Eight of the top luxury perfumers in Europe have come to Bucharest this week to talk about their passion for scents, about the start and future of their business, and also about the latest trends in the niche perfumery.
Paolo Terenzi and his sister Tiziana Terenzi from the Italian Tiziana Terenzi perfumery, Etienne de Swardt, founder of French Etat Libre d’Orange, Mădălina Stoica-Blanchard, creative director of JUL ET MAD and Julien Blanchard, co-founder of JUL ET MAD from Paris, Jean Phillipe Clermont, creative director of Atelier Des Ors, Ramon Monegal, founder of Spanish RAMON MONEGAL and Stefania Giannino, creative director of Nobile1942, have attended the „Creator Talks: 2019 Trends in Niche Perfumery” event in Bucharest on Thursday, a fascinating meeting of the „creative minds” behind some of the world niche perfumery brands available in Obsentum shops.
The guests shared their opinions about what the art of perfumery means to all of them, what is influencing them while creating their perfumes, what makes them different from the industrial perfume industry and if following the rules is a must in this exclusive industry.
„I don’t like to follow the rules. I love to explore different fields, this what the niche perfumery is. We want to express the art through our brand and to be free to express what we are,” confessed Paolo Terenzi, who, next to his sister is the third generation of the Terenzi business. His grandfather, Guglielmo Terenzi and his wife started the business by making candles. Paolo and his sister added extra value to his grandparents’ business by creating the candles which replace the fuse with a piece of wood, thus recreating the sound of the flames creaking in the fireplace.
As a matter of fact, the hardcore philosophy behind Paolo’s act of creation is „to compose” the beauty, like a song. „I have a certain song in mind when I make perfumes. Last song that inspired me is <Fly me to the moon> (by Frank Sinatra)” he said. The new perfumes Sirah and Mirah and Sirrah by Tiziana Terenzi in the Luna Collection are the living proof of music and astral fire. The success of the brand is doubled by Tiziana Terenzi’s contribution. A teacher of applied arts and designer, Tiziana is in love with elegance and sophisticated beauty, that’s why she uses for each piece of work 24k gold details, Italian glass, fine wood and leather insertions.
Ramon Monegal from the famous Spanish Monegal Perfumes is also the representative of a family business, at its fourth generation actually. Monegal’s creative mantra is that a perfume can reach the rank of art only if the imagination runs wild and free, released of any kind of constraints. He thinks that being a small cosmetics enterprise is not a disadvantage, but on the contrary, is a benefit. „ We are small and we can be more original than the big players on the market, which have to produce perfumes on an industrial scale. And the customer is precisely looking for originality. Marketing is killing the creativity,” Ramon pointed out. What the future holds for the perfume industry in his view? „We already are the future, the future is changing us into a more creative way. The future is a mixture of old and new,” Monegal opined.
With an over 40-year experience in the perfume industry, Monegal also wrote a book „Perfumista” that is an ode to to the profession of perfumer, a novel blending autobiographical notes with fiction. His latest perfume released is the „Everybody Loves Ibiza” collection, which recounts about the bohemian freedom of the 70s and the hippie charm of the famous island.
Etienne de Swardt, the founder of Etat Libre d’Orange, has dared cross the border even more, for he likes taking „the less-traveled” road, as he confessed in Bucharest. Etienne has conquered Paris with his nonconformist scents. The brand is famous for irreverent, controversial and politically incorrect creations such as “Putain des Palaces”, “Charogne or Secretions Magnifiques”, a perfume inspired by the human fluids…blood, sperm, spit, sweat.
„I love the idea of sabotage in the creative process, of being on the corner, as frivolity will save the world, the joy of nonsense is beautiful,” said de Swardt.
Now, Etienne is bringing a new creation to Romania „I am Trash/Les Fleurs du Dechet”, which is made of recycled waste, a reference to the famous „Les Fleurs du Mal” by Charles Baudelaire, based on the ideas that „there is poetry within trash” and that „you can re-connect beauty from trash”.
Romanian-born Madalina Stoica-Blanchard has returned home for a little bit on the occasion of the Obsentum event, explaining the concept behind the artistic perfumery brand „Jul et Mad Paris”, inspired by her love story with French entrepreneur and neurobiologist Jules Blanchard, about which we have previously talked here.
Coming with their own business story and expertise, the Blanchards decided to set up their own niche perfume brand in 2012. „The concept behind JUL ET MAD is our own love story, while the name comes from our shortened names, as our friends used to call us. So, we decided to write our love story with olfactory notes, not with words”, said Madalina, the mastermind of the “haute perfumerie” house. She believes there are no trends in the artistic perfumery. „We are the reactionaries of the industry, trends are not such an important factor in the creative process, which has not limits,” Madalina opined, adding that trends are captured in the customers’ way to perfume themselves.
However, she believes there is a wide range of traditional, basic, raw materials like musk or the newest ones, like oud (one of the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world) that can make the difference, arguing that „familiar scents are meant to bring comfort to people”.
Her husband, Julien, who is specialized in neurobiology (his favorite research topic has been the influence of pheromone on the brain) explained that the olfactory area of the cortex is the most connected to memories and hence the relevance that each perfume takes you back in the past to remember a certain thing.
Atelier des Ors from France is a living proof that big things come in small packages. Jean-Philippe Clermont, the creative director, has designed great essences in small bottles like the renowned „Larmes du Desert” with 24k gold flakes, in which he captured the fascinating power of gold and the seductive perfume of the perfect luxury. Clermont explained that their concept doesn’t strictly refer to gold, but to noble raw materials. „We rather call it <star dust>, we don’t put gold flakes in bottles,” he said, underlining that trends are mostly related to ethical products, arguing that „people want to know and understood ingredients”, in the idea of supporting the sustainability concept.
Last, but not the least, Stefania Giannino, creative director of Nobile1942, a small-scale company that uses the same production techniques as back in 1942 when it was established, says that „the past can teach you a lot” and that „her aim is to create a classic perfume that everybody can wear years after years”, as „the tradition keeps being re-invented”.
Stefania recounted us the history of „Rudis” perfume, inspired by the life of gladiators, which symbolises freedom and strength at the same time. The ingredients, including fragrances of wine, dried fruit, rose geranium, saffron, remind of the gladiator’s metallic and leather costume, and of the beverage he used to drink before every fight, a liquor made of grape juice and fermented fruit.
In Stefania’s view, the trends in these industry are given by the clients and these are the basic rules to be creative and original.