here's an English transcript of the first two videos. I've done them in a bit of a rush, but I hope they're helpful anyway. If people here are interested, I can do the rest in installments. The ones with Ellena, Ropion, Polge, and Guerlain are really quite interesting.Sophie Labbé
Perfumery is on the one hand an art, in the sense that it's a means of expression... to me it's a means of self-expression, it makes me feel good, but it's also a means of making nature and life more beautiful to the wearer. So I'd say it's an art, but at the same time it's also a craft, because there are rules, it requires a formal training that is quite extensive, and it's also a way of life... so I believe it's both an art and a craft.
We have an enormous amount of raw materials to our disposal, also natural raw materials, and depending on their origins there can be a very large variety of them. Jasmine can be from Grasse, Egypt, India... that alone leads to three different references... we also have many products that are a result of research, all the different aromas for our palette, and in fact we work with about... we memorize about 1,000 of them, and of course we work with the ones for which we feel the strongest affinity... the ones that we have a special preference for, that enable compatible associations.
I was a complete stranger to the world of perfumery, and then one day I read a magazine that mentioned ISIPCA, the perfumery school. Back then I was studying chemistry, and perfumery seemed like a very passionate profession to me... I should add that I was raised in Charante-Maritime
, so I had a very strong affinity with scent... but I wanted to meet a perfumer before I'd decide to enroll. He showed me the raw materials he worked with, and the way he worked too, and I was completely smitten...
So I went to ISIPCA, where you actually had to motivate your educational choice. At ISIPCA each class had their own name, and our year was named after François Coty... and in fact, later in my career I won the Prix François Coty, which is a distinctive honor in the perfume industry, and it was the first time that this prize was given to a woman.Jean-Michel Duriez
Perfumes have always been created with a specific purpose in mind. If we go back to the times of the Egyptians, perfumery consisted of inventing odors that raised our prayers to heaven - by burning incense. And if we think of the Eau de Cologne from the days of Napoleon, for instance, that was made for farmaceutical purposes... so in my opinion it's an art indeed, but one that has always been defined within a very specific context, and that nowadays has evolved into an industry.
How to become a créateur-parfumeur
... I don't think you can find two individuals who followed the exact same path. I think that each person finds a different way to get there. I my case it all started in a very simple way... I was very young, about 8 or 10 years old, when I started collecting perfume samples... don't ask me why, I really don't remember... but by the time I graduated from highschool I was a true perfume connoisseur. I recognized perfumes on people, I knew about all the latest launches... I didn't know anything about their composition since I wasn't a trained nose, so I was unaware of their ingredients, but there you go, I had become an amateur perfume expert... and when I did my exams I found out about this school for pefumers, this school called ISIPCA that still exists today, and I went to this school, after which I started working in this industry, thanks to this school of course, and also thanks to all I learned on site in Grasse... you have to remember that when you have a creative profession, especially when you create perfumes, you learn every day of your life, until the very end... I still consider myself a student, and I plan to continue my studies for a very long time.
So what is required, in my opinion, is a passion for perfume, and I think that was the case for me... I have this passion since a very early age, and this gift allowed me to succeed in this profession... after that, you really need to work hard, to smell and have new ideas, it means making lots of trials, never stop, try new things, open new doors, get inspired elsewhere of course, not necessarily in perfumery but also in other areas... in my case it's gastronomy, but it can also be photography, we often get photography exhibitions here, I meet photographers... and of course fashion, because perfume is quintessentially tied to the world of fashion and luxury in general... so it's about finding inspiration in other areas, that refresh our ideas and impressions within our profession of perfume creation.