Scents from the South: an interview with Colombian fashion and fragrance designer, Jean Pascal
10th August, 2006
Hello Jean! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about your fragrances. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz (excitement) about your men's fragrance "Jean-Pascal". When did you first create this fragrance and what was your inspiration?
We launched our first JEAN PASCAL fragrance in the eighties. After opening the first fashion boutique in Bogotá in 1977, I considered it important to have a fragrance representing our style and brand.
When did you first know you wanted to create fragrances?
When I was young, I worked with perfumery in a department store in Geneva, Switzerland, I have always liked fragrances, I have a great sense of smell, and I thought that it was very important to have a fragrance as a complement for our clothing line.
Tell us about the process of creating Jean-Pascal, the fragrance, from the day of your first idea to the day the fragrance was first sold.
I started the creative process of the JEAN PASCAL essence, with the world's first fragrance company, IFF. We had immediate success due to the little availability of products in Colombia at that period. Our creation was accepted immediately.
Because your boutiques are located in Latin America, did you feel that you needed to create a scent specifically for your Latin American customers?
I created my company to offer Latin American men a style, an ambiance and a service that back then did not exist in our country. Well, in the 80's the imported products were rare, and most of our products were made here. Colombian people were used to wearing measured clothing, they did not have knowledge of prêt a porter.
What do you think is different about what Latin American men like in a fragrance, vs. what North American men like?
Colombian clients are very sophisticated when it comes to fashion, with a lot of elegance. Concerning fragrances, Latin American men like strong scents that last on the skin. Like in the way of clothing, men or women love strong colors and mix them in between, that doesn't usually happen with American or European men.
How do you feel your background and family history has influenced your ideas about style?
All my family worked in arts and crafts, they were antique dealers and cabinetmakers. My tastes and style were formed during my time at the school of fine arts. Also, my family influenced my education remarkably, I am a perfectionist, with one esthetical view of all the subjects on my daily life, and of my quality of life. Extremely meticulous, that is why I like to offer extreme quality products.
Tell us about your philosophy regarding personal style for a modern man.
Design, comfort, sophistication and originality with a touch of eccentricity. That is my definition of the elegance in the modern man. What concerns the fragrances, my definition is sophisticated, sensual but discreet.
Designer Jean Pascal, and wife, Helena Decaillet, also a fashion designer
Tell us about the inspiration for the “Jean-Pascal” bottle.
The inspiration of the JEAN - PASCAL flask was concentrated on founding a manly and very masculine bottle. A classic hip flask very adapted to me to initiate and due to the great acceptance of the same one. We kept the design only changing little things at a time. Some details were added to the fragrance too, making it a perfume that does not have anything to envy to International fragrances. We dressed the bottle in leather; another masculine and original element that distinguished it among others. We sell today four different versions of JEAN PASCAL for man, always within the same spirit.
You also created two other fragrances - Quimbaya for men and women. The description on your website is very intriguing: JEAN-PASCAL Eau de Toilette pour Homme is a long-lasting, spicy and exotic fragrance presented in a hand-stitched leather case. QUIMBAYA, the luscious new fragrance in male and female versions, evokes a mysterious race of ancient, proud people through contemporary vibes. JEAN-PASCAL Parfums are an explosion of South American notes that makes an authentic difference.
With desires to create a new perfume this time for women, and due to my passion for the pre-Columbian culture, I chose the name QUIMBAYA. There is an old little town that stands out for its art jewelers. A lot of their works are exposed in the golden museum “El museo del Oro” , famous in the whole world for its collection of all the golden art of Latin American pre- Columbian cultures. I used the design of one of its pieces, “Poporro”, in gold, which is the actual shape of the QUIMBAYA bottle, represented obviously in a more contemporary way. For what concerns the fragrance, I wanted something that could remember the smells of fresh fruits, plants and flowers that are found in Latin America: A discreet and refined perfume.
How is scent an important part of your lifestyle? For example, do you use candles or incense in your home?
I have a very developed sense of smell, and I always try to identify the smells wherever I go, when I am in the woods, or in a flower shop, even in a restaurant I try to guess every smell that passes near by, all the perfumes of vegetables and spices. I love to guess what people are eating without looking. I use every type of candle and incense to relax at home.
Where are the Jean-Pascal boutiques located?
JEAN – PASCAL boutiques have been located in the north of the capital since 1977. Initially we were located in one of the most populated streets back then. Today we have a building in the same area where we have one floor for woman, one floor for men and all our administration offices in other floor. We have another store in a mall called CENTRO COMERCIAL ANDINO, located in one of the most commercially successful areas of the city.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
JEAN PASCAL perfume has been the first product for man in Colombia for years, although today you can find all the premium fragrances in the market, our products have still a privileged place in it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to consider these questions and for sharing your ideas with us! Everyone here at Basenotes wishes you the best of luck and continued success!
Jean Pascal fragrances can be purchased at www.suravionline.com. Samples of the fragrances are available by request, while supplies last.
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