Cecile Krakower, Karine Chevallier, Lyn Harris and Sylvie Jourdet -- Scent Treks through time


22nd September, 2008

Editor's note: These interviews are the eleventh part of a series in which Marian Bendeth explores what a panel of modern perfumers would say if they could travel back to the time of their choosing, to meet, chat and co-create with a perfumer of the past. An introduction to the series and table of contents is here.

 

 

Cécile Krakower

Perfumer, Mane

Creations: Hard Candy, Gap Washed Cotton and Velvet Bloom, Gendarme Envious, Abercrombie & Fitch 8, Yu by Perfect Sense / Mane, Mac MV3 , Laura Mercier L'Heure Magique (more...)

MB: If it was possible to travel back in time to any particular century and decade of your choice to meet your number one inspirational Perfumer:

When would that be and who would you meet?

CK: Believe it or not, I find more exciting to project myself in the future and work today on shaping a better tomorrow: where fragrance design will be given back the attention it deserves. At least, this is what I am dreaming of, to help me deal with how it's done today.

My heroes are the people who try to stay true to their vision despite the industry and its pressure, the ones fighting against soulless products, the ones making sure there is a connection between the juice, the name, the packaging and the positioning: anybody who loves the product enough to make sure it will be done right. How do you expect an emotional response to a product that you don't love yourself?

MB: What specific questions would you want to ask?

What is the next step we can take together to end the era of fragrance as a disposable commodity?

MB: If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

It doesn't really matter which name will be on the bottle as long as the design was done in complete partnership. Sure, perfumers have their own olfactive visions, thousands of ideas, but what is also extremely exciting and challenging is to put together scents that will answer somebody else's wish and see them connect. Anybody with a love for fragrance is enough for inspiration: seeing their eyes sparkle at first sniff is priceless.?

MB: If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

I wish we had bottled the courage it took Coco Chanel to design women's pants, François Coty to come up with 'Chypre', Frida Kahlo to be who she was so we can all drink from it. Hopefully Vera Strubi didn't drink it all when she launched Angel!

 

Karine Chevallier

Perfumer, Olfactive Design

Creations: Nez à Nez: Ambre à Sade, Atelier d'Artiste, Bal Musqué, Bouche Baie, Figues et Garçons, Forêt de Bécharré, Rosier Ardent, Vanithé.  L'Artisan Parfumeur : "Oranger en fleurs" candle. (more...)

MB: If it was possible to travel back in time to any particular century and decade of your choice to meet your number one inspirational Perfumer:

When would that be and who would you like to meet?

KC: I would love to travel back to the end of 19th century.

After Stendhal, Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo, the "Romantics" allowed themselves to use the "I" in literature and therefore opened a new freedom in all arts.

This allowed at the end of the century, Emile Zola to invent Naturalism in literature and in painting Manet and others to find Impressionism. Somehow this liberty had an impact on perfumery of course with the help of new chemicals that allowed more realism. Therefore, Jacques Guerlain could schedule his feelings of a certain light over a bridge through a perfume like L'heure Bleue or Coty represent "his" rose with the famous Rose Jacqueminot.

MB: What specific questions would you want to learn from them?

In "L'Oeuvre" Emile Zola describes some dinners between painters and writers : i would have loved to belong to those people (Cezanne, Pissaro, Monet...) and invite Jacques Guerlain and Francois Coty to the table and speak all together about how to reinterpret Nature in each others? art and what bridges we can find in between literature, painting and perfumery.

MB: If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

I have a passion for Paul Cezanne, and i would have loved to team up with him to work on a "Nature morte" in perfumery for example. Cezanne was also very inspired by Eugene Chevreul's work on colour which led him to say "you need to put some orange in your blue if you want your blue to be blue" a deep thought about contrast that always inspires me in my perfumer's work.

MB:
If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

Definitely this freedom , this spirit that "everything had to be done" and could be done at that time and that the field of experience seemed to be infinite. Nowadays unfortunately young perfumers have more the impression that everything has been done, which is a shame for our art and inspiration.


Lyn Harris

Perfumer, Miller Harris

Creations:
Coeur de Fleur, Feuilles de Tabac, Tangerine Vert, Citron Citron, Fleur du Matin, L'Air de Rien, Terre de Bois (more...)

MB: If it was possible to travel back in time to any particular century and decade of your choice to meet your number one inspirational Perfumer:

When would that be and who would you meet?


Lyn Harris: I would travel back to the 1940s to meet Jean Carles.

MB: What specific questions would you want to ask them?

I’m fascinated by the fact that although they were so limited in those days in terms of the range of raw materials available, they were still able to achieve such amazing masterpieces which are totally timeless and are still as wonderful today as they were back when they first launched.

MB:
If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

I wouldn’t want to create a fragrance with him, this would seem wrong. I would simply want to spend time with him, learn from him, hear his views and theories. I’d want to know what he felt was the key to his success. I would want to ask him about the simplicity of working around a few beautiful raw materials.

I believe his success came from his careful study and understanding of materials and a simplicity of construction. Also, having the time to execute things without feeling any time pressure.

 

Sylvie Jourdet

Maître-Parfumeur Créateur and Professeur ISIPCA / Owner, Créassence

Creations: Dinner by Bobo, Histoire des Parfums

MB:
If it was possible to travel back in time to any particular century and decade of your choice to meet your number one inspirational Perfumer:

When would that be and who would you meet?


SJ: If I had to travel back in time, I would choose to go back to that great period which was the end of 19th century / beginning of 20th . (1890-1910).

This is a period when everything had to be done and created. It was the 'Industrial Revolution' period and the beginning of the 'Modern Perfumery' era.

At that time, the creative 'movement' in perfumery was than enabled by the 'Industrial Revolution' and also went with it.

I wish I could go back in time to meet Mr. François Coty, who, to me, was the most brilliant, inspired and creative perfumer. He was a sort of visionary man.

MB:
What specific questions would you want to ask them?

I would ask him particularly what made him so sure of himself and sure of his creations and talent. As a perfumer, one can sometimes wonder if we are in the right direction when creating a perfume. Mr François Coty seemed to be sure and convinced that what he created was the right thing. Why and how did he manage to avoid 'doubts'?

MB:
If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

If we could team up at that time, I would be very interested in creating with him a unique perfume for that Young Lady that was 'The Eiffel Tower' back in the late 1890's-early 1900's.

We would indeed create a fragrance that symbolizes Paris with the Eiffel Tower as a model. A specific perfume dedicated to a young, slender and elegant lady (shape).

MB:
If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

From that period of the past, I would like to bring back the original version of Mr François Coty's Rose Jacqueminot dated 1905. This fragrance is a real masterpiece that could be itself a testimony of that rich period.

 

Join Marian again next time for more Scent Treks...

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About the author: Marian Bendeth

Marian Bendeth is a Global Fragrance Expert based out of Toronto, Canada. Marian has won six fragrance industry editorial awards for her writing. You can find out more on her website marianbendeth.com

Website: http://www.marianbendeth.com/

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