"Get me J'adore with a banana — and now skiing": Perfumer Frederic Malle on the work
In early March, Frederic Malle has brought to Moscow a new fragrance — exclusively unusual Music for a While — and produced another explosion of expectations and discussions among concerned. Our faithful perfume critic Ksenia Golovanova was able to talk to Mal about creating a perfume to work with beginners and non-obvious laws of the world of smells.
Let's talk about your new fragrance. Baroque Aria Music for a While was written by composer Henry Purcell in the seventeenth century, and that, in General, not the most known to the General public a piece of music. What is the relationship between English Baroque and Frédéric Malle?
Really special relationship between Aria by Purcell and this scent is not: I went to Los Angeles, listened to music and saw on the display the track title, which struck me as absolutely brilliant — so modern and abstract. But if my Music for a While and really would be music, the more Philip Glass than Henry Purcell.
Although the music written by Henry Purcell for the funeral of Queen Mary II, one that has been shifted to synths and used by Stanley Kubrick in "a Clockwork orange", similar to what we do in Frédéric Malle. We take perfume classics and would rewrite her, causing her to sound important. Take Musc Ravageur is a kind of revision of the classic Coty Emeraude (the first Oriental perfume in the world. — Approx. ed.) and Fleur de Cassie Dominic Ropion was partly inspired by hermanowski Après L Ondée, partly — Nina Ricci L'air du Temps.
Well, but just imagine: people will start to Google the Aria Music For a While, listen to it, read the libretto. And there completely the horrors of the ancient Greek myths: the Gorgon, goddess of vengeance and so on.
I love to come to Russia. You know why? You curious and well-educated people, seeking, read, ask questions. But in 99% of cases people are not interested who Purcell. Similar situation we had with the Portrait of a Lady. I really liked the title of the novel by Henry James, but to the plot of the book itself, the flavor, contrary to what many people think Russian buyers, has no relation. And has — to the most famous photographs by Richard Avedon, "Dovima with elephants": this picture lived in my head when I worked on "Portrait".
In General, let me tell you how I have everything arranged. My job is to gradually trim away the excess so it doesn't turned into a salad of sandalwood, roses and many other lovely things, that's why we have such accurate, concise formula. And one of the techniques that I help to keep in mind some convex way and match it. Sometimes it is a picture, sometimes familiar people, sometimes several.
Vétiver Extraordinaire is a friend of my father. Carnal Flower — all those special Parisian women who wear perfume with tuberose. I keep asking myself: "is my character going? But this?" When I was working on Portrait of a Lady, I was thinking about Dovima famous model of the 1950s, the photographs of Avedon, which he did in Paris. It can be seen how a young American photographer was shocked to French elegance. My uncle was a Director (Louis Malle. — Approx. ed.) and some scenes from his "will o the wisp" — this sad movie, by the way, a real portrait of my father... So, there's a scene with the party where the people gathered, the Parisians are very similar to those among whom I grew up — and I recalled these people working on Portrait of a Lady.
As I understand it, this is one of your best sellers.
Portrait — absolutely "my" fragrance in terms of the notions of beauty and sexuality. The only thing that initially makes me worried — is it too difficult to understand? Not too devastatingly beautiful? Understand, the person needs to be a part of life. If you are not keeping pace with the times, you will not be easy.
Today people don't dress like they dressed in the 1940s: buying a vintage dress of those times, you know that the fabric feels another, will form the other folds and so on. Today, few women are going to dinner for three hours... anyway you have to be modern. And with the "Portrait" for me it wasn't so obvious. But I knew that would get him released — I will do it.
But with Superstitious you are overreacted? I think he is too, killer, exactly as you put it, perfect for our time. Having Superstitious, you also have to have its own box to just be happy and walk at all without touching the ground. Life with a mortgage and two other loans in this world is not fit.
Yes, you're right, it's couture dress. Couture dress Alber Elbaz. Maybe we went too far: the border is always such a delicate, almost invisible. We are trying to create modern classics — things as perfect as possible. Personally, I think that Superstitious is great, but you're probably right.
You are mainly working with perfumers who are already professionally hosted — Dominique Ropion, Maurice RUSEL and so on...
No. I met Dominique thirty years ago, and since then, we grew up together: I was a rookie, he is a novice perfumer, and to the success we came at the same time. But, really, I wanted to work with the superstars perfume, just that they are the stars, I knew, and the world yet. We worked in the same company that produces fragrances: I was assistant to the President, and they worked in the lab and in parallel taught me to my future profession. And when I decided to create my own brand, they have supported me — first, know that I do not knowingly eat their own bread, and secondly, I gave them full creative freedom.
Sounds too perfect.
But ideally, of course, did not. In the beginning, I made two mistakes. For some reason decided that all customers in the French perfume homes that no longer produce anything decent will come to me — after all we are all doing great. In addition, I did not realize that faced with this lost generation. You see, all of the then novice perfumers (today it is about forty-five, they are professionally active) taught to collect fragrances needful illegible to the public. How are fragrances made? Take a bestseller, allowing them to pass through the chromatography system (chromatography — conditional slang term for a complex instrumental study, including identification of the ingredients. — Approx. ed.), realize what he's done, and then say to his Creator: "And now get me J'adore, only with a banana. And now with raspberries. And then J'adore on skis. And then J'adore on the beach."
In the end, you get fifty "zadarov" collected young perfumers for a pittance, and those and happy — made aroma in the style of Dior! This evil scheme spawned a whole generation of perfumers that you can not — can not work with a clean slate, only to hang trinkets on the finished form. I'd be happy to work with a lot of good noses, but not so much.
How about more of young perfumers?
Now, the good news is that the perfumers who today, say, twenty-eight, was ten when I started my brand. And even less when Serge Lutens founded his. These young people grew up, smelling great classics and fragrances Frédéric Malle, they are not interested in miserable luxury crafts. They grew up, dreaming about us, they want to learn from Dominic Ropion and Michel Allmerica, good perfumers. That's the generation they are from twenty-four to twenty-eight — very promising. The difficulty is that they look at me like I was Mick Jagger.
But you, in a way it is, only in the world of perfumery.
Well, no, I currently don't think so. They look at me like I was the Professor. Dominic like a son, Pierre Bourdon and others with whom I work, they like brothers to me. And with a brand new relationship others.
Are you ready to take an entirely new and trust him with your project?
Yes, one such project now lives on my arm is spirits Fanny Bol (a pupil of Dominic Ropion and author of the fragrance Sale Gosse. — Approx. ed.).
How do you feel about the fact that perfumes became popular, even fashionable hobby and for many it began to do at home?
Don't even start. Look, this whole business started thanks to the brilliant Amateur — Francois Coty. He invented almost all the perfume templates, it is in the fragrances used only natural substances, and he added synthetics — and there were modern perfumery. Maybe tomorrow will be a new brilliant Amateur and again will break all that we built. But my personal experience tells me that the perfume is a lesson for methodical, patient, modest people. To him to learn, you have to make countless number of attempts, working with a good mentor, it is a very long process.
I'm not too kind to perfume-lovers, because no one never showed me something truly original — they're always copying. There is another reason: my friend Dominique Ropion engaged in the business for thirty years, from nine in the morning until eight at night, he lives and breathes. And some fans think that the perfume is how to make the salad: add of this, sprinkled and finished third. It's just disrespectful to the professionals. Seriously, you cannot imagine how difficult, time-consuming, tedious business. Recently a very famous perfumer, which I will not be here to call one of the real kings in our business, wrote to me: "Frederick, I have gone the distance. It's all too hard".
As you know that all of the flavor work?
There are purely technical parameters, how the spirits behave in the case: how persistent, how they train, how they evolve over time, and so on. And then there's the story you invented about the scent from the beginning. When he was perfectly balanced and customized, it becomes the story, he's ready.
That is, some six-hundredth time and you suddenly perfumer at the same time understand that all is well?
Yes. Some so-called niche brands sell sketches, unfinished things. We do not do so. After a few hundred versions, in the end we get the aroma, similar to the first trial sample — with the only exception that this time he will be really good. Not just a talented wild child, and a brilliant, well-mannered young man.
Iconic fragrances of Frédéric Malle
Modern response hermanowska Shalimar: sweets and confectionery merges with the physical, even dirty, and produce a distorted, but a perfect harmony. Wearing Musc — vanilla with musk and sweaty cedar — and a little ashamed at the same time extremely pleasant, all the same what to wipe his hands on the tablecloth at a fancy restaurant.
Tuberose the most educated of all known. In contrast to the historical standard, greasy Fracas Piguet brand, this composition is modern and fresh, office-friendly: icy green eucalyptus keeps in check the whole baselineskip debauchery which it is capable of white flowers.
Portrait of a Lady
The magnificent East rose with fruity and camphor notes, smoldering wood coals. Mould in a spicy ashes and incense smoke.
Dries van Noten by Frederic Malle
The first collaboration of frédéric Malle with a famous designer (second, Superstitious Alber Elbaz, followed by last year): an Oriental fragrance, assembled around a milky sandalwood chord that radiates a rich, Golden warmth of the Flemish.
Music for a While
The latest addition to the family Frederic Malle — sexy lavender reduced, but not dominated by sweet pineapple and smoked, dirty vanilla. Malle does not hide the Music kinship with the great hermanowski a glass Jicky, Guerlain house in his current state should do honor.