, Zoom, etc.  What I miss is the interaction with the products—that first moment you experience touching and smelling something new and exciting! Just talking about it isn’t quite the same.

Diane Crecca, SVP, Arcade Beauty

How do you envision the future of fragrance?

Fragrance will always be a part of our lives.  People will need it to relax them, to make them feel good, make them feel sexy and just make them “feel.”

How do you keep your team motivated and on track when you can’t see them face-to-face?

I motivate my team with one on one calls, which at this point I think are vital—I need to make each person feel important.  The Zoom calls certainly serve a purpose but I find it’s hard for me to focus on what each person has to say.

What is the biggest challenge you find with the new work from home reality?

Biggest challenge from working at home is to “step away from the laptop” after a certain time of day.

What is the most positive aspect you see coming out of this situation in terms of work?

I have realized that our company team members know how to step up and pitch in—no matter what the task!

Maria Dempsey, CEO, Nest Fragrances

How do you keep your team motivated and on track when you can’t see them face-to-face?

More frequent Town Halls to update the entire company on the priorities of the business. Lots of calls (rather than emails) so people feel connected.

What is the biggest challenge you find with the new work from home reality?

We are so used to using all of our senses while we work on fragrances—it is hard not to be able to smell, touch and see the products. We are having to create and develop new products without all of us smelling and evaluating them. I also love the energy that people bring to a meeting and that is hard to get from a Zoom call!

Pierre Desaulles, CEO, Interparfums

How do you envision the future of fragrance?

Positive and Bright. Fragrance will have a role to play in re enchanting the world. And doing this with a smart approach.

How do you keep your team motivated and on track when you can’t see them face-to-face?

Staying straight and honest on current challenges and outcomes, and also on the bright future. Also never assuming you know someone else’s every day challenges. Humility in today’s world is key.

What is the most positive aspect you see coming out of this situation in terms of work?

I believe that I will say the opposite of what most people will say. It shows how strong and indefinable the supplement of soul a face-to-face meeting brings to the discussion. I hope it will put the Human back in the center of everything and to me it is through real face-to-face moments. Digital helps and is SO convenient but it is like listening to music online vs going to a live performance. I am sorry but I love live shows.

Nata Dvir, SVP/ General Business Manager at Macy’s – Beauty & Center Core

How do you envision the future of fragrance?

Fragrances have always been a reminder of a special moment or person in one’s life. I think now more than ever people are more sentimental so I see our classic fragrances have a continued resurgence as people want to have a comforting scent surrounding them.

How do you keep your team motivated and on track when you can’t see them face-to-face?

We get together every day as a team for a business update, sometimes it takes 30 minutes sometimes it takes 5. We use this time to celebrate wins, solve opportunities as they come or just joke around. I find during this time it’s important to stay connected and put your camera on! People want to see you! 

We instituted “Future Friday’s” early on where we talk about the future – either holiday 2020 or 2021. This allows us to focus on something other than the day to day that can feel overwhelming.  

How have you seen consumer habits change during this stay home time?

Customers are experimenting! They are looking for advice from friends, family, influencers, experts—anyone! They want to try new products since they have more time on their hands and they want to treat themselves to something that will make them feel better.

Julien Gommichon, President Americas, Diptyque & BYREDO

How do you envision the future of fragrance?

After a long period of low consumer confidence during the pandemic, focusing on essential and “panic” buying, customers (who still have the purchasing power) will go back to impulse buying of fragrance and home for themselves or gifting. New ways for testing and sampling need to be created to provide a unique experience while taking into account the new safety measures.

How do you keep your team motivated and on track when you can’t see them face-to-face?

We were also surprisingly happy to see a strong team moral week after week, with efficient technology (Zoom, Teams), daily connection on one to one or small team discussions. We implemented weekly social activity via Zoom (birthday celebration, bingo, toddler picture quiz) and weekly business updates for US and global, trying to be the most open and transparent as possible about the situation.

What is the most positive aspect you see coming out of this situation in terms of work?

Capacity of the team to work remotely and efficiently. We’ll review the work from home policy moving forward.

Mark Knitowski, VP Product Innovation, Victoria’s Secret

How have you seen consumer habits change during this stay home time?

Digital engagement—everything seems to be cashless, groceries delivered at home (through Amazon, Target, and Walmart).  Even people who may have been resistant to using or buying online now have no choice. They have had to get comfortable with it.   

Julianne Pruett, VP Fine Fragrance Sales, Symrise

How do you envision the future of fragrance? 

A share of fragrances will likely incorporate more value-added benefits, integrating cosmetic ingredients and skin-friendly textures, evolving fragrance into a “fragrance plus” category; something that Symrise has been predicting for years.

Jerry Vittoria, President Fine Fragrance Worldwide, Firmenich

How do you envision the future of fragrance?

Very bright! Fine Fragrance will always be a small indulgence and an escape for consumers. This will only be enhanced. Fragrances always bring a smile to all who use them. It’s a happy product needed now more than ever. We will create lots of new ways for consumers to enjoy fragrance, for themselves, for their families, for the home and to signal good hygiene and safety.

What is the biggest challenge you find with the new work from home reality? 

Schools being closed has been very challenging for many as they juggle home school with work.

You cannot smell fragrances via Zoom! So there are some logistical challenges. We have kept Fedex healthy!

What is the most positive aspect you see coming out of this situation in terms of work?

Crises bring out the best in most people. All the little things that we waste too much time on are forgotten and we all focus on what’s really important. I also think we will reinvent the role of live meetings in the future to be far more time efficient and effective and will only hold live meetings when absolutely necessary. This was a real wake up call for all of us in fragrance but I am convinced we will come out of it even stronger. The now accepted balancing of working between home and the office will raise motivation and productivity and lower commute costs, waste less time and less crowded rush hours leading to less pollution. Cities will become much more livable longer term. 

How have you seen consumer habits change during this stay home time?

Obviously staying at home has changed many behaviors. The question is what will stick once we are out and what will be forgotten? We will mostly go back to similar habits but there is no doubt that consumers will enjoy more than ever the freedom to be outside and away from crowds. They will also invest more in their homes to create their even more special place and fragrance will play a significant role in that.

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH The Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors Meeting – January 2020
Scents and Sensibility

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH

HOME FRONT: TFF BOARD MEMBERS ON THE SILVER LININGS OF WFH The Fragrance Foundation Board of Directors Meeting – January 2020

Like everyone, Fragrance Foundation board members have been adjusting to working from home, and finding new ways to spend their free time while social distancing. Here, Accords asks them to reflect on the silver linings—from having more family time to learning to cook—that they have discovered in their time away from the office.  

Marc Blaison, EVP, Cosmo International Fragrances

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down? 

We were lucky in the sense that our offices and factory remained open. And living in Florida, you don’t feel the same “lockdown” effect: space, garden, weather … Other benefits were: having our 2 girls back home from college, so definitely family time, some cooking (could share some recipes), gardening, reading, and relaxing! 

Penny Coy, Vice President Merchandising, Fragrance and Prestige Skincare, Ulta Beauty

What shows are you currently binging?   

Tik Tok has taken over TV for me and my family!  OMG before you realize, a half hour, hour goes by.  And we are seeing sales climb unexpectedly because a product showed up organically on this channel. 

Diane Crecca, SVP, Arcade Beauty

What shows are you currently binging?

Ozark—THE BEST SHOW.  The writing was pure genius, it’s the on-the-edge-of your-seat stuff you cannot turn off.

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

My cooking has gone from practically inedible, to “not bad”. I even understand a few of the cooking shows, which I used to put in the same category as watching golf on TV. Good background noise for nap time!

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

I have discovered that I like to talk back to the TV. It’s great therapy and gives me satisfaction – so there!

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

One ritual I enjoy is watering my plants—I was known as the Grim Reaper of the plant word a year ago. I actually felt sorry for the plants I bought because they were headed for a slow torturous end. Now I can actually keep them alive and thriving!

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

I am having a backyard barbeque—even if people have to wear snow boots. Nothing hits the spot like a grilled hot dog!

Maria Dempsey, CEO, Nest Fragrances

What shows are you currently binging?

Loving Nashville (we have watched over 60 episodes!), Normal People, Billions

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

I have been able to be more creative, to take time for myself and my family, to get back into cooking. I feel like I have a lot more time and am much more productive with my time.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

I need to exercise and meditate every day in order to stay sane! 

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

Meet up with friends, eat at a restaurant and ride the bus in NYC!

 Pierre Desaulles, CEO, Interparfums

What shows are you currently binging?

Money Heist on Netflix. Robbing a bank while being the good guy and being incredibly smart… Who does not want that? I watch only in Spanish—subtitles allowed—to get the savory and witty smell of Spain.

Also Versailles on Netflix. When history fascinates with romance, intrigues and spirits!

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

Unfortunately I did not slow down at all, quite the opposite. However I could share meals with my family and spend some quality time with them (even if it is sad to need this to make this statement).

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

That I play UNO well and I can actually handle multitasking.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

Being down to earth and just opening my eyes to see how lucky I am. That is worth all the mental support in the world.

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

I would love to do a Flashmob with my team in the office to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing! And then go back to my office routine that I love!

Nata Dvir, SVP/ General Business Manager at Macy’s – Beauty & Center Core

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

I try to schedule my day to allow for a run in the park in the morning or a virtual pilates class. I love that I now can build in a little me time during the day and be just as efficient. I find it helps me focus for the rest of the day.

I also try and shut down my computer and put it away and make a complicated dinner. I have cooked every meal for the last 8 weeks! It allows me to keep my hands occupied and away from the email.

Julien Gommichon, President Americas, Diptyque & BYREDO

What shows are you currently binging? 

Hollywood, Explained

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

Better control of stress and pressure, re prioritizing what is essential/less essential in life.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

Bike riding out of home; playing games with kids in the evening (vs video and tablets).

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

Reconnect with friends, colleagues and go to a French bistro!

Mark Knitowski, VP Product Innovation, Victoria’s Secret

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

Spending more time with my family, especially with my daughter, Sedona. We take hour-long evening walks each night, which has been great to hear her thoughts and ideas about so many things, fashion, beauty, influencers, apps, digital. Exercising, walking/running 5 miles a day.

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time? 

Playing guitar, writing songs,

Julianne Pruett, VP Fine Fragrance Sales, Symrise

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time? 

I am not sure what I would do without my daily running!  It has always been my “religion”, but even more so now, to clear my mind, take in nature, and feel physically and mentally FREE!

Jerry Vittoria, President Fine Fragrance Worldwide, Firmenich

What shows are you currently binging?

Handmaid’s Tale, just finished Ozark.

In what ways have you benefited from staying home and slowing down?

Wish I had slowed down! But not travelling has allowed me to spend more time with the family and have more actual dinners together!

What have you discovered about yourself that you didn’t know pre-quarantine?

I need reading glasses! Staring at the screen all day did that .I also enjoy snacking way too much. 

What routines or rituals keep you grounded and sane during this time?

Sleeping better due to less jet lag, eating healthier and more time to work out.

Describe your ideal first day post-quarantine.

In Paris, we had it…..I went to the office and air hugged several colleagues! I had missed them!

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION
What The Nose Knows

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION


Just as executives and business leaders have needed to redesign their approach to matters both professional and personal in the past few months, so too have perfumers, the creative beating hearts of the industry. Separated from their labs and collaborators, noses have been compelled to find new ways to smell, create, and share ideas. In this month’s Q&A, they reveal how they have found inspiration, summoned calm, and discovered fresh ways of looking at the world in the midst of it all.

Mylene Alran, Givaudan

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I recommend Ylang-Ylang oil and Neroli oil. Ylang-Ylang oil is mainly used for its calming and relaxing properties. You can inhale it, put it on the skin (mixed in a vegetal oil like sweet almond), in your bath or simply diffuse it in your home.

Then my favorite, Neroli, is relaxing too. It provides vitality, self-confidence and can calm anxiety and fear. To me it simply brings joy. I absolutely love composing with it because it’s a very rich raw material but also a delicate one. Working on its floral green and natural freshness is so interesting.

What do you use to help de-stress?

I would say, definitely yoga and meditation. They influence your perception of yourself which affects your outlook in a positive way: by loving yourself, being confident in your body, in your talent and by letting your good energies flow. I’ve practiced for many years now, and it has helped a lot while being at-home. Additionally, especially in winter, having a bath with essential oils is another helpful way to de-stress.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I think that this particular time has enabled collaborators to get closer and to increase the trust with their creative partners. That’s one of the good outcomes of this situation.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I find my inspiration in the same way as before. I can tell that nature and raw materials are my very first and greatest sources of inspiration.

 And beyond materials, is fashion. I’m always so excited to watch and admire new fashion shows―they’re immensely inspiring in discovering new fabrics and their unexpected textures. During the confinement, fashion houses have been very active on Instagram which has allowed me the opportunity to stay connected with my favorite ones!

Nicolas Beaulieu, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Spray your favorite fragrance on your wrist—it will allow you to keep smelling it throughout your day at home

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I have a sample of Sandalwood oil New Caledonia by LMR which I love smelling. Its deep woody creamy addiction is so comforting to me

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I feel very lucky that IFF put into place a new business process which allowed me to work almost as normal in the safe and quiet environment of my Parisian apartment. Of course this lockdown affected who I am, my priorities and therefore my inspirations, but the creative process remains the same.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I feel simple things hugely gained in importance during this weird period: cooking for your loved ones, the special odor of a book, or the reassuring smell of clean laundry or hand sanitizer!

Nathalie Benareau, Symrise

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home? 

Setting up a fragrance routine is an amazing way to put fragrance back into our lives and increase our wellbeing. I use fragrance first thing in the morning to wake up my senses and right before bed to unwind to something soft and comforting.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I love the smell of Japanese incense in my home, I find it soft and comforting as well as relaxing. The sticks are very thin so the smoke is not overwhelming and it promotes a sense of calmness. Chamomile is also quite good for relaxation as well as clary sage which is ambery and smooth.

What do you use to help de-stress?

I do an hour of yoga every morning before my family wakes up, it sets my intention for the entire day and gives me the tools to avoid stress. If I need to de-stress during the day, I bake a cake, cookies or any type of dessert with my kids, when it starts baking in the oven, the house smells delicious which always makes me happy and relaxed!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Working from home made me much more adventurous and daring in my creative process, I overdose on some materials I wouldn’t otherwise. I cannot waste any time and do as many trials as I would if I were at the office so I need to trust my intuition more and be more fearless. Sometimes it smells great, sometimes it’s terrible!

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

I read much more, I have many art books and photography books that I had forgotten about so it’s very inspiring to look back at those. I also take walks in my neighborhood and look much more closely at what is around me, I have been living in Jersey City for 20 years but it is the first time I take the time to really see it, it’s amazing what I have discovered. I love where I live and it’s a great source of inspiration. 

Gabriela Chelariu, Firmenich

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

A favorite ingredient of mine is Tonka Bean, it’s warm and can be used to create an atmosphere that brings a sense of calm and encourages relaxation and wellbeing. I always associate it with summer because of the notes of dried grass and hay (very happy and nostalgic smells for me).  Another ingredient that helps combat stress and anxiety and brings balance is Cedarwood Oil. 

What do you use to help de-stress?

In general any fragrance I love and wear daily helps me de-stress because it brings me joy and a sense of peace and can transport me to happier times. That said, listening to music is also essential for me and sometimes dancing, even if I have to do it on my own. 

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I have become focused on crafting fragrances that bring people happiness, optimism, and promote wellbeing. This is in line with a growing desire for clean fragrances with ingredients that have benefits that go beyond ‘just smelling good’. Along with that, sustainability is becoming even more essential in today’s global situation, and something that I keep top of mind while creating scents as well.  

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I draw inspiration from my time growing up in Romania where my grandmother helped me cultivate my knowledge and love of nature. My travels around the world and the new people and things I learn from simple everyday occurrences is also a source of inspiration. As life continues to evolve, I can’t help but watch the new narrative unfold, and it influences my work greatly.

Steven Claisse, Takasago

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home? 

This is a time to look at fragrance as an opportunity to play and explore. It’s about wearing or experiencing home fragrance for yourself and not necessarily for others. For example, a way to incorporate fragrance in this new normal could be taking all your fragrances, laying them out, mixing them, and layering them. Even going on Google and learning about them. The same goes for home fragrances; take 3 candles and burn them all at once. This allows for new experiences and a sense of play, which always feels more positive. Taking this time to really explore, just as we do in cooking new recipes. This is the time to be present and bring a sense of play into our olfactive experiences.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

The phrase “stop and smell the roses” can be applied to anything that gives you a sense of pause. I personally grow Wisteria in my garden and that makes me feel relaxed. Or smelling the pine trees in my backyard, also feels very calming. It is really about the little things we take for granted and now have the time to notice, smell and explore.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

For me, during these difficult times, de-stressing means taking my mind away from the negative and going back to the small gestures that bring me joy. Sitting in my backyard at night and smoking a cigar relaxes me. It’s about creating the space to do something that brings happiness into the present moment.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

Time is a luxury we now have because most of us are working from home. This has allowed me to have more time to think in new ways, try new things, new combinations of ingredients, even see olfactive experiences from a completely new perspective. I am taking this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons of creativity. 

Natasha Côté, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

My favorite way of incorporating fragrance while at home is by burning a candle, using my favorite shampoo, body lotion and even a fabric softener.  I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with different hand soaps. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Chamomile oil, Peppermint Oil, Spearmint Oil and Bergamot Oil are great for calm and relaxation. 

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I adore peppermint oil because it allows me to breathe better and clears my mind, or Neroli because it reminds me of being on vacation near the Mediterranean. Lastly the comforting smell of musk makes me feel peaceful and at ease.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I’m not quite sure. I will need to see what happens when we are released back into the world.  I would like to see things slow down a bit. The speed at which we were operating before, I believe, is unsustainable. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I’m turning within. I have more time to do yoga, cycling, reading, cooking new recipes and spending more time with my family. I feel more grounded and this allows me to relax and let the inspiration flow in a very natural way.

Jerome Di Marino, Takasago

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

At Takasago we do have specific studies regarding the effect of the smells on the brain. That’s how we can say that there is a proven relaxing effect on the brain when smelling Caraway, Olibanum, Sage or Sandalwood. 

What do you use to help de-stress? 

At home I love to burn incense, sage or Laurel leaves which helps me to create a non-stressing environment.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

Creating fragrances requires time and patience, and as I work from home, I have less meetings, phone calls…which allows me to focus on the essential: smelling and working on new ideas.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

In the “new normal” I find inspiration in taste associations. I discover by cooking and baking at home. It’s the perfect moment to experiment and try out new recipes.

Jerome Epinette, Robertet

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

It’s important to try not to lose the habit! It is the same as getting dressed every morning, use fragrance and keep the routine going and it will help you feel better and will put you in a good mood. In my house, we’ve been burning more candles and using reed diffusers to create our own olfactive world. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

For me, vanilla and tonka bean are very soothing and cocooning. I also love blond woods like cedarwood and sandalwood. Even iso e super is really calming. Frankincense can be very relaxing for its Zen-like effect.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I am very fortunate to have a terrace. So being outside surrounded by plants like gardenia and jasmine help me de-stress. Gardening and watering plants is very relaxing.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

The current global situation is reinforcing the fact that we need to be more careful, more sustainable and respectful of nature.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

I am still finding inspiration everyday living and working in New York City. I can still feel the rhythm and connectedness of the New York I’ve lived in for years. The local community has been so supportive and I find this to be so inspiring.  

John Gamba, Givaudan

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

People can incorporate fragrance into their at-home routines in an assortment of ways, by spraying different fragrances into each room to create the right mood or wearing a variety of scents at various times throughout the day―try a fresh, light scent in the morning, something green or floral in the afternoon and a more sophisticated scent like a woody amber in the evening.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I like tea (especially green or chamomile) and vanilla for relaxation.

What do you use to help de-stress?

A little Eucalyptus Tea or Eucalyptus Mint will do the trick while sipping a nice Pinot Noir.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I’ve been appreciating the smell of the outdoors. Working in the garden now is an olfactive delight, you get to experience and take in your surroundings in a different way. I’m trying to make the most out of these new opportunities. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Since we are all quarantined I spend a lot of time online. There are so many virtual tours of places I have never been. Music is also inspirational while taking long walks and stepping back to smell the roses…

Pascal Gaurin, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

I have several fragrance diffusers set up in my house and it allows me to evaluate the fragrance I’m currently working on. It is a great way to change the mood inside your home. I think wearing your favorite fragrance or discovering new ones, even if you do not go outside, is still very important to lift your spirit.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

As a person who is easily affected by anxiety, I have learned over the years that the best way to keep stress in check is to establish a very strict and healthy routine. It allows me to stay focused, calm and productive while keeping those around me sane. Stress and creativity are rarely compatible.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I always try to find the positive even in the most negative situation. Extreme situations push you to get out of your comfort zone and discover territories you would not have necessarily thought about or had the time to explore.

As a creator I am mostly inspired by people around me. As good as communication via screen can be, you are still missing some emotions that only the subtlety of body language can deliver. The current situation has forced me to reevaluate the way I am interacting with those I care for and connect with an emotional level.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Inspiration is all around us if you care to look for it.

Today, first responders are probably the most inspirational people you can think of. Reading biographies of artists I admire also helps me understand their creative process and how they manage to find solutions when faced with challenges. I am currently reading the biography of Ridley Scott. Steve Lukather’s biography will follow.

Gwen Gonzalez, Givaudan

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Notes of jasmine, neroli and cypress are very useful for relieving anxiety and inducing relaxation. Cedarwood, sandalwood and litsea cubeba are beneficial for promoting calm. I also find vetiver and patchouli very grounding and balancing.

What do you use to help de-stress?

The peaceful aroma of Palo Santo is a favorite of mine; it’s very de-stressing for me. I burn the wood to fill a room or wear the essential oil combined in a fragrance. I also use a diffuser with sound and scent which is not only de-stressing but also helps me sleep and gently wakes me up.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

On a larger scale, the ingenuity, kindness and sacrifice I see emerging all over the world is truly inspiring. On a smaller scale, I’m finding inspiration and comfort in cooking. Whether I’m following a proper recipe or improvising on the spot, I have the time now to really experiment with spices I’ve discovered while traveling. Creating flavors both foreign and familiar—reviving happy memories of different times and places. I’m making much bolder alterations on recipes, simplifying a technique or perfecting a family classic like my mom’s creole gumbo recipe.

Alexis Grugeon, Firmenich

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Fragrance can be a key way to maintain a sense of normality in your daily life (especially during these uncertain times). Maintaining the habit of perfuming yourself every day, or of lighting a favorite candle is a great way to enhance and create an “at home routine”, by surround yourself with your favorite scents. It’s also a great moment to explore new ambient scents and match them with your current mood or activity as well!

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Taking a break from the news, and focusing on my work and wellbeing has been very helpful. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love, and to help people find balance and happiness in their own lives as well through the power of scent!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

My notion of time being extremely valuable has enhanced my appreciation for how I spend it during this pandemic. It’s been nice to take the time I need to think, explore and create; it’s helped make me more innovative and efficient. Right now I am able to really focus and dive deep into each project I’m working on. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

My network of inspiration has definitely changed. Whereas before it was very much based on social interactions and exploring New York City, it’s now shifted to be about personal experimentation and intellectual exploration.

Richard Herpin, MANE

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Right now we need scents for comfort, for remembering good times and escaping.  Also, working from home may give people freedom to wear scents that they don’t allow themselves to wear as often as they might like.  I hope people are taking advantage of this time to wear whatever makes them feel good—and I don’t just mean pajamas! 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Aromatherapy is part physiology and part Pavlov:  what do you personally associate with an aroma. Any fragrance that makes you feel calm–it can be incense, patchouli, it can be something far from obvious and intensely personal. 

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

This is a time for simple gestures of kindness, for caring for your loved ones. Being able to enjoy and be grateful now puts me in the right frame of mind. I’m having vivid dreams and memories of the past, so I can dig deeper.  In my work, I’m focusing on what is essential.  I find myself writing shorter, simpler formulas.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I try to focus on some positive things that are happening in the middle of difficult things. The city is quiet; the air is clean; around the world, the environment shows signs of healing. Here in America, you always feel that something new is coming, the way America has reinvented itself, again and again— we’ve all had to adapt, we will continue to adapt. I choose to embrace positive, feel-good fragrances.

Jacques Huclier, Givaudan

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

With limited social interaction, it’s important to continue to wear our favorite fragrances. They keep us grounded and give us pleasure. 

Staying home also gives us more time for rediscovering smells: fruits on the table, spices in the kitchen, flowers on our balconies, books in the bookcase…everything has a smell, let’s take this time to play and enjoy them!

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender? 

Personally, the smells of vanilla, chocolate and caramel bring me a sense of calmness and relaxation. They are warm and comforting, and remind me of my childhood when my mother made delicious pastries on Sunday mornings.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

My best remedy to de-stress is to open the window, smell the fresh air or to jump outside and breathe in the plants and flowers―with all the components their smells are so rich and reconnect me to nature, to reality.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

My creative process has definitely changed. I take more time in the exploration of my ideas, looking for the right balance or the best contrast solely from my experience and memory. I’ve also been finding inspiration in several ways: reading, watching documentaries, trying new things and exchanging points of view with friends.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

In closing my eyes, dreaming about a better world with new smells for happiness and optimism. Thinking about the world I will rediscover soon, I imagine what we would like to smell next…imagination is key!

Christelle Laprade, Symrise

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

I love to spray something fresh on my pillow from time to time. Planting is also a nice way to incorporate scents into our lives in the most natural way, basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender, spearmint can bring the outdoors in.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?   

For me Sandalwood transports me to a calming place. Its subtle creamy milky woody tones give me a feeling of cocooning.

What do you use to help de-stress?  

I try to exercise every other day to help me calm down. Being able to work and continue to create is also essential in preserving my sanity.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I want my fragrances to be even more transporting as we are all stuck indoors. I also made a promise to myself to travel more when we are able to again and get inspired by all the beautiful things the world has to offer.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

In my dreams 🙂  

Maïa Lernout, Takasago

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

For my home I like to burn dried leaves of white sage. It purifies the air. Shaman and yogi used it to clarify the mind and remove negative thoughts. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Sweet orange essential oil is also well known to calm down the mind and bring comfort. If you don’t have it at home, you can just squeeze some fruit peels and put the drops of oil inside your wrist. This point in Chinese medicine is called the serenity’s door. It is the point on the same line as the little finger below the wrist fold. If you activate this point, it can bring joy and soothe fears or anxiety.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I practice yoga and meditation almost every day, I read a lot and I like to paint watercolors.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I am often looking to my childhood memories to find inspiration or connect to peaceful or joyful moments I am trying to share through my creation. Books or people could also inspire me to create some ideas.

 Domitille Michalon-Bertier, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

There are so many different ways to bring scent into your home: soap for your hands, laundry detergent to wash your fabric and liquid soap for your dishes, candles, a powder spray in the vacuum cleaner, foam bath in your bathroom, and most importantly, your fine fragrance, like a comforting blankie, or with its extension line products: body lotion, hair spray… You can also scent your sweaters with your fragrance before putting them away in your closet. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I connect orange flower to relaxation and calm, a reassuring childhood memory, with 3 drops in hot water. Cedarwood is equally reassuring, as sturdy as a tree. I associate lavender with the cleanliness of laundry, a reminiscence from a laundry room with a cupboard full of clean linen sheets and a lavender sachet in a corner.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Breathing is an essential part of life. Every single morning, all year long, I open wide all my apartment windows, and bring in the fresh wind, which sometimes even slams the doors shut. And when stress rises, I try a few calm and long breaths while facing the sun.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I’ve been able to take time to think, and don’t need to respond to everything in the minute. Preserving my secret garden is of utmost importance to me, in French we say: “pour vivre heureux, vivons caches,” translated roughly as “to live happy, live in hiding”! In my creative thinking, I like to diverge, and use very diverse idea associations, then converge and bring it all together after the night’s dreams.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

My inspiration always comes from daily life: cooking, art shows, books, films, travels and my own memories. I’m also very inspired by my interactions with others, and my children. A project, a customer brief, is also of great inspiration for me.

Alexandra Monet, Firmenich

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Fragrance can help people to feel better in many ways. Smelling a fragrance that someone you love wears (and you’ve not seen for a while) can generate a strong emotion, making you feel closer to this person. Perfumes have an ability to transport you, without having to travel anywhere! 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Wearing or smelling a fragrance that you were using during a particularly happy period of your life can help aid in feelings of relaxation and calmness.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

For me, undertones of musk help me de-stress because they are very comforting, warm and reassuring.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Creating fragrance is about tapping into emotions. I try to experiment with the emotion of empathy as much as I can, and to try to imagine what scent and ingredients profile would make a person feel joy, security and accomplishment.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

Currently, my memories serve as the best source of inspiration for me. I like to think of pleasant and happy times I’ve had throughout my life, and the scent that accompanies those moments, to translate them into a fragrance.  

Pierre Negrin, Firmenich

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

To me, relaxation comes from ingredients that help to soothe you, they are soft, warm and creamy notes. Any scent that brings you back to your childhood and reminds you of pleasant memories helps to relax your soul.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I tend to cook a lot, as it helps me explore flavorful raw ingredients and new combinations of spices, aromatic herbs and fruits.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Due to social distancing, I think people are trending in the direction of wanting and needing more powerful fragrances to help them overcome certain strong emotions in an uncertain climate. This shift will change the structure of my fragrances greatly, by using more potent ingredients in smaller quantities.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

A lot of my inspiration stems from my imagination. I tend to daydream and think about ways of unearthing new ingredients that have psychological benefits of wellbeing in order to present a fragrance that is more than just a beautiful scent. Moving forward, we will need fragrances that lend themselves to the notion of cleansing, sanitizing, protecting, and relaxing to help increase people’s sense of security.

Kaleigh Prokop, MANE

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Staying home means having more opportunities to enjoy all the options for home fragrancing.  Whether it’s lighting a beautiful candle, using plug-in systems, diffusers, fragrance reeds, incense, there are so many choices. Take the time now to use your most indulgent body lotion, your favorite shampoo, all those bath products and bath salts and bubble bath that live in the linen closet.  

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Memory scents are comforting for me. The smell of Ivory dish soap and Chanel No. 5 reminds me of walking into my grandmother’s kitchen. The smell of sunscreen and Avon Skin-So-Soft reminds me of childhood summers; Bath & Body Works has a candle called The Perfect Summer that really captures a moment like this.  Cooking for me has really been a great de-stressor. . .there’s nothing less stressful than the smell of sizzling sausage and peppers!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

I’m more in my own head now:  you have to rely on imagination and memory, and find inspiration from within. As a perfumer, when you are formulating you usually have an idea of what your creation will smell like, but now I have to wait for the lab to send it to me. It’s not as immediate, and sometimes there’s a real surprise. I’m dosing ingredients differently, and coming up with some cool new directions.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I’ve always gotten a lot of inspiration from market products, restaurants, bars and fashion. That has all gone away for the moment, so I’ve shifted my focus to more simple ways to create. I have been cooking almost non-stop, I’m painting watercolors, and sewing. I have been taking baths with different products to try and relax. Reading has always been a place to go to and I am noticing now, more than ever, the way that scent is described in books and how it supports the story.  I’m inspired by whatever brings me joy, peace, and escape. For me, that’s summer days, the beach, easy clean floral scents that remind me of vacations I’ve spent with friends and family. Trying to recreate scents from those memories has been very helpful.

Erwan Raguenes, Firmenich

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Candles are a fantastic way to experience consistent fragrance notes throughout your home. Burning destination scented candles in different rooms can help you transition from one mood or atmosphere into another. It’s a new way to ‘travel’ while staying safe at home. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I find that Chamomile and Jasmine are extremely relaxing scents…they are warm, and have the ability to soothe.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Personally, I am partial to burning Sandalwood candles to create a warm, woody, creamy and comforting space. Likewise, Vanilla and Sandalwood notes are a lush combination that wrap around you like a cozy blanket.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I find that currently it’s less about ‘pushing the boundaries’ or experimenting, and more about creating a sense of nostalgia, content and reassurance in the fragrances I craft. Gourmand scents need to be more sentimental, while fruity and citrus notes need to be brighter and bolder than ever before.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I’ve been researching old recipes, and watching the food creations people have been cooking and showcasing on social media. Additionally, I have been digging up past references, accords and trends that I can tweak and modernized to fit the new needs of people globally.

Donna Ramanauskas, Robertet

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

People can take this time to focus on the fragrances that are present in their homes. Whether it’s starting your day with an invigorating scented body wash or lighting a gourmand scented candle while in your home office, it’s a reminder of the role that scent can play in uplifting our moods on a daily basis.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Being a fanatic for any fragrance that lends itself to rose notes, I find rose absolute to be extremely calming.

What do you use to help de-stress?

During these chaotic times, I find myself reaching for fragrances that transport me to the holidays (even though it’s spring). The holiday season always has a way of lifting my spirits, so recently I have been burning a lot of fir balsam candles. 

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Due to the current situation, the freedom we once had to interact and brainstorm with colleagues face to face has unfortunately changed. However, that has not altered our passion for what we do. If anything, it has been a reminder of how important fragrance is across all applications. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

My family recently started our own garden (which is a trend I think many are taking part in). I am looking forward to having a variety of herbs and vegetables at our fingertips and getting to experience the fresh aromas that accompany each individual plant.

 Catherine Selig, Takasago

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home? 

People can incorporate fragrances into their daily routine in a holistic way which can serve to stimulate their olfactive senses and elevate their mood. Simply spraying a little fragrance on your hand before or after a meal, on yourself after a bath or even just lighting a scented candle before meditation can go a long way to stimulate your senses and put you into a better frame of mind.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Personally, I really like rose because it promotes focus and helps you become more grounded.  Rose can also serve as a vehicle to connect you to the earth.  I also like citrus bright energy because I always found it helps clear your mind and enables you to be present in the moment.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

I start my work early, no later than 7.30am.  Starting early enables me to have the time to let my creativity flow at his own pace without being pressured by a timeline. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Mostly by being more in tune with the nature around me, staying focused on the essential, unlocking my imagination during my meditation sessions and by experimenting new cooking recipes.

 Florie Tanquerel, Cosmo International Fragrances

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

It is a good time to take care of ourselves so why not recreate a body care routine which can help bring escapism at home.. as we can’t travel! for example using a shower gel with a fruity exotic fragrance with a blend of mango and coconut which can refer to India, or a body butter with a fresh and energizing aromatic note from a spa in Bali !

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I would say the chamomile which is for me very relaxing with its sweet herbal note. And the orange flower that I love because it reminds me the south of France (my birthplace)  for its delicate floral orangey and honey scents.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

In my case, to destress I can use a special incense coming from India in with notes of olibanum, cashmere wood and sensual musk! And it gives me a peaceful mindset during my yoga practice and meditation!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I would say, now more than ever I bring more pride, happiness, positivity and love in my creations.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Social media, especially Instagram, is a tool that I use for creativity and to get connected globally. You can always get inspired with beautiful pictures from places, food and people from all around the world.  For now, I would say that I am obsessed with watching the posts from a famous French woman chef Anne Sophie Pic (3 Michelin stars). She gives me ideas and inspirations to pair ingredients from her cooking i.e a pie with rhubarb and tarragon,  a fresh mango with a confit jasmine ice cream, and succulent dessert with coffee, passion fruit, topped with ginger and black pepper!

Carlos J. Viñals, Symrise

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Starting the day with your go-to fragrance and then following at night with a new special occasion fragrance even though the occasion is watching Netflix again is important and can spark newness into each day.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?   

Ingredients that can promote calm for most are known to be lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Incense etc. I believe notes that can bring you to your comfort zone these days can simply be smells from the home like coffee brewing, dinner cooking, pastries in the oven and candles burning. There’s no place like home!

What do you use to help de-stress?  

Well I won’t lie that it’s too easy to turn to another glass of wine to de-stress and I’m sure most are feeling the same. I really try to focus on a daily balance of work, hard exercise, walking the dogs and the most important is “PIM”, popcorn ice cream and a movie with the wife.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

While my creative process hasn’t changed that much these days because I use my experience to approach each development the same.  

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

My inspirations have changed since they are not live because I’m so isolated so the best source is….wait for it….internet!  Yes I admit it’s the most powerful resource tool and since I can’t go out the world comes to me.

THE (STAY HOME) INSIDE SCOOP

THE (STAY HOME) INSIDE SCOOP Illustration by: Rebecca Moses
The Inside Scoop

THE (STAY HOME) INSIDE SCOOP

THE (STAY HOME) INSIDE SCOOP Illustration by: Rebecca Moses

Illustration by: Rebecca Moses @rebeccamosesofficial

We are proud to publish this special edition of Accords, which offered TFF members the opportunity to share both professional and personal stay home experiences and inspiration. We will continue to ask for your input so that TFF communication continues its two way dialogue.

On a personal note, I too have made some self discoveries. AM is coffee time and PM is wine time. I can actually enjoy cooking chez nous with my husband and secure a table without a reservation. I have read books that would normally be stacked to pack on vacation and have watched meaningful films and television shows, counterbalanced by Schitt’s Creek. Fragrance has personally been my guiding light. Personal fragrances bring major joy and differentiate the days and evenings. Soaps, essential oils, and lotions, enhance all cleansing routines and every day cooking ingredients are the backdrop for candles and diffusers. 

The contributors to this special edition of Accords prove that we are truly a united community. While we are confined in ways we never would want to be, we have become more self aware and inspired, which will hopefully benefit us in the long term. The positive outcome of this extraordinarily difficult time will be how we emerge more resilient, better connected to all of the people in our lives and have clarity on the priorities that will guide us forward.

Please share your feedback on this issue and your interest in future content. We want to stay connected in scent and spirit with you all!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Apr

ART FROM THE HEART: REBECCA MOSES

ART FROM THE HEART: REBECCA MOSES Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA
Spotlight

ART FROM THE HEART: REBECCA MOSES

ART FROM THE HEART: REBECCA MOSES Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA

When Fragrance Foundation President Linda G. Levy first encountered internationally renowned designer and artist Rebecca Moses, it was a meeting of scent-loving spirits and like minds. On a studio tour, Levy saw illustrations that Moses had done inspired by the island of Capri—particularly by its enchanting Mediterranean scents—and a grand idea was hatched: that Moses would bring her whimsy and exuberant talent to International Fragrance Day 2020 by creating a series of artworks depicting seven different aromatic profiles as highly individual (and fashionable) women. These enchanting images were unveiled at the Italian Trade Commission in February and will continue to bring color and delight to Fragrance Foundation events and communications, even as the year unfolds quite differently from what anyone had planned.

Moses’s response to the pandemic has been, beautifully, expressed through her artwork: She has created a new series of illustrations she calls The Stay Home Girls, each devoted to how a different woman is coping with the crisis, or finding bright moments where she can. Posted daily on Instagram, the works have galvanized a support system, opening up a network for women all over the world to share their stories and bond together in commiseration and in hope. Here, Moses talks about the power of art, her journey with fragrance, and the importance of putting good energy into the world—now, and always.  

What sparked the idea for the Stay Home Girls?

When the pandemic hit, most of my projects came to an end — they were canceled or put on a back burner, and I didn’t know what the future was. So, I had to create a project. I felt extraordinarily helpless not doing anything. I wanted to help people. I started creating these women, just sort of around the stories I was hearing. Some friends were reflecting on why they still bothered to put makeup on in the morning, others decided they would foster a dog, another said they started playing cards. After a certain point I had done about 30 creative ones that weren’t far from the truth, but they weren’t specific people. Then one night I was on the phone with a girlfriend of mine who is a brilliant lawyer and works for the state, and she told me about being home every day doing these Zoom conferences with five cats around her, and I just thought—this is a real story, I need to make these real stories. I started reaching out to a few people, and then it was like wildfire. I started getting letters and letters. Some of them are really heart-breaking. I go on video every couple of days to talk to the girls and tell them how remarkable they are, and they’ve kind of become a support group for each other. It just keeps growing. Now I paint all day long. I try to do four paintings a day. It’s a marathon. I’ve done 65 so far, and I just want to keep doing it.

Why do you think the Stay Home Girls have resonated so much?

It doesn’t really matter what we do, what our social status is, what our income is, what our ethnicity is, where we live, this is a global pandemic. It affects everyone. We’re all at a common crossroads. And I think that women want to relate to other women and hear what’s going on in their lives. Sometimes thinking about someone else’s problems makes your problems not look so serious. It can give you comfort. And even if it’s through social media – it gives you immediate comfort.

What has it meant to you personally?

If it can make a difference in one person’s life, then I’ve fulfilled my mission. It makes women feel proud to be illustrated, they love to be shared, there’s a common denominator that’s in all of us, and we all need hope. It’s been probably one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done. It gives me oxygen every day. It gives me hope. I think our lives will never be the same after this, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be better.

Let’s talk about how you shifted away from being a fashion designer. When did you begin to focus more on art?

After living in New York and getting the crazy idea of starting my own business, I fell in love, and I moved to Italy in 1992. I became the creative director of Gruppo Genny, which was a big deal for me, being young and American. But later, after I lost my husband, I decided to move back to New York, because it was so painful living there without him. When I got to New York, I started to do a lot more in the arts and with illustration, working with Italian Vogue and Marie Claire. All of a sudden, my life changed. Sometimes you don’t know what your road will be, but you just go with it.

How would you describe your illustration style?

I like to animate women. I like to make them larger than life. I like them to have personality and an attitude. It’s not about beauty in traditional terms. I did a big exhibition in 2016 called Imperfectly Perfect. The whole concept was that beauty today is so different from beauty of 10 years ago, and definitely from the beauty ideas that I was raised with. You can be so unconventional in your look, and in the way you express yourself. We all have things about us that are unique, some call it an oddity, some call it an imperfection. But to me those are the strengths that define us. Whether it’s the way we talk with our hands, whether it’s a certain look in the eye, whether it’s our approach to things. That’s what I like to communicate in the women that I create. It’s about telling a story through one woman, and I think being able to do that is so important. If I had to advise young creators, I’d tell them what they really need to do is master the art of storytelling.

You accomplished that so beautifully in your work for the Fragrance Foundation for Fragrance Day. 

Yes, it was a really natural project for me. The idea was to tell a story about something so important in the fragrance industry — the concept of what notes are. How do we illuminate what they are, how do we celebrate them, how do we show an emotion in each one?

What was your starting point for each one?

When Linda gave me this fabulous project, I thought, ‘oh, this is so much fun!’, I began to think about how there are profiles to people who choose certain notes. It’s all about how you express yourself. The first one I did was Floral [Click here to see all the Fragrance Day Artwork]. I wanted to make her the most regal woman in town, like she really did just come out of Versailles. I imagined music carrying her along in her beautiful rose skirt, and her crown of tuberose. Then, when I thought about Sweet notes, I saw cotton candy and vanilla and caramel, and I thought about someone who liked to have a good laugh. Someone who could wear a coconut bra, and really embrace a joke. Woody is very sophisticated. She’s savvy and she takes herself pretty seriously. To me, patchouli and amber are very seductive notes, so I saw her as someone a bit mysterious. Spicy has a zip to her — she’s not intimidated by anything. She has no trouble being feisty, and kind of kooky. Citrus has a cleanness and a brightness about her, a zest, and I did twins for fruit because I wanted them to be comical and vivacious. Lastly, for Fresh, I wanted somebody who was really celebrating life. Someone who could just be effortless. When you smell something fresh it takes away the tension. Think about the smell of basil and the sea and green notes. Isn’t there something that just makes you want to breathe in and sigh?

How did you approach the animations?

It was just about taking the girls and setting them to music and bringing them to life. It was so much fun! To see Fresh with the turtles swimming around her ankles, and Citrus with her lemons dancing. We wanted to add a little bit of something that would give you even more insight to who this lady is. But I think what’s unique about what we’re doing is that we’re bringing together fashion, beauty, style, fragrance, music, and color — all of these different forms of expression — to celebrate a note.

What do you want people to get from your work?

I like to make people smile. The feel-good factor is very important to me. I think that we all have a responsibility to put good energy into the world. We all have a responsibility to be kind to each other. And if I can use the gifts that I have to lift people out of their troubles, then I’ve done my job.

How does it feel to be such a big part of the Fragrance Foundation’s mission to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance?

I think that Linda is very visionary. She realizes that in order to move the fragrance industry forward, we need to tell stories and bring more art forms into the fragrance world. It’s a huge thing to help people understand that there’s a true art form here, and to celebrate and share information and educate the consumer. I feel so honored to be a part of it.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon
Scents and Sensibility

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY

MAKING A DIFFERENCE TOGETHER: LINDA G. LEVY Photo by: Michael Avedon

As this challenging time continues, we at The Fragrance Foundation are focused on what we can do for our community as a team, and as individuals. Our collaboration for many months with the extraordinary artist and designer Rebecca Moses resulted in a magnificent campaign, focused on 7 ingredient ladies for Fragrance Day on March 21. For TFF and all of us in March, we took a sharp turn away from our big dreams and immediately created an alternative “Plan B.”  Fragrance Day will be back next year when we can all celebrate together around the globe.

As for Rebecca Moses, she has once again put her heart, soul, and extraordinary creativity into a new and unexpected creation. Rebecca has authored all on her own in her studio home, a social media campaign filled with exceptional beauty and content named “The Stay Home Girls.” The self-written stories of girls staying home around the globe are being sent to Rebecca directly and the results are phenomenal. Each girl’s portrait by Rebecca captures their essence in their homes. Please visit @rebeccamosesofficial and join this movement. I am honored and proud to be included [View Illustration Here], as well as these girls on our TFF team, Alissar, Sharne, April Long, our editor and TFF member Shalini, so far.

We are also proud that so many in our fragrance world and related industries are contributing aid and support in so many ways: production of sanitizers, masks, hospital equipment, medical supplies, food and financial donations on a global and local basis. There is a tremendous amount being done and even more to do, so to recognize and applaud all of these tremendous efforts, we have created #TFFCommunityDoingGood in our social media with ongoing communication of these valiant efforts.

We also pivoted our communication to focus our TFF social media on the benefits of fragrance as we work from home and stay home. Much of the population considered home fragrance and personal fragrances a pure luxury, and at times it may be. However, now we find our family, friends and even ourselves wanting to enjoy every moment at home with our sense of smell a source of comfort and enjoyment. Follow us @fragrancefoundation.

As stores are closed, most launches and planned events are postponed, or converted into virtual experiences, our industry is recalibrating the business. We need to reinvent all we do and take advantage of this time to think creatively how to re-enter the world which will have a new “normal.” Flexibility, agility and strategic decision making have reached a new level for all in our new daily routines. Our consideration and sensitivity to this global health crisis for all must be in the balance too.

Together we must join forces and use our resources to plan how we will engage the newly defined consumer. The time we have now is like no other time before, so education of our teams and spreading positivity daily is key to our current status and our future.

I used to have a saying: “Be comfortable being uncomfortable.” Now I think it best to find the place you can be the most comfortable possible, and be sure that every day you appreciate those in your life and spread positivity. Although we are all challenged, together we will emerge stronger, more resilient and hopefully better than we were before.

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: A NEW PERSPECTIVE

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: A NEW PERSPECTIVE

FRANK VOELKL, FIRMENICH

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

I very much enjoy wearing fragrance while I’m at home; I think it can be a positive and comforting experience for anyone. It’s actually easier to apply a fragrance than to get dressed for the day. Candles and room sprays and any other form of home fragrances also enhance the experience of being confined, allowing us to be carried away or to travel through scent. It is certainly one effect that fragrance can have on us: to escape and be transported to a different place or next to a certain person.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Beyond lavender there are other ingredients known to make you feel grounded and give you inner peace and balance, like sandalwood or vetiver, for example. Personally, I have always been intrigued by the duality of musk, with its clean connotation, as well as its warm, sensual aspect, which could be a good combination these days.

What home products do you use to help de-stress?

There are a couple of candles that I have developed for brands like Le Labo, Otherland, Bath and Body Works, Aerin Lauder or Boy Smells, for example, that I like to use in my home, and there are, of course, always those that I’m currently working on that you will be able to discover in the near future. They all take me to special places and help me think of a bright and hopeful future.

How will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I have always been fascinated by Virtual Perfumery. Working remotely means that I cannot smell every fragrance I create myself or sometimes only with a long delay. Being in this situation as a perfumer means that your way of thinking shifts; you sometimes formulate in a more daring way, and sometimes actually, less. No matter what, we all have an opportunity to create fragrance in an unprecedented way with unprecedented results.  

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I particularly like to work with woods. For me, woods create a link to nature, and often add an organic effect in a fragrance. I use woods as an anchor in my creations.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

Mostly, it’s a pleasant surprise and quite rewarding.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

This is an exact quote that I recently received from a woman:

“The perfume is wonderful. It is the only scent I have ever found addictive. You know the feeling of getting ready for a situation where you know you are going to get laid? It gives me that feeling.”

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

I think that would have to be the smell of my loved ones. 

Favorite non-perfume smell?

I love the smell of a forest, and I love how it changes in different seasons throughout the year.

Another favorite smell is the ocean; I love being able to smell the ocean before even seeing it.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

It would be the ability to read people’s minds.

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

Comfort.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

A fragrance you wear is first of all a choice you make for yourself and your own wellbeing, and for your own comfort.

NATALIE GRACIA-CETTO, GIVAUDAN

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

If you already wear perfume for your own pleasure, there is nothing to change in your daily routine, but it may be an opportunity to try new perfumes or alternate fragrances to give another tone to your day.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

The essences of cistus, eucalyptus, frankincense, neroli and pine, for example, are known for their relaxing properties.

What home products do you use to help de-stress?

I spray ginger essence in my living room and neroli essence on my pillow when I go to bed. I also use a diffuser (exclusive to Givaudan, Phytogaïa) which reproduces the beneficial stress-relieving effects of a Japanese forest.

How will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I work on ideas proactively and imagine accords on clean olfactory territories and new naturalnesses, then try to transform them into smell (the first breath of fresh air in the morning in the countryside, the wind in the birch trees…)

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I really like tonka bean for its warm, sensual notes and gourmand edge.  I’ve used it in large quantities in the oriental accords of Burberry Brit. Then there’s jasmine absolute from Egypt, a smell from my childhood that I used in Blond Jasmine by Carolina Herrera. It’s truly difficult to choose because every ingredient has its own magic.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created? 

It’s so nice to witness someone wearing a fragrance I’ve created; it inspires an immediate connection and understanding for the other person, even when they’re a stranger to you. 

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

An instinctive laugh after smelling a hazelnut accord I created. It’s a very beautiful memory!

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

That’s a sad question because it would be the end of the world of perfume.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

Fresh grated lemon peel.

Favorite meal? 

Zucchini flower fritters made by my mother.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the cello, draw, speak Arabic and so many other things…

Do you have a secret talent? 

I’m still searching for one…

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

Escape. Perfume can cause you to teleport mentally and geographically.

JEAN-MARC CHAILLAN, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

When staying at home, I like to use eau de cologne or something very light, citrusy and fresh, especially during spring or summer. It is refreshing and gives me energy! I also enjoy candles to create a different kind of ambiance.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

We do have a tool at IFF that measures moods which tells us that musk and vanilla along with lavender are ingredients that could bring relaxation. But more recently, IFF launched our revolutionary approach to the aromatherapy segment with the Brain Emotions™ Natural Collection where we have eight scientifically measured emotional and cognitive effects that have been associated with our natural oils. For example: Immortelle Oil was associated with brain areas involved with energy, our Vanilla Bean Co2 Extract was associated with brain areas around happiness, and our LMR Myrrh oil from Eastern Africa was associated with several brain areas involved in mindfulness. 

What home products do you use to help de-stress?

To help de-stress, I use a candle with patchouli! But this is personal to me, a favorite scent of mine. Any smell that I love or that will remind me of positive memories and experiences will help me de-stress. 

How will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

My creative process won’t change per se because I can create formulas wherever I am and I’m still just as fascinated with the world around me as ever. I have had to think more about our process of sampling and smelling and reworking fragrances and this is where we may have to be more creative with how, where, and when the formulas are safely compounded, sent to evaluation and myself for reworks, then smelling together virtually over a screen. I think that there could be a shift towards a more collectively conscious process of working, but everything is possible and we are doing it!

What are a few of your favorites notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance? 

Patchouli is one of my most loved ingredients with which to work. I use it when I can because it is multifaceted and even if it is “Vieux comme la Terre” (translation: old as the Earth) it always brings newness and creative opportunities. I usually start with it and build around it to see where it will take me. However, beyond singular ingredients, the Oriental fragrance family is the one I am enjoying working around the most. I love texture, richness, sensuality, and mystery which this family embraces. I love that it reflects darkness, lightness, freshness and warmth through its layers of intricate interlacing.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

When I come across someone who is wearing a fragrance I have created, it makes me incredibly joyful and honored to know I am contributing to their beauty and happiness. When I think of all of the choices on the market, it is truly a moment of reflection and pause just in knowing they felt a connection to something I created.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

Just the fact that people wear my fragrances is already a compliment within itself.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of the time, what would it be? 

Oh my. That is very difficult to answer. I would be very sad and can’t imagine or accept the idea of only being able to smell only one thing. Smelling is part of my everyday life so not smelling anymore would be like taking away the most important part of it. But I know that answer will not suffice for Linda Levy, so if I really had to choose one, I would choose the Mediterranean region smell since I grew up in the South of France. There is a way the earth, the sky and the sun all melt together to create something that is beautiful and unique. It is sunny and warm and it always brings light, happiness and wellbeing in my life when I am there. It is a place where I truly feel alive.

Favorite non-perfume smell? 

I have three: the fig trees in Provence, a eucalyptus forest after the rain or a pine forest under a blanket of snow.

Favorite meal? 

TRUFFLE, TRUFFLE AND TRUFFLE. I love them so much that I planted 500 truffle oak trees at my home to enjoy truffle for the rest of my life!

Fantasy dinner guest?

Leonard de Vinci or Jack the Ripper.

What is your favorite saying or expression?

I do like the conclusion of Voltaire Candide ou l’optimisme masterpiece: “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” (translation: we must cultivate our own garden) meaning we must work within our own thoughts to find the true happiness within.


THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

Illustration by: Rebecca Moses @rebeccamosesofficial

This edition of Accords had to pivot, so we delayed its publication to bring relevance and unique content to you. We feature an insightful interview by April Long with our TFF creative collaborator Rebecca Moses, whose original project was The Fragrance Day, a collection of illustrations  based on scent families. Now Rebecca delivers to the world, on her own, a sense of global relevance and beauty at this difficult time. Rebecca has formed a Stay Home Girls community and movement which is inspiring!

For our Perfumers’ Q&A, we posed additional questions to 3 fabulous Perfumers who share their unique perspectives including those of the pandemic impact on their craft. 

Also, I share with you my TFF fragrance perspective based on my connection to the community. While all of us know that right now nothing seems normal, we join together to appreciate what is most important in the world: health, happiness, friends, family and the care and support for those most affected. On a lighter Accords note, please take some time off while we all stay home to enjoy visits on Instagram Lives from our creative fragrance world, light a candle, or spray a scent that transports you or creates your own sense of calm.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundation

Feb

IT’S PERSONAL: UP CLOSE WITH LEONARD A. LAUDER

IT’S PERSONAL: UP CLOSE WITH LEONARD A. LAUDER
Spotlight

IT’S PERSONAL: UP CLOSE WITH LEONARD A. LAUDER

IT’S PERSONAL: UP CLOSE WITH LEONARD A. LAUDER

What makes a legend? In Leonard A. Lauder’s case, it’s been generosity, curiosity, and of course, genius business acumen. Working alongside his self-made woman of a mother, the indomitable Estée Lauder, and ultimately taking the reins of the biggest beauty corporation on the planet as CEO from 1982 to 1999, Leonard Lauder has always innately understood that good business begins with good relationships. Since joining Estée Lauder in 1958, he has expanded the definition of a family business to include all of those who work for, and with, the brand—supporting the success of others, and forging lifelong friendships with colleagues, beauty advisors, and fragrance suppliers along the way.

Here, the legendary executive, philanthropist, and art collector sits down with Accords to reflect on his journey at the helm of the cosmetics giant. In the first of a three-part conversation, he looks back on his mother’s game-changing, history-making impact on the fragrance industry as we know it. 

What is your first scent memory?

Well, Youth Dew was launched in 1953. It was my mother’s favorite and it attracted a huge following. And what I do remember is that in 1953, I was still at the University of Pennsylvania. I was a junior and I had just gotten a car. It was a brand-new Plymouth, powder blue, and I had a little ceremony where I christened the mud guard with a bottle of Youth Dew, but then wiped it off because I was afraid it would take off the paint. Youth Dew has been with me over these many years. Now, as it turns out, my wife Judy wears it all the time—and when I smell it on her, I smell love.

What did you learn by watching your mother’s approach to beauty when you were growing up?

That you have to love helping people feel beautiful. You have to love people. And you have to never give up.  She was persistent, and she kept on selling, selling, selling. She truly felt fragrance. She could see it.

What did Estée teach you about the fragrance business?

Again, never give up. I remember, when I first joined the company, I shared a tiny office with her, and I heard her on the phone with a man from van Ameringen, which was the predecessor to IFF. She wanted to have a Youth Dew spray, and the salesman said to her, “Estée, I’m not going to sell you this, because it’s too strong and women don’t like to smell strong.” She said, “I’ll buy it somewhere else,” and hung up. 15 minutes later, guess what? The phone rang. “Okay, we’ll sell it to you.”  It’s about believing in what you believe in, and sticking to your guns.

What do you think Estée understood about women and what they want from fragrance that others did not?

Well, like I said, she loved to make women feel beautiful. Leo Lerman, who was the editor of US Vanity Fair after it launched, was a fellow student of my mother at Newtown High School, and he remembered that she used to love making up her friends and combing their hair. You have to love beauty, and you have to love women, and she did. Which is one of the reasons why Estée Lauder has always been a company that believes in women, as customers and as employees.

There’s so much about Youth Dew that’s legendary—from its introduction as a bath oil to the moment Estée dropped it on the department store floor to draw attention to it to the character of the scent itself. What, in your opinion, was most key in Youth Dew becoming a sensation?

A few things. First of all, it smelled great and it lasted forever. And number two, the techniques of selling it were great. We sampled it and sampled it and sampled it. And when we were tired of doing that, we sampled it some more. I had just started at the company and I was in a little tiny office and I received a cosmetics buyer from Neiman Marcus. He said, “You know, every time we sample your Youth Dew bath oil, people buy it.” So I took all the money we had, which was very little, and bought something like 50,000 samples. We gave it out, and the rest is history. If the product is good, sample it.

There’s a great story about my mother. She got into a taxi to go to the Plaza Hotel for lunch and in those days, taxis didn’t have a screen between the driver and the passengers. So, the man behind the wheel said, “Mmm, you smell wonderful. I think you’re wearing Estée Lauder. All my fashionable passengers wear that.” And as my mother got out of the taxi, she said, “You know, I’m Estée Lauder.” He said, “Yeah, and I’m Cary Grant.”

What perspectives did your father bring to the fragrance side of the business?

He was always the one who helped maintain the quality, and he and my mother were partners. Basically, she was the chief creative officer and he was the chief operating officer. That’s how it worked. He was the calming influence, and he was great at that.

What were Evelyn’s insights on fragrance and why were they so important?

Evelyn had the same skills as my mother did. She dreamt fragrance and she could see fragrance. And when my mother was getting older, she called Evelyn up and said, ” Evy, I’m working on my new fragrance. Can you help me finish it?” And Evelyn went in and spent a lot of time on it, and that became Beautiful.  

When you say that they could see it, what do you mean?

I can’t explain it. My mother said, “I can see fragrance” and Evelyn said the same thing. I took them at their word.

Didn’t your mother also invent the idea of the fragrance wardrobe?

Well, as time went on, we had children. I don’t mean actual children, I mean more fragrances. We had Estée and Aliage and White Linen and so on until we had 10 or 12 fragrances. We used to do a huge business at Christmas time with a package of mini versions of all of them, called Small Wonders. But the idea for our fragrance wardrobe came from Mrs. Estée Lauder, my mother. She said, “You have to wear something different at night than what you wear during the day.” Simple, right? She was the first person to say that.

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER
Scents and Sensibility

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

Always forward-thinking, Leonard A. Lauder is known for the creativity and innovation he brought to The Estée Lauder Companies, implementing successful marketing and sales strategies, and establishing the company’s first R&D laboratories. But perhaps more than anything else, Leonard Lauder emphasized the importance of listening. He went out into the field on now-legendary van trips to visit sales people around the country, and cemented close relationships within the major fragrance houses. In his estimation, no individual was less important than any other, and as a result, he built a brand distinguished by loyalty and goodwill. In the second part of his conversation with Accords, he shares why that approach was so important as Estée Lauder defined the American fragrance landscape.

How would you describe your mother’s approach to fragrance development and working with perfumers?

Firstly, she had her favorite perfumers and she worked with them all the time. She had one person in particular who was her acolyte, Karyn Khoury, and they would work and work together until a fragrance was finished. We also never used consumer studies. Once she liked it and Karyn liked it, that was it. I used to just say to Karyn, is this a good fragrance? If she said yes, we would launch it.

How have your relationships with people like Patrick Firmenich and Nicholas Mirzayantz enhanced the work you’ve done with the fragrance houses?

I have to go way back because the Estée Lauder relationship with IFF’s predecessor was with van Ameringen-Haebler. My mother had a great relationship with Arnold van Ameringen. And we became very, very friendly with the whole family and they gave us their best perfumers to work with. And then later on, as we needed to expand the number of people who are able to do fragrances for us, we started with Firmenich. It was not yet with Patrick Firmenich, it was with his father, Fred-Henri Firmenich. Now we have a great relationship with Patrick. And before Nicholas at IFF, it was a man named Tom Joy. My relationship with Nicholas is fabulous, as is the company’s.

We spend more time working with our suppliers and thanking them for their help than we do with the people we sell to. I remember our first Christmas party, and it was a party for our suppliers. And from that time on, our suppliers were at the heart of what we did and we depended on them. We’re very loyal to them.

You also had a great relationship with your sales force and retailers, going out on now-legendary van trips to make personal connections at stores. How did that make the company what it is today?

We had a great field culture. We depended not on our advertising but on the people behind the counters, our beauty advisors and consultants, to sell our products. I would always make it a point to see them on our trips. We would take van trips and I would say to everyone, you all have a vote. You’re part of a family. When we talk about work, and what’s a good thing or not, you will have a vote. So, we’d all pile into the van and go out and then at four o’clock in the afternoon, we’d have milk and cookies. Then we’d have dinner at night. And on occasion I would have a dinner for the people who are working for us the field, plus their spouses. Because I wanted to thank them for the time their spouses spent working so hard.

My late wife Evelyn was also very deeply involved with everyone. If someone got ill, she was on the phone with them. And I would also take care of them. We love the people who work for us. We love them.

What else made your approach to retailers so successful?

Well, whenever I would meet with a member of the press, my job was not to ask them to support me, my job was to give them something that they could write about that no one could read about elsewhere. My job was to help them be successful. Same thing for the retailer. My job was to make them successful also. They all had businesses to run. I was trying to help them look at us not as a vendor but as a full partner.

Now, as time went on, it became harder because the people who owned the retail companies left. They retired one by one. The companies became professionalized. But I love finding people who love to see things sold, and I love to give them things that they can sell. And I try to make all of them heroes. We would give the launch of something to a particular store, so they could say this is ours alone.

I must say, my greatest gratification was the people who worked with me and for us and the people who I befriended. And I can tell you story after story, after story, of how so-and-so assistant buyer became the CEO of a store. I kept in touch with them throughout the years and they are still my friends. We are friends forever.

What do you think makes a great fragrance launch?

You have to start off with a good product. And there’re some things I don’t want to tell you because if you write about it, I’m telling my competitors. But we made sure that the launch was important. My phrase was ‘launch strong, stay strong’. We didn’t say, let’s try it and see if it works. We just did it and sampled it and sampled it some more. We believed in our fragrances so much. Although we had advertising, the key thing was: how does it smell?

How do you view the difference between a launch of a fragrance versus makeup or skincare?

Launching a fragrance was launching the brand again. Launching makeup or skincare was launching a product. When you’re launching a fragrance, you’re relaunching Estée Lauder.

How have you seen advertising evolve?

My view of advertising was always sell the brand, not the product. Because if you sell the brand, you sell many products. You have the customer’s trust, and they’re coming back and buying more later on. Brand means everything to me.

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER
What The Nose Knows

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

As Chairman Emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies, Leonard A. Lauder is also unofficially referred to as the Chief Teaching Officer. While Lauder’s business leadership is second-to-none, those who have worked with him cite the small things—like always going out of his way to compliment employees in front of their direct bosses (“That’s a twofer!” he says) and writing his famous “blue notes” of thanks and encouragement—as his most impactful acts. In the final part of his visit with Accords, Lauder discusses why a company is defined by the way it selects, cares for, and nurtures its own.

What would you say the secret to great leadership is?

Many things. The key secret is recognition. Recognize someone for their abilities and what they’ve done. Do not say “I am great,” say “you are great.” Recognition. Secondly, trust. They have to trust you. I had someone work for us one time. I can tell you his name but I’d rather not. He said to someone, “trust me” and I would say to myself, “she’d better head for the hills.” If you give someone recognition, in one way or another and you are fair, you can make it work. You may have heard about my blue notes. I write notes to people, thank you for this and thank you for that. But sometimes I even write notes saying “don’t let me do this again.”

What do you consider the key signifier of talent for people when you’re hiring?

It depends on the talent that you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an art director, let’s see what they can do. Looking for a copywriter? You have to see their work. But you also have to understand what’s in their heart and their soul. I have a good feeling for that. I see a lot of people who do interviews like this: Now let me tell you what we’re looking for here. They talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. Do you have any questions? No, thank you. You’re hired.

Here’s the secret that I have. If I interview someone, I ask them, what is the thing that you’re the proudest of that you did? Was it a launch that you did? Was it the package design that you did, an ad that you did? Take as much time as you need. Tell me how you did it. If they could tell me how they did it, and I could understand them and believe them then I knew that they knew the business. But if they were trying to blow smoke in my eyes, I could see it. I could give you one small example. I was trying to increase the number of people in our international division. I interviewed someone and I said, “Tell me where you’ve been.” “Oh, well, Switzerland.” I said, “Oh really? That’s great! Where?” “Geneva.” “How lovely! Isn’t it a great city?” “Yes it is.” “What hotel did you stay in?” “Well, actually I just changed planes there.”

What do you think were the key decisions you made that enabled Lauder to become the fragrance leader in the United States?

So many, but I’ll tell you this. For each fragrance we launched, I wanted to make sure that the advertising and promotion we did was aimed at the people who would be our customers. Over the years, people made some mistakes. When we launched one of our fragrances, they took all the money and put it into running movie theater commercials. We were selling premium products—what were we doing running in the movie theaters for young kids? It was a total mismatch, and it didn’t sell. You have to be smart enough to know what you know and what you don’t know. I also admired how some people took chances and it worked. Like Calvin Klein, with CK One. I did things, many times good, once or twice not too good, but I learned from my mistakes. I love the fragrance business.

What advice would you give a budding beauty entrepreneur?

Be true to what you are. Don’t let someone talk you into doing something that you think is wrong for you or wrong for your brand.

What do you consider your own greatest achievement?

The people that work for us, they are my greatest achievement. Because to make them happy and productive at the same time is what I love.

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

This edition of Accords is momentous for The Fragrance Foundation, and certainly for the fragrance global community. When Leonard A. Lauder gave me a resounding YES to be our solo featured guest, it was an extraordinary opportunity to bring spectacular content to our audience of readers in the USA and around the globe.  

Our editor, April Long, and I sat down with Leonard for an astounding conversation from the preeminent beauty executive, whose relationships have enhanced all who know him. Every personal story and business insight he shares are truly life lessons that you want to capture in your mind, not only for business, but in your heart forever.

Please savor this Accords edition and share your feedback and comments with me, so this dialogue continues. Let us all look forward to when Leonard A. Lauder will be inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame in April, and when he publishes his memoir later in 2020, reflecting on his life and career. 

Thank you Leonard for all that you have shared here and all that is yet to come!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

Dec

THE TREND PREDICTOR: WENDY LIEBMANN

THE TREND PREDICTOR: WENDY LIEBMANN
Spotlight

THE TREND PREDICTOR: WENDY LIEBMANN

THE TREND PREDICTOR: WENDY LIEBMANN

Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail

Wendy Liebmann knows what you’re going to buy before you do. She also knows why, and where you’re going to shop for it. The Australian-born founder of WSL Strategic Retail has been conducting research and reading the tea leaves about consumer habits for more than two decades, helping companies across beauty, fragrance, food, and fashion build retail strategies by staying connected to the desires and priorities of the customers navigating the shop floor. “We observe shoppers everywhere from the subway to some mountain in Peru,” she says. “We look at things and ask, ‘What is happening? Why is it happening? How can we ground that in data? What’s the insight? What does it mean about the future?’” The answers are often surprising, and always invaluable. Here, Liebmann talks to ACCORDS about the state of retail today, and shares her thoughts on how the fragrance industry can capture more consumers as we head into 2020. 

How does WSL work to create shopper-led retail experiences?

We help our clients, who are both manufacturers and retailers, stay focused on what shoppers are doing and thinking and how that will impact their purchasing behavior. We know how people want to consume a product, but when it comes to how they want to buy and where they want to buy, that’s something that companies can get stuck in their own heads about. We help them anticipate where shoppers are headed. Our focus has always been on understanding the economic, political, social, and technological factors that are impacting how people are living their lives, and how that impacts how they choose to spend money on goods and services, and ultimately on specific categories and products.

We do a lot of our own primary research, under the banner of How America Shops. The first study we did was almost 30 years ago, and it was really based on our curiosity about changes in where people were shopping. They were shopping high and low, mass and prestige, and it was weird in those days. Why did somebody who shopped at Saks also shop at Walmart? Now, because we’ve been tracking consumer behavior for so long, we can help our clients see how things have shifted, and then help them determine where the shopper is headed, so they can build a relevant retail experience, whether that’s physical or digital.

What are some of the larger trends that you’ve seen coming before anyone else?

One of the most impactful is the shift we saw coming back in 2015 or 2016 from acquiring things to what we call buying happiness. It was the moment we saw how the notion of the American Dream, which had been grounded in acquisition—I want my own home, I want my own car—move into this very emotionally-driven set of values, and that evolved somewhat out of the recession. That’s when people started to talk about things like well-being and less stress and financial stability in ways that were highly emotive. It’s really changed everything, and driven the whole trend towards health and wellness.

Now, the big trend that we have been tracking with our clients has been all about time. That has become a foundational shift in everything you deliver, whether it’s products like fragrance, or how you’re presented at retail—people are making choices that are saying, “If it’s not easy for me, I’m not interested.” The idea of “taking stress out of my life” has evolved into “I value my time.” That’s one of the big threads that we see today.

What else are you seeing now that you think points to the future?

What we’re looking at here is this major reset in the shopper’s mindset. Last year, we talked about shoppers trying to wrest control in a world of chaos, and what’s emerged in our recent work is that the shopper is now saying, “I have to take control.” They’re incredibly purposeful about everything they do. It’s grounded in this fundamental trust that people are now thinking through. If you talk about perfect beauty, they turn it on their head and talk about how it’s fine to be imperfect. People are challenging the old truths. They’re thinking about their purpose in life, not their possessions in life. That’s changing the way that brands and retailers need to think about how they do business, because there’s now a very different sense of how we need to engage shoppers.

How would you describe what’s happening in fragrance retail specifically?

The fragrance industry is doing what everybody else in the beauty industry is doing, which is not understanding the magnitude of the change. The good news is that they’ve been fairly level for some time. But to me, the companies, both brand and retailers, need to understand that fragrance has to have a different emotional tenor now. It isn’t only about a designer or celebrity or a gorgeously designed package, it’s about the emotional value of the moments that fragrance creates in our lives and in our memories and in our health and well-being. It’s a massive opportunity that a lot of companies are not responding to.

We talk to younger consumers all the time about their shopping, and they think of fragrance in different ways. They think about fragrance in terms of candles or the lavender spray they put on their pillow. It’s become much more holistic than just a bottle of perfume. I think the good news for the industry at large is business is stable. The bad news for the industry at large is business is stable. Meaning that the value of fragrance as a tool for well-being has not really been captured or taken advantage of yet.

How do you think they should seize that opportunity?

I think stepping back and saying, “How can we talk about fragrance in a different way?” We did some work years ago with a retailer who was trying to create a different focus for their fragrance experience, and we brought all the executives into a strategy session and asked them to talk about a moment in their life where fragrance had an emotional impact. It was such a valuable tool because all of these fragrance executives were able to remember the essence of what a smell does to you. We had people talk about everything from their mother’s kitchen and special meals to the smell of their newborn baby to their wedding day. It was extraordinary. I think these are the levels of engagement that consumers are looking for again. And I think that’s part of the tremendous opportunity here. Look around at who’s doing interesting things—for example, you walk into a hotel like the Westin and it has a fragrance. It’s not just like, “Isn’t this clean?” but rather, “Oh, we must be at the Westin.” That is what consumers of fragrance are looking for today, an emotional resonance and memory that only a wonderful smell can create.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about how people shop for perfume?

On the one hand, the industry at large thinks about fragrance as a browsing experience where somebody wants to come in and immerse themselves. What we’ve come to know is most of that mythology was driven in a time when people had more time, and the retail experience was more relevant for them to come in and wander through. Today, life has become so frenetic that people buy fragrance the same way we see them buy everything. They are in a hurry, and they are so overwhelmed by the choice. Walking into a department store is like walking down the beauty aisle or into the grocery store—it becomes so challenging to pick one or to immerse yourself in one, that people now go on autopilot. Fragrance, which should be an emotional purchase, has become a category, like lots of other categories, where people go, “Can I get it fast?” “Is it easy to understand?” “Am I just replenishing?” “Do I care to spend my valuable time immersing myself in something new? “Celebrity A has talked about it, I’ll just buy it.” We need to break that rhythm. We’ve seen it in categories like specialty food, where the goods are presented through sight and smell and curation. 

What are some examples of the way those other categories have broken the rhythm?

I’m struck by the new Comme des Garçons store in Paris, which I’ve been reading about. The way that store has very selectively chosen the brands that it will carry, which is not only Comme des Garçons but other fragrance brands. Each of the brands are presented in ways that are limited, and each with their own very selective space. I think that allows the voice and message and the story to be clearer to the consumer. Less is more, which is always a challenge in this market because we’re so used to “more is more.” The storytelling needs to be much more differentiated. I think the storytelling now is left outside the physical space and left to social media and Instagrammable messaging. The experience in the store is just to literally pile it on, and I think that’s a big miss.

If you walk into an Eataly, the messaging of what it stands for—that it’s about Italian lifestyle and food—is immediate. It’s also clearly organized by either food type or experience. So you’ve got the fishmonger, and then the prepackaged fish and the place to eat the fish. And, “Okay, now how about some wine while you’re buying your fish?” They’ve created these microcosms of specialty that enable people to immerse themselves in a cultural message, an experience from the highest level down to the very utilitarian question of “What’s for dinner tonight?”

I think that’s why the smaller, independent specialty retailers who are doing fragrance are continuing to grow, because there are people who want that immersive experience that they’re not getting it in a larger retail space like a department store. Sephora turned fragrance on its head two decades ago by saying, “We’re going to make it much more democratic. We’re going to let you shop by alphabetized fragrance.” When they did that, it was novel, and it was approachable. You could test scent without people leaning over you all the time and trying to force something on you. But we haven’t seen that kind of innovation in a long time.

What can digital fragrance retailers be doing beyond sampling?

I think digital has the ability to create emotional visual experiences, and it’s missing out. We can create a virtual reality, like walking through the lavender fields of Provence, but what the industry has done is it has used the online platform more for just replenishment. Or, there’s the fragrance, there’s the model, there’s the bottle, there’s the price, ship it home.  Some fragrance brands have beautiful imagery, but they’re not using the technology to create a mood board that takes me into the visual experience and enables me to understand what the sensory experience is. Those things can be so powerful. It’s like hearing a perfumer talk about how they’ve created something, and you can smell it without actually smelling it.

So the brands that are putting perfumers front and center are doing it right?

That’s the other piece, right? The power of storytelling about the fragrance. I never think it’s about a green note or whatever note. I just like what I like. But that whole proposition about hearing a perfumer talk about a scent, it’s like hearing a great artist talk. Even if it’s just about how they created the fragrance that’s in my laundry detergent. It’s incredibly palpable.

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD
Scents and Sensibility

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD

DON’T THINK, JUST SMELL: RON WINNEGRAD

For decades, perfumer and author Ron Winnegrad has been opening people’s minds, lighting up their olfactory bulbs, and firing up their imaginations. As educator and de facto patron saint of IFF, Winnegrad has forged a very unique niche in the fragrance industry, thanks to his ability to help his students—who can be fragrance novices as well as perfume pros—“see” scent with color. After spending time with him, one walks away understanding not just the building blocks of an eau, but also how perfume can so powerfully tell stories, affect emotions, and connect individuals.

Winnegrad, who began his career as a chemist at Unilever before transitioning into fine fragrance, trained under the legendary Jean-Claude Ellena, and in turn mentored Thierry Wasser, who is now in-house perfumer for Guerlain. His resumé as a nose includes such blockbusters as Love’s Baby Soft and Lagerfeld Classic, but he maintains that his work as the director of IFF’s perfumery school has been his crowning glory. Winnegrad is truly someone who improves people’s lives—or at the very least, their days. A visit to his delightful stuffed-bear-filled midtown office is a treat, as is a perusal of his thoughtful blog, perfumewhisperer.net, or a dip into his 2017 book, InsBEARations: Warm and Wise Words of Encouragement, which pairs his whimsical and charming bear illustrations with wise quotations from the likes of Maya Angelou, the Dalai Lama, and Michelle Obama. As he writes in the book’s intro, “Happiness, it seems, is not about having everything you want, but about finding meaning, connection, and fulfillment in all the things you do.”

How have your unique life experiences affected your work?

I went to Syracuse University, where I became very good friends with my native American roommate. He invited me to his reservation, which was about six miles from the school, and I really hit it off with his cousin, who was the chief. He and his wife had two kids, and they kind of took me in. I never went home after that. I stayed there over the summers and I learned their ways, which is what made me who I am now. The native Americans believe in the circle – whatever you get, you give, and it comes back around. I started teaching 20 years ago, and it has been the greatest thing ever. When I was a perfumer, I trained some evaluators and I trained some perfumers, but when I was given the opportunity to come here and teach at IFF, I was so grateful. I get so much joy out of completing the circle.

You teach how to understand scent in a very unique way. How did that come about?

When I started training in 1968, perfume was talked about musically, in terms of notes and accords. But I’m tone deaf—so I couldn’t relate to that. I wanted to relate it to something, so I started thinking about it in terms of color, and the more I did that, the stronger it became for me. At the time, there was no Internet, and I didn’t know the word synesthesia. I didn’t know it existed. But years later, I was able to look it up and I learned so much more about it. And this is how I train: I train people how to smell using color.

How does synesthesia work?

Everybody’s born with synesthesia. But after about a year old, most people lose it. There’s only four or 5 percent of people in the world who have synesthesia as adults. But you can train yourself. And the more you train yourself, the stronger it gets. You actually wake up those neurons that were active your brain when you were born.

What inspired you to start your blog?

I started doing it in about 2015. First I only shared it internally, but I saw people’s reactions and I thought, maybe this could assist others. So now I have 300 and some odd people who have signed up for emails, and a lot of other people just visit the site. Sometimes I talk about fragrance and sometimes I just talk about life. I post every Friday. An early one that meant a lot to people was the Talking Stick. It’s something I teach to everyone, and a lot of people say it’s good for life in general. I learned it from going to meetings with the Native Americans where the chiefs meet. When one chief is talking, he has what’s called the Talking Stick. If someone wants to contradict him or add something when he’s through, they say, ‘Can I have the Talking Stick?’ And before they take it they have to repeat back to him what he said to show that they understand his point of view. Then they can say whatever they want. I teach people here at IFF that when the customer says, ‘I want a rose,’ they shouldn’t just say, ‘oh, they want a botanical garden,’ and walk out. Too many people leave a conversation with an impression, not the real desire. And there’s a difference. It’s important to understand what someone is saying.

What inspires your posts week to week?

Usually something I’ve read or come across. I don’t think I’m intelligent, it’s just that these are things that I find and I think they might interest other people, and I want to share them.

What are some of your sort of early scent memories?

Oh wow. That’s difficult. I guess it would be the first time I went to the South of France. That was really powerful for me. Everything was in bloom. The reservation always had a very strong smell for me, too—mostly of wood.  

Did you always recognize that you had a specially attuned sense of scent?

No, I didn’t. And that’s why I truly believe that it’s a skill. There are two degrees of being good. You can be just good. Or you can be very good, if you practice that skill every day or once a week. That’s why I train people the way I do—first to identify single ingredients, then the mixes. Because it doesn’t matter how many ingredients a fragrance has, there are only going to be 10 to 12 ingredients that give it its DNA. Think of this analogy: when you take a shower, you walk out, you have no clothes on, that’s you. You put on clothes, you’re still you. All the other stuff that’s in a fragrance is just the jewelry, the sweater, the tie. But the personality comes down to the core ingredients. And if you can identify them, you can find the DNA of any fragrance.

It all comes down to practice. Twyla Tharp wrote a great book on creativity and skill and she said that every day after practice Michael Jordan would stay and take basic shots, the type people take when they’re just learning, for about 20 minutes. The point being that no matter how good you are, practice will keep your skills sharp.

What would you say your philosophy of scent is?

To me, every fragrance should have a story. It should take you somewhere. If I give you something to smell and say, “I’m going to make you feel like you’re walking on a beach in Hawaii. And you’re going to see palm trees,” the same sites would light up in your brain that would if you were actually there. When I give you that message, you neural couple with me, and that creates trust. This is what I think the meaning of fragrance is. We’ve gotten so analytical about ingredients, and we have machines to tell us what they are. But what I teach people is that it what matters most is the story.

You’ve written on your blog a lot about trusting your intuition. What does that mean when it comes to understanding scent and creating perfumes?

When you have basic knowledge, it’s in your memory, which means it’s in your limbic system where your intuition is. So if you go with your first gut feeling, then you’re using intuition, which comes from knowledge. But once you smell something and you say, ‘I think it’s rose, but let me double check,’ you put it in your prefrontal cortex which becomes your reasoning. That challenges your intuition—and that’s when you start changing your mind.

When I train people, there are three things I teach. One is to use both nostrils when you smell. The next is to close your eyes, so that you can focus on the smell. The last thing, which takes time, is to use your intuition. When you doubt yourself, you might not try something new, and I believe in pushing boundaries. 

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

OLIVIER GILLOTIN, GIVAUDAN

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

I love the odor before a storm, when the sky is dark and the rain’s approaching. It’s a complicated smell, it’s relaxing and, for me, reminiscent of summer.

Similar to how some painters put hidden marks without anyone knowing, I use a subtle amount of the storm-like smell in all of my fragrances―it’s part of my personal signature.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” This is particularly relevant to perfumers, where even the most successful have lost more projects than they have won. 

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

Happiness or zen. A good fragrance should be able to change someone’s mood and make them feel good.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

Don’t think of fragrance as something trendy, but rather wear it to bring you joy. I would have to say perfumers work in purely emotion. I think we’re all pretty sensible, but our feelings fuel us: we feel emotion, we reflect emotion, and we live on emotion. 

MARIE SALAMAGNE, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I believe that patchouli is simply inescapable. It’s an ingredient that you can continually reinvent. It’s a fragrance all on its own, and it always has an impact.  No matter the dosage, it always plays a key role in a formula. In Issey Miyake’s l’Eau d’Issey pour Homme Wood & Wood, Dora Baghriche and I combined two qualities of patchouli and it was incredible.

I would also choose orange flower as a favorite.  It’s a modern, luminous flower, and it evokes addiction, with a touch of gourmandise.  I’ve worked with these aspects of orange flower in both Histoire d’Orangers for L’Artisan Perfumer and Tiffany & Love for Her, with Honorine Blanc; they show two different expressions of this luscious note.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

After fragrance creation, this represents the second most beautiful moment in my profession.  To cross the path of a woman whose trail is one of my fragrances is so rewarding, and then to exchange with her and learn about how she feels is a spectacular feeling.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

A friend of mine wears one of my fragrances and she cannot imagine a day without it.  It’s become her personal accessory, part of her personality, and that’s an immense compliment.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

Only one smell?  That would be too sad.  It would be like seeing the world in monochrome.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

I love travelling, and as a perfumer, I would love to have the ability to teleport.  Part of my job is to translate nature and reality to deliver emotions. Imagine if I could jump from smelling jasmine in India and pop back to my office to work with that smell still fresh in my mind.  I could appear in Brazil surrounded by exotic fruits or in El Salvador engulfed by Peru Balsam, and then create immediately. 

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would have loved to learn how to sculpt. The idea of starting from clay and giving it life speaks to me. I sometimes visit the Musée Bourdelle not far from my home in Paris, and it’s a true escape.  Sculpture delivers such a pure, intense emotion. It’s inspiring.

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

Uncontrollable

MAURICE ROUCEL, SYMRISE

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with ? How have you used it in a fragrance?

Amber & Musk. I used them for Women who love men who love women.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

I feel curiosity – who is she or he? Why this choice? I feel pride, and the opposite of the Rolling Stones, who ‘can’t get no satisfaction’!

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

“There’s a soul in your perfumes.”

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

The smell of life.

What’s your favourite saying or expression?

Be patient in the effort.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

To make this world more intelligent and nicer.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

Choose your perfume like your man or your woman, and not only for life.


Dec

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

This final edition of the year includes the visions from diverse perspectives! Wendy Liebmann shares exciting new dimensions of the ever-changing consumer and how the retail landscape is truly in an evolution. Ron Winnegrad is a teacher extraordinaire, and we are thrilled he shares his insights that have impacted so many of us who are lucky to know him personally, or through what he teaches us today. I know I am a better me, because of Ron on both an olfactive and personal level.

Our Perfumers, Maurice, Marie, and Olivier have provided us with a grand finale for this year with Q&As that are sure to inspire.

2019 was a huge year in the evolution of The Fragrance Foundation, and our ongoing  connection with the fragrance community. We are happy to report major results, as well as look forward to a fabulous 2020, right after these BIG fragrance sales days in the coming weeks.

A major 2019 accomplishment was the total revamp all of our communication in terms of strategy, and the debuts of Accords, our weekly newsletter Noteworthy and the new TFF website.  Look out for enhancements and newness to these communications in the new year! Our social media following continues to grow, and at 41,000 Instagram followers and still going strong. We will focus on reaching out to engage consumers in new ways in 2020.

Looking forward to 2020, there is much in the works! The Fragrance Day, Saturday, March 21st, 2020 will be bigger than ever. We have an amazing collaboration with a fabulous creative talent soon to be announced. Our TFF retailers are joining us across the country, and a new Madison Avenue Fragrance Week celebration will debut in March.  

The Fragrance Foundation is now officially expanding around the globe with new partnerships!

Welcome The Fragrance Foundation UK, which has well been established  for many years and joins hands with us. And Welcome to The Fragrance Foundation Austria, which begins their next phase in their evolution. 

Happy Holidays and New Year 2020 to all!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n


Nov

THE CULTIVATOR: CAROL HAMILTON

THE CULTIVATOR: CAROL HAMILTON
Spotlight

THE CULTIVATOR: CAROL HAMILTON

THE CULTIVATOR: CAROL HAMILTON

Carol Hamilton, Group President of Acquisitions, L’Oréal

On October 30th, the Fragrance Foundation named beauty business icon Carol Hamilton the 20th annual Circle of Champions honoree. Hamilton’s accomplishments and contributions to the fragrance industry cannot be underestimated: She has transformed L’Oréal Paris as a company, not only by making it more successful and more charitable since she joined in 1984, but also by touching the lives of people she has worked with as a mentor and guide. She’s a crusader for women’s rights, a formidable philanthropist, a creative force to be reckoned with—and an extraordinary gardener. Here, she reflects on 35 years at the top of her game.

What does it mean to you to be welcomed into the Circle of Champions?

I’ve been trying to think about exactly how I would define a champion, but I think it’s someone who has made a difference in the world and who has championed ideas and people and causes. I think it means I’ve really pushed for things, and achieved something. I love it.

What have been some of the greatest moments in your career?

The greatest moments always involve people. To hire someone and mentor them, and then see them get promoted up the ranks and achieve their dreams—that’s one of the things that has made me most proud. I would say the other is being able to blend my love of business with finding related purposes that give back to the world. For example, the first philanthropic cause for L’Oréal was to join with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in 1995. That was before we bought Kiehl’s. I joined the Ovarian Cancer Research Board and started doing events, not only to raise money for the fund but also to create advocates of our employees and to have events that made survivors feel more beautiful and loved during their fight. I also got very involved with doctors to understand where the money that L’Oréal raised was being spent, which was tremendously rewarding for me personally and for the company. Over a fourteen-year alliance with them, we became the number one fundraiser on behalf of ovarian cancer research.

Then you went on to expand L’Oreal’s philanthropic work even more.

When I moved to the Luxury Division in 2008 in the depths of the recession, I thought if we just keep looking at the sales numbers, we’re going get really depressed. We needed to use the time more constructively. I asked each of the brands to select a philanthropic cause that was very closely connected to what they stood for. The Giorgio Armani brand, whose number one fragrance was Acqua Di Gio, decided to work with UNICEF and created a program called Acqua for Life, which is now ten years old. We’ve raised 10 million dollars to bring clean water to the most needed countries in the world. With Lancome, we partnered with St. Jude, because the fact that the brand was one that was transmitted from mother to daughter resonated with the importance of family relationships to the way St. Jude treats childhood cancer. I believe if you can couple the power of a brand and the passion of its employees with a cause, you not only give back but you make a much more purposeful brand, and that’s what consumers are looking for.

How did you get started with gender equality work?

I’ve always been a big champion for women, but in about 2013 it dawned on me that maybe I should understand gender equality more from a fact-based point of view and really study it, rather than just be the victim of a subtle, sometimes-unconscious bias. I found a course at Harvard called Women in Power. It’s a week-long adult course, and it really made me understand that there are true physiological and biological reasons why men and women are different in terms of the way they approach negotiation, networking, everything. It made it much easier for me to tackle conversations that before I had avoided. And last year I became the chair of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard, so I’m responsible for leading the agenda for the next 20 years.

What advice do you give to young women who are just getting started in the industry?

It’s kind of trite because so many people say it, but follow your passion. Also be very serious about learning, and never allow yourself to be typecast because you look or act a certain way or you’re a certain gender. You will be good at what you want to be good at and what you choose to focus on. It’s really about being very strong and committed and not letting one-off situations derail you.

How did you find the transition into the Luxury Division after having worked with mass brands for so long?

I loved it. Now, it was most at the most difficult time. There wasn’t one number on any sales sheet that was positive, not one. And everything was different: especially the relationship with the retailer. I always say the most important word when work in mass is yes. The most important word in luxury is no. It took me a while to get comfortable with that.

You’re now Group President of Acquisitions. What does that entail?

My scope is to find American brands that can be globalized. It’s a job that has made my schedule much more external than my previous schedule used to be. I’m constantly out talking to founders, going to summits, going to forums and really just trying to spend as much time as I can either understanding the market and brands. And then of course, internally, I’m working with each of the divisions to understand what brands really fill the gaps in their strategy. It’s a very broad, all-encompassing role that is very exciting for me at this stage in my life and career.

What is your personal connection to fragrance?

It’s funny, I didn’t wear fragrance growing up, and my mother didn’t wear fragrance either. And because I grew up in my career in mass, where fragrances are not an important category, I did not have to study them or become an expert in them. I was much more of an expert in what I call the color categories, makeup and hair color. And then my second categories were skin care and hair care. So, when I joined Luxury, all of the sudden I had this portfolio of fragrances and I must admit that I was a bit nervous. It seemed very foreign to me. But Leslie Marino who was running our fragrances at the time came to my office and said, “What’s your favorite fragrance? I want to group our fragrances around and give you the ones that you will want to wear.” I had to admit in a very low voice, “I don’t wear fragrance. You’re going to have to help me.” I decided to choose one fragrance as my signature scent to really help me focus and understand the category. I chose Flowerbomb because I loved the fact that it was all about female empowerment. It wasn’t about the man or the girl trying to get the guy and vice versa. It was just this iconic visual of a powerful woman that was so beautiful. And I loved the designers, Victor and Rolf, who I found very interesting in kind of an exotic way. I also realized that I had a connection to fragrance in my garden.

I’ve heard you have a very special garden. How did you make that connection?

I do. We have a house in Litchfield, Connecticut that was designed and built by Marcel Breuer, the Bauhaus architect, in the early 70s. Breuer really celebrated nature and built his homes so that you could experience that. I spend all of my free time, from April to October, tending to my garden. It’s what I love the most. It’s the colors and the shapes, but also the scents. And I realized that I do love fragrance, I just wasn’t wearing fragrance. I started to use my garden as inspiration for my fragrance journey, and I realized that in retrospect that’s why I chose Flowerbomb.

Do you find gardening to be calming?

It totally stimulates me, especially my creative side. But it totally relaxes me at the same time. The only problem with it is that my wine consumption goes up extraordinarily high in the summer because I can’t garden without a glass of wine.

Is Flowerbomb still your favorite fragrance?

I still love it. I also love Giorgio Armani Si, and I really love Atelier Cologne. Especially Orange Sanguine, which is their number one.. I like Beach Walk of Margiela, because I grew up in California on the ocean.

What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in the fragrance business?

I think the recognition that there is a place for clean, lighter fragrances. Especially with the American market growing, there is a difference between the very beautiful, historical French approach to fragrance and the way Americans are looking at really just having it as a lifestyle statement.

What do you foresee happening in the future?

I think that it’s going to continue to become very much a part of our lifestyle. Fragrances are going to become a bigger part of the wellbeing movement, in terms of being something that can alter our moods in a positive way. I think fragrance will be thought of more in terms of emotions than sexuality.

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM
Scents and Sensibility

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM

TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM

On December 10th, The Fragrance Foundation will join forces with NEXT for AUTISM to host Pedal Power, an exciting, purpose-driven spin class to raise awareness and funds as its premiere Give Back event . What could possibly make this event even more special? It will be led by AARMY, a new fitness studio created by rock-star SoulCycle instructor Akin Akman, and behind-the-scenes fashion and beauty legend Trey Laird, whose creative agency Laird + Partners has masterminded countless ad campaigns for everyone from Tiffany & Co to Tom Ford. Laird is enthusiastic about harnessing the combined energy of the fragrance, fitness, and creative worlds for Pedal Power, which he has chosen to be the first-ever AARMY charity event. ACCORDS caught up with him to talk about how getting physical can change the world.

What’s the idea behind AARMY?

It’s a new fitness experience and a new fitness brand that has both a physical side and a digital side. I founded it with my partner, Akin Akman, who has been the number one SoulCycle instructor in the world for the last five or six years. He’s a phenomenal force in fitness with incredible background training to be a professional athlete. So, it’s about bringing pro athlete training to everyone—really pushing people to find their best and be their best with mental conditioning as well as physical conditioning, across multiple modalities that they can personalize based on their goals. It’s about inspiration and innovation, drive, and determination, in a very elevated setting, with this incredible, next-level coaching experience.

How did it all start?

Akin had always had a vision to do this. He was a child tennis prodigy, and he’s had this incredible experience of top-level training for virtually his entire life. But when he began his coaching career and started training people and working with different fitness brands, he couldn’t find anything that matched the quality, authenticity, drive, and determination that he was used to as a real athlete.

My background is that I’ve had an advertising, marketing, and branding agency, specializing primarily in fashion and beauty luxury goods. I’ve had that for about 17 years and spent my whole career building brands for other people, doing everything from Lauder and Tiffany and Tommy Hilfiger and Jimmy Choo and Tom Ford. It’s been amazing, but I’ve always wanted to be involved in a brand in a deeper way. I met Akin through his classes about seven years ago. We became really good friends, and realized that we wanted to do this together.

Why did you decide to kick it off with a pop-up location?

We’re officially launching in a permanent location early next year, along with our digital app. But as that’s under construction, we wanted to start teasing the experience. We wanted to make sure that Akin’s loyal followers had a place to train with him and his hand-selected coaches build some buzz. So we’re operating a pop-up for several months in advance of our official opening.

How did you get involved with NEXT for AUTISM?

I’ve known Laura and Harry for many years as well as Tommy and Dee Hilfiger. Tommy’s been a client for years and a very close friend. And I’ve worked with Laura and Harry on various projects for fashion and fragrance and have followed their journey with this issue. I actually didn’t know that they had this type of fundraiser, but when I showed Tommy what I was doing with AARMY, he called Laura, who he knew wanted to do a benefit ride, and said, we’ve got to do this with Trey and Akin. It’s really an incredible way to join forces, and it will be our first charity event at AARMY.

What can we expect from the event on December 10th?

What’s incredible about Akin’s philosophy is that you really, you really commit. It’s not just coming in, taking a class, leaving, and that’s it. It’s building a foundation for something that can have a big impact in your life. And when you think about being able to give back and the way that any single person can have an impact on change, I think that’s what NEXT for AUTISM has done too. They’ve engaged families and broader communities of people that have been affected by autism to step up and do their part and recognize that everybody collectively can make a difference. And when you do something physically and you push yourself physically, but at the same time you’re doing it for something bigger than yourself, it means more.

To be able to engage NEXT for AUTISM’s community and the Fragrance Foundation community as well as the AARMY community, and be able to say let’s like physically put ourselves out there and move this thing forward, I think is really inspiring. And Akin is a master and a genius of pushing people to find something inside themselves. We couldn’t think of a better purpose for our first event than doing this to help people that we know, as well as all of those whose lives have been affected by this in some way, shape, or form.

How many bikes do you have? You might need to get more!

We have 62. And, you know, it’s great when people write a check because anything helps. But if you do something physically, it’s like you’re literally putting your sweat into this and you’re asking people to get behind you and, and support you to support this cause. You’re putting yourself out there, and that takes it to the next level and makes it more meaningful for everyone. It’s going to be a great ride.

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

DAPHNÉ BUGEY, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love the addictive and aphrodisiac qualities in Ambrox; for Le Labo’s Rose 31, I used the isomere leavo in overdose. Recently, I’ve really focused on woody notes, such as patchouli, in association with unexpected elements. For K from Dolce&Gabbana, I combined three different qualities of patchouli with spicy pimento. For Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scandal, I also mixed three types of patchouli with honey. I also love vanilla for it touches the subconscious, I think, and I have always been attracted to orange flower as well, maybe because I spent some years in Algeria and Iraq in my childhood. 

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

It’s truly satisfying to bring joy and emotion to people. One day, I ran after a woman on the street to ask her what she was wearing, as I loved it. She told me it was a flanker of She Wood from Dsquared and that I wouldn’t know as it was only sold in Italy. I actually created it and didn’t recognize it. That made me smile, and of course, I didn’t tell her.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

A friend of mine told me a funny story.  He was wearing one of my fragrances. A woman literally followed him into the bathroom and knocked on his stall door to ask him the name of his perfume because it smelled so good, she said. During a launch, I was showing small groups of journalists the accords of the fragrance. We were five around a table when suddenly one journalist started to cry because the lily accord reminded her of her wedding day. It was one of the most beautiful and touching experiences. We actually all started to cry as well, all five of us.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

The smell of my children.

What’s your favorite saying or expression? 

A quote from Nikos Kazantzakis: “I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I’m free.”

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? 

To fly. I’ve always dreamed of flying. I took a year-long sabbatical and learned to paraglide in Nepal. However, to pilot a paraglider, you need to make decisions constantly and I was just contemplating everything going by, and it was too dangerous. Today, I kite-surf; it lets me sail over the ocean and fly above the waves and that’s one of the reasons I moved to Lisbon!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

The drums. I believe that jamming with other musicians over an improv session must be the most thrilling experience. Music, like fragrance, resonates in me and fascinates me as it can be so innate, spontaneous and animal.

NICOLAS BEAULIEU, IFF

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I was very young, starting my training in IFF quality control when I smelled Cashmeran® (an IFF captive molecule) for the very first time. And what a shock! The incredible scent of some unknown wood, both aromatic and creamy musky, slightly red fruits. I was very disoriented. It was the first time I smelled an odor which doesn’t exist in nature! That how I understood how important synthetic molecules are for the creativity of the perfumer, and I feel lucky and grateful to the IFF R&D team for coming up with amazing innovative new gems. I am also a huge fan of vetiver, and especially our Vetiver oil Molecular Distillation For Life LMR, more intense in its woodiness and less earthy than regular vetiver oil. This is the quality we used in Tiffany & Love for Him, giving astonishing elegance and lustiness.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

 It makes me so proud, of course! I also like to read consumer reviews on the internet. There are a lot of learnings in what is liked and disliked, and I believe it is key to be aware of consumer critics and crushes –  they share raw emotions, without filters.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

I once met a lady, a long time user of Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir who praised Aromatics in White, telling me it was her ideal alternate perfume! So nice of her to compare my creation to Bernard Chant’s masterpiece…

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The smell of clean laundry when I get home; it is so reassuring and relaxing.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

“Alone I go faster, together we go further”! My perfumer colleagues all are remarkable, and I love working in team: it is very inspiring… and much more fun!

Favorite meal?

I am on a diet right now, so I could kill for a meal of cheese and red wine!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would love to be able to read hieroglyphs. As a kid, I wanted to become an archeologist. I guess somehow, one can say that I “excavate” in my perfume formulas!

ARNAUD WINTER, COSMO INTERNATIONAL FRAGRANCES

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

My first encounter with Tuberose flowers goes back years ago during my first trip to Mexico. I was welcomed by an enormous bouquet of white blossoms as I walked inside the house where I was staying – it was an olfactive overload of pure bliss. At Cosmo Fragrances, we are fortunate to have access to our exclusive naturals palette which includes my favorite floral ingredient; the Tuberose Craftivity®. This natural extract allows me to create with the addictive sensuality, power and exoticism of the living flower, without going too heavy fruity or medicinal. This olfactive character takes me back to my experience in Mexico.

The scent of Saffron brings immediate childhood memories of my grandmother, especially her cooking. Since she was born in Tunisia, this amazing spice was part of her culinary heritage. It is such a multifaceted note that it works wonders in oriental and leathery accords. It also blends beautifully with iris, rum, honey and rich fruits.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

It’s always a joyful, humbling experience and a privilege to be able to make people feel good about themselves. As perfumers, we can be part of someone’s life in a very intimate and personal way. My work creates special invisible connections between myself, and complete strangers.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to South America to speak about my work to the public. In one of the events, I met a lady from one of the remote villages that is situated on the edge of the Amazonian forest. She traveled hours just to be there for the event. At the end of the presentation, she approached me shyly with tears in her eyes & said: “This scent you created is part of who I am, thank you!” That is the best compliment I have ever received.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The distinct scent of the air just before the rain on a hot summer day. This mixture of ozonic, solar notes and the rich scent from the earth is a reminder that appreciating the simple things is what matters most.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

 Omnilingualism, I know, it’s a very strange word that describes the capacity to learn and communicate in any languages spoken or not. I think that a lot of things would function much better if we could all communicate, understand and learn from each other. Maybe fragrance as a start?

Fantasy dinner guests?

Joel Robuchon, Bono and Leonardo da Vinci. The table will be definitely interesting! We can create a symphony of culinary/musical/pictorial/olfactive concepts. But one thing is for sure, Mr Robuchon would take care of the cooking!

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

Transcendence: Fragrance is much more than just a formula, it’s not just a pretty scent, it helps us transform our identity and pushes us to go beyond our limitations or you can say imagination.

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

Our November edition of Accords shares exclusive insights from our Circle of Champions 2019 honoree Carol Hamilton, on both a personal and professional level. Even if you were at the event on October 30th, there is so much more to learn about Carol. Did you know she leads the number one fundraiser on behalf of ovarian cancer research? Did you know Carol is the chair of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard? These are just some of the major accomplishments of this petite woman whose stilettos definitely do not slow her down. She is a true a woman of action. Congratulations again Carol!

This month’s Perfumer Q&A continues to deliver imaginative responses with exclusive content from Perfumers Daphné Bugey, Nicolas Beaulieu, and Arnaud Winter. We’re giving you an insider look into the lives of perfumers, including their scent memories, their experiences smelling someone wearing a fragrance they created, the most rewarding parts of their jobs, and much more.

And now for the big news that unites the fragrance community – Power Pedal – our premiere Give Back event in partnership with NEXT for AUTISM. We are thrilled to introduce Trey Laird to the entire fragrance planet as the creative force who co-founded AArmy, where we will be hosting the event on December 10th. Although Trey Laird has been a creative force in the fashion, jewelry, and beauty world with great success, he is now in a new lane engaging consumers in the wellness space. Join us for Power Pedal to spin for a cause, and raise awareness so those living with autism may live fulfilling and joyful lives. Click here for more information on how you can register to ride or donate.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n


Oct

THE ARTIST: MATHILDE LAURENT

THE ARTIST: MATHILDE LAURENT
Spotlight

THE ARTIST: MATHILDE LAURENT

THE ARTIST: MATHILDE LAURENT

Mathilde Laurent is a true trailblazer—not only is her work consistently stunningly original, but as house perfumer for Cartier since 2005, she has also been a beacon of inspiration for aspiring female perfumers. A born and bred Parisian, Laurent is an advocate for—and living embodiment of—creative freedom: She has established her lab and office within the walls of the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, and is always looking for ways to communicate the true artistic potential of fragrance with the rest of the world. One of her most dazzling achievements to date was dreaming up a perfumed cloud, which she created in collaboration with climate engineers Transsolar, and first exhibited in Paris in 2017. On October 30th, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will unveil Laurent’s latest USO—Unidentified Scented Object—enabling museum-goers to once again immerse themselves in a floating cloud of scent. 

What inspired the perfumed clouds? 

It started with my perfume L’Envol, which was launched in 2016. The inspiration for that perfume was mead, ambrosia, the drink of gods. It immediately launched me in the clouds, because the gods are meant to live in the sky above the clouds, and when you drink mead you are said to be near them. Also the historic function of perfume was to link humans on earth and the gods in the sky. So when doing my research around L’Envol, I was always thinking of elevating one’s mind and spirit towards the sky. That’s how he original concept came about.

And then how did you make it happen?

I always try to help people who are smelling my perfumes understand them, not only from an olfactive standpoint but from an intellectual standpoint. So we were searching for something that would show the idea of L’Envol and give people an experience. This is how we started to talk about a perfumed cloud that smelled of L’Envol. We did some research and we heard about the work of Transsolar, so we contacted them, and that was the start of the adventure.

The cloud in Abu Dhabi will be at the Louvre. Do. You consider it a work of art?

When the cloud was presented in the Contemporary Art Fair in Paris, it took on an artistic dimension that I love because even if I don’t consider myself as a contemporary artist, I want to show that perfume is not just a product, a consumer good. I want to show that perfume is poetry, perfume is art, perfume is sensation, perfume is speaking of who we are and how we live. This is why I’m so glad to put it in Abu Dhabi. I think it also has such a great thing to say about where perfume is going nowadays. 

And where do you think that is?

I have always thought that perfumery shouldn’t be only industrial. I have always felt like there is a lack of consideration of the artistic aspect of perfumery. And there is also a lack of contemporary olfactory artists and we must help that exist, because that would make everyone so much happier. If there is more variety, more ways to wear and use and understand perfume, we will all be happy.

Your working space is within an art gallery. Why is it important to you to be near art?

It’s more than important, in fact. Being in Fondation Cartier gives me a relationship to art, and also an opportunity to meet artists, philosophers, and writers  – people who are very diverse and at the highest level of expertise. It’s a very lively, very sparkling environment. It gives me so many joys and so many ideas and so many friends.

You’ve talked about the idea of this kind of olfactory shock. How do you go about kind of having an element of surprise in your creations?

I think that I always pay a tribute to Mr. Edmond Roudnitska. He’s the first one who said, “A good perfume is the one that gives you a shock.” I want to follow that path and to make it feel alive. I think that it’s like love at first sight. Love at first sight is not something quiet. It’s something that makes your heart beat very fast and strong and it’s something which is violent but sweet, in fact. And I think perfume is the same. If you meet a perfume and it doesn’t make an impression, it will not become the perfume of your life. Very often, the perfume of your life is the one that you are just amazed or just sometimes disturbed by. You are just surprised, you are not used to the smell. This is why I have the strong belief that perfume can bring something to your life—it can create passion, desire, satisfaction. 

You’ve connected fragrance and food, drink, jewelry, and more. What are some of the ways that you think about these interconnections?

I think it’s just my brain, which is always putting things in the same box and agitating the box. In my everyday job at Cartier, we very often speak of the house, speak of the gems, speak of the history of jewelry, history of perfumery. But in fact I think it’s because my brain is rather kinesthetic. It’s a kind of game for me when I hear someone speaking of his job, or his passion. I inadvertently know what matches with perfumery and what doesn’t. I consider myself as someone who is playing with odors and smells and also nature and psychology.

What do you consider the most elusive, uncapturable scent?

The vibration of life, the vibration of truth, the vibration of living reality, living nature, living flowers, living trees. That’s really my quest in my work. It is to always try to do flowers as fresh as I can so that you nearly feel them living. 

What is your favorite smell in the world?

It’s a conceptual one. It’s the smell of peace. I think it would be wonderful if I could smell it everywhere.

Do you dream in scents?

I love that question. But I don’t have the memory of a scented dream, I must confess.

You are such an inspiring presence as a woman in fragrance. What kind of advice do you share with other women? 

First of all, it’s really important to me to create perfumes which are not an olfactory caricature of femininity – nor a caricature of masculinity. I try to offer flowers for men and woods for women. And to work in notes that are unusual on the market. So that people can choose what they want to wear and not what they are told to wear, I try to offer perfume with a very large and very open-minded vision of femininity.

And I think, nowadays, there are more female perfumers than male perfumers. Or at least it’s even. When I was in school, a long time ago, already there were five times more women than men. And at the moment there are girls paying attention and thinking they can reach the job of perfume designer, but I think it is very funny to see how there are more male perfumers in the media even though they are less numerous now. It is true that until Christine Nagel joined Hermes I was alone as a female in-house perfumer. Now we are two. But in the fragrance companies, there are lots of women. 

How do you want your creations to make people feel when they’re wearing them?

I want them to feel very free. Even free to wear perfume or not. I have just as much consideration for a person who doesn’t wear perfume as for a person who wears my perfume. What I want is to give people freedom to wear any perfume; you don’t have to wear a male perfume because you are male, wear male or female or any other sex because it’s very important to consider that nowadays that we have several sexes, several ways of considering yourself.  What I really want is for people to wear perfume because it gives them a real pleasure, not because it makes them feel clean. It’s really important to go back to thinking of fragrance as something like a jewel, and wearing it like an ornament. 

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM
Scents and Sensibility

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM

LAURA SLATKIN ON NEXT FOR AUTISM

The Fragrance Foundation’s Give Back Charity of the Year, NEXT for AUTISM, has been fearlessly and resourcefully helmed by founder Laura Slatkin since 2003. Slatkin, revered in the fragrance world as the founder of NEST Fragrances (and the 2019 Fragrance Foundation Game Changer Award honoree), became a crusader for raising awareness for autism and funding treatment and research after her son was diagnosed in 2001. As The Fragrance Foundation and NEXT for AUTISM gear up for their first major fundraising event, Power Pedal, on December 10th, ACCORDS spoke to Slatkin about the charity’s greatest achievements and future plans. 

What does it mean to you to be partnering with The Fragrance Foundation on a cause so close to your heart?

We’re extremely excited to be the Give Back charity for The Fragrance Foundation this year. It’s an enormous honor to have our colleagues and our partners supporting our organization and getting involved and helping us raise awareness for the organization, raise funds and further our mission.

Linda has been an amazing leader of The Fragrance Foundation, and for me, receiving the Game Changer was another terrific honor because we’re so flattered to have been recognized for what we’ve done in the field of home fragrance. My husband Harry and I worked very hard over the past 25 years to build our brands and help other people build their brands, really getting home fragrance growing and thriving as a category. 

All of this gave Linda and I a terrific opportunity to get to know one another, and she was impressed with the work we do for autism. When she came up with this idea that she would highlight our organization with the Give Back program, I couldn’t have been happier.

How do you define the NEXT for AUTISM mission?

We’re dedicated to improving the lives of individuals that are affected by autism and their families. We decided to start NEXT for AUTISM because we were very disappointed back when our son was diagnosed to find that there was such a dearth of services in the community that we live. There were no state-of-the-art schools in Manhattan that followed the principles of applied behavioral analysis, which is the educational curriculum that is reputed to be best practice. We started by opening up the first charter school for children with autism in the state of New York. We partnered with Mayor Bloomberg and our school chancellor. They had over 10,000 kids affected by autism in the New York city public school system, and they needed our help to improve the services for this population. Our first charter school was in Harlem, because I knew that Harry and I could get all the resources that we needed, but what about that single mom living in Harlem with three kids, working three jobs to put food on the table? How was she dealing with a child with autism and how was she going to find a proper education for her child? We then went on to partner with Columbia University, Cornell University and NewYork-Presbyterian hospital to build a medical center that would treat individuals with autism across their lifespan from diagnosis through adulthood. And at that Institute, The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, we accept all insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, all insurance, so no one gets turned away.

What are your ongoing goals?

We’ve always tried to partner with institutions that already are in the business of education or health care, and build a program that can scale up very quickly. We raise the money, we get these programs started, then they become self-sufficient, and we move on to the next issue. That’s why we’re called NEXT for AUTISM, because we’re always thinking about what’s next for this population? What else do they need? Now, for example, we’re focused on adulthood. So we’ve partnered with Arc of Westchester to build an adult program that contemplates how adults will live in our community and be a part of our community. If one out of 59 individuals are diagnosed with autism, we should be seeing them in our supermarkets and our movie theaters. That’s what we’re working on. Then there’s corporate consulting and we do employment programs and recreational programs.

What are you looking forward to most about the NEXT for AUTISM & Fragrance Foundation Power Pedal event?

We are always finding innovative ways to raise money to support the work that we do. So we’re doing this Power Pedal spin class with AARMY, which is a new training program that was started by Trey Laird, who has opened a pop up downtown. It’s kind of like the way one does a walk or a marathon. So, for example, I take a bike in this class and I pledge to either give or raise at least $5,000 and I send it to absolutely everybody in my email database asking them to support my ride. Obviously, we’ve partnered with The Fragrance Foundation, and when they had their recent board meeting everyone raised their hands unanimously that they would take a bike and participate. So we’re really, really excited about it. Tommy and Dee Hilfiger are co-chairing it with Trey Laird, Martha Stewart, myself and Harry and a bunch of friends and colleagues. We’re all going to have fun and raise money! 

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

GABRIELA CHELARIU, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love being in nature and always want to be close to nature, so this greatly influences the notes I like to use in fragrances. I love to use mossy notes. They are chameleonic,  able to express different facets: humidity in woody notes like walking in a luxurious forest; soft, warm dryness like the smell of wood baked by the sun; salty effects when combined with marine notes; mineral effects like the smell of wet rocks; fluffy airiness to vanilla; and elegant texture to gourmand notes. As the key ingredient of the most elegant of fragrance accords, the Chypre accord, it’s no surprise that I use mossy notes in many creations. I also love to use Jasmine Sambac. For me, it is a very modern floral note because of its green dewiness, wink of fruitiness and touch of petal-like silkiness. It is a great combination of playfulness, beauty and nature. I use it in many of my creations, and it works naturally in floral fruity structures, subtly in woods by bringing silkiness or even richly in vanillas to enhance deliciousness.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

The moment when I meet someone who’s wearing a fragrance I created, it is the distillation of everything I wished and hoped to achieve as a perfumer.  It fills me with happiness, not because it is my creation, but because I touched someone, because my work meant something important to elicit the act of picking up the perfume, putting it on and going out in the world with confidence. It’s an amazing feeling. Additionally, memories of what that fragrance means to me come flooding back and this shared experience gives me an enormous enthusiasm to create again.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

The best compliment someone has given me about a scent I created is when a person tells me: “This is the fragrance I wore when I met the love of my life.” Of course, I’m not assuming that the fragrance itself played a very large role in that love, but nonetheless, it was part of this extraordinary moment in someone’s life with reverberations long after. Being part of people’s happy, life-altering moments, big or small, through the fragrances I create, and knowing that those fragrances will bring back such happy memories ever after, is indeed the biggest compliment for me.

Fantasy dinner guests

I love theatre so I have many fantasy guests. To mention just a few: theater director Ivo Van Hove, whose plays leave me always completely transformed (I am thrilled by his ability to create intense, even cathartic emotions in the most understated décor, but also by his use of innovative technology to create unexpected theatrical experiences); actress Cate Blanchett, who is a sheer force of nature (every single time I see her on stage, she takes my breath away); and Bristish actor and director Mark Rylance, who practically becomes his characters (I pledge to see him every single time I have a chance). I can only dream of a play directed by Ivo Van Hove featuring Cate Blanchett and Mark Rylance!

Favorite saying:

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” – Pablo Picasso

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I have always wanted to learn to play the piano, and it’s a dream that could still come true.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The smell of firewood burning in the winter while being outside in the snow. It takes me immediately to my childhood.

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

Transportational.

PATRICIA CHOUX, MANE

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with?  How have you used it?

Some of my favorite materials include natural orange flower, and solar salicylates.  These are regressive aromas for me, the scents of childhood memories like baking orange flower cakes, and going to the beach. Banana Republic Neroli Woods, and Carven Dans Ma Bulle, both have a nod to my happy childhood. I also love patchouli absolute, with its dual aspect: woody and earthy, but also humid. I used patchouli and woods in Malin + Goetz Leather.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

I feel super-happy when I meet someone who wears one of my fragrances. It’s the ultimate validation for a perfumer. It’s like being famous for the best part of yourself: for your creativity and your work.  

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

The best compliment anyone has ever given me was, “It changed my life: I’m so addicted. I wear it, and people are attracted to me.” And it wasn’t only one person who told me that people responded to them when they wore that fragrance! I love that my fragrance helps them to feel their best self.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

When it’s marathon season, they prepare for 50,000 runners to arrive in Central Park.  There’s this distinctive smell, close to the finish line. It’s hard for me to describe, because I’m not in my most olfactive frame of mind when I’m at the end of the marathon! It’s something plastic, waxy, maybe a touch of Gatorade, and the smell of the finish line. It smells triumphant!

If you could choose a superpower

Reading people’s minds!—so I will know when they truly like or don’t like a fragrance, and also I would understand how to rework it.

Fantasy dinner guest

I would absolutely love to have dinner with Meryl Streep. She’s brilliant and faceted, and so talented. . . I admire the quality of her work, and also her work ethic—she’s super-inspiring for me. She can be sexy and funny and strong; she’s daring, but classic, with such elegant posture. I would love to create for her. 

Favorite saying or expression

Dare.  Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Like everyone else, I have my routines, where I feel safe and protected, but I hate the idea of having routines. I’m trying to not live my life inside my comfort zone. Don’t be afraid.

CELINE BAREL, IFF

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love the Orange Flower Water absolute LMR as well as the LMR Rose Essential™ (which was granted the Sustainable Beauty product of the year award in 2013), which are both fresher, dewier, cleaner, more modern, and closer to, respectively, the orange flower water and rose water used in pastries or in beauty products, and more importantly, very close to those flowers you smell in the air. I found them more joyful and playful and more versatile. In traces or in overdose, they work their magic and are more easily accepted!

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

The first time I ever smelled a fragrance I created was in the subway in NYC. It was Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Love. It was one of my first fragrances, and I was so deeply happy to smell my work on someone. This fragrance also saved my vacations: I was coming back from Brazil, and on the plane I was talking to my neighbor who shared that her daughter was wearing Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Love, so I told her I created this fragrance as a perfumer at IFF in NYC. At some point during the flight I left my bag unattended under my seat with my brand new camera containing all my souvenirs. Back home, I was excited to look at my pictures only to discover my camera got stolen on the plane. I was heartbroken. Few days later, I received a weird package, with a CD inside on which was written “achado em JFK” (found in JFK) with all my pictures burnt on it !!! So I‘ve been thankful to this “fragrance loving Robin Hood”, and thanks to Fancy Love, “they” found the IFF Address to return at least my pictures!!

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

For Zoologist Squid, someone talked about my “perfume wizardry capturing the fantastic wonders of the unchartered deep”;  another one said the fragrance managed to depict perfectly the habitat and the “aura” of the animal in a wearable way : in both cases, I am happy to hear that through my creation I succeeded in embarking  the consumer onto a journey, make them dream as long as the fragrance lasts. To have given them a good time. An escape. A daydream. There is something very powerful about fragrances, and that’s why I LOVE my job: make people feel good.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be? 

The World!!!

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

To be free to explore any time: past, present, future.

Fantasy dinner guests?

A good dinner should not only have great food, it should have great company too. My casting would be: Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Jesus, Walt Disney, Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Salvador Dali, and Gala. I think we would have a lot of fun and unforgettable conversations!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I wish I could play the piano really well and compose, and I would have a surrealistic piano-lab, like in the Boris Vian’s novel L’Ecume des Jours (Foam of the Days), and instead of creating cocktails, my piano would create perfumes…

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

This October issue of Accords is very special as all of our content is provided by women in fragrance, each exceptional in different ways.

I am most fortunate to know all these women personally, each on a different level, so it is with tremendous pride that we share this exclusive content.

Mathilde Laurent is an extraordinary perfumer who is an exceptional creative force of nature. I was privileged to meet her in NYC when L’envol launched years ago, and attended the spectacular event in Paris when her cloud was premiered, but will sadly miss the exhibition later this month at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. However, every time when Mathilde & I intersect I feel a level of heightened awareness & inspiration, as I expect all our readers will as well.

Laura Slatkin is an inspiration in a completely different way. She is in my terms a “Woman of Action” who sets an example to all who know her with her grace, style, intelligence & generosity. She is truly a Game Changer in the fragrance industry as Nest Fragrances has set a high standard redefining home fragrances & continues to grow. However, what also makes Laura a Game Changer is what she has achieved with NEXT for Autism. Laura is inspiring all of us in the fragrance community & together we are showing what a force we are when we unite to truly Give Back in meaningful ways.

Enjoy as well our Perfumer Q&As this month including 3 great women: Celine, Gabriela & Patricia who share their personalities creative points of view. 

Be on the lookout later this month as our website relaunches in a new modern format!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n

Sep

GRAND DESIGN: JASON WU

GRAND DESIGN: JASON WU
Spotlight

GRAND DESIGN: JASON WU

GRAND DESIGN: JASON WU

One might think Jason Wu especially charmed, if it weren’t clear how hard he works. The Taiwanese-born designer famously dresses the likes of Michelle Obama—for whom he whipped up the memorably stunning gowns she wore at both of her husband’s Presidential inaugurations—but he actually got his start creating doll clothes for a toy company. His signature aesthetic—ladylike, sophisticated, ultra-chic—also defines the two fragrances that he has so far unveiled for his fashion house, the eponymous Jason Wu and its follow-up Velvet Rouge. ACCORDS stopped by his bustling New York studio just before Fashion Week to talk to the down-to-earth, perfume-loving designer about inspiration, new experiences and old friendships, and how to sniff out a great party.  

Your debut perfume tapped into memories of your childhood in Taiwan. What was the process of creating that fragrance like?

I’ve always really enjoyed scent in every way, so it was a longtime dream of mine to create a fragrance. I grew up in Taiwan, where we had a really big garden, which was quite unusual because it’s mostly just apartment buildings. But my father had a lifelong interest in flowers and plants, and that was a big influence on me. 

I wanted the fragrance to be about the magic of my childhood. Smell is maybe more powerful than anything else when it comes to conjuring up memories, and I really just started in a very organic way. I sat down with Frank Voelkl, the perfumer, and we went through a bunch of different ingredients. He didn’t tell me what they were, I just wanted to have a pure reaction. And then at one point a smell stopped me in my tracks. It was the jasmine. I hadn’t smelled it in a while, because it’s not really a flower you see in the city, but I immediately remembered why I like it so much. There was a lot of jasmine in the neighborhood I grew up in, and my cousin and I used to go and pick the flowers. That became the centerpiece for the Jason Wu fragrance, which also has pink peppercorn, grapefruit, and lily-of-the-valley. I wanted create something that was light, feminine, and that really represents me and also the brand.

Is it challenging to embody the spirit of your fashion in scent?

I’ve done so many different products throughout my career, from the bathroom faucet I designed in partnership with Brizo to the sofas I recently did with Interior Define.  I always set out to design the life around her, and scent and beauty are very much part of her routine. I want to know where she lives, I want to know what kind of food she likes to eat, I want to know what she smells like, all of those things. It all comes together because it’s a whole lifestyle. 

Do you think of fragrance as an accessory to the clothing in the same way as a piece of jewelry?

Yeah, I think so. Some people have signature pieces of jewelry they wear all the time, and some people are going to have a scent they wear all the time. It’s something that is very subliminal but actually extremely effective. You remember those things, good or bad. Like, ex-boyfriend—bad. There are some things you just can’t smell again. But then there are others… like my mom used to use this lotion, and when I was little I used to jump in the bed with her, so I always remember that smell as a happy one. Things like that can be very deeply ingrained. 

What was the thinking behind Velvet Rouge?

I wanted to create a naughtier sister. The first Jason Wu fragrance was really clear, really transparent and light. And Velvet Rouge is mysterious and a little bit more sensual. Something a bit more of the night. I say most people have two sides, and these are two sides of my olfactory taste that I wanted to express. Velvet Rouge is about rose, cedarwood and incense. 

I grew up around woods. My parents had a lot of old furniture, and sandalwood and cedar are very important in Chinese culture. It’s also in a lot of temples throughout Asia. That became the accessory to the rose because I wanted to counterbalance the richness with something that cuts the sweetness of the floral smell. But what’s interesting is that when I was growing up I didn’t like the smell of incense, sandalwood, or cedar. And now, in my thirties, I love it. 

Do you think it’s partly because it reminds you of that time?

I don’t know, maybe. But sometimes your taste just evolves. I think there’s something inherently sophisticated about woods that I think people grow up to appreciate more. It’s like vegetables.

Why was rose a significant choice?

I love rose. When I was designing my fall 2019 collection, the whole collection was inspired by the rose. It’s just such a classic, and there’s something very special about this rose extract—it’s so exquisite. 

Do you have plans for the next scent?

We have a lot more plans. I’m really excited. More sisters are coming! I’m just having a lot of fun. We’re always in development and I have a bunch of samples right now that I’m playing with. Something that is really nice about this is that in two years we have launched two fragrances, which is really quite untraditional for designer brand fragrances, which usually take two, three, four years to do. I think the reason for that is that it’s something that comes from me, very directly. it doesn’t go through a consumer survey, it doesn’t get tested by focus groups. It’s really about what I like.

What are you most inspired by?

I’m always inspired by the women around me, the people I dress. I’ve been very lucky to dress amazing women from First Lady Michelle Obama to the Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle, to one of my closest friends, Diane Kruger, to Kate Bosworth—all are women that have continued to inspire me with their own sense of style and what they do. I think ultimately being a man designing women’s wear it’s really important to surround yourself with women.

What else fuels your creativity in your life?

I would say travel, and it doesn’t even have to be international. Like I’m starting my fall concept already and I was here and I didn’t really have any ideas, so I took a taxi downtown to The Strand and I bought a bunch of new books. That was great. I spent like two hours there, getting inspired. So it’s every kind of travel, every kind of scene. As long as I’m just always being exposed to new things, that’s all that matters.

What are some of your favorite places to go, when it is farther afield?

I love Greece. I would love to create a fragrance based on my memories there, because you can’t really go wrong anywhere there, it’s just so beautiful. funny enough I was actually there in May and there was a whole wall of jasmine, so I had to take a picture with it. It’s interesting, those things follow you everywhere, but that’s the Greece edition of jasmine.

Being based in New York, I try to go to warm places. But another place I love to go is Japan. Japan is one of the most beautiful, rich in culture, but also just a culture that really appreciates beauty. It’s in every detail.

What have your experiences been in the fragrance world versus the fashion world?

It’s very different. It’s interesting having been to the Fragrance Foundation Awards for the second time this year—it’s actually quite a different crowd. You think fashion and beauty are so entrenched together, but it is its own machine. Having the chance to meet so many different perfumers, fragrance houses, and also people in the beauty-business side of things has been really interesting for me. It’s been a great learning experience and I hope to continue to learn and meet new people. 

What have been some of your other favorite scents throughout your life?

One of the first scents that I ever encountered was Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel. I have flannel drapes all over my home and my studio, because it came in a little gray flannel pouch which I thought was really cool. That was one of my earliest influences. And then, of course, I grew up with CK1. It was the scent of my teens. 

In terms of ingredients, I love flowers. It’s apparent in my work, it’s apparent in the way we do our shows—it’s always been a very important part. I love the smell of a freshly cut stem. It’s that green, that crisp green. There’s another flower called the osmanthus, an Asian flower I grew up with. I’m looking forward to doing something with that. And I love lime, because it’s very citrusy and bright. I like to cook, so I use lime a lot. 

How would you describe the smell of the best party you have ever been to?

The smell of the best party is always champagne. Always, because that’s maybe the only thing you remember.

Speaking of parties, what did you enjoy most about the Fragrance Foundation Awards this year?

I loved it. Jane Krakowski, I absolutely adore—she’s amazing, funny, talented, engaging, and the best host ever. And of course having the opportunity to meet Linda has been really special. I love the Fragrance Awards because, as I mentioned, it’s a world that I’ve not been a part of for most of my fashion career. Getting to meet so many new people who are pioneers and influencers in the beauty industry is really great. That’s one part of it, and then the other part is that this year I got to present an award, and that was really special, because sharing the stage with Tom Ford, and all the famous perfumers, was very humbling. It was also special to see my friend Laura Slatkin get an award. I did a collaboration, in Spring 2012, with Nest Candles—one of my first scent experiences—and I was fortunate enough to meet Laura then.

How do you like to scent your home?

I have little pieces of palo santo that I light. I have it here in my studio too, it’s always burning somewhere.

Now that you like woods…

Yeah, now that I’m an old lady, yes, I like my woods very much. It’s really all you need. It’s really clean and really fresh.

Do you wear a scent yourself?

I do, right now I’m wearing Super Cedar by Byredo.

More wood!

I know! I like it. But I’m dying to make a fragrance that’s unisex, so I can wear my own. And, that might just be coming… 

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO
Scents and Sensibility

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO

THE EDITOR’S EYE: CARLY CARDELLINO VACCARO

Carly Cardellino Vaccaro is the beauty director for Cosmopolitan magazine, as well as its digital sister cosmopolitan.com. A true style and scent-loving tastemaker, Carly’s passion for perfume enhances the lives of readers she speaks to every day. Here, she celebrates the magic of her favorite fragrances, and reveals how the top trends in scent mirror the endless energy and transformative power of fashion.

I love fragrance, but it’s a tricky topic to talk about because it’s a very personal and subjective subject. One person’s whole entire day could be thrown off by the mere scent of rose, where another person craves a soft misting of the delicate flower. Me? I gravitate toward anything vanilla and musk (I’m looking at you, Cosmopolitan’s new Love, Unfiltered Eau de Parfum)—I actually don’t even feel put together unless I spray one of the many concoctions I’ve hoarded over the years that blend the two accords together. My most recent favorites are Love by Killian Don’t Be Shy and Kayali Vanilla—both instantly take me back to sitting at the table with my grandmother, getting wafts of her pure vanilla perfume as she passed by me with a grilled cheese (the crust cut off, obvi) that she’d just made for me. My grandma wasn’t obsessed with fashion, but man did she love an accessory—one of her most prized possessions being fragrance (and a lucite bracelet). In a way, her scent was the last accessory she’d put on and she inadvertently passed that tradition onto me. Cut to 30 years later, I’m spraying on a perfume from my very vast fragrance wardrobe—I have ones for day, night, vacation, running errands…the list goes on—that I’ve curated over the years, allowing it to be the final touch to any outfit, making me feel like I have my life together (I don’t, but a girl can dream, right?!). Fragrance just lets me feel like I can actually take on the day—a power fragrance of sorts, if you will—and that’s why I never leave my apartment without it on.

On that note, like fashion, it’s also one of the best ways to express yourself without having to say a word. Soft, floral fragrances can mean you’re looking to be playful, light-hearted, and free (I instantly picture Lily Aldridge in her new Haven campaign, running through a field of wildflowers—Hi, Lily!), while muskier, heavier scents scream that you’re confident and warm—or trying to be sexy (without actually trying). And then you have citrusy scents that give off fresh vibes, but also mean you’re ready to be a BO$$ (perfume PSA: grapefruit scents are amazing to wear on job interviews because they allow you to smell fresh and gives off an energizing aroma). And now, brands are going out of their way to think out of the box in terms of how people wear fragrance, like coating temporary tattoos, dousing woven bracelets in scent (hi, Diptyque!), hair mists—and even turning to huge fragrance houses to scent your favorite dry shampoo for a luxurious, lingering aroma that is sure to get your 1,000 compliments. What a time to be alive! Not to mention, the huge wave of genderless fragrances we’re seeing marketed to appeal to anyone and everyone—I, myself, wore Curve for Men in high school and everyone was always like, ‘Why do you wear a men’s scent?’ My response: ‘Why not! It’s just what I like.’ So it’s nice to see gender being more fluid in the fragrance industry because scent is simply what you gravitate to (Same goes with fashion!)—there aren’t meant to be, nor should there be any rules.

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

ADRIANA MEDINA, GIVAUDAN

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I am a top note kind of gal—you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I love citrus, fruity, fresh top notes. Notes that are joyful and dance on the top of a fragrance. 

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

It’s the biggest compliment a perfumer can ever receive, when you meet someone who enjoys and wears your fragrance all the time!

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

One of the best compliments was when someone told me that a creation of mine was the first fragrance they were gifted, and it’s their favorite scent! To be able to reach someone and leave a long-lasting memory is very meaningful.

Favorite non-perfume smell?  

Mom’s cooking. The smell is sweet, salty, warm and delicious. A signal that I’m home. 

Do you have a secret talent? 

It’s not a secret that I love dancing!

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

Magical. Fragrance is pure magic, it makes you imagine, dream and travel.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be? 

I was first introduced to fragrance by my grandmother. I still clearly remember the glass tray where she displayed all of her favorites. Little did I know, I would become a perfumer one day. Fragrance gave me a profession and it’s where I found my deepest passion. I love to share my story so I can inspire others to be part of this beautiful world. It started later on in life as a dream, and I made it into a reality.

MACKENZIE REILLY, IFF

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love to work with mineral notes, and see them as an extension of the world of naturals.  By faceting a woody or herbaceous accord with minerality, it adds a depth to the olfactive landscape that feels really natural to me, creating the effect of a forest or a shoreline. I also like to work with natural seeds, such as carrot or ambrette.  I love the richness and signature they can provide to an orris or sandalwood, for example. These types of notes also open the door to a new world of gourmand fragrances that are edible and addictive, but not necessarily sweet the way we currently understand the gourmand family.  

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created? 

It’s exciting! Suddenly you see your creation in a new light, almost as if it doesn’t belong to you anymore.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

I’ve been told by a client that a fragrance I made for his brand brings him back to his childhood memories in the South of France, and is so close to his heart for that reason.  The way he smiles when he recounts the story makes me feel like I was able to capture something both elusive and profound and put it in a bottle; which is the ultimate goal, really. Any time someone shows you that you’ve truly reached them through scent, it’s a pretty powerful feeling.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

Such a hard question!  Maybe the smell of sweet, fresh air when the seasons change; when the sun hits the earth, warming the soil, the grass, the trees. You feel as though you are being nurtured through your breath.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The scent of burning wood in a big stone fireplace. I love the variety of firewood in different places. In France we burn good, dry wood that’s covered in oakmoss, and in New Mexico, it’s the sweet scent of Pinion wood burning in the adobe kivas.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

The photographer Cecil Beaton once wrote, “What is elegance?  Soap and water!” I love this quote for what it is: simple, honest, beautiful. In perfumery it is very important to understand how to capture the essence of things; an exercise in minimalism and essentialism. 

Do you have a secret talent?

I can hold my breath underwater for 5 minutes, maybe more.  It’s true!

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

If you take the time to learn how to smell, how to be present and really pay attention to scent, your world will expand in ways you cannot imagine.  

ILIAS ERMENIDIS, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I enjoy working with Ambrox, the sexiest molecule alive, combining it with other radiant woody notes, and fresh or warm spices, to create surprising masculine addictions that are different from your everyday fougere aromatics.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

I love the sense of mutual enthusiasm when I randomly meet someone who is half a generation younger than me and has used one of my fragrances. It brings back amazing memories and makes me secretly proud.

Best compliment someone has given you about a fragrance you worked on:

The best compliment is to hear the addictive effect a fragrance I created has on someone’s entourage. I believe in the primitive, then emotional, influence of a fragrance.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The Aegean sea mixed with the smells of watermelons, cucumbers and Clarins suncream. It’s the perfect summer vacation smell.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

I am Greek and I have way too many, but i often use Oscar Wilde’s “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would have loved to learn to play the piano or the guitar when I was young.

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

Addiction


THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP
The Inside Scoop

THE INSIDE SCOOP

THE INSIDE SCOOP

Every year when summer draws to an end, I wish it would last forever along with la dolce vita… However, when we return to work after Labor Day, Fashion week begins, fragrances are launched, momentum builds and we are all back!

This September has begun with tremendous excitement on the runways, in the stores and touching us all on social media.

Accords brings that to all our readers with Jason Wu sharing his story of what lead up to his fabulous return to the runway. Carly Cardellino Vaccaro shares why fragrance is such an essential everyday accessory in so many ways.

The Fragrance Foundation has much going on for Fall.  Our new website will debut soon. In the next few months we will reveal our collaboration with a talented artist  and designer to bring Fragrance Day 2020 to new heights.

Autumn will debut our new Give Back partnership with NEXT for AUTISM, so we look forward to bringing new meaning to our TFF membership and beyond.

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n


Aug

THE EAU ENCYCLOPEDIA: MICHAEL EDWARDS

THE EAU ENCYCLOPEDIA: MICHAEL EDWARDS
Spotlight

THE EAU ENCYCLOPEDIA: MICHAEL EDWARDS

THE EAU ENCYCLOPEDIA: MICHAEL EDWARDS

Michael Edwards, author of the lauded 1996 book Perfume Legends, is something of a perfume legend himself. He’s been called “the perfume expert’s expert”—and yet the impact of his work has reached even those with a mere passing interest in scent. Not only is he the creator of the iconic fragrance wheel, he’s also the mastermind behind Fragrances of the World, an exhaustively comprehensive guide to every imaginable sniff that’s sold, now in its 33rd edition—while his digital database lists more than 30,000 fragrances, which can be cross-referenced by brand, perfumer, ingredients, or bottle designer.

For many, however, it’s Edwards’ scholarly—but wholly engaging—writing about the history of perfumery that’s been his most powerful contribution to the way that we understand and talk about scent. Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances, which chronicled the creation of 45 epoch-defining eaus, has become a coveted cult classic, especially as copies have grown scarce. Happily, he’ll be publishing an updated and expanded edition, Perfume Legends II, in September (with more tricks up his sleeve to follow). Here, the irrepressible raconteur shares the story behind his journey into the world of wonderful smells.

What inspired you to create your first guide to fragrance classification guide?

In the mid-70s, I worked for Halston. Halston was a great brand at that time, and it was just as the fragrance market was starting to take off. Charlie was the pivotal change: Fragrance reflects the times, and suddenly women were making their own money and buying their own fragrances. Before that, perfume had been a gift—but by the end of the 70s women accounted for more fragrance sales than men. I was in Paris at that stage, and I had watched the evolution of New World wines, and the way that they had been classified in order to explain them to customers. It wasn’t a new idea, but I thought it might be interesting to apply that idea to perfumes in order to help the customer figure out what she might like.

After I left Halston in the early 80s, I started up as a retail specialist. And our problem in retail is simple: People think that they can only smell three or four perfumes before their nose gets tired. So it’s important to choose the right ones for them to smell. I thought maybe fragrance families could be the key, because if you ask people for the names of their favorite three perfumes, almost invariably at least two will fall into the same family. We don’t know why this is, we just know it’s true. That’s why, in 1984, I started my first guide. It was tiny, and really just a manual for the training I did, to be used in store. I’d ask you to tell me the perfumes you like, I’d look them up in the back, and I would give you suggestions. Remember, there were only 29 new fragrances in 1984; so it was easier than today. In 1991, Nordstrom asked me to expand the guide, and it grew from there.

What led to the publication of the Perfume Legends in 1996?

I’d always been fascinated with the stories of how perfumes came about. There were so many myths, some of which didn’t ring true. And in the early 1990s, perfumers were invisible. There were books by artists, musicians, sculptors, but nothing by perfumers. And when I came up with the idea to tell their stories, I had the luck to interest two masters. One was Guy Robert, who was at that time President of the French Society of Perfumers. He became a very close friend, my mentor, and for the last 10 years of his life, the technical consultant for my Fragrances of the World guidebook. The other was Edmond Roudnitska, the great perfumer, who did relatively few fragrances but a number of them were masterpieces that changed the architecture of perfumery—Diorella, Diorissimo, Eau Sauvage. The problem was that when I started on the book, he was already a very elderly man in his 80’s. He had a reputation of being a very grumpy old man, so I didn’t expect anything when I wrote to him. To my surprise, he agreed to receive me. I thought I’d be lucky to get 10, 15 minutes. But in the first of our interviews, he spent almost three hours.

Those two opened doors for me, and in the end, I spoke with just under 160 people, from great perfumers to bottle designers to the heads of houses. I ended up including 45 fragrances in the book, starting with Jicky in 1889 and going right way through to Angel in 1992. The book came out quietly and then over time it turned into a cult.

What do you think made it resonate with people?

Many people write about perfumes, but they write from their viewpoint. I didn’t. I was trying to find history, so I wrote it through the eyes of the creators. I’ve always had the belief that if we don’t understand how things started, then how can we interpret where we’re going today? The nicest compliments I ever get are when younger perfumers come up and say, “I want to shake your hand. Your book made me want to be a perfumer.”

Why did you decide to update the book now?

I’ve been asked again and again to do an update. I got sidetracked by the sheer explosion of fragrances. Last year we tracked nearly 3,000 new perfumes. But I finally carved out the side time to do the interviews. The book is quite extensively changed. For Chanel No 5, I’ve rewritten an entire chapter, because over the past 22 years there’s been a lot of new research.

You’ve also added eight new scents. What fragrances made the cut?

I’ve included Fracas, Germaine Cellier’s fantastic tuberose. Feminité du Bois, with that unbelievable woody note. Flower by Kenzo, created by the genius Alberto Morillas. J’Adore, Coco Mademoiselle, Timbuktu, Guerlain’s 1979 Nahema. And then lastly, Portrait of a lady, Dominique Ropion’s masterpiece for Frederic Malle.

Were there others that you very much wanted to include?

Lancome’s La Vie est Belle. But I believe that you have to give a legend time. There are three criteria to make a legend: number one is an accord so innovative that other people copy it. Number two, an impact, so profound it creates a trend. And number three an appeal that is likely to endure. So I felt it was a bit too soon for that one.

There’s also been talk of an American Perfume Legends project. Where are you with that?

I’ve been talking about it for so long. But I’m well on the way. I’ve identified 42 legends, starting with Elizabeth Arden’s Bluegrass from 1934. It was the first international success, and I don’t think I can write about American perfumes without writing about the people who made it happen—Arden, Estée Lauder, Charles Revson, Calvin Klein. You’ll see Youth Dew, White Shoulders, Charlie, of course, as well as men’s fragrances, for the first time. I’ve completed the drafts for 31 of them, and I’ve got about another 18 months to work on it before I’m finished. After that, I should retire… don’t you think?

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN
Scents and Sensibility

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN

HIGHER LEARNING: STEPHAN KANLIAN

In 2020, the Master’s Program at FIT will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its launch. The brainchild of industry legend Leonard Lauder, it has become a true Think Tank: an incubator for talent, producing global business research and annual trend reports. Fragrance Foundation President Emeritus Annette Green championed the development of first the undergraduate and then the graduate Cosmetics and Fragrance curricula at FIT, and each successive Foundation President has served on the Industry Board. ACCORDS spoke with Professor Stephan Kanlian, who has been with the Master’s Program since its inception two decades ago. 

How did you get started with FIT? 

My wife saw the position in WWD, and urged me to consider it.  I had worked in global marketing in skincare, after several years with the diplomatic branch of the US Department of Commerce, running consumer product trade missions overseas. The final step of the hiring process in 1999 was a one-on-one interview with new college President, Dr. Joyce Brown.  I laid out my vision for a “think tank for beauty” and she said “let’s do it.”  She has been a champion of the program ever since.

What makes the FIT Master’s Program so unique?

No other industry has collaborated across competitive lines to create graduate business curriculum to train talent and undertake research. There is a close collaboration between industry leaders and the faculty: defining skill sets for successful leadership, and identifying business issues that need fresh and disruptive thinking by emerging leaders. 

How has the the curriculum at FIT evolved over the past 20 years to keep pace with changes in the industry?

The faculty have evolved the fragrance curriculum away from merely focusing on fine fragrance, to teach the fragrancing of all consumer products, as an integral part of the marketing mix and a sensory branding opportunity to reach consumers.  As the only college campus in the US with a working fragrance laboratory, this is a unique strength at FIT.

What, to you, is the most captivating thing about fragrance?  What do your personal favorite scents have in common?

Fragrance is incredibly intellectual, and yet simultaneously spiritual (primal, really), and as an academic that combination has always intrigued me. My favorite scents are generally artisanal fragrances, either floriental or gourmand notes, with an interesting combination of ingredients that is at once surprising and familiar.      

What stands out in your mind as you look back over a 20 year collaboration with the industry? 

The seamless partnership we have built between industry and academia is a model for the future of education, and the future value of universities. There is also the ability to effect positive change through a strong community of 350 alumni, who work across the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia. I’m also very proud to work in an industry that values education and nurturing talent as part of its culture. The Fragrance Foundation’s programs for The Notables and certification of consumer-facing store personnel are great examples.

What still surprises you about the fragrance and beauty industry?

Perhaps given that I am so invested in our student’s success, 95% of whom are women, it still surprises me that more Corporate Directors and “C Suite” leadership in beauty are not female. 

What’s the one thing you hope every student walks away with?

The gravitas that only comes from the conviction of great ideas, informed by solid analytics, and the executive presence to sell-through those ideas from corporate leadership to the end consumer.  

Has there been a specific moment in your career of which you’ve been particularly proud? 

There have been quite a few: the first student collaboration with the WWD Beauty Summit (2004); student research with IDEO presented at the American Express Luxury Summit (2007); students delivering the keynote for the Fragrance Foundation Summit (2010); publication of student research in the Wall Street Journal (2015); and most recently, two of our graduates being named Chief Marketing Officers, and a third becoming Head of Fashion and Luxury at Google. As a professor, nothing engenders greater pride than to witness your student’s success. I have been very blessed in my career in that regard.

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

CAROLINE SABAS, GIVAUDAN

What’s your favorite saying or expression? 

Carpe Diem (seize the day). I don’t say it often, but it’s how I choose to live my life—it’s very freeing.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I’ve always wanted to take singing classes. I love music and sing constantly, but could use some practice (which my 7-year-old son reminds me every day!).

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? 

A fragrance makes you dream.

Fantasy dinner guest? 

Mozart, Chopin and Brahms one evening; Djokovic, Nadal and Federrer the next.

PASCAL GAURIN, IFF

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

I think one of the most calming smells is that of my kids’ heads when they were babies. It is one of the most striking and soothing smells of all time. 

Fantasy dinner guest?

I would actually have seven guests:

Quentin Tarantino –I believe that quality must start from a white page every time, and he is able to implement this excellence by creating a vision from scratch with each film. I also feel his brilliant dialog sets a new perspective on culture that is an eye-opening reflection of the world in which we live.

Eddie Izzard – I admire the way he approaches society, religion and sexuality that has set him apart in a very Monty Python kind of way that is remarkable.

Tom Ford – Simply because life is more beautiful with Tom Ford.

David Bowie – A master at stretching boundaries, visually and musically and he knew to surround himself with the best in the business.

Lana Del Rey – I have a purely emotional connection to her work as a singer and songwriter. There is something that deeply moves me about what she does. You either connect with her universe or you don’t.

Oprah Winfrey – Her life trajectory and achievements are extraordinary and unique in American society.

Ellen Von Unwerth – The way she captures a woman’s image really set her apart. It is erotic and joyful at the same time. 

What is favorite saying or expression?

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make a mistake, art is knowing which one to keep.” – Scott Adams

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would love to spend 3 months of my life working side by side with Patrick Roger, the French chocolate artist. He is a culinary wizard and has pushed the art of chocolate to a new level by magnifying the aesthetics and the taste.  His environmental consciousness is also astonishing and admirable. 

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

It is the most beautiful sense of the world. Simply by breathing, you are smelling. You don’t have control over what you feel when you smell because it is connected to the most primitive and emotional part of your brain.  It is a pure instinctive reaction! It is pure emotion!

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

It’s hard to choose just one. But if I had to, I would say teleportation. To travel to another destination in the blink of an eye would be incredible. 

DAVID APEL, SYMRISE

What’s your favorite saying or expression?  

“You can always wash dishes…” My father was a chef and it was his way of teaching his children that you can always start over again and reinvent yourself.  It’s a saying that has been useful in my life.   

Fantasy dinner guest?  

Leonardo da Vinci or Cher. Actually both together would be spectacular fun!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I’m happy to say the list is long. Gives me hope. Paint well, build kayaks, fly, to name a few…

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be? 

Look for fragrance in your life. It is always there. The briny mineral tang of the stones of lower Manhattan on a brisk fall day. The bright green flash of grass and linden blossoms on an early summer evening in Central Park. Then find one that is yours to keep in a bottle and bring along on your journey.  That is what we have the luck to do as perfumers.

Favorite Meal?

My favorite meal is in my garden. With all the people I love. Noise, laughter, talking over one another, platters of grilled meats and vegetables, wine and flowers, children, sunshine and music.

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop
The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

This issue of Accords features two men whose contributions to the fragrance industry are vast, from very different perspectives. Legendary fragrance author & expert Michael Edwards shares his own personal history as well as what makes him such an insightful writer about perfume history. 

Professor Stephan Kanlian shares his fragrance point of view and a look into the future as the FIT program he chairs reaches its 20-year milestone with an ever-evolving curriculum and accomplished graduates.

As we approach the end of summer, there is much excitement to look forward to for TFF members and  the Fragrance community!  

A brand new TFF website will launch in the fall, taking its cue from Accords and we will be adding new exclusive features to our weekly Note Worthy newsletter. 

Our partnership with NEXT for Autism, with Game Changer Laura Slatkin, will be integrated into all TFF events & communication. The activities will enlist participants from all of TFF and fragrance consumers as well.

Fragrance Day March 21, 2020 will rise to new heights with a new artistic collaboration and grow globally with TFF licensees. The programs & opportunities will be shared with TFF members in September!

Please join us for a fabulous Fall!

President, The Fragrance Foundation

@linda_g_levy
@fragrancefoundatio
n


Jul

THE EDUCATOR: FRANCIS HEMBERT

THE EDUCATOR: FRANCIS HEMBERT
Spotlight

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
Scents and Sensibility

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

What The Nose Knows

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

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
Spotlight

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
Scents and Sensibility

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
What The Nose Knows

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

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 Inside Scoop

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

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

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

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